Keeping smoke to a minimum. How to?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by meat hunter, May 23, 2009.

  1. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Hello everyone, and happy Memorial Day weekend to all. Hope everyone gets a chance to be outdoors this weekend and get some good smokes going. I did a brisket yesterday along with some ribs. I am using wood as heat and smoke. My first attempt last month I went thru what seemed like a cord of wood. Learning curve on the wood smoker for sure. Yesterdays smoke, I was quite proud of myself. Used hardly any wood at all. Made some adjustments to my air intake and found the right setting for the draft. What a difference. But heres my problem. When ever I had to add wood, I always got that heavy initial smoke on startup. I took a bunch of the wood and set the pieces in a fire ring and used my propane torch to char all the wood to burn off as much nasty stuff as I could prior to putting them in the firebox. I still got that heavy smoke when they were first put in and did not subside until a good fire was going. How can I avoid that? I see some people burn their wood in a seperate barrel and then transfer the hot coals to their firebox. I have tried that, but seems like I went thru lots more wood than I wanted to. Any help appreciated.
  2. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    Just warm them on top of your firebox until they start smoking a little. Then they're ready.
  3. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had that same problem at first.. Seems the issue for me was bad ( not seasoned) wood...Now that i can get some decent wood, i dont have that problem.. I also pit a few splits at a time on top of the firebox ( as stated above).. That seems to help as well..
  4. jdt

    jdt Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I first heard of the pre warming on the firebox here, it really does work, just make sure and rotate a few pieces as I had one start to smolder on my last cook, no reason to have a fire on top the firebox.
  5. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It works great too.
  6. jamesb

    jamesb Smoking Fanatic

    The best and easiest way is to keep a small, hot, clean burning fire going in the firebox... with flames visible. Well seasoned, preheated wood. I don't worry about pre-burning and I don't worry about bark being on the wood... When burning all wood, it is best to maintain temp by fire size and not choking down the intake.

    Here is a typical fire in the firebox on my reverse flow (same for my regular offset)

    Here is the resulting smoke output from that fire.

    This is what works for me... What works for you and your pit will only be determined with practice... Best of luck to ya!
  7. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well JamesB, I think maybe I found my problem. When I have a fire like yours in the the photo you posted, you could hardly see the smoke coming out of my stack. I think where I am messing up is I am adding the wood too late. Meaning, I add a stick when the fire is 1/4 or smaller than the one in your photo. I know I really cut down on the heavy smoke from the first time I used my reverse flow as I waited to there were nothing but hot coals, then added wood, not to mention the huge load of wood I went thru. I cant wait to try the smoker out again, I think I got it this time. Thanks to you and the others for your input.
  8. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    I even preburn splits on the Lang I just purchased. It really is foolproof.
  9. jamesb

    jamesb Smoking Fanatic

    If your fire is burning clean, you will barely see any smoke at all. You will still have that nice smokey taste in the food, but it will not be over smoked.
  10. jamesb

    jamesb Smoking Fanatic

    Pre-burning does work, but it uses up a tremendous amount of wood and is really not needed. I used to pre-burn in my Brinkman Smoke-n-Pit days, but no longer. Every body has a method that works for them...
  11. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    I meant pre WARM not burn, sorry for the confusion.
  12. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    looks good, james - thanks for the tips.

    i've got a brinkmann SnP and occasionally throw wood in along with the charcoal. when it is not seasoned or pre-warmed, i get awful billows of smoke. i thought i was going to have to install a chimney on the firebox, but your solution amkes much more sense.

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