Too much Smoke possible?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by randycandy, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. randycandy

    randycandy Fire Starter

    Hello. I made a homemade electric smoker out of a Brinkman charcoal smoker. It had four air shutters on it. I insulated the whole box with 1/4" cement board (riveted it on), then wrapped in moving blankets. I can reach 300 degrees now no problem. I only used one of the air shutters at the top however. I figured it would draw enough air through the cracks of the door. It appears to work alright. I put a pan of applewood chips on a wire rack about a 1/2" over the element.

    Yesterday I did the Smoked Drunken Drumsticks recipe from that I got in a email. Pretty much followed it to a T. (no barbecue sauce at the end ) Put the drummy's in two aluminum pans that I poked holes in the bottom. (Bradley racks a little too big to fit). Put my maverick thermo in one of the legs and let her go. Took about a hour in a half before I read 165 degrees in the leg. Good smoke all the while.The problem is the drummys tasted like shit. Some where still red in the middle. They had a real heavy smoke smell. I had to eat half without the skin and the other half I threw away. Is it possible that food can get too much smoke? Should I get much air in the box while smoking? To be honest I used this smoker about a dozen times these past three years and everything I cooked in it wasn't that good. What am I missing? Is it the Smoker? Thanks!
  2. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    To much is very possible. Did you ever smoke something on it before altering it you were happy with? Your mod's may have messed up your airflow. I'm sure others will chime in with more thoughts.
  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Is the cement board on the inside or outside of the smoker? If on the inside this may have contributed to the bad taste.

    How much is a "pan" of chips? Over smoking happens to a lot of us, you need to err on the side of caution when using a new set up.

    Always leave the top vents wide open and control heat and airflow with the bottom vents.

    Sounds like the chicken got too much smoke, which is either an issue of not keeping the top vents open, too many chips in the pan or both.
  4. Y'all are spot on! To much smoke is easy to do and creates bitter tasting food. Good chicken skin is also hard to obtain anyways, at least for me. It's always my struggle when doing chicken. Like they said, keep vents open and make sure you do your best to keep the smoke thin. Good luck on your next smoke!
  5. randycandy

    randycandy Fire Starter

    Thanks for the info fellows. That cement board is on the outside. I'll post some pictures later to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about. Thanks!
  6. randycandy

    randycandy Fire Starter

    Hey guys, here are some pics of my setup. I have one vent hole at the top. I could open up some more of them. (I would have to cut through the cement board, no big deal). Why I only used one I have no idea what I was thinking. I follow receipes exactly, 300 degree heat. Pulled chicken when one drummy read  167 degrees. using apple wood. I think too much smoke or smoke hanging around too long in the smoker is probably the problem. Super strong smoke smell when finished chicken is sitting on a plate in the kitchen after it was done. Skin bitter tasting. Would opening more holes take care of this? What else could it be ?Thanks for any suggestions!

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you dry the chicken first.....   wet meat and smoke combine to make "acid rain"....  tastes like bitter, tongue tingling DO-DO....

    Preheat the chicken, with no smoke, at 120 ish with vents open to dry the meat....
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  8. halfsmoked

    halfsmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Did you have a good burn poor heat can cause smoldering chips that produce creosote and makes a bad taste also did you pretreat the smoker after the remodel.
  9. i used a electric smoker before, and i had problems with too much smoke also, i had to cut down on the amount of chips i put in my pan, only needs smoke for the first hour on chicken, then cut the chips out all together, need only heat from there. when you smoke other meats you only need to put chips for about half the time it takes to cook the meat to the correct internal temp, not enough smoke is better than too much. but a little experence on that smoker and you will find the right amount of smoke your are looking for.

    Danny Lang, good luck
  10. randycandy

    randycandy Fire Starter

    Hello again.
    I pat dried the pieces with paper towel then stuck them in the smoker at about 275 degrees. I really didn't dry them that good.
    Don't know how you would determine what a "good heat" is. As you see in the pictures the chip pan is laying about an inch above the element. The chips in there basically smolder the whole time

    while causing smoke. Cement board on outside of box, why the need to "pretreat"?

    So what is the consensus here? What I gather that I need to do is : Dry chicken out in smoker at 120 degrees for a while. Don't use too many chips. Do I need any more air shutters or not?

    Any other suggestions? Thanks!!
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think the excess smoke/"creosote" flavour is mainly due to insufficient air flow through the smoking chamber. Good air flow helps to reduce the build up of humidity from the burning wood/pellets and also from the cooking food. As has been mentioned above as the humidity rises you will eventually get it condensing on the food and also the walls and top of the cooking chamber, resulting in "creosote"  tasting food. From your photos it looks as if you have a vent near the bottom by the element (which is good) however as we cannot see the top of the smoker I cannot tell what vents you have right at the top. Ideally in this type of smoker you would want a vent either in the centre of top itself or in one of the sides right at the top. The air flow is a balance of in not losing too much heat from having too much whilst ensuring that there is sufficient flow to prevent the build up of humidity and tars.

    For the chicken, Although they are theoretically safe to eat at 165, this is the minimum safe temperature they should to reach. At these temperatures, even though it may have reached a safe temperature throughout, it is quite normal to see some red still near the joints. Although safe to eat it can be quite unpalatable. I usually take my poultry up above the minimum safe temperature to avoid just this issue.
  12. randycandy

    randycandy Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the help fellows. In digesting all the suggestions you gentlemen were kind enough to provide me, here is what I'm going to do now.

    1) I'm going to open up another vent hole in the bottom right of the smoker to go along with the upper left one that I'm using now.

    2) Cut back the amount of wood chips I use by 1/2 to 2/3 .

    3) Cook drummies at approx. 300 degrees.

    4) Pull after 170 degree meat temp

    5) Pray that this works.

    Thank You all!

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