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Smoke...making sure I get the right smoke

Pcola Smoker

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So I smoked a couple of chickens the other day on my electric smoker with half cherry wood chips and half apple wood chips, 275 degrees, took a little over 3 hours.
The chicken came out pretty good, but I did notice what I would call a hint of acrid flavor (said rancid incorrectly in first post) that I can only attribute to how I used the wood chips.
I put new, dry wood chips in the chip box, set smoker to preheat for the first 15 minutes (to get smoke going per manufacturer), put chicken in immediately, and then let it do its thing for the next 3 hours. When done, the chips, after 3 hours, were coal.
So, while I know I could experiment with a few more smokes, what do you guys think is best way to insure I get just smoke flavor from the wood chips and not any unintended acrid smoke flavor?
1. Should I not pre-heat?
2. Should I put on meat say 30 minutes after ships start smoking?
3. Should I remove 'spent' chips after each ship session, say hour or so each session?
4. Or, and I've never seen this, should I set pre-clean smoker on high for first 30 minutes without meat or chips to 'burn-off' any residual flavors, much like you would do a grill?
Thanks all.
 
Last edited:

TomKnollRFV

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I always pre-heat to intended temperature -then- I put in the food and load the chip tray. Never had any off flavours like that. Did you overload the chips perhaps?
 

SmokinAl

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I have never heard of getting a rancid flavor from any smoked meat, no matter how white the smoke was. If it tastes rancid I would throw it away. Did it have any smell when it was raw? I think you may have a bad chicken. Did you check the sell by date? If the taste is bitter then it may be creosote, but rancid, no way!
Al
 

foamheart

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Preheat to max temp., then when you add meat and set temp to where you want to smoke, then open your exhaust vent. It will not clean it, but it helps your smoker stabilize and keeps folks from continuously needing to check it and complaining about fluctuation.

Then about 30/60 mins later when you check your box temp again, add your pellets/chips then.

One charge of the chip tray should be enough. If you wait till you see smoke to add the meat by the time the meat is to temp to take smoke you'll already have used it all. One load of chips, inserted at about 80 to 90 IT (about 30 to 45 mins after you add the meat), will smoke thru 150 IT easily. THis is your sweet spot. 90 to 150 IT absorbs the max amount of smoke, hence why its called the sweet spot.

Below 80 degrees the meat does not take smoke well, its wet and the pores have not yet opened. Thats why its so important to dry the meat and form a good pellicle before smoking. Above 150 it only takes smoke at a diminished capacity. Why? Because think of it as sun tan lotion, if your cover your body well with lotion, does it help any to continue to keep adding more immediately? Thats why we smoke meats using a low and slow method.

Try the above first then if you feel the need for more smoke you can use the chip loader to add more next time you smoke. Or you can look into some type of aux. smoke generator. Seriously if you leave the door shut, one charge should be enough unless you are smoking butts or brisquets.

The very MOST important piece of equipment you can have at the beginning is a remote temperature sensing device. There are numerous brands, I use a Maverick but get what you like. I like simple and easy. The Temperature moniter will let you see whats going on without you opening the door thinking you can see it. It will guaranty that your meat is delicious, juice and safe to eat till you get your feet under you. Its well worth 40/50 dollars to not have people hungary, the wife and kids complaining, and not have to call Pizza hut for supper.
 

Pcola Smoker

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I tried pellets with another electric smoker, but I think that smoker was whack, for it caught the pellets on fire, flames shooting high and charred the entire of the box, returned it needless to say. I will try pellets with this smoker, although I think the manufacturer says not too? Thank you.
 

Pcola Smoker

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Did not overload the chips. I guess that keeping burnt embers of chips in smoke box throughout entire smoke is not bad for thats what happens with wood-fired smokers, sort of. Thank you.
 

Pcola Smoker

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I have never heard of getting a rancid flavor from any smoked meat, no matter how white the smoke was. If it tastes rancid I would throw it away. Did it have any smell when it was raw? I think you may have a bad chicken. Did you check the sell by date? If the taste is bitter then it may be creosote, but rancid, no way!
Al
I probably goofed when I said rancid, which is mostly used to describe bad meat...meat was fine, but there was a hint of something in the smoke, not savory like the smoke you want, but a bit of a burnt wood smell. Hard to describe. Overall it came out OK and was definitely eatable, I'm just trying to hit the sweet spot on doing the smoke the best way possible. Thank you.
 

Pcola Smoker

Newbie
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0
Joined Jun 16, 2018
Preheat to max temp., then when you add meat and set temp to where you want to smoke, then open your exhaust vent. It will not clean it, but it helps your smoker stabilize and keeps folks from continuously needing to check it and complaining about fluctuation.

Then about 30/60 mins later when you check your box temp again, add your pellets/chips then.

One charge of the chip tray should be enough. If you wait till you see smoke to add the meat by the time the meat is to temp to take smoke you'll already have used it all. One load of chips, inserted at about 80 to 90 IT (about 30 to 45 mins after you add the meat), will smoke thru 150 IT easily. THis is your sweet spot. 90 to 150 IT absorbs the max amount of smoke, hence why its called the sweet spot.

Below 80 degrees the meat does not take smoke well, its wet and the pores have not yet opened. Thats why its so important to dry the meat and form a good pellicle before smoking. Above 150 it only takes smoke at a diminished capacity. Why? Because think of it as sun tan lotion, if your cover your body well with lotion, does it help any to continue to keep adding more immediately? Thats why we smoke meats using a low and slow method.

Try the above first then if you feel the need for more smoke you can use the chip loader to add more next time you smoke. Or you can look into some type of aux. smoke generator. Seriously if you leave the door shut, one charge should be enough unless you are smoking butts or brisquets.

The very MOST important piece of equipment you can have at the beginning is a remote temperature sensing device. There are numerous brands, I use a Maverick but get what you like. I like simple and easy. The Temperature moniter will let you see whats going on without you opening the door thinking you can see it. It will guaranty that your meat is delicious, juice and safe to eat till you get your feet under you. Its well worth 40/50 dollars to not have people hungary, the wife and kids complaining, and not have to call Pizza hut for supper.
I like that process you got there, never heard about sweet spot temp, but it makes sense. I will follow this on next smoke. So, with respect to the life of wood chips, is there any moment in the beginning when they start smoking, some call it white smoke, that is not desirable? Ditto at then end of the life of wood chips, say when they turn to charcoal, should they be removed even though you dont load more chips...say an hour or two after loading chips? Thank you.
 

SmokinAl

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Well if it had a bitter taste then it was creosote from to much white smoke. Other than that I can't imagine what it would be.
Al
 

Pcola Smoker

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Well if it had a bitter taste then it was creosote from to much white smoke. Other than that I can't imagine what it would be.
Al
Thanks...and the word I should have used is acrid...got it mixed up with rancid...
So, on the white smoke, is is best to load chips, get them going, and perhaps 10-20 minutes later when smoke becomes clear, load the meat, or do most people smoke the meat while the chips produce the white smoke?
 

foamheart

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I tried pellets with another electric smoker, but I think that smoker was whack, for it caught the pellets on fire, flames shooting high and charred the entire of the box, returned it needless to say. I will try pellets with this smoker, although I think the manufacturer says not too? Thank you.
IF you do not have a pellet smokers do NOT put pellets in a chip smoker unless your home-owners insurance is paid up! You will need to purchase an aux smoke generator, there are many on the market! A-MAZ-IN is represented here on the site and are excellent folks to deal with. Call and ask for Roxanne, she's the boss and a wealth of knowledge!
 

foamheart

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I like that process you got there, never heard about sweet spot temp, but it makes sense. I will follow this on next smoke. So, with respect to the life of wood chips, is there any moment in the beginning when they start smoking, some call it white smoke, that is not desirable? Ditto at then end of the life of wood chips, say when they turn to charcoal, should they be removed even though you dont load more chips...say an hour or two after loading chips? Thank you.
ALL smoke is good smoke if you spend the time to learn how you use it effectively. There is nothing wrong with white smoke especially when doing say cheese. Heavy flavor for a very short duration. People with fire breathers, the original smokers like the thin blue smoke because it shows a max efficiency. You will seldom see thin blue smoke from an electric. But its what you look for.

You need to learn how you want to smoke. How your smoker likes to smoke. They are like women, all different as to what it takes to keep 'em happy. Once you decide on a temp your smoker best likes, stay with it. Don't bounce all over the place because someone else told you it was more better faster. Wait to experiment until you have a handle on your unit. Then work one new variable at a time. See what it does to your unit. Realize what that one variable does to other standard modifiers. Its slow but rewarding. and you get to smoke more under the pretense of learning.

Black smoke is bad, thats when ya get creosote. It makes your meat taste just like chewing a telephone pole, and it doesn't go away without some work. But you probably won't be burning any truck tires in your new electric....

Enjoying the learning process, its a lot of fun.
 

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