Too much smokey flavoring/taste...

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by echow87, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. I am not sure where to post this but I was using a charcoal smoker (WSM) to smoke two chickens.

    The food seems to have too much smokey flavoring/taste. I used charcoal briquettes and just three chunks of hickory (about 3" by 2" each). Top vent = 100% opened, bottom vents = 30% or so. I started smoking it at around 235 to low 200s.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Was there any black/dark soot on the skins? Rubs off on your hand a bit? And how long were they in there to get to what final temp? 170-ish I'd guess, but...
  3. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yeah like Rich said how long were they in there and also you said only 3 pieces of hickory. Do you mean for the entire smoke or at the start?
  4. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    When smoking poultry, I gage by the color of the skin. When the skin reaches a dark golden brown, I stop applying smoke.

    I like hickory on poultry but it can be little strong for poultry.
    I will smoke to a lighter color.

    This should help you here.

    Remember you also want your smoke thin and blue and not White and billowing.

    Like ds7672 mentioned. Use one chunk at a time.
  5. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As mentioned, check the smoke color. Can you guess which is good and which is bad? [​IMG]


    As also mentioned, hickory can easily overpower a bird. My wife won't even eat chicken if I try to use hickory.........just to smokey for her. Now apple she is ok with..........might try a milder wood.

    Good luck.
  6. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Excellent pic demo there FBJ![​IMG] Best way to show people I have seen yet. Points!
  7. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yeah, a pic is worth a couple of words........or something like that. LOL

  8. fritz

    fritz Meat Mopper

    Not sure if this is the problem, but here is my two cents.

    In order for wood to BURN CLEANLY, it has to first be dry and
    "seasoned". Why do that if you're just going to allow the wood cells
    to soak up water?
    When you soak the wood, as it dries when heat is applied, there is a
    point when parts of the wood are JUST dry enough to actually start to
    smolder.... but because the temperature is below the point of full
    combustion, the burn is incomplete and the smoke and steam carry with
    it unburnt components that you really DON'T want on your food.
    This conglomerate of unburnt particles are lumped together into the
    word 'creosote' - a gummy, tarry compound that, when enough
    accumulates in a chimney or in your pit, is combustible by itself,
    (because it contains UNBURNT stuff!)

    The purpose of this story is: I, for one, don't want creosote,
    unburnt, bitter, tarry substances on my food.
    I want a nice subtle, but noticeable smokey flavor on my food.
    I want a nice, well-established smoke ring in the meat, indicating
    that the heat, smoke and enzymes and sugars in the meat have had a
    nice day interacting in the pit.
    I don't want unburnt components of incomplete combustion, like glue,
    adhering to the outside surfaces of the meat, PREVENTING the above-
    mentioned interaction of heat, smoke and enzymes and sugars in the meat.

    THAT is why I and lots of "old-timers" say "Don't Soak Your Wood".
    (why would you soak something you intend to burn??? That white stuff
    you see when it first starts smoldering is mostly steam.)
  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You should also stop applying smoke when internal temps reach 140º as the pores in the meat have shut up and will accept no more smoke.
    As to wood to use. Hickory is ok, but for chickens, use pecan or any of the fruit woods like orange, grapefruit, peach, etc.

    Oh, and i soak my wood.
  10. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    Good point flash! The 140º rule Is a great one to follow. I should have mentioned it.
    If I'm doing quaters I don't take temp just a leg wiggle and clear juice.
    When I usually get the desird color for poultry, The temp is about 130-140º.
    I should have mentioned that too.
    Thanks flash!

    The wood soaking debate can be found here!
  11. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Heya Flash, I think there has been a misunderstanding on the 140° thing. You can still increase the smoke flavor, but after that temp, the smoke ring will no longer increase in size due to chemistry mistry... ;{)
  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I guess, if you continue to add wood to the fire? I would tend to think it would stay on the surface of the meat though, so therefore the excessive smokey taste. I do not eat the skin any way.
  13. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep. The food still smokes, but the smoke ring...which, BTW is a mini nitrite cure- stops it's penetration into the meat.
  14. fritz

    fritz Meat Mopper

    Thanks Glued,

    I posted this on the wrong thread to begin with, will post it on the link you metioned.
  15. Thanks for all the replies...The smoking coming out of it was white actually. I placed all three chunks into the smoker at once.

    Did not realize hickory is not great for poultry. I usually smoke beef only, first time smoking chicken. Will definitely keep note of it. [​IMG] So my solution is to use one chunk at a time?

    Off topic: WSM = fantastic smoker. I am starting to like it a lot more than my chargriller w/ sfb. Chargriller requires A TON of fuel to keep it running and temps just kept jumping around.
  16. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  17. brentman0110

    brentman0110 Meat Mopper

    Has the point of only applying smoke until 140F been proven? I have sen several members here with differing opinions. Myself, I have always applied smoke throughout the cook time but wonder if there is proof to support either position. BTW. I do not soak my wood.
  18. I create smoke with 100% apple wood pellets and charcoal for the heat. Next time I smoke I'll try to cut the smoke time in half to see if there is a noticible differance.

    Question? If the smoke burns your eyes is it too much smoke?
  19. packplantpath

    packplantpath Smoking Fanatic

    I wouldn't go by that. If your eyes are like mine, they burn at nothing. I don't have to be able to see the smoke for them to start burning. Some peoples eyes would never burn. Just remember. Never billowing white smoke.
  20. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As you said, just start with less wood if you are getting a white billowy smoke. I start with one small chunk and replenish when needed. Also I would consider using a milder wood for poultry; apple or cherry or even a pecan apple mix.

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