Semi-Disaster burning wood.

Discussion in 'CharGriller Owners Group' started by fpmich, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I've avoided posting this because my trial was pathetic!

    Don't have any pics because I was too busy trying to control bad smoke and keeping flame going.  I failed pretty bad.  lol

    Rule #1,  Listen to cliff and follow his directions.  When he says your splits are too big.  They are too big!  Trust me.  I used 14" splits from "a gas station", no less.  Bad move.

    Even though they were a mix of hardwood, the weren't seasoned well.  SMOKE, SMOKE, SMOKE!  Had 3 splits , preheated to smoldering before adding and still thick dark smoke from them.

    Opened cook chamber when heavy smoke, trying to keep it off food, and removed offending splits from sfb.  Did this several times.  Over smoked bottom round for French dip sammy's.  Smoker chamber covered in soot, and I can taste it on the meat.  Wife can't.  But we can't trust her taste.  She doesn't like Kimchi or dill pickled veggies.  LOL

    This bottom round roast is not as nasty as a recent jerky failure I had, when meat was too wet before smoking.  So I've left it covered in fridge for 3-4 days to mellow out.  Debating on whether or not to wash it before slicing and using.  I hate to lose the pepper and seasonings with washing, but I may have to.

    Over all it taste good, but is a little too strong.  Opening the chamber door when bad smoke filled, probably helped me save the cook from total failure. to almost good.

    Things I think I did wrong.

    1. Too big of splits.

    2. Wood from unknown source.

    3. Too much wood in box.

    4. Mostly, just bad wood and not well seasoned.  (I think I could've done okay with 14" X 3" if dried properly beforehand.)

    5. Thinking my pristine sfb that I only used lump and chunks in, would stay the same.  LOL  (Had to repaint it.  It blistered paint off bad, as I had a couple of very high spikes in it.)

    There are more probably, but for now, that's enough.

    OH YEAH!  I also WAY overcook it before probing with therm.  Small roast was 147* and larger roast was 157*.   YIKES!  I like it around 130* and then rest.  [Correction 08/02/2014]  Small roast was 157* IT and larger one @ 147*

    I was so busy with fire tending, I didn't put my probes in soon enough.  Ill remember to to do that sooner when cooking at higher temps.  285* to 385*.  Yeah, It spiked a couple of times.

    I can hear you laughing Cliff, and saying.... "Yup, been there, done that."   "You'll learn eventually what a small hot fire means."  LOL
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry to hear that it did not go well and I feel partly to blame because I cooked with larger splits than normal last Sunday and have not gotten around to posting the results. Those results were similar to yours- the splits were 12" long by 3-4 inches thick. While the burn time was great, about 40 minutes each for the two I used, I also had to turn them to keep them burning instead of smoldering and I had temp spikes up to 400°. After 2 splits I went back to my regular shorter, thinner splits and the fire was easier to manage.
  3. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    No blame on you at all, Cliff!

    I knew I was risking a bad smoke using 14" splits from a gas station.  But I was just dying to try stick burning.  LOL

    While that size was entirely too large, I think most all of the smoke problems came from the wood itself.  Either not dried enough or maybe some kind of wood mixed in that wasn't listed.

    I was both pizzed at the problems, and laughing at myself at the same time, throughout the cook.

    A life lesson learn early in a process, is better than later, when you are cooking for a party or something.  Right?

    My only real regret is all the burned off paint from my, used to be pretty, smoker.  LOL

    I consider it my initiation badge.


    BTW I mentioned I had 3 splits preheated before adding.  I did not add them at the same time.  Tried each one separately.  One split was the cause of most of the foul smoke and even soot in cooking chamber.

    I ended the cook, using good dried chunks, for flame.


    Things like this, is why this forum was so needed!  Thanks again Cliff for getting it started.  We really appreciate it!
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  4. I've learned more from unsuccessful smokes than great ones. Sometimes when you really nail something it's hard to pinpoint what made it so great. But when it goes south, usually it's real easy to tell what went wrong (and never do again). :th_violent5:
  5. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    You got that right 5oclock!  I hate learning that way though. [​IMG]
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Final update.

    Wasn't a total disaster.   Some burnt paint, soot inside smoker lids that I have to scrub off now, is the worst of it.

    After letting beef roast chill in fridge covered ,for 6 days, it turned out just fine. 

    I didn't have to wash it off. Strong taste disappeared entirely!  Just nice and smoky, as though I had known what I was doing. 

    I guess because I was watching fire and smoke so often, I caught it and opened the cooking chamber lid soon enough to let breeze carry soot away from the food.

    I also thought I had WAY overcooked it.  And I did somewhat, but inside the center was still very pink and juicy.  The narrow ends of course were very well done.

    I sliced it up using my slicer, and sliced very thin (less than 1/16th inch) because it was bottom round.  Tried an experiment.  Sliced with the grain as well as across the grain.  You slice it thin enough, it don't matter.  Now in thicker slices (1/8th to 3/16th inch) grain direction matters a whole lot.  LOL

    Had French Dip sandwiches tonight with sautéed onions and green peppers on them, as well as smoked Swiss cheese.  Some Au Jus, and veggies cooked in the juice, before assembling sammys.  My wife and I both said Mmmmm.....     and that's why I don't have photo's.  LOL

    Sorry no pics.  Maybe next time, when my smoking time is calmer.


    I'm A HAPPY CAMPER with how it turned out!   Didn't lose any meat, and learned a few things about stick burning. 

    Gotta do it again, but better next time.  LOL

    I'm so glad this forum is born!

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