oversmoked meat

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Feb 8, 2011
Hey smoking fellas,I'm new to the forum and I'm wondering if anyone has ever had a problem with oversmoked meat? I built a homemade smoker with an offset firebox and use it to grill ribs,pork ,brisket and anything in between,but everytime I try to smoke a brisket low and slow my meat turns out to be extremely oversmoked with a tounge numbing taste! I start off by starting a nice fire with oak and hickory logs,I load up the firebox as much as I can, when I have a nice fire and my thermometer reads 250-300 degrees I put my brisket into the cooking chamber and let it sit. I open the damper on the smoke stack halfways and add a log about every hour to hour and a half ,and keep that brisket cooking/smoking  until it is nice and tender (about 6-7 hours at 225-250) the smoke ring is perfect but the smoke taste is overwhelming,this happens everytime I smoke for a long period of time .If there is anyone that can help I would greatly appreciate it .
.That numbing taste you are getting is called creosote and it is NOT good.It can make you very sick.Could be the wood you are using is green? is it seasoned?that can be a cause of it.You want to use wood that has been cut for 6 months.Also you could be using way too much wood,if your filling the firebox all the way up and lighting it and then adding the meat while the wood is still burning down thats alot of smoke.Then you say that your adding a piece every hour or so,from looking at your pic those are pretty big chunks so i would try cutting them down.Make sure your wood is seasoned! If it is you can try a preburn of the wood.Meaning use a barrel or something to burn it down before you add it to the firebox.just burn it down till ya get the nice red hot coals.Then you can add your wood chunks for smoke. When your smoking you want thin blue whiffs of smoke,if you can smell smoke so can the meat! You don't want white billowing clouds of smoke.Try a search on creosote for more info. heres the link.Good luck!

Les makes really good points. I know personally one thing I learned was I had been using too much fuel. And spending a little extra time to get good hot glowing coals prior to my putting meat in than when I first started and then adding coals that are hot if/when necessary. I use charcoal adding wood in my smoker. Not only does cutting back reduce the production of smoke. It gives fuel better opportunity to burn as it should to get the kind of blue smoke that you want with the fuel that's there with favorable air flow as well. It doesn't take a lot to get good flavor and penetration. I avoid leaving wood in the sun for too terribly long a time and store in an area not too humid or dry. Warming your wood chunks prior to putting them in also helps some. In regards to green wood, I've never experienced it myself. I do know that I did see some hickory barbecue wood for sale over the summer at a grocery that certainly didn't appear, smell or feel actually seasoned.
Everything mark and les said plus   You need to leave your stack full open, let the smoke pass over the meat and then get out.  Control your heat by adjusting the dampers on the fire box. 

Looks like a well made smoker, like they said I would use less fuel burning hotter.  May try smaller diameter pieces of wood, they burn hotter so you will get less dense white smoke.

Good Luck

ciscokid, one thing that you did not mention was your primary heat source. Are you using an all wood fire or are you using charcoal briquettes and just using wood for the smoke flavor?

If you are using all wood, do what les, mark and al suggest and build you a hot small fire.

If you are using charcoal and using wood for flavoring, use the  Minion method for starting your charcoal and use a couple of wood chunks about the size of a hocky puck or a tuna can.

You migh also want to think about building a charcoal basket for use in the sfb-it will allow you to have longer burn times.

Also, please swing by Roll Call and introduce yourself to all the fine folks here~

Enjoy the Smoke.
Last edited:
Ohhh Cisco!

Everything has just about been covered already---Tongue numbing is definitely creosote---Bad stuff!

I don't use that kind of smoker, but listen to these guys who do---They know their stuff!


We've all been there, but you have to learn from this.

For long smokes, I would make a "Charcoal Maze".  It's a charcoal basket, based on the "Minion Method" for burning charcoal.


Here's a few pics:



Sounds like there is plenty of info here to help you out. Cresote is some bad stuff. I have made a few cresote bombs in my day as well. Thin blue smoke is what you are looking for not thick white smoke. Less is more in this case.
Last edited:
I have a smoker similar to yours and I have not been able to burn pure wood like you are attempting to do.  I have started using lump charcoal, with my wood on the side.  If you are going to run straight wood, I think you need to start it in a burn barrel, and then transfer it to the smoker once you get past the thick white smoke stage. 

I have had great success setting my smoker up like this:

I start out just like the picture, then dump about a half chimney of lit lump on top of the pile of unlit lump.  You can see how the splits just sit there and smoulder and give off really nice thin blue smoke.  If you chunk them straight on the fire, you get smoke like an apartment fire.


Thanks for replying and thanks for all the usefull info. ,The wood I am using is seasoned for about a year ,but I'm going to preburn the wood into embers before I add the meat to the smoker and preburn the wood before adding it to the smoker.I cant wait for the snow to melt ,it's about 3 ft. tall around my smoker and its 5 degrees f. ,wish it was spring!
Sounds like a good plan to preburn.That will help ya with temps to,if you need to you can just add more hot coals and without any dips in temps.It will also help with the creosote and the over smoking! Let us know how it works for ya!! Good luck!
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts