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What am I doing wrong smoking?

I was cooking ribs and a brisket over the weekend, but couldn't get any smoke from the wood chunks I used.  I got my Egg up to 250 degrees and put a couple of apricot wood chunks into the Egg, but I never got any smoke. Even after cooking for 4 plus hours, there was still no smoke. I replaced the wood chunks with wood chips soaked in water.  The wood chips smoked, but for only for a short period of time. What is the best way to get smoke using wood chunks and wood chips?  How do you get the smoke to last? 

Comments

  • dpittarddpittard Posts: 126
    Was there no smoke flavor or was it just that you didn't see smoke? As long as you have smoke flavor, you actually want to no see any smoke, or very little.

    LBGE with a massive wish list
    Athens, Ga.
  • Cyclops42Cyclops42 Posts: 44
    I use chunks, not soaked in water and put them in different levels in the lump so as the lump burns down it will catch another different chunk of wood for more continuous smoking during the cook.

    Atlanta, Ga. LBGE and soon to have Small

    Wants: Thermapen, Adjustable Rig, Digi Q and more time...

  • ScottborasjrScottborasjr Posts: 1,929
    I know nothing about apricot wood but perhaps it has a high burn temp and with the low temp you were keeping your egg at the lump never got the chunks hot enough to smoke? Just a thought, which I have many of, and very few are logical.
    I raise my kids, cook and golf.  When work gets in the way I'm pissed, I'm pissed off 48 weeks a year.
    Inbetween Iowa and Colorado, not close to anything remotely entertaining outside of football season. 
  • flynnbobflynnbob Posts: 499
    Cyclops42 said:
    I use chunks, not soaked in water and put them in different levels in the lump so as the lump burns down it will catch another different chunk of wood for more continuous smoking during the cook.
    Good pointer on the chunk placement Clops!
    Milton, GA.
  • ddeggerddegger Posts: 244
    I know nothing about apricot wood but perhaps it has a high burn temp and with the low temp you were keeping your egg at the lump never got the chunks hot enough to smoke? Just a thought, which I have many of, and very few are logical.
    I like it.  No idea if he's right....but sounds smart
  • Black_BadgerBlack_Badger Posts: 777
    One thing I learned on this forum in my earliest days (not that long ago...) hot water produces stream, hot wood produces smoke. Never soaked another chunk. 

    Can't comment from experience on apricot but if guess it was just producing nice clean smoke, which is usually not visible and is always what you want.

    Cheers-
    B_B

    Badger at heart, living in SoCal

    Carlsbad, CA
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,291
    Did you rummage through the coals afterwards? If you found unburnt wood, then it didn't burn. Maybe it was in an area of the firebox where the charcoal didn't light?

    If you didn't find any unburnt wood then it smoked nice and clean. In ninja stealth mode. :)

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • I soak my woodchips overnight, 1-2 lbs. I start the egg and let it get good and hot, 400+. Spread the coals out and dump the wet chips on top. This will cool it down considerably. Set the vents as you would normally and you will get heavy smoke for over 90 min.
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 2,750
    I'm inclined to agree with @Black_Badger on this one... I think that what most assume is more smoke using soaked wood is actually steam. Doing a quick Google search, I found this. I'm not sure about the "meat absorbing smoke" for the first x% of the cook time but, in general, what this says makes sense:

    Q: Should I soak my wood in water?

    A: No and here is the deal with soaking/ not soaking wood:

    First: Meat absorbs "most" of its smoke flavor within the first 10% of its cooking time. If you soak the wood it takes longer to start smoking, so by the time it starts smoking your meat may be 25% done and virtually no smoky flavor will penetrate into the meat.

    Second: Even if you wait till smoke starts to appear before you apply the meat (you should always do this) you are still fighting a losing battle with wet wood. Since the wood is wet, it actually creates steam which mixes with the smoke creating a steam/smoke mixture. This stuff actually adheres to the exterior of the meat and then drips away or gives the meat exterior an overpowering smoke flavor. This steam forms a barrier not allowing any flavor to penetrate into the meat, also as it drips off, it washes away seasonings from the outside of your meat.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
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  • h3bmrh3bmr Posts: 16
    I used soaked apricot wood this weekend and got plenty of smoke for at least 7 hours,  After reading what @TexanofTheNorth posted I may never soak it again but I did get lots of smoke.
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 2,750
    But, that's my question @h3bmr... how much is smoke and how much is steam? Anybody know for sure?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • h3bmrh3bmr Posts: 16

    I'm with you @TexanofTheNorth what you posted makes perfect sense with the steam, but if we get back to @cheid1977 problem even if its 50% steam and 50% smoke I think @chied1977 would have been pleased just to have some smoke.  I am not sure why he got no smoke at all.

  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 2,750
    edited June 2013
    Well, he never replied to dpittard question. I often don't see a lot of smoke (once everything has stabalized) but always have smoke flavor (when I use smoking wood).
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,850
    well use a stronger wood, use more of it, and a low and slow brisket done in 4 hours?, im thinking it needed to cook longer or it was an insanely small brisket
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    If the wood is burning, you're generating smoke flavor.  It's satisfying to see a steady plume of smoke coming out the top, but you're looking at particulates and steam.  The "good" stuff is invisible.  Go by smoke smell and the end product.  Each species of wood is different, and cook times and temps and the type of food you're cooking all absorb smoke differently. 

    Just for kicks, I filled up the egg with oak and fired it up to 750 to cook some pizza.  After a while, I had almost no visible smoke but the pies had a very strong oak flavor - edible, but that's the last time I'm burning pure oak.

    I've also noticed by inhaling the second-hand egg smoke for long periods I get desensitized to the smoke taste.  The next day something mildly smokey will have a strong smoke taste.  If you're serving guests camping out in the AC, they might find your Q tastes different than you think, so keep that in mind.
    ______________________________________________
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    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • B&BKnoxB&BKnox Posts: 212
    After your cook did you look at the apricot wood, was it unburned or burned?  if unburned then you probably just threw the pieces on top of the lump, at 250 the lump is hot under the top layer in a smallish space throwing lump on top does not allow the wood to get hot enough to smoke.  I'll dig the smoke wood down a bit to get it close to the glowing heat or do what cyclops said and layer the wood in the lump.  If the apricot wood was charred then you had some smoke.
    Be Well

    Knoxville TN
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191

    I would toss the lump, and start over with a different manufactured smoking wood, what works for me is wood "chunks" much better than chips.  I had a buddy come across a truckload of pecan, and i am sold on it!!  I know when i run out, i will buy(if necessary) the same product - "pecan chunks"!!  You could have damp lump, or just junk lump???   Buy a new lump and smoke producer....

  • SamFerriseSamFerrise Posts: 544
    I have found that the best range for smoke is between 210 and 230 degrees.  This always seems to produce the best results for me.

    Simple ingredients, amazing results!
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    The lower you can cook, the more smoke the meat product will be exposed to before it's surface seals up.  When i cook butts, i get about two to two and a half hours of good smoke, then an hour of lite smoke as it tapers off.  I try to cook butts in the 210 to 220 degree range during the "smoke portion" of the turbo cook method.
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