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Burning off the VOC's for a Low and Slow

ShaneFShaneF Posts: 26
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum

I have been Egging  for a couple of years now but have never fully utilized the low and slow benefits.  I have decided to move up from steaks and burgers and really start smoking some roasts and briskets. 

My question is how to burn off the VOC's when you are doing a low and slow.  I want to do an overnight brisket and plan to do so by creating large pile of lump with wood chunks scattered throughout the pile and get it started with one BGE placed on the top center.  From what I have read this should work well and I will have a fire going all night.  But as it burns, won't the new/unburned lump be putting off VOC's and "bad smoke" the entire cook.  I often see posts saying if you dont let VOC's burn off or cook too early then your meat will have a bad taste and be essentially ruined.  Wouldn't cooking for 10+ hours in this fresh/dark smoke create and awful taste? 

I look forward to hearing your suggestions!



  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    I've always done my low and slow cooks by lighting the fire, getting it established and stabilized and then putting on the meat.  I've never had a bad tasting piece of meat.  Get a butt or two (they don't cost much) and try it.  Good luck!
    The Naked Whiz
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,737
    the heat from the small fire seems to drive off the bad smells from the unburnt lump. once the egg is stabilized it starts to burn cleaner and smell good. with the low and slow i dont wait as long for clean burning as i would for say chicken, clean burning doesnt seem to be as much of an issue as some other types of cooks with a low and slow, i just wait for the smoke to start clearing , the egg stabilized, in goes the butt or brisket
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,905
    I've never thought about it until reading your would think there would always be bad smoke as the lump ignites.  I can't explain it but once the white smoke is gone, it is smooth sailing from that point on.  It just works! 
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited March 2012
    VOCs aren't simply trapped in the charcoal and only allowed to escape when they burn.  the vast majority of them will evaporate (that's the 'volatile' part of the equation in this case) simply by being exposed to the draft and having the additional heat from the fire drive them out.

    if you never lit the fire, and simply induced a draft through the egg, you'd air out quite a bit of the VOCs.  as your egg is coming up to temp, there's a constant draft, and building heat.  the heat makes the compounds even more volatile, and they readily evaporate. by the time you reach stable smoking temps, say an hour later, you will have blown off most of the VOCs.  what little is left is insignificant.  the fire for a 250 degree cook is minimal

    open a bag of fresh charcoal and smell it.  that fume-iness is the VOCs.

    in this case, 'volatile' doesn't mean flammable, it means that it readily forms vapor.  perfume is 'volatile', for example, whether or not it is actually flammable
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i'm also seeing strange things w/r/t posting time.  i posted to this early on, perhaps even first, and yet mine's the last post.  on the "latest posts" page, it actually shows 4runner as the last post at 1:13, and then mine after him, also at 1:13.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • I am so glad you posted this thread, as I have had exactly the same thoughts, but didn't take the time to articulate it the way you have.  Having just bought a Dig-IQ and doing my first long cook (pork butt), I defaulted to the suggestion of lighting the fire, letting the controller settle it in at 225 deg, and then holding for an hour or so.  The cook came out perfectly, and when it was all over I had 1/3 - 1/2 of a load of lump left unburned.  Oder and offensive flavor was never an issue.  Based on this first experience, I would have to agree with Stike's explanation although I did not understand why until I read his response.  This seems to be exactly what happens.  Now I can move forward with one less issue out of the way.  Great answer Stike.


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