PLEASE HELP. Ready to give up

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chefwik1, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. Hello everyone. As you may have guessed, I'm new to smoking/BBQ. I have a Dyna-glo vertical offset charcoal smoker sealed up nice so no smoke leaking. I use royal oak lump charcoal, and applewood chunks for smoke. I have a thermocue BBQ thermometer to monitor temps inside smoker and meat.

    I can't get that nice smoke flavor. Every time I smoke something, it either has that burnt wood flavor or a weird tingling on the tongue. I know it's creosote. However, after researching several times and changing the way I do things, I still can't figure it out. My coals are glowing hot before I put em in the fire box. I use one piece of wood at a time, throwing a new one on very sparingly. My chimney is wide open. This last smoke, I was sure I got it right because I had a nice light blueish smoke. No plumes. My temp was a steady 240-250.

    And still, gross, burnt smoke, tingling flavor on the chicken. What frustrates me the most is that I've smoked beautiful brisket and ribs on my Stok kettle grill, so I bought an actual smoker to make things easier and start my smoking journey. It's not the best quality, but it should do the trick. I'm wondering if I already have too much creosote build up in the smoke box and need to scrub it out. At this point, I'm at a loss. Sorry for the long post. Thanks for any help anyone can offer. Not ready to give up yet, but I'm close.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My WSM can take up to 90 minutes on the initial light before the charcoal and wood chunk smoke starts turning blue.  Lets assume from your post above you are waiting the appropriate amount of time. 

    So if that's not the issue it may be the RO Lump Charcoal.  I bought two bags of RO Lump 2 or 3 years ago. One was fine and long gone.  The other is still unusable.  When I opened it I got a raw fuel smell.  That bag has been opened ever since.  Even after all that time in my garage the smell is still there when I put my face in the bag.  I won't use that bag until that smell is entirely gone because I know it will ruin whatever is in the smoker.  You may have a bad bag of RO Lump, which is IMO is most likely the problem.

    Pick up a bag of Kingsford Original Briquettes and try them just as a test.  That's all I use, with the rare exception of Lazarri Mesquite Lump when doing whole chickens and turkeys.  I've never had an off taste from the Kingsford Original Briquettes. 
  3. gearjammer

    gearjammer Master of the Pit

    Never give up,never, never, never.

    You don't need to scrub your smoker, it's fine.

    Are all your vents open?

    Were all your pieces of meat dry when you put them

    into the smoker?

    It's just something that's happening and it can 

    be cured fairly easily.

    Hang in there,there's folks here that will help 

    with your problem.

    If you don't get what you need here, jump out into the forums 

    I'm thinking you'll get a better response there.

    Just don't give up,You'll be having fun with it shortly.

  5. How does the meat being moist affect the smoke? I'm not gonna quit. I'm in too deep now! Haha
  6. Hmm so should I wait to put the meat in until I see that blue smoke? Should I wait to put the wood in too?
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Load the wood with the charcoal.  Then wait until you see the blue smoke before you load the meat, or at least hints of blue.  It may be blue initially, then it will get white or grey due to unburned wood particulates filled with creosote.  Nasty stuff.

    If your RO charcoal is not completely carbonized from the factory, waiting for the blue smoke will eliminate that source of bad taste too. 
  8. Ok cool. Thank you. So after adding the meat, then add wood as needed? What if I need to add more charcoal? Should I take the meat out? I'm sorry. These might be stupid questions. I'm a classically trained chef and not being able to figure this out bothers me. It's a whole new world.
  9. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, you can add charcoal and wood as needed.  Take a whiff of the smokestack first.  Often you won't see any smoke coming out later in the smoke, but when you whiff your hand through the exhaust you can smell the wood.   

    When I add charcoal I add hot charcoal, not cold.  Just a habit I have.  Cold, unlit charcoal will rob your burning charcoal of heat.  You can add cold, no problem, especially if you still have a nice glowing charcoal base.  I just add hot to maintain my temps and more quickly carbonized any wood I add.  Adding wood and charcoal will come with experience. 
  10. Thank you so much for your help
  11. gearjammer

    gearjammer Master of the Pit

    Pat the meat dry with a paper towel.

    Smoke and water makes creosote, nasty tasting stuff.

    Have fun.

  12. Thanks everyone for the good advice. I'm gonna try again in a few days. I'll let you know how it goes
  13. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Agree about the lump charcoal I always use Blue Bag Kingsford .  Also you may not have a taste for a heavy smoked wood . I use the minion method so my coals and wood  are lighting the whole way through the smoke . I don't worry about white smoke only the nasty brown . 
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Greetings Brother Chef! Retired now but I was in the biz over 20 years. The guys gave good advice. I too suspect the Charcoal or possibly the Apple wood being a bit green. To answer your question on Wet Meat. The moisture is like a magnet for the smoke components, good and bad. If the charcoal is puting out creosote, the wet meat will get an extra dose. Try the Kingsford and another smoke wood and see where you are at...JJ
  15. I agree with chef jimmyj. It sounds like your wood chunks are still a little green causing then to smolder instead of burning clean and hot.
  16. So I don't want them to smolder? They should catch fire? I'm so confused.
  17. When you add new wood chunks they should set on fire fairly quickly not just sit and smolder because this will cause white smoke that causes creosote on your meat giving it the bad flavor. Keep your coals hot and add the chunks while there still hot and you will have clean blue smoke throughout the cook.
  18. Wow. Learning so much. Thanks for the tip
  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Chef, that's the Dance we do smoking. Just like a proper Saute. Not enough heat and the food steams, too much and it Burns real quick. Same with Smoking wood. Not enough heat and you get white smoke and creosote. Too much heat and the wood bursts into flame and you get no smoke and wild temp swings. You got to get the wood to burn clean and somewhat slowly. It takes practice. Hope this helps...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  20. siege

    siege Smoke Blower

    Before I start the smoker, the meat gets wiped dry, and set out on wire rack. As I am getting everything set up, and the smoker is getting up to temperature, the meat is coming up toward room temperature. I let the meat sit in the smoker at it's smoking temperature for about a half hour before I start adding smoke.
    As far as smoldering goes, sitting around a blazing campfire will get you smelling good and smoky faster than smoldering enbers! I never soak the chips or wood, so my food gets smoked, as opposed to steamed. There has been a lot of great wisdom passed on here, and it's all good, but the bottom line is, just keep trying, and learning all you can about your individual smoker. Keep asking questions. and it will all fall in place for you before long.

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