How do you fine tune your smoke entering your smoker?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by miatawnt2b, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

    For those of you with external smokebox mods such as mailbox, paint can with soldering iron, etc., how do you regulate the smoke entering your MES?

    I personally use a paint can with soldering iron attached to an elbow... basically no different than a mailbox mod, but I fill the can with chips and plug in the iron. Once the chips start to smoke I can remove the iron and the draft keeps the chips burning. In the elbow I have constructed a baffle plate that has three 1/4" holes in it so smoke can only enter the MES through those holes. My paint can is 1 qt, and if I fill it 3/4 full of chips it will smoke continuously for about 3 hours. I always leave the MES exhaust wide open and I have a 6" chimney on it to draft.

    So my problem is (and maybe it's just cause I'm inexperienced) if I let that puppy smoke for the whole 3 hours, my food is really smoky, sometimes bitter. I've actually been doing a lot of chicken lately and I will only smoke it for 20 min before pulling off the paint can and just letting the MES bake the food. I've also used Hickory, Pecan, Cherry, Mesquite, and all woods perform the same.

    Now my chicken is good, I've gotten a lot of compliments, but I'm confused as to why I need to do this. When my buddy smokes chicken in his wood/charcoal upright, it's obviously smoking the whole time, and he's using a bunch more wood (though his wood is mainly going to heat and not smouldering)

    And maybe that's just it.... smoldering wood smoke is more potent. But I'm guessing you guys with AMNPS are letting your food smoke continuously, right? How are you controlling the smoke from your external smoke units whatever they may be?

    I am planning on doing a pork shoulder this weekend and it's going to need more smoke than my chicken obviously, but I don't want to ruin it, so I'm posting hoping you guys have some thoughts for me.

    Thanks for the time crew!

  2. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Business card magnets to cover or partially cover inlet holes till you get thin blue smoke.
  3. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You have almost got it figured out on you own. The whiter the smoke the less forgiving it is. Just because you are smoking foods does not mean you have to apply smoke the entire time. Stick burners usually use a very light smoke allowing them to apply smoke throughout entire cooks.

    Possibly the following will help also.  New to smoking or have a new smoker? -- "How to optimize your smoke"  ;  Understanding Smoke Management - updated 12/08/14

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016

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