How much smoke?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokin stu, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. smokin stu

    smokin stu Newbie

    How much actual smoke do you guys apply when doing pork butts? I've always seemed to apply smoke for about half the cooking time with my butts and then just brought to finishing temps, but will it take on smoke the whole cooking time? Is too much a problem? I seem to remember certain meats having a threshold on the time and amount of smoke it will actually take on.

    Thoughs? TIA
  2. drlchi

    drlchi Fire Starter

    Scientifically, people claim to know the threshold of when the meat stops absorbing smoke...but based on my personal experience I think it's really impossible to tell when and if meat completely "stops" absorbing smoke. Lately, I've been making sure there's smoke throughout my entire cooks and the meats (both beef and pork) have been turning out awesome. Even stopped wrapping lately, just to see what happens. Definitely more Smokey and better bark. I think the amount of smoke any given meat absorbs has to do with the meat quality itself, the type of smoker, the type of wood and the weather $0.02

    That being said, do you mean the amount of smoke, as in how thick the smoke is or the amount of wood, or do you mean how much time the meat is exposed to smoke?
  3. My first post on this site!

    I've been outdoor cooking year round for 25 years or so, but only began smoking about five years ago.

    I don't do much in the way of pork butts as the slow cooker has handled most of them. I don't know what the max absorption of smoke is, but generally speaking I will seek to apply smoke from a wood source for the first coal chimney(s) only because I don't want to waste time or resources.

    An important aspect is wood will raise your temperature, so with some meats more than others while trying to do good you might become your own enemy.
  4. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    No one knows for sure, but it seems like one group says no more smoke flavor after 165F internal, and another group says diminishing smoke returns flavor wise after 165F.

    I for one dont foil my butts but stop producing smoker after about ~6 hours in (2 rows of the AMPS).  We need Mythbusters to sort this one out!
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  5. smokin stu

    smokin stu Newbie

    Thanks for the responses and yes drlchi I was referring to how long to expose the meat to smoke.  Obviously when you foil your meat whether its pork, brisket, ribs, etc.) you essentially end the smoke absorption but like you said mummel I like to go unwrapped on my pork butts.  I own a masterbuilt vertical cabinet smoker that runs on propane and wood chips and so I usually base my smoking time on how many bundles of chips I want to make (they usually smoke for about an hour than I have to change them out).  Anyways all this was just to prepare for a BBQ competition I decided to enter on Saturday.  I'm only doing the amateur division but having a game plan is always key.  

    I think I will probably smoke for half the time which for my smoker and a few 4-5lb butts it will be about 6hrs of smoke time (12hrs total to get to 195-200 deg).  Thanks again for the responses, hope I do well!

    Happy Smoking!
  6. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    I like no more than 4-6 hours of smoke for anything for a pork butt i go until about 160 degrees or so about 5 hours usually. then i wrap. sometimes i pull from the smoker entirely and braise in the oven (apple juice and apple cider vinegar) when im done smoking and cook for a few hours until 195-200 degrees.
  7. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    think about it !!!

    as meat heats the juices begin to rise to the OUTSIDE , there is simply no way for the meat to absorb anything other than heat !!!  

    yes the outside will get black, but that's only due to the soot in the smoke sticking to the fat that's beginning to cook off
  8. drlchi

    drlchi Fire Starter

    Good luck at the competition! Take some pics and post 'em :)
  9. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    i was thinking about this thread and it dawned on me that I had just recently unwittingly done a test of this very thing .

     I was smoking several pieces of meat and as one would get done I took it out and replaced it with another all the while leaving a ham

    in the smoker while I had kept adding smoke for the various pieces of meat , the ham ended up in the smoker for a tad over 10 hours

    being smoked all the while , 

     the ham was so tender it would melt in your mouth,  BUT the smoke flavor was no better than if I had only smoked it 1 hour
    drlchi likes this.
  10. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    We need more experiments like this!  Thanks for the info.  Im going to continue to stop burning pellets after 165F internal.  I just need to make sure I have ample smoke right out the gates in the beginning .
    drlchi likes this.
  11. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    I too smoke heavy in the 1st hour but after that  I just let the natural juices hitting the hot metal create a light smoke , but in the case I just mentioned , because I was changing out

    different meats the smoke was going  heavy for almost all of the 10 hours
  12. drlchi

    drlchi Fire Starter

    Interesting...and I agree with mummel, we need more of these experiments!

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