The Blue Smoke issue....

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 13, 2012
I've read on several occasions about the blue smoke thing and am wondering what I might be doing wrong, as my smoker always puts out smoke that smells very smoky but looks more like the color of steam..  Is this a bad thing?  Wondering what I might be doing wrong...  Curious about this

 cause everything always tastes excellent!  Here's what it looks like just a few minutes ago on my WSM, which I love!

PS  Using Apple Wood chunks...
I never put out blue smoke, then again, I use natural lump charcoal and food taste great as well.  Get some of those fake pellets and you might produce blue smoke too!
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maybe a picture of your basket (charcoal) set up.... more details will be helpful as well... temps... wind... fuel... etc. etc.
that top vent is supposed to be wide open all the time. but the smoke only looks blue under certain lighting conditions. i have walked around my smoker and have seen it go from blue to white color in one step depending on how the light hits it. i wouldn't concern myself with the color so much as to make sure it is light and wispy not thick and billowing.
Everything I've read says the blue smoke is a good thing! You want the thin blue smoke versus the thick white clouds that make the food bitter. 
I always believed that the reference to TBS was more about NOT having a locomotive puffing chimney. White smokes usually means either too much wood smoking and/or not getting a complete combustion cycle. Both of which tastes bad. Then there is also water vapor involved which steams the meat instead of cooking on good dry heat. The dryer the heat the better the smoke ring, it is why I believe you don't see a smoke ring from electrics, it has too much closed up moisture. 

The blue smoke is a hot complete burn with little water vapor, its the object of every smokers appreciation.

That's just my assumption and we all know what assumptions are like right?
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Hey, thanks to all you guys for the comments and help on this..  My little smoke earlier turned out well, but I've still got lots to learn and you are  all helping in that..!  Now I'll know to keep that top vent open all the time and adjust from the bottom..

Thanks again for all your comments/help..!!  
I am having a problem with acrid smoke and I see these comments about "complete combustion.."

With really complete combustion we would get little to no smoke so this confuses me. 

When I cold smoke as with cheese, salt, and sugar, I don't get a very good draft in my smoker and the smoke is very dense and just wafts out of the smoker. This can cause a very acrid taste and smell. 

Yesterday I opened the smoker and it was almost like a solvent smell, almost like I experienced once when I used vodka to make biscuits and when I opened the oven door the volatilized alcohol was over powering.

I am going to let the salt and sugar, which smells bad now, age in open air and see if more of the acrid smell mellows or goes away.

Any comments or suggestions about acrid smoke?

I used an external smoke generator that puts out very little heat. I was burning nut wood. It does have some bark. The ambient temperature was very little higher than the smoke chamber so the smoke did not draft out as when there is a bigger temperature differential.
I once had a neighbor that was not only sweet but she was single. She couldn't boil eggs! Someone gave her a pit, and she cooked supper for me. OMG! Its was creosote residue! Since she was so sweet, I offered that evening after holding my breath while eating, to take the pit to the carwash and steam that sucker because I told her it was dirty.

I got most of the creosote off between the truck scrub brush and the hot steam cleaner. Drove around let it dry and brought it back. I offered to do ribs on it the next night. After the ribs she allowed that dirty on her pit tasted terrible and wanted to know if she should wash it every time she used it. I showed her step by step how to cook on it and from then own, I got Hot Krispy Kremes for breakfast for a month, but never another invite to cook for me.

Sometimes residue carries over.

Air or heat affects how fast or slow the wood smokes, too much fuel makes creosote. You may have to clean your pit to get the creosote out, its like pitch or tar.  Then cut back on your wood when you smoke. You can make less fuel, smoke longer, by regulating the air, using a vent.

One other major sorce of creosote I just never think of it, green wood. If your wood is not seasoned it is a nasty smoke.

Lack of air should not be a problem, I cooked for years with a pit with no air at all. Too much smoke is.
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