How do you get "thin blue smoke" without being too high on temps?

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by aleforge, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. aleforge

    aleforge Newbie

    I know "thin blue smoke" is a popular question and one that's prob annoying to ask. But I have not found a direct answer to my question in regards to it. Considering to achieve the correct smoke you need a hot coals I have not been able to get the smoke to turn out correctly unless I overshoot my target temps. I just can't get the coals hot enough without having the smoker too hot. Any tips on how to do this, it's fired up right now and I need to get my ribs on but my smoke of course is too white with my smoker being at 250.

  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What kind of smoker, what type of wood, how is the wood going in (chunks, wet, green, well seasoned, etc...)

    Hang in there we'll get you fixed up. Also, got a pic of the smoke and smoker?
  3. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    CB. Is right. It's all in the wood. You have to use seasoned dry wood or you r going to get only white dense smoke
  4. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Usually when you throw on a new split it'll smoke white until it gets burning good. Open the vents more to get it going. Sorry, but that being said, I don't know what kind of smoker you have...
    Why are you not wanting to go over 250?
  5. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Be sure to pre-heat your splits before you put them into the FB. Being pre-heated will let them ignite almost instantly and not smolder. A quick ignition will keep the smoke clean.
  6. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Simply by the size of a fire...charcoal or wood split fire
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First off welcome to SMF!

    What smoker do you have?

    Is it a stick burner or charcoal?

  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Don't get hung up on color...Blue/gray, anything but dense white is fine. TBS becomes more critical with long cooks 10-12-14 hours. Some gray smoke for a 3 to 6 hour ribs smoke, especially with well seasoned wood, will taste great...JJ
  9. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you are burning sticks then smoke will tell you everything. I call it smoke talk. I have been doing it long enough that all I have to do is look at the smoke exiting the exhaust and I know instantly if I need to do anything with the fire or if I'm running hot  or cold. Most times for me all I see is a heat signature and no smoke at all. My exhaust is always wide open and most times so is the intake. If it's windy I will shut the intakes half way. I have always been able to achieve and hold my desired temp. 250 is a sweet spot that you can't go wrong with in my opinion.

    In this pic the smoke is a bit thick. But I was smoking fish that day and I was fine with it. The smoker was running at about 120 which is about as cold as I can run my stick burner. So the amount of smoke was telling me I'm not running hot.

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are using a stick burner, with upper and lower air inlets to the Fire Box, the lower controls the fire, the upper can add extra air to cool the Cook Chamber and act as an after burner to clean up the smoke.....

  11. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I wonder if his ribs survived.... 9 replies that should have gotten him going.
  12. Dave, is there a rule of thumb for sizing area of intake for upper vents? Plan on using ball valves on an upcoming project converting to a raised stool grate design. Also, is distance above top of combustion critical? Thanks.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    80 / 20...  lower to upper...    lower below the wood grate...  Upper, across from the FB/CC inlet so the air from the upper will NOT feed the fire....  some have had to add a plate to direct the upper air higher to avoid feeding the fire.....

    In your case, you can add pipe nipples to the ball valves to insure the air flow is directed properly at the FB/CC opening....
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  14. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Mine only has one intake, kind of low. If I were to cut a small vent at the top of the box, do you think I could get that effect?
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We've hijacked this thread enough....  PM me.... 

    Sorry for the hijack....
  16. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Interesting, never thought about that except with wet wood. I will remember this. Thanks Joe

  17. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    It really helps, HT. I always have a split on top of the firebox warming up, thanks to Joe.
  18. aleforge

    aleforge Newbie

    I completely forgot I posted this, my email never notified of any responses (guess I failed at setting them up). So I assumed I did not get any responses. I am not sure if it will let anyone on here know if I respond at this point but didn't want to post a new thread as I still have issues to this day. 

    I read through the responses and figured I should elaborate and answer the questions I was asked. Then and now I have an Char-Griller Akorn (Kamado). The biggest issue I have always had was building the fire up just right to get good smoke rolling AND avoid the temps from running away. I can eventually get a good transparent (blue) smoke but it takes a bit. Once it turns color and I put the meat on the smoker runs off. Even if I close down the intake vent. This is after I wait to make sure it hangs around 200, then an hour later I sky rocket easily over 350. I freak out and go into panic mode for obvious reasons. I read a solution of shutting both vents down and "burping" it several times to let out heat and choke the fire completely. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't do much.

    A few things I am assuming, one I put too much charcoal in (and wood) and let it get going regardless to long before I shut things down. So I have backed way off, but then either it still goes up and over target, OR it burns out 1/2 way through the smoke. I think the biggest hurdle I have is getting it hot enough to turn the smoke color so I can toss things on. But avoid it blowing up just after.

    As far as wood, I use large bagged chunks. Either from my grocery store or lowes. It usually sits inside for months as well since my enthusiasm for the hobby dwindled after so much frustration. I use to use a cheap propane vertical smoker. I really wanted to switch to lump as I always had this mindset it was more... eh.. authentic? Hard to explain. I want to get this nailed down though. I started smoking again a few weeks ago. Of course both times the temp got out of hand. 

    TLDR: I have issues building the fire to lock into a temp on my Kamado (and not run off).

    Not sure if anyone will read this, but figured it was worth a try. Thank you! 

    EDIT: Here are some pictures. I had one somewhere of the pre-built fire I am trying to find. A few of these are from vertical smoker. But there is a shot of the chimney with transparent smoke which I try to shoot fore. 
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
  19. Aleforge: I had same issues, purchased a tip top temp from amazon and if I can hold back my natural inclination to fiddle with things it works great. Check it out on YouTube.

    Also check for air leaks around your cooker. I have some that I am going to plug up with either nomex and/or hi temp sealant just haven't gotten around to it.

    Don't abandon the griller yet. You can coax a couple of good runs on it.
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Does your Kamado have a gasket around the lid that seals well ??  When you close the inlet, does it seal tight ?? 

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