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help with getting consistent blue smoke during longer cooks.

Hi All,<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I am a new BGE owner, and struggling just a little bit with how to use wood chunks mixed in the lump over longer cooks.  I have read all the advice about not cooking in the white smoke, and waiting for the blue smoke.  What I am finding is that during the cook, when the fire moves towards the wood chunks, I start getting the white smoke.  Is this OK?  How can you only cook in the blue smoke with wood chunks mixed into the lump?

My first cook had about 8 chunks of wood, and it was WAY too much.  I pretty much ruined the ribs.  My next try had 3 chunks, but after about 1.5 hours, I wasn’t getting any more smoke, and had to move things around to get the a wood chunk near the hot coals.  That ended up making a huge amount of the white smoke again.

Any advice?  Thanks!


  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 13,981
    Here is a visual a forum emeritus posted a while back:


  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 13,981
    Here is a thread that offers some good explanations.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,873
    As you said, 8 chunks is way too much. Myself, I rarely use no more than 2 of hickory or oak, or 2 medium handfuls of chips. If I'm doing a big butt, and I want a strong flavored bark to mix thru the cooked PP, I may go to 3 chunks.

    Personally, I don't look for any smoke. If what is coming out of the top vent smells good, I know the meat will have a good flavor. Most often, I can't see a thing.

    For some time, having seen smoke coming from BBQ pits and offset wood burners, I assumed there should always be visible smoke. But anything burning wood, even well seasoned wood, will have smoke, because there is lots of water in dried wood that condenses and forms a plume.

    In an Egg, the lump has very little water in it, and after the initial burn off, there is little smoke. Because there is not enough oxygen for flame, but enough heat to bake away the wood, mostly good flavor chemicals are produced that are inc\visible gasses. As you've seen, if yopu move chunks toward the burning coals, white smoke comes out. That is a sign of the water being driven out rapidly. Let the chunks sit wherever, and slowly bake away. The longer the chunks can be heated, and so drive out the residual water, the better the spice flavors from the smoke will be.

    Lots of people claim that it is no use to have smoke for more than a few hours, because the meat stops absorbing it. As far as I know, that is not exactly true. The smoke will always gather on the surface of the food, even if the surface is dry. Some of it may then depart. The surface will gather and hold the smoke as long as there is still some moisture. If there is enough moisture that the surface, and the area just under the surface stays moist, the smoke will continue to penetrate ever farther into the meat, altho very slowly.

    My take on it, is that unless I want something like a smoke cured ham, a couple of hours in mostly invisible smoke works well.

    Also, avoid "soft" hardwoods. I've tried well seasoned tulip poplar, box elder, and some poplar. The "smokiness" of the flavor they made, even w. thin smoke, was too heavy.
  • Thank you all for the great answers!
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