What am I looking for (burn/smoke status) to get a nice smoke flavor?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by 777funk, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    I don't have a smoker but I do have a wood stove (cat stove but with the cat bypassed so it's smoke goes straight up the flue). Today I put some bricks in the wood stove and a grill grate inside to try smoking some chicken quarters.

    Here's what I did:

    1. Built a medium sized fire that kindled into a nice bed of coals.

    2. Added some green unseasoned splits of oak to the edges of the coals and let them burn until the flames went out and there were just glowing coals one one side of each piece.

    3. Left all the air controls on the stove open until I ended up with a low heat (about 200-250F at the grate).

    4. Added chicken quarters over the smoking wood (suspended about 5-6" over the slow burning oak splits).

    5. Any time the wood starts to loose it's glow I move things and give it some air to get the temperature back up.

    These are currently cooking on low heat with smoke. They're starting to look light golden brown. I'm going to take them off at around 2.5 hours and crank up the fire and put them back on to crisp up the skin.

    Today is my first try at smoking over a real wood fire. But I have no idea what I'm looking for other than that I don't want a choked fire with creosote forming smoke. What kind of fire/smoke do I need for wood smoking meats?

    thanks in advance for any pointers!
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That depends on the food and amount of time smoking. For your Chicken or red meats that will be cooked for hours, a thin blue smoke is desireable. However, on something that will be done an hour or less, a heavier, even white smoke will get the flavor on quickly...JJ
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds to me like you have got the hang of it... If you like the flavor, repeat the process..... If you think you want more smoke, cut back on the air inlet a bit to produce more smoke... A hot fire with plenty of air, might consume the smoke... Tinker with it... you should see a difference..

  4. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    Thanks guys! The chicken quarters last night were great but the smoke only penetrated about 1/2" or so. I smoked them for 2-3 hours at low heat (200-250F) then fired it up to crisp the skin. When done the internal temp was 180F in the thickest part of the meat but there was still blood in some parts (we microwaved them a few minutes post cook when we discovered this after a few bites from the done meat). No one got sick which I was glad for!

    I've heard that choked fires produce bitter smoke. Is that right? I'd guess that'd be the white smoke? Blue smoke I'd guess is from fire with more airflow?

    Here's what I've learned so far in experimenting:

    1. Hot beds of coals produce little smoke but still give wood flavor to the food. Great for grilling since temps get pretty high (400-500F by what I can feel - very hot near the meat)

    2. Coals that are on their way out kindle for a long time and are great for long low and slow cooking.

    But what I don't know yet:

    1. How do I get the smoke desired for the low and slow cooking? I'm guessing I want thin blue smoke???

             Do I want just one baseball sized chunk of fresh cut smoke wood added to the low/slow burning coals (wood stove sized box)?

             Do I want to cut the air supply back or will that produce creosote and bitter smoke?

    2. How to make the house not turn into a smoke house as I'm adding food or smoke wood to the fire when the door opens. The low heat doesn't have enough flue draw to pull the smoke out faster than it gets into the house. I believe my wife may put an end to my indoor smoker experiments! lol. But I can't afford (or have the time right now) to build a reverse flow or even a UDS.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015

Share This Page