Avoiding excessive smoke

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by thenovaman, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. thenovaman

    thenovaman Fire Starter

    Hi.  Sometimes when I smoke something, I can't taste much smoke flavor, and the rest of the family is overwhelmed by it.  When it's nice out, I like to sit around and babysit the smoker while I drink tasty beverages, so that exposes me to some smoke, which probably desensitizes me to it.  How much smoke is enough, and how much is too much?  I suspect it varies depending on what's being smoked; the next thing I'm planning on smoking is a fattie, so let's start with those.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have found that Low density and items that will be eaten whole, Chicken, Shrimp, Fish, Fatties, Sausage and Ribs do fine with 2-6 hours of smoke. Meats that will be Pulled, Chopped or Sliced do better with long low and slow smokes, 10+ hours. This is because you want a lot of smoke build up on the Bark that will be later mixed in and balanced with the interior meat or just on the edge and dominated my the interior meat like in a sliced Brisket. 

    As far as your's and your families tastes go, Smoke meats to their liking, saves lots of aggravation, and try adding Smoked Salt, Smoked Pepper or even sprinkle of Smoke Powder. You can make your own or there are a variety available in various flavors from Spice dealers and the Salt Works. There are also a lot of guys that smoke one day and eat their Q the next day because they complain of being desensitized from smelling smoke for several hours...JJ
  3. and i thought it was just me !!  When i first started smoking i was told it was too smokey to eat , not so smokey it gave you the dreaded tongue "burn" but too much for my family ! so i started dong "smoke time" a little different , smoke for 2 to 4 hours then just "cook" but the time depens on what it is , like Fatties i only smoke for 2 hours then just heat to finish the cook on them but a brisket i keep smoke on them for  4 hours then the rest of the time its just to cook . some folks say meat will only take so much smoke , well in a way they are right but after awhile the smoke is too much and can/will ruin the taste and the meat.

    Plus any left overs "if you have any" will have a bunch of smoke in the meat .

    just my two cents !  [​IMG]
  4. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been making sausages off and on all week and have noticed how desensitized my smell for smoke and taste for seasonings was. It only takes me a day or 2 to get back to normal.
  5. thenovaman

    thenovaman Fire Starter

    Lots of good advice here.  When smoking one day and eating the next, what is the preferred method of reheating?
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This may be just my opinion, but it has been my experience that if you keep the smoke light, as in TBS, you can put smoke on the food for as long as you want, and never get too much.

    However if you get thick white billowing smoke, one hour could be too much!

    My opinion,

  7. thenovaman

    thenovaman Fire Starter

    Aha, that could be the entire issue right there: TBS is extremely elusive for me :/

    I wouldn't call my smoke thick and billowing, but it is white.  So far, I haven't had any complaints of bitter flavor, so maybe I'll just cut down on the smoke until I figure out how to get TBS (if that ever happens).
  8. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    TBS is what your wanting, I didn't say looking because you don't really need to see the smoke to be getting the flavor.I won't introduce any smoke to my foods for the first couple hours-than it really depends on what and how long it will be cooking. If others are saying it's to heavy than prolly it is-time to adjust from white to thin blue.
  9. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Here's what I've inferred from my experience chasing down TBS.  I could be totally wrong about the science of it, but I don't think I'm too far off.  I welcome correction from someone that knows more if I'm up in the night.

    It has to do with the heat of your smoke wood.  When the wood itself is cold, you get billowy white stuff.  Once the unconsumed fuel is heated up to a higher temperature, you start to get TBS.  If you're constantly adding more cold smoke wood to your fire, you're going to have a steady supply of billowy smoke.

    You'll notice a similar phenomenon with charcoal.  It's billowy and white while it's starting up.  But once it gets hot enough, it starts running clean, even though there is plenty of the briquette that is not ash-covered yet.  The smell of the exhaust changes when it transitions from burning white to burning clean as well.

    This is why I personally like to use large chunks mixed into my charcoal.  It takes a little while to get it burning clean.  If you've got a big chunk of it, you'll get longer TBS production.

    One other point is that you don't have to see smoke for it to do its work.  If you can smell it, your food is picking it up. 

    Last, I use very well dried out fruit wood.  So if you've got green wood, there would be other factors at play on you smoke quality than simply temperature.

    Now, having said all that, I also know that you can get good smoke production out of chips, pellets, sawdust.  I don't know how to reconcile my observations with that.
  10. goinforbroke

    goinforbroke Smoke Blower

    Once you're working with a thin blue smoke, it seems like it can go forever and not make the meat too smokey to eat.   For this reason it's always a good idea to bring your smoker up to temp and settle into a long term cooking temp, and more imprtantly, have that glowing-hot coal (wood or charcoal) base going before any meat goes on.   That way heat/smoke mgmt just falls into the maintenance category while cooking.   When using hardwood lump I'll stop adding wood after 4 or 6 hours, just because I know its already received enough smoke for my tastes, but it probably has more to do with me saving my fruit wood.   Generally speaking it's not something I fret over very much tho..  Bottom line... small, hot fires make tasty smoke at reasonable temps. 

    forgot to add my bit for even replying in the first place..  After smoking all day, I usually just fix a small plate for myself.  My taste buds, senses and appetite are pretty shot by this point.  Besides, chances are I've been picking at pieces here and there the whole time (you know, gotta test for doneness, right?! lol).  Don't usually feel very hungry when the meat comes off the bbq.  Ironically.  Guess I'm mostly smoking for leftovers.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  11. thenovaman

    thenovaman Fire Starter

    Maybe I'm trying to run too big a fire.  Another thing is I typically get my Weber up to temp, and then throw on a chunk of wood; maybe I should put the wood in with the unlit coals?
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member


     Almost visible with a distinct bluish hue about it... But if you are smoking and see NO smoke yet smell it, you are prefect.

     this is almost perfect!!!

    As always, have fun and...
  13. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  14. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Then , again , you may want to 'pre-burn your wood as Chris (sloflaquer) . Here's a shot of mine:

     I , too , use it on overnighters. Makes a good ashtray , low lighting , warmth , Bug repelant , S'momes maker (excellent for the kids...fire is contained and the heat out the top is enough to toast them Marshmallows. [​IMG]

    Have fun and...

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