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New to smoking or have a new smoker? -- "How to optimize your smoke"

mr t 59874

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 9, 2011
Congratulations and welcome to the fascinating world of smoke/cooking food products. If it can be consumed, it can be smoked.

Hopefully you will find the following helpful.

You want to build your house on a good foundation, the same is true when smoke cooking foods.

The pro's know every wiggle and jiggle of their smokers, as you most likely will be smoking for years to come, I suggest that before you get too involved in smoking foods, you take some time and learn the characteristics of your new smoker/cooker regardless of make or type.  By learning them now, you will then be far ahead of many and much more proficient in the future. 

 By learning the basic foundation and keeping detailed notes, you will be able to answer your own questions as to why one cook was the same or different from another.  This can easily be done at first by simply using quart zip bags half filled with water to replicate meat or other products.  By observing the color change of the bags,you will then be able to visually see the effects of changing species and cut of woods, temperatures, the times, along with the colors of smoke.   By keeping good notes you will soon know what effect each individual change will have on your product.

The following threads may help as well.

Smoked Bread,Crackers and Snacks,   Understanding Smoke Management - updated 12/08/14

Hope this helps and have fun,

Mr. T
Last edited:


Master of the Pit
Joined May 12, 2013
Hello Tom some good info and tips.  Keep Smokin!



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Nov 15, 2012
Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for your suggestion on using zip lock bags for assessing smoke color.  I also really appreciate your link to your Understanding Smoke Management thread…great info there on thin blue smoke vs. thick white smoke.  I've noticed for a while that my smoke color can start off thin blue and then change to thicker white as my smoking goes on, and your explanation of how this might be some steam from the food makes a lot of sense.  I've also thought that it might possibly have to due with the air in the smoking chamber being used up in the combustion process, and then my combustion getting "choked" by inadequate air intake….I have less problem with this when using dust vs. pellets, which makes sense from an air intake standpoint.

Thanks again for your great information!


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