Bitter very smokey taste

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tyfins13, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. tyfins13

    tyfins13 Newbie

    Hi everyone,

    I decided to smoke boneless skinless chicken breasts with a simple rub. No brining was done. Set my MES for 225 and smoked for about 2.5 hours. I pulled them out they looked fine but when took first bite very bitter. I used a combination of Apple and maple to smoke with.

    Does anyone have any idea what could have went wrong. Did I smoke them too long? Thanks for advice.

  2. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Too much smoke for way too long. Was it overcooked? that is an awful long time for a boneless skinless breast.
  3. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    much more info is needed ..

    Did you use chunks or chips (wood) ??

    If chips how much at one time ??

    How often did you add ??

    How did you have your vents adjusted ?? intake ?? exhaust ??

    what are you using to check temps in smoker ??

    what are you using to check temps in meat ??

    water in the pan ??

    answers to these questions will be a start ...
  4. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    Looks over cooked to me.
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Invest in a good quality reliable meat thermometer. It will save your bacon next time.
  6. modeclan

    modeclan Newbie

    I'm just a rookie at this and a newbie here so take it with a grain of salt but I personally don't like to over smoke chicken. I smoke lightly on a MES for about the first 30-45 minutes but then I've only done whole chicken and I like doing it beer can style usually with a Dr Pepper. Either way it's personal taste but since you didn't like the flavor try less smoke time next go around.
  7. tyfins13

    tyfins13 Newbie

    I used wood chunks and chips approximately
    1 cup combined together. I think I overcooked it as was pretty dry. I smoked the entire duration of cooking time. My vent at the top was half way open. Water pan was empty.
  8. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    My friend it's Christmas and you need to ask for a mini wsm!! This chicken I did the other night boneless skinless as well. Gave it some hickory and apple for about 45mins at 200 then cranked up the mini to 325 and let it go another half hour approximately. Nice light smokey flavor and super moist.
  9. OK, Well at least you are asking for help. Good for you. temberjet suggested a thermometer. He and others are right in asking about  and suggesting a thermometer. Chicken breast is cooked to about 165 to 170 That's all.

    Now lets talk about the vent ,Keep it open ."You want the smoke to kiss the meat not make out with it". Had you opened the smoker you would have been hit in the face with billowing white smoke that took your breath.  If you are going to use chips try only putting in a few at a time over the first hour or so. I like many others use a Amaz-n pellet smoking tray. It give you the right amount of smoke for up to 11 hours . The more you load the longer it has fuel. Todd Johnson is the CEO and inventor he has a  contributor and sponsor  and is willing to give personal advice if you ask. How often does that happen. For 70.00 bucks he will ship a tray pellets and a torch head to you. Here is the link.[​IMG]

    This is it in action.

    this is almost too much smoke.  It is moving and not being trapped in the smoker.

    Just my observations Jted
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  10. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Normally when you get a Bitter tasting smoked meat it is creosote on the meat.  If you get a numb/tingling feeling in your mouth or tongue its definitely creosote.

    There are several things that can cause this;

    1. stale smoke IE smoke not moving threw the smoker.

    2. smoke too thick/ too much, you want thin blue smoke  out the vent, not thick white smoke keep in mind if you can smell it your smoking.

    Here's a tip get yourself a smoking tube or tray from A-MAZE-N Products, LLC  they  produce thin blue smoke. I use a 12" tube in my Master Forge 2 door propane smoker, and have NEVER had a problem since I started using 1.

    3. Green wood, smoking wood needs to be seasoned/dried before using it to smoke. Once it is seasoned you can soak it and use it.

    There are other things that can cause this but these are the most common.
  11. tyfins13

    tyfins13 Newbie

    Thanks everyone for the advice and feedback. No numbing or tingling when the chicken was eaten. I think I just simply over smoked and cooked the chicken breast. Will have to be more careful next time. Once again thanks.
  12. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    I would also ask what you used on the chicken for seasoning, marinade, or sauce. Some ingredient you used could be the cause of bitterness also.
  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I am willing to bet the number one factor was having the top vent half shut. In the cooler, wetter months especially not having enough airflow in your smoker will cause condensation to form on all surfaces. Creosote will stick to that and voila there you go. Lesson learned. I highly recommend you get a very accurate two probe thermometer. One for the meat and one for the smoker. I believe this is the most important aspect of getting it right. Temperature control and smoke control is the trick to perfectly smoked and cooked meat every time. Seasonings and marinades are a little way down the list. IMHO. Might I suggest you try wrapping the chicken breasts around something you like next time? I really like jalapeno's and cream cheese in mine but love asparagus and cream cheese when it is in season. I have tried all kinds of things in there and whatever it is adds moisture and flavor. It is easy to turn boneless skinless chicken breast into jerky. Too easy. You could wrap some bacon around the whole shebang too. yum. You will want fine temperature control when you get into expensive cuts of meat like a prime rib or Brisket for sure. Christmas present maybe??? Happy smokin. timber
  14. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another contributor to bitterness is bark on the smoking wood. I've used small-diameter pieces where the bark:wood ratio is higher, and the flavor can turn out a little bit sharp and harsh. In small doses it's OK but it can get too strong.
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Tyfins, better to smoke the entire chicken and then carve the parts off afterwards. That why if you're using a good therm and you use wood chips instead of chunks in the MES, you'll avoid the oversmoking. At some point if you think the chicken got enough smoke but IT is still too low, you can either foil it till it's done or transfer it to an oven to finish cooking and to crisp up the skin.

    I agree with Jted's recommendation to purchase a AMNPS. It's all I use. My stuff used to come out oversmoked and tasting bitter and harsh so after doing some research I tried wiping down the interior of my MES 30 GEN 1 a little bit just to remove excess buildup but enough to leave the seasoning. I'd read that too much buildup can leave creosote deposits which can result in harsh tasting food. After I started doing this there was no longer any harshness or bitterness to any smoked stuff. Other guys may disagree with this but it worked for me consistently. With the AMNPS I'm assured of always getting the right amount of smoke anyway.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  16. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    As you can see, there are many different opinions and techniques and obviously it is what works for them and that's good.  The following is my 2 cents.

    There is really no need to purchase a smoke generator.  Rather than doing that, learn how to use what you have.  Experience and good notes will be invaluable in doing this.  Monitor the type, kind and amount of wood along with the color and density of the smoke.  The more dense the smoke the shorter actual smoking time is needed.  Adjust the vent as you like keeping in mind that the more airflow, the less smoke and heat will be retained in the smoker.   Two of my smokers have one vent that is covered with a penny when not in use, never had a problem with stale smoke.

     Example: When smoking a whole chicken, I normally use 2 ounces of chunk wood and cook at 300° to a thigh temp of 165°.  This applies a good heavy smoke for 30 minutes +/- then continues on with a almost invisible plume. Cut back on the amount of wood and shorten your actual smoking time, you can adjust from there.

  17. swsfitz

    swsfitz Newbie

    I hear ya.I smoked some lake trout fillets, polish sausage and some chicken breast. All where inedible. The solution to not wasting the meat is to make some chicken salad, and tuna (trout) salad to drown out the overwhelming smoke taste. I also made some dip with mayo  and sour cream adding onions and jalapeno. The sausage I threw in a pan with onions and green beans.

    I'll eventually get smoking nailed down

    Happy smokin
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Jted, you extol the virtues of Todd and his AMNPS like I have. It's good to see you doing it because I've always had a slight worry that members were think I was on the payroll. Todd, his products, and his advice enabled me to raise my smoking game. I might have wound up with a MB Cold Smoker Kit if it wasn't for Todd.
  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with Timberjet; the chicken breasts were oversmoked, which is a common error with newbies. My first beef brisket and baby back ribs were harsh and bitter, partly because I was using wood chips at the time. After I switched to wood pellets and gained more overall smoking experience and technique all that harshness and bitterness went away.

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