Ribs bitter - too much smoke?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by fishacura, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. fishacura

    fishacura Newbie

    My last batch of Ribs was pretty bitter and I'm thinking I smoked for too long.  I mean overall time was still around 6 hours (no 3-2-1 method as I like them firmer) but at some point I feel like I should have stopped adding wood and just let them cook.  Is there a certain time limit for the smoke or should I smoke for all 6 hours but just with less wood so the smoke is much lighter?
  2. smokin218r

    smokin218r Smoking Fanatic

    I've smoked mine for around 6hrs with no bitter taste. More info might be helpful.

    Type of wood?



    Any spritz?

    How was the bark?

    Pics could help too.
  3. fishacura

    fishacura Newbie

    MES 40

    Light rub

    No spritz

    I think I used Apple this time and I forgot to ask if that could be it.  I typically had used hickory in the past.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's not how long you smoke---It's how thick (Heavy) the smoke was.

    TBS or Light white smoke for long time  = Good.

    Heavy Smoke for even a short time = Could be bad.

  5. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    Is it possible you put too much sugar/sauce on the ribs and the sugar/sugar in sauce burned. that will result in a bitter taste. Are sure there wasn't any chemicals treated on your apple wood ( orchards etc . use a lot of chems)

    phatbac (Aaron)
  6. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Exhaust open fully during the cook?  If not, it could be like Bear was talking about...  Too much concentrated smoke and possibly creosote on the meat.

    Were the chips dry?  Wet chips are a no no for TBS.

    Another question, was the meat really cold when you put it in?  That too can cause the smoke to condensate out into creosote.

    In my offset, I run logs the entire cook...
  7. bryce

    bryce Smoking Fanatic

    This has been my experience. Typically the wood is good, hickory, apple, alder, whatever. White smoke? Bitter, gross and not even good for the dog. I've wrecked ribs and smoked salmon because of this. I've learned that anything bitter or sour tasting seems to always be from the smoke (heavy.)
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah--Exactly---When I say "White Smoke". I'm talking about real thin, I can barely see it, but I just can't call it "Blue". I often get that from my AMNPS. It's so light that it's no problem at all.  It's the "Heavy" smoke of any color that is bad.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  9. bryce

    bryce Smoking Fanatic

    There's a picture around this site that illustrates this well. Yeah, heavy is not good. Funny, usually the only reason I get "heavy" smoke at anytime is typically because of lack of patience on my part (excluding weather or poor equipment.)

  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I used to get Heavy smoke now and then, because I used to try burning chips & chunks in my MES, and it always went from light smoke to medium, to heavy, to too heavy, then back to medium, to light, to nothing (Time to put more in). Then I started putting 3 or 4 chips in at a time, which kept it light, but I had to put more in every 20 minutes.

    Then I started using the AMNS & AMNPS 100% of the time, and I've had Awesome smoke at all times for 5 years now, as long as I only light one end. PROBLEM SOLVED !!!

  11. bryce

    bryce Smoking Fanatic

    That's great! I don't own an AMNS - yet anyhow. You totally nailed the issue with chucks. You can definitely struggle with them.
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good advice , . ,
    Have fun and
  13. fishacura

    fishacura Newbie

    Wood was not wet but meat may have been cold (cannot recall).  But I think that it's when I fill the chips I am filling that small hopper in the side of the MES too much. I am really jamming the wood in there. Perhaps instead of that I should only be putting a few chips??
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    When I used to use my MES chip burner, before I got my Amazings, I used to put about 3 to 5 little chips in at a time, about every 20 minutes when it would stop smoking. Then the smoke wouldn't get too heavy.

    The AMNPS cleared that all up for me. 

  15. I have a MES 30 and have found that 1/4 cup of chips makes a nice amount of smoke.    My first time out I just went from the manual which said 'not more than 1/2 cup'.   So I used 1/2 cup.   Way more than you need.   I got a long handled 1/4 measure from the dollar store and its perfect.

    I like a lighter smoke taste, so I only smoke for about half the cook time.   Doing ribs(beef back and baby back combo) today and smoked for 4 hours and plan to let them go to about 7 hours.   Everyone says they can taste the smoke flavor and they like it.   But many of the folks I cook for don't eat a lot of smoked foods, so maybe we all just like it lighter.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015

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