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Why is my bark bitter.

dajarrel

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Hey folks. I'm new to the forums. I've been smoking various meats on an electric smoker called "smokin-it II" for a few years now. The meat always is tender and it turns out well except that the bark is usually bitter. For example: I smoked a brisket yesterday. meat was rubbed down with a light coat of molasses and coated with Jeff's rub. I used pecan wood and set the smoker to hold 240 degrees. I wrapped the meat in foil at 160 and removed it at a 201 degrees. I'm using the Igrill bluetooth thermometer with meat probe and an ambient probe. The smoke runs for about 4 hours before the wood box is empty and I have a thin blue smoke coming from the top.
I let the meat rest for 1 1/2 hours before cutting.
Like I said, meat is real good and tender but bark is bitter. Any Ideas?
 

chilerelleno

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Hello and Welcome to SMF.com.

Too much and/or too thick smoke, or incomplete combustion of the wood leading to creosote in the smoke is the usual culprit.

Do you have an oily feel or taste in your mouth, maybe a hint of turpentine?
Those and bitter are almost certainly creosote.

Your stock of wood could just be bad, contaminated or whatever.
Not all wood even of the same type is created equal.

Tell us about your herbs, spices and other rub and sauce ingredients.
Are they all fresh?
Dump anything old, buy new and keep it in airtight containers.
 
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chopsaw

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From the research I've done on smoking it smokers , I think it can be easy to overload the wood tray . I read about the belch . They won't draft , smoke builds up then the belch purges the cabinet . I ended up not getting one because I wanted pid .
I looked at some used ones and they all looked like to much wood was used .
 

rjob

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If the wood supply is good, suggest checking for restrictions in air flow path. Also consider the amount (weight) of wood being used. We use an electric an use no more than four ounces.
 

rjob

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One additional thought - We stopped doing cold startup cooks- at times meat tasted bitter or like ash. Now start cooker and let it run for about 30 minutes. Have not experienced bitter taste since doing this.
 

ponzLL

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I don't own a Smokin-It smoker, but I did a lot of research on them because I strongly considered it. My understanding was that they're extremely efficient with the wood usage and that they only need like 100 grams or something really small for the entire smoke. I also thought I remembered it was only supposed to have smoke for maybe 2 hours.

Is it possible that you're adding too much wood?
 

indaswamp

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Some things to consider....

Are you putting the meat on old or letting it come to room temp. first? If you put the meat on cold, it will start to condense moisture. If the smoke has a lot of creosote in it, the creosote will condense on the meat.

Humidity also plays a roll here too...here on the gulf coast, we deal with high humidity often and if it is too high more creosote will condense on the meat. No idea where you are located so don't know what your climate is like.

Oh- also, a rainy day will produce a 100% humidity environment for the incoming air....
 

tallbm

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Hey folks. I'm new to the forums. I've been smoking various meats on an electric smoker called "smokin-it II" for a few years now. The meat always is tender and it turns out well except that the bark is usually bitter. For example: I smoked a brisket yesterday. meat was rubbed down with a light coat of molasses and coated with Jeff's rub. I used pecan wood and set the smoker to hold 240 degrees. I wrapped the meat in foil at 160 and removed it at a 201 degrees. I'm using the Igrill bluetooth thermometer with meat probe and an ambient probe. The smoke runs for about 4 hours before the wood box is empty and I have a thin blue smoke coming from the top.
I let the meat rest for 1 1/2 hours before cutting.
Like I said, meat is real good and tender but bark is bitter. Any Ideas?
Hi there and welcome!

[Editing to remove poor feedback lol. Didn't realize the smokin-it's had a fixed opening :emoji_blush: ]

There has been some great input given.
One thing not mentioned is to ensure you have your top vent WIDE open.
If smoke cannot easily escape then it may linger and become stale :(
Stale smoke is horrible!
Don't be afraid to open the top vent(s) all the way and see if that improves things and if it does then you may have had a stale smoke issue.

I hope this info may help :)
 
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dajarrel

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Folks, thanks for the replies. Perhaps it is creosote. I'll check and make sure the vent holes are all open. Yes, indaswamp, I live near Mobile and it too, is hot and humid.
Could it be that the brown sugar in the rub (it is the main component) is carmelizing or burning? Just a thought. Thanks again!
 

chopsaw

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There is no top vent . It's just a hole in the center of the top . The things I mentioned in post 3 are specific to Smokin it smokers . The belch or the burp is common in the 2 and 3 .
Like I said I don't have one but did alot of looking reading on them . So dajarrel , you might research that as a cause for bitter stale smoke .

@old sarge has a 3D . I'm sure he has some in site for you .
Edit , poorly worded on my part , yes there is a top vent , just a hole no damper .
 
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Bearcarver

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It Was already said a few times above, but Bitter is usually too thick (heavy) a Smoke, causing a creosote flavor.
A light to medium Smoke for many hours is a Good Thing, but even a short time of Heavy Smoke can be a bad thing.

Bear
 

Bearcarver

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There is no top vent . It's just a hole in the center of the top . The things I mentioned in post 3 are specific to Smokin it smokers . The belch or the burp is common in the 2 and 3 .
Like I said I don't have one but did alot of looking reading on them . So dajarrel , you might research that as a cause for bitter stale smoke .

@old sarge has a 3D . I'm sure he has some in site for you .
Edit , poorly worded on my part , yes there is a top vent , just a hole no damper .

Bear Jr used to have a Cook-Shack smoker, and it had that same problem---A little Hole in the middle of the top. Used to drip on the meat there too, until he hung a tin can there.

Bear
 
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noboundaries

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Everybody above has you covered on the smoke and creosote issue, which I agree is almost assuredly your issue.

That said, I've never heard of using molasses on brisket in a smoker, but that could just be me. If you used blackstrap molasses, though, it can taste bitter all by itself. Any sugar, including molasses, could end up extremely burnt tasting and bitter when you add heat over a long time. Just another possibility to consider.
 

JJS

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I agree with the other responses, one thing I did not see however is that Iodized salt can taste “bitter” when run through the smoking process. Not sure you used it or not, just throwing it out there
 

gmc2003

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I think the boys have you covered above with the amount and type of smoke. Just wanted to toss one more variable into the equation. Did your wood still have the bark on it? Bark can cause a bitter taste in some instances.

Chris
 

dajarrel

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Have not seen a reply on "how much" wood he puts in at a time... are you putting in 4 hrs worth of wood all at once ??
Yes sir. The box is designed to hold a specific amount of wood. To answer Chris' question, I did leave the bark on it. I had cut the pecan from a tree that had been down a couple of years.
 

Hawging It

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It has happened to all of us at some point. Need clean smoke. Probably burning dirty smoke. Need flame on your wood and not smoldering wood.
 

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