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How to smoke - BASICS

I'm having trouble maintaining the correct temperature when smoking.  This is the procedure I am using and, obviously, something is wrong with it:
  1. Get the BGE up to around 650ºF  (turkey this time)
  2. Open the BGE
  3. Add wet wood chips
  4. Add the place setter, legs up.
  5. Place the turkey in a pan on top of the place setter
  6. Close the BGE.
  7. Leave the bottom vent open
  8. Shut the daisy wheel as far as possible to retain the smoke
  9. If necessary to keep the smoke from escaping, shut the vent a little.
  10. Try to keep it at least 225ºF during the smoking stage.

The problem is that the fire is choked and often takes forever to get back up while I try to keep the smoke going.

Do you have a better "recipe" for smoking?  Mine stinks.



Comments

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,161
    Catch your desired smoke temperature on the way up-much easier to control the BGE and no choking the fire with attendant "bad" smoke.  For low&slows I leave bottom vent and dome open for around 10 minutes after lighting in one spot-get around a softball sized amount of lump burning then load the platesetter, drip pan and anything else.  Shut dome, adjust lower vent and DFMT to around what I think will give the desired final temp and go from there.
    Louisville
  • Most people who know what they are doing will tell you that wet or dry chips or chunks are the same thing. So scratch that. I have never had a problem at all, and all I do it throw some chips on a hot fire after my food is on or at the same time. Or I will strategically place some chunks throughout my lump when hand loading the egg with lump. It all depends on the amount of time you want the smoke and the duration of your cook. You are way over thinking it IMHO.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,117
    lousubcap said:
    Catch your desired smoke temperature on the way up-much easier to control the BGE and no choking the fire with attendant "bad" smoke.  For low&slows I leave bottom vent and dome open for around 10 minutes after lighting in one spot-get around a softball sized amount of lump burning then load the platesetter, drip pan and anything else.  Shut dome, adjust lower vent and DFMT to around what I think will give the desired final temp and go from there.
    @lousubcap is giving you the best way.  I actually thought you were joking when you said you got it to 650.  You were doomed from the start, since the BGE does such a great job of heat retention.
  • Fred19FlintstoneFred19Flintstone Posts: 3,623
    edited November 2012

    First off, I don't think most meats including turkey cooks at 650.  Turkey does better at around 350.

    I light my egg and let it come to within 50 degrees of my desired temp.  Then I adjust the vents to stabilize my temp and let it go to stabilize for 20 minutes or so.  Then I add my wood (chunks or chips it doesn't matter) stirring it into the lump so where ever the fire goes, wood will be there.  If using a platesetter, I install that after stirring in the wood.  Check out the drawing (Courtesy of Stike):

     

    image

    Then I let it burn another 20-30 minutes so the smoke is good, not acrid.  If the smoke smells good, then it's ready for food.  Oh, don't bother soaking your wood.  It looks cool, but you're seeing steam and it doesn't add to the flavor.  When you want smoke, add wood not water.

    Add your food and start Egging!  Enjoy the eggsperience!

    Wood Chip Placement.jpg
    550 x 550 - 89K

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  Named the most dangerous city in America by the F.B.I. three years running.

  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,615
    edited November 2012

    This is how I do indirect cooks:
    1.) Light lump (I use and electric starter - 8 minutes)
    2.) Gently stir coals to mix lit/unlit lump.
    3.) Add a couple of wood chunks.
    4.) Add platesetter, drip pan covered with foil for easy cleanup and cooking grid.
    5.) Close lid and leave top off and bottom vent wide open until you've ALMOST reached desired cooking temp.
    6.) Put on daisy and adjust bottom vent.
    7.) When smoke smells good, add food.

    * I actually do the exact same thing for direct cooks except leave out step #4.

    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 4,832
    edited November 2012
    Another method is to use @ChokeOnSmoke method (which is great) except do this: 

    1.) Light lump (I use and electric starter - 8 minutes)
    2.) Gently stir coals to mix lit/unlit lump.
    3.) Close lid and leave top off and bottom vent wide open until you've reached 400.4.) Open the lid and add a couple of wood chunks.5.) Add platesetter, drip pan covered with foil for easy cleanup and cooking grid.6.) Put on daisy 1/2 open and adjust bottom vent to 1/2 open.7.) When smoke smells good, add food.
    The egg will reach 400 within minutes and when you put the setter in, the temp will drop very quickly. 
    Delta B.C., Canuckistan - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • I really appreciate all the feedback. I'll try smoking again this week and will follow your suggestions.

    Thank you very much.
  • If you start at 650 you will never get back to where you need to be.  Once the fire gets going that high it wants eat all of your lump.  Low and slow's need to start low to stay constant and burn efficiently.  You can never rush a low and slow cook, it just doesn't work.  Go the turbo route if you are in a hurry.

    Simple ingredients, amazing results!
  • Dual function metal top.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 7,208
    Dual function metal top.
    AKA Daisy Wheel
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,009
    Don't worry about containing the smoke. Assuming there is enough wood mixed w. the lump, it will be smoking for the duration of the cook.

    The "good" smoke smells pleasant, and is almost invisible."Bad" smoke, which is very visible, and is white/grey/opaque, is mostly condensed steam,  partially burnt wood particles, and the impurities left in the charcoal. It will smell and taste bitter. The bad smoke happens early on. If the fire is damped around 250F, I expect heavy smoke for 20 - 30 minutes. If I let the fire run till it produces a dome temp of 450F or more, there is little bad smoke, because it is driven off by the higher temp. But a lot of wood is consumed, and there will be less good smoke afterwards.

    They way the food is treated affects how it takes smoke. If a meat is rubbed w. salt, or brined, and allowed to dry some, it will form a pellicle on the surface, which is a tacky film of coagulated proteins. Smoke sticks to that. Smoke flavors will continue to build up on the surface no matter what, as long as the cook goes. Smoke flavor will keep penetrating the meat as long as the meat has enough moisture in it. If the meat surface gets too dry, there won't be a channel to carry it into the meat. The outside will get very smokey, but probably also burnt.

    Actually, I'd have to say its not so bad not getting a perfect product every time. I'd miss all the time spent smelling the slow cooking food, and having new ideas how to make the dinner better.
  • Thank you very much for the information.  It really helps a lot.

    Today I decided to take another shot at Egging another turkey and I found yet a new way to blow it.  This time I did it by using an electric starter for the first time, leaving it alone for way too long while I prepped the bird and returned to find the lump fully aflame at 700ºF.  Thinking I had plenty of lump left, I got the temp down to 350º, added some chips, let it stabilize with the plate setter and grate and thought all was well.  The bird went on the grill, but the BGE ran out of lump,so it's now nearly 5PM and we are finishing it off in the oven.  Humiliating!

    But, I'm not giving up and will  soon.take another shot soon.

    Thanks, again, for your helpful info.
  • njlnjl Posts: 729
    I was so disappointed the first time I tried to low & slow smoke on the egg.  I'd put all my smoking wood scattered on the top of a huge load of lump...and when the cook was done, I found that the fire had existed pretty much directly on top of the fire grate, and the top of the lump (and all my wood) was unburned.  In hindsight, it makes perfect sense.  If you restrict the air flow, the fire closest to the air source (fire grate) will use all the O2.
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