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When to add wood chips?

billyraybillyray Posts: 1,122
edited January 2012 in EggHead Forum
What's your opinions on when to add wood chips to cooks that are under 1 hour or so? Put them in with the lump and then start the fire or get the fire up to your cooking temp. and then add or somewhere in between?
Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
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Comments

  • I would get the lump started first, try and stabilize at the temp I will cook and wait for a good clear smoke coming from the lump to make sure all the voc' s are burnt off. Then I would throw my chips or chunks in. This way I know for sure that the smoke is from the wood and not from the lump
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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    "under one hour" alludes to maybe you've heard the smoke only 'takes' for the first hour. Actually, smoke adds flavor any time, as long as there is smoke. End of the cook, middle, whenever.

    I build the fire with wood up and down thru the lump, in the center. After lighting, when the fire is burning cleanly, i toss a chunk or chip (or sticks or twigs; doesnt matter) on the fire. Put in the indirect set up, and add the meat.

    Smokes on and off throughout the cook as the fire finds the wood
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  •  I build the fire with wood up and down thru the lump, in the center. After lighting, when the fire is burning cleanly, i toss a chunk or chip (or sticks or twigs; doesnt matter) on the fire. Put in the indirect set up, and add the meat.

    Smokes on and off throughout the cook as the fire finds the wood
    Does the wood you put in when building catch fire as the fire builds? or does it matter?
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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    a low and slow is a small fire.  the wood i put in isn't burning because the lump around it isn't.   but a few hours later it will be, when the fire finds it
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  • Thanks
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  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 280
    ... I build the fire with wood up and down thru the lump, in the center. After lighting, when the fire is burning cleanly, i toss a chunk or chip (or sticks or twigs; doesnt matter) on the fire. Put in the indirect set up, and add the meat.

    Smokes on and off throughout the cook as the fire finds the wood
    My last cook (low and slow) I used both 3 or 4 chunks of wood and also sprinkled chips throughout the lump, and it was the first time I'd done the latter.  And I really couldn't tell when the "bad" white smoke was gone and the "good" blue smoke began, because, honestly, the smoke I saw after 10 or 15 minutes looked about the same as the smoke after 30 or 40 minutes.  What I wound up doing was smelling the smoke at about 30 minutes, deciding it smelled OK to me, and I put in the meat.  But really, I think the smoke coming out of my Egg for hours was about as white as it was in the beginning, and the food tasted great.

    So I've been thinking that because I sprinkled a lot of wood chips (I really wanted lots of smoke flavor in this cook) all through the lump, I had enough smoke from the wood chips that the difference between the "bad" white smoke at first and the "good" smoke after 20 minutes or so wasn't so easily visible.  Does this make sense, and if so, any suggestions about how to be sure it's time to put in the meat?

    Thanks!

    Theo
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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    if the smoke smells good it will taste good
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  • Stike:
    I've read that meat only takes on smoke until it hits 140 external. Is this true or myth?
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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    complete and utter myth.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  • Stike:
    I've read that meat only takes on smoke until it hits 140 external. Is this true or myth?
    The smoke ring will only be created up to 140, but the meat will continue to take on smoke as long as it's on the pit. (so I'm told.  I don't have the tools required to determine that myself).
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

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  • There is such a thing as too much smoke, learn to use smoke as a flavor...sometimes less is more.

     

    -SMITTY     

    from SANTA CLARA, CA

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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    yep.  but that wasn't his question.
    same goes for salt, rub, sauce, etc.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  • That was not directed at you, I'm simply giving him some sound advice when using smoke as a flavor.

     

     

    -SMITTY     

    from SANTA CLARA, CA

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  • Hi,

    So this means that I can stabilize my egg with no wood and wait for good smoke, then add the wood and the thick white smoke that is produced then is ok? Will that smoke be a bit acrid?

    I have been building my fire with the wood chunks in it and waiting for blue smoke.


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  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101

    White smoke = bad

    Blue smoke = good

    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ... BGE Lg.
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  • ribnrunribnrun Posts: 174
    I like to get my fire up to temp and wait for the "bad" smoke from the lump to clear. Then I add my wood. Since the smoke only takes to the outside of the meat, I have little motivation to mix it all through the lump. If I want lots of smoke, I dump 3 chunks on the glowing coals. Want just slight smoke? Just 1 chunk or some small chips.

    Trick for me seems to be putting wood onto hot coals directly. Give it just a few minutes and the wood is warmed up nice and gives good smoke. Always try to keep the coals small though, so you can keep the vents open enough to provide enough air to ensure full combustion. Suffocated fires give nasty smoke, even with just lump.

    This make sense to anyone else?
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  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,320
    I just put the chunks in and go over them with the mapp to get them started then light the lump.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 280
    I like to get my fire up to temp and wait for the "bad" smoke from the lump to clear. Then I add my wood. Since the smoke only takes to the outside of the meat, I have little motivation to mix it all through the lump.
    I'm not an expert, not arguing, still trying to learn.  For many foods I don't want a super smoky flavor, but for a few, notably including brisket, pulled pork, and ribs, I like a really, really, really smoky flavor.  When I first started, I threw wood chips on a hot fire, which seems to be what some folks here are suggesting, and I got a lot of smoke, but it went away pretty quickly.  Then I tried larger chunks of wood, and they lasted longer, but didn't supply an awful lot of smoke.  The last time I cooked a brisket, I put in 3 or 4 chunks, but I also sprinkled mesquite chips all through the lump.  This was the first time I did that, and by far my smokiest cook.  It was great.  And what I'm trying to recreate is some very smoky brisket I had in Texas decades ago, that I really think were in the presence of wood smoke for 12-18 hours!  And they were SMOKEY!!!

    The reason I tried sprinkling the chips all though the lump was that in a low and slow cook, a small pocket of fire moves slowly through the lump, so I figured that as it slowly approached different areas of the lump, new chips of wood would start smoldering, and I'd have wood smoke through pretty much the whole cook.  I really think it worked!  So I now have been thinking that what I'll do from now on when I want smoke throughout a long, slow cook, is to mix chips throughout the lump, and probably a few larger chunks as well.  But it doesn't sound like you, or anyone else, so far, thinks that's a good idea.

    Am I getting something wrong?  I don't always want really smokey food, but so far, for cooks I want to be extra-smokey, I really think this worked very well.  Any thoughts?

    Theo
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  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,320
    The egg isn't a conventional smoker. Even when the smoke is clear you still get smoke flavour. If it isn't enough for your taste add more chunks. Fourteen years ago I crucified a few cooks from using a whole lot of wood. Mixing the chips works fine but IMHO you get much better control with chunks.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    @theophan.

    two things.  you sorta need to work chips or chunks into the lump, in the middle.  don't float them on top or arrange them in patterns (some do spirals...).  th lump will burn from under them.

    here's how i do it, and it works for me:
    a little lump in the middle.  jam in soime wood (again, in the middle, over the fire grate).  more lump, and more wood.  add lump around the outside, but keep the wood near the middle 6 inches or so.

    keep going til you are at the top.  sounds like it is a process.  in fact, it takes less than a mintues.  just dump, add wood, repeat. 

    start the fire and wait for things to hit desired dome temp.  doesn't matter if the platestter is in or out.  i leave it out, because i add some wood just before putting the meat on, and i'd have to wrestle with a hot platesetter to do that.  this way, i jam in some more wood, right into the lit coals.  then add the platesetter (or other indirect set up, platesetter not required).  then add the meat.  sometimes i wait for the wondrous mythical blue smoke, sometimes i toss  the meat on and get on with my life.

    as the fire burns, it'll go DOWN, and it will find wood mixed in with the lump.  works with chips, chunks, or twigs. 

    last, and don't tell anyone i said this.  try 300 for a while.  the fire is larger and airflow a little better.  it will restart smoke that seems to have died.

    in the end, i have done it a million ways: lots of smoke, blue smoke, 300, 220, 250, etc.   it all tastes good.  so pick whichever is less hassle.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 280
    here's how i do it, and it works for me:
    a little lump in the middle.  jam in soime wood (again, in the middle, over the fire grate).  more lump, and more wood.  add lump around the outside, but keep the wood near the middle 6 inches or so.

    ... as the fire burns, it'll go DOWN, and it will find wood mixed in with the lump.  works with chips, chunks, or twigs. 

    last, and don't tell anyone i said this.  try 300 for a while.  the fire is larger and airflow a little better.  it will restart smoke that seems to have died.

    in the end, i have done it a million ways: lots of smoke, blue smoke, 300, 220, 250, etc.   it all tastes good.  so pick whichever is less hassle.

    Wow!  Very interesting!  I don't know why, really, but I've put chunks mostly at the edge, with the longer part facing in, I suppose thinking they'd sort of burn from the inside out, but I can't say I really thought it through.  And I was so happy with how long I saw a fair bit of smoke coming out of the Egg with chips sort of mixed all through the lump that I hate not to try that again.  I'll have to think fast, because I'm planning pork butt tomorrow, if the weather holds.  (I was going to do brisket, but I ate so much brisket last week I'm not so much in the mood :-))

    And the 300 thing fascinates me!  I was planning to put it on around 225-250 and try to resist raising the temp, supposing the longer and slower the cook, the more smoke would get deposited on the meat.  But you are a whole lot more experienced than I, and 300 sure would be more convenient.  I might split the difference and do 225-250 for a couple of hours and then 300.  Interesting.

    Thanks!

    Theophan
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  • DnormanDnorman Posts: 117
    yep.  but that wasn't his question.
    same goes for salt, rub, sauce, etc.

    And just like salt you can add to much smoke and make the meat bitter and tast like crap.


     

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  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    yes.  i got that.  that was his point.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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  • "under one hour" alludes to maybe you've heard the smoke only 'takes' for the first hour. Actually, smoke adds flavor any time, as long as there is smoke. End of the cook, middle, whenever. I build the fire with wood up and down thru the lump, in the center. After lighting, when the fire is burning cleanly, i toss a chunk or chip (or sticks or twigs; doesnt matter) on the fire. Put in the indirect set up, and add the meat. Smokes on and off throughout the cook as the fire finds the wood

     

    Onced the meat is seared, there is no more smoke "absorbtion".  Sure you can keep adding smoke flavor, but when you pile it on after the "pores" quit accepting the smoke you are basically adding a creosote layer. 
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  • Do you believe the fact that water is wet makes no sense also?
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  • ribnrunribnrun Posts: 174
    I think adding a creosote layer depends more on the type of smoke. Wet meat (mopped, still raw) and thick nasty smoke will make that bitter smoke flavor, in my experience. Smoke doesn't absorb, it sticks, or so I been told. Although, some family in New Mexico smokes over a stick burner and their meat has an insanely awesome smoky flavor. But their fire is kinda raging down below, they can adjust the height of the meat though, not by a few inches like our eggs, but feet. I guess chips mixed all over would help to add smoky flavor, but my personal taste is for a less overwhelming smoke.
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