1. 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.

Rookie mistakes = pork fail

Discussion in 'Pork' started by 63falconht, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

    I had a q/view but i couldn't bring myself to take a picture of my garbage cans.

    2x 3.5LB pork shoulders

    cook temp 210-240

    Cook time just under 6 hours

    finish temp was 195*

    Rib Rub from a smoke and spice cookbook i got for xmas

    "The renowned Mr. Brown"

    Southern Succor Rub

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]1/4 cup ground black pepper
    1/4 cup paprika
    1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
    2 Tablespoons table salt
    2 teaspoons dry mustard
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Mopped it 2 times with a warm mix of[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]cider vinegar[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]black pepper[/font]


    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]wheresyersister sauce[/font]

    Brinkmann Dual side by side with fire box - Lump coal and apple wood

    Good texture, beautiful smoke ring, solid bark

    Either this was a REALLY AWFUL recipe or i ruined it. 

    Creosote is what i tasted.  My wife said...  with bbq sauce it tastes GREAT.  I said, with bbq sauce, it tastes like bbq sauce.

    Contributing factors to my fail would be???

               Was under smoke for first 4 hours

               Wrapped in foil for hours 5 and 6.

                            Is this to long in smoke?

    The Apple Wood was chunked 4-6 inches long diameter between golf ball and baseball sizes.  usually 2 pieces at a time.

                Would this produce to much smoke to clear the chamber fast enough?

                Should I soak it in water so it doesn't burn quickly?  Thats' what I would do with hickory chips

                I don't think the wood is to green.  I smoked 2 chickens with is a few months ago with no problems.

    insight is appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    did you have alot of smoke? i'm talking big white billiowing clouds? one to two chunks is what i use in my chargriller duo,and have not gotten that yuck taste.Then when i add more wood its always another 1-2 chunks.How often were you having to add wood? did you have a water pan in and alot of moisture?sometimes with too much moisture it collects on the meat ,and with too much smoke that can cause the flavor you are getting.i don't think 4 hours is too long under smoke,i have done butts before and have smoked them longer than 4 hours.Could be your chunks are catching on fire? and then you get too much smoke? anothr thing is do you have your vents open so ther is good airflow through the smoker/or is the smoke not traveling and "sitting" in your chamber?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member


     The mr brown rub is good, the cooking temp is good . If it pulled easily and had good bark and ring that only leaves the fuel or the airflow.

     On the fuel it could be green wood or to much wood creating to much smoke.

     On the airflow it could be not enough airflow to let the smoke kiss the wood and move on out.

     Creasote leaves a bitter taste that will slightly numb your tongue and lips when tasted.

     If you have a creasote problem you need to clean the smoker before you use it again as creasote clings to all the metal surfaces.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How were you intake and exhaust vents postioned? Exhaust should generally be wide open, intake is reduced to controll temps as needed. If you are getting a lot of white smoke even with dry good wood you may have to run a bit hotter to get better/cleaner combustion.
  5. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

    Vents were typically wide open.  I actually am considering creating more ventilation.  I feel like it has a hard time getting hot.  My temp gauge on the door will reads about 40 degrees hotter than my thermo sitting dead center on the grate.  This model has a door on the side for cleaning out.  The vent is mounted in this door.  Typically I have it unlatched and have it cracked the smallest amount possible to get more airflow.  I was leaning towards the idea of to much smoke.  My wood chunks would catch fire.  Wasn't sure what the viable solution for preventing or stopping that would be.  I tried a couple different things.  Moved them off the fire and also removed them from the firebox.  Of course when you open the door to the fire box they automatically burst into flames.



  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well the first thing that I think you need to do is sign up and take the E-course. It's free and it will give you the basics on smoking and fire management too. So don't get discouraged and it will soon be all but a memory. We all have seen it been there and I have the shirt too.
  7. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

    Took it.  have had some success in the past following it's basic steps.  i also posted answers to some of the questions.  said the post would be moderated since i'm new.  still waiting for it to upload.
  8. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Everything you did sounds perfect, Like Johnny said, the vents. The top vent needs to be open all the way. If you get a lot of smoke when adding wood or opening the top it has to have a way out or you may get that bitter taste. Every time you smoke you learn. I've only been doing this a couple of years & I'm never satisfied with what I smoke, however everybody that eats my bbq says it's awesome. There are guys on here that have been smoking since birth, and they will tell you that sometimes there bbq isn't what they expected, but the more you do this the better you get. Good luck on the next one.
  9. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

    Not sure why my first reply hasn't posted.  it was waiting for moderator approval. had some pix.  Kinda sounds like I had to much smoke for air flow based on what i am hearing.

    I posted a couple pix of some of the different smoke points.  One I know was to much, the other looked right to me.

    The wood I do not believe was to wet as I had success with it on an earlier smoke.  2 whole chickens.  Avg temp was higher so that may have lowered the amount of smoke.

    Should I be soaking my wood chunks in water?  How long?

    Intake and exhaust were wide open.  I think I need to increase my intake sizes actually.  Seems like it takes more air to keep the temps above about 230.  I end up cracking the cleaning door just a little bit otherwise my temps don't get up. The amount of lump i put on it doesn't seem to increase the heat without increasing the airflow.

    I'm gonna clean the queue on Saturday and give it another go.

    going to decrease the amount of wood i'm burning.

    would love some additional insight on how to prep the wood. (soaked in water or not).
  10. mrsb

    mrsb Smoking Fanatic

    Soaking the wood chunks or chips just takes longer for them to produce smoke.  The heat has to get rid of the water first.  I do not soak
  11. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use a (stick burner) and never have a problem with creasote, I keep a constant flow threw the smoker so the smoke is moving and not stalling,which will create creasote
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Out of curriosity do you  have a suspended charcoal basket in your firebox or are you just building a fire on some grates or the bottom of the firebox?
  13. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member


    I'm just getting around to reading this post and here are my thoughts-for what they're worth [​IMG]

    When using charcoal in my sfb, I use wood chunks for flavor. These chunks are roughly the size of a hockey puck and a tuna fish can and two will give me the smoke that I need; these chunks are replaced every 45-60 minutes. For me, this produces a quick bellow of white but then it settles right down to TBS. Your lengths of sticks (4-6 inches long) may be too much wood all at once.

    Leave you exhust vent wide open and control your chamber temps by opening and closing your air intakes. Do this in small steps and check your temps after 10-15 minutes and then adjust again. If you contstantly play with your intake and don't allow the chamber temps to settle, you'll be chasing your temps up and down all day and it will leave you flustered and discouraged (most folks give up smoking meats for this very reason). Once you have mastered your units learning curve, you'll be able to fire it up and dial it right in and have an enjoyable smoke session.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  14. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

     in the fire box it is a grate.  In the large drum there is a suspended charcoal tray that i leave all the way down during smoking.
  15. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

    While I was hoping for some magic answer that say that my thoughts are right, I'm open to all the advise of you smart people.  Dutch, your answer is my favorite cause it makes me feel like i was right with my guess of to much wood. 

    I actually have enjoyed chasing the temperatures.   Sadly after letting it settle for about 45 minutes before putting my meat on with the intake/exhaust all the way open and almost 2 chimneys of lump in there the temp doesn't seem to get high enough unless I increase the airflow by cracking the cleaning door.  I'm definitely not discouraged.  Gonna restock some of my consumables this week and put another test on.

    Will clean the firebox and smoke chamber out real good before giving it another go.

    Thanks for the insight all of you and if you have a suggestion to add, i'm still listening.
  16. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK... I highly suggest you make a charcoal basket that either has some legs to get it a good 4" off the bottom of the firebox or hangs on the inside lip of the firebox via some arms. If you do a search for charcoal basket you will find a bunch of differant ones people have made.

    The charcoal basket does several things:
    1. It keeps your charcoal in a more condensed pile that maintains its heat better - think of when you would light a charcoal pile in a hot grill. You pile it high and tight, light it, it gets going quickly then spreads out and dies. With low & slow BBQ you want to have a steady long burning set up that can maintain temps fairly evenly. Most of us charcoal users, use what is called the minion method: fill a charcoal basket with unlit charcoal with a couple of pieces of wood nestled down in the charcoal, leave some room in the middle, then light and dump either a half or a full lit chimney of charcoal into the middle. This allows your fire to burn a long time at an even pace.
    2. The basket needs to be up off of the floor of the firebox to both allow air flow under neath it, and to give the ash somewhere to fall. A lot of the fireboxes like yours don' t have enough room under that fire grate, so once the ash starts filling up the gap between the bottom of the grate and the bottom of the firebox the airflow through the bottom of the pile starts getting reduced. This will cause you to lose temps, and also cause your wood to not burn cleanly, which produces creasote. Airflow is critical, not just over the top of the fire, but up through the bottom of the fire as well.
    3. If you are smoking in cold weather start with more lit charcoal, one full chimney or maybe even 1 1/2 lit chimneys. After that let it settle out like Dutch said, and then don't mess with it to much.
    Try changing one thing at a time so you can keep track of what changes actually help, and keep notes - the more detail you can give us the better we can help you with ideas. Ain't no such thing as a dumb question around here! [​IMG]
  17. 63falconht

    63falconht Fire Starter

    Cleaned her up yesterday, inside and out.  Gonna give it another go this weekend.  I've had success in the past, this was my first fail.  Going to decrease the amount of wood i'm using and go for a bigger better managed fire.  Got some stuff to try a fattie and gonna do another shoulder as well. 

    gonna track down a sweet rub for it this time.

    Thanks for all the insight.
  18. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm with Dutch...Too Much Wood!

    You need 3 things to create a fire, Fuel, an Ignition Source and Air/Oxygen for proper combustion.  There's a fine line between Making Creosote, Making Thin Blue Smoke and Making a Fire.  All can occur with a slight change of any of the variables.

    Too much heat or Oxygen, all the gasses burn up and you don't get enough Smoke

    Not enough Oxygen or heat and you create Creosote and other chemicals

    Think of it like a campfire....Red embers and a blue flame dancing above the logs produces good heat, but very little smoke.  Now add a bunch of branches on top and you get a lot of nasty smoke.  You have to find that happy medium where you have a nice bed of coals and feed it some wood to smolder and make the nice blue smoke you're after.  More is not always better!

    Like Dutch said, you really have to learn your smoker

    We've all been thru a creosote experience!!!

  19. flatbedder

    flatbedder Newbie

    I am indeed a beginner so maybe "I don't know what I don't know", but is coal a good heat source?  I remember well the smell of burning coal in the stove to keep the house warm on a cold night when I was a kid.  That is not the taste I would want on my meat.  Just seems dirty.  Please correct me if I am wrong.