Looking for heavier smoke flavor

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by boisblancboy, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Ok here is what I have been doing. Any meat I have smoked so far I have smoked with a smoker temp of 240-260f and cooked the meat to whatever the recommended internal temp is. I have been using mostly apple chunks roughly 3" across disks by 3/4"-1" thick. When I'm cooking i usually throw one chunk in until it stops smoking. I don't put more than one is cause just before its spent it lights on fire and raises my smoker temp 20f. When these apple chunks are smoking I get a thin white smoke, it never billows out.

    This is on a masterbuilt double door gas smoker.

    What I'm wondering is how I can get a heavier smoke flavor? I know if I added more wood at a time I would get heavier smoke but when it catches fire that is going to be a temp problem. Maybe I can't see the trees inside the forest. Thanks for the help!
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Its your wood, you are using a light wood smoke, fruit and nut trees are know as light smokes. Try using either Mesquite or oak, or hickory. I do suggest you start gentle with them though. These will most definitely up your smoke taste. Most even combine them with the lighter smokes for better flavor.

    Hope ity helps.

    BTW when ya get a second, please click the "My Profile" on the above toolbar and take a mins to tell use about yourself. Especially where you lay down and sleep at night, it helps with questions knowing where you are basically located. Also it may explain and answer you give. So instead of everyone asking you, "where yall are?" we can just look at your location listed.

    Again, We'd really appreciate it. Thanks big time.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  3. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]   Yep...what Foamy said.  Mesquite or hickory will definitely give you a heavier smoke flavor.

  4. Thanks guys! Much appreciated. I'll head to my profile right now and get that squared away.
  5. ^^^This, like he said. I have not used Oak to smoke, I have smoked with Hickory multiple times, and mesquite a handful. Hickory smoke flavor can really over power the meat, and that being the main flavor. So definitely be careful and tread lightly with those. I personally prefer pecan wood, from my experience, it seems like a "middle of the road" smoke flavor. With that said, with enough time, the smoke flavor can take over no matter what type of wood you use. 
  6. Can't go wrong with Hickory. I use it 99% of the time when I smoke. If I'm smoking poultry I'll switch it up with apple or peach.
  7. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

                 "This is on a masterbuilt double door gas smoker." 

    Hi Boisblancboy,   Have not used that smoker myself but have found with charcoal and gas smokers one large chunk of wood will give off heaver smoke. If your heat source is low enough and wood chunk is large enough it will not catch fire. A nice size piece of maple should give you all the smoke you want. I cut them like large hockey pucks and use them one at a time. Preheat the wood if necessary works faster.
  8. The wood tray sits around the burner. So the wood gets plenty of heat, maybe a little too much. I was thinking of placing another pan on top of the existing tray hoping that it might help the wood from catching fire.
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Foamheart is correct with regards to Apple wood producting a lighter tasting smoke.  That said, you can still get more smoke by having more wood.

    I don't know about your smoker specifically, but if you have a thin walled chip pan, you might replace it with a cast iron one, or perhaps a cast iron skillet.

    Foamheart is right about Apple being a light wood that produces a light smoke, but you can still get more smoke by using more wood.   Something else to look at is the oxygen/air flow in your chip pan.  Too much oxygen can lead to flare ups.    Some people wrap their wood chunks in aluminum foil then they poke some holes to allow the smoke to escape.  Others cover their chip tray with foil.
  10. I only put 1 or 2 chunks in at a time to make sure they dont catch fire.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  11. I only put one chunk in too.
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This may help you from burning up your chunks


    TBS (Thin Blue Smoke) ... Less is more!

    This write up is based on a GOSM Big Block Smoker using large chunks, individual results may vary.

    There are many variables to consider, Humidity, type of smoker, type of wood, quality of wood, size of wood, how the wood is placed in the chip pan, the heat being applied to the wood, amount of oxygen the wood is receiving ...to name a few.

    So please experiment a bit and find what works best for you.

    But don't get hung up on acquiring TBS, Thin Blue Smoke isn't the only way to smoke some awesome food.


    • Some cherry from a ½ cord that I had recently picked up sliced on the band saw.
    • Stacking the wood will lengthen the smoke duration, place them in the chip pan and placed the lid on top. This method achieved longer smoke durations. For more smoke volume lay the pieces side by side.
    • The camera didn't pick up the wisp of smoke from the picture to the left, but it is doing what I wanted it to do, Notice the bottom piece appears to be finished and the top piece has a little life left in it. Notice the small spent piece of cherry on the left in the chip pan. Although I could hardly see any smoke, I could smell it faintly.

    • The photo below shows the wood to the right that was on the bottom in the chip pan, completely spent and the one on the left that was on the top has a wee bit of smoke left in it... notice the reddish brown color in the center/right.
    • The piece on the left could have stayed in a wee bit longer. Notice, there is no white ash.
    • Tried some small cherry chunks. Awesome TBS going on in the photo below.
    • The smaller chunks started to ash up more when I removed them from the smoker and they got more oxygen.

    • They did ash up a tiny bit, however when I removed them from the smoker and they were exposed to even more oxygen they ashed up at a much quicker rate.
    • But it’s still putting out some TBS.
    • The photos below are what you want the wood to look like when it has been used up.
    • Spent Wood
    • TBS on my Reverse Flow Stickburner "Frank"

    • AMNPS smoke.

    TBS is not the only way to smoke, you can lay down a heavier smoke, I have found the AMNPS to lay down a much heavier smoke than my chunk method... with great results.

    I do not soak my wood, some soak the wood, I believe this does nothing but delay the inevitable. Moisture needs to be expelled from the wood before it starts smoking, some see the water vapor coming off the wood and think it's smoke but it's actually steam, this is short lived and will start smoking once the water has been expelled. I won't go into the science behind it, but I urge you do some research and testing yourself and then decide what works best for your smoker and your style of cooking.

    So with that said, this is my two cents on the subject of TBS;

    By decreasing the oxygen to the wood and controlling the heat, it will smoke lightly and last longer.

    You may not to see the smoke but if you can smell it then you are in good shape.

    The smoke flavor is very mild, but it's a “good quality smoke”.

    Heavy white Billowing smoke can cause a creosote residue on the food, ruining your food or even getting you sick, try to stay away from that heavy billowing smoke.

    You may notice a tingling sensation on your tongue if it has creosote on it, (much like the sensation you get by placing your tongue on a 9V battery), some refer to this as a bitter taste.

    On some smokes I have noticed the smoky flavor is so mild that you can smell it on your fingers after eating something like ribs but not distinctly taste it on the ribs, however, after it has been refrigerated a few hours it seems to get a stronger smoky flavor and smell.

    It seems the smoke flavor is stronger after it has cooled down in the fridge.

    My goal is achieving a subtle smoky flavor to compliment the food not overpower it.

    The cherry wood is mild when achieving TBS, but can be very strong if heavily smoked.

    Stronger flavored wood such as Mesquite would benefit from this method.

    If chips are to be used I would make foil pouches and poke the foil several times with a fork, just watch the heat.

    I try and avoid the wood going to ash, if you are not careful, the ash can blow around and get into your food and the ash has all kinds of nasties in it.

    If you take a piece of the spent wood it should snap easily and be black all the way through.

    Before I knew what I was doing I would try to get the heaviest smoke possible although I don’t recall ruining any food, with the exception of jerky.

    In the past I would always be adding wood and had a ton of ash, now I get no ash, use a lot less wood, leave the door shut longer and cleanup of the chip pan is as easy as removing a few pieces of spent wood chunks with tongs.

    Stacking or placing the wood upright on the narrow side, gives you a longer burn times.

    To remove and/or add wood try this. (for the Big Block)
    • Keep a pair of tongs and a pair of pliers handy during the smoke.
    • Monitor the smoke as it will start to really smoke towards the end. I have noticed the chunks tend to really smoke when they are nearly spent, they sort of supernova.
    • Using extreme caution, take the pliers and slide out the chip pan rack and remove the lid with the pliers and lay it on a heat safe surface.
    • Remove the spent chunks with the tongs and place them somewhere heat safe as well (save these chunks). To do this you can use a metal pot or can with a lid, just make sure to place it on a heat safe surface.
    • Add the new chunks; stacking and laying the chunks upright on the narrow edge gives a longer smoke, side by side gives more smoke.
    • Using extreme caution take the pliers and place the lid on top of the chip box and slide back into position
    • After the chunks have cooled, snap them in half to see how you did!
    • Don't throw away these chunks they can be used as lump coal.
    chuckles and maple sticks like this.
  13. Awesome post! Thanks ill give some of the ideas a try.

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