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What am I doing wrong? no smoke flavor

My first topic since joining the board!  I finally have the temperature control figured out.  Now I need to figure out how to make myf ood taste good.  I did a pork butt last week.  It was ok, but not great.  Yesterday, I did a rack of baby back ribs.  They again were OK, but not great.  I love smoke flavor and I cant seem to get any of that taste.  Here is how I set up the egg.  Why is my food not coming out smoky?

I filled the lump up to the fire ring.  I then put a hand full of hickory chips spread around the top.  Then, 2-3 chunks of hickory.  Then, when I put the chimney full of hot lump on top, I put another two chunks on.  It smoked good for the first hour or so but the food did not really taste smokey at all.  What am I doing wrong?  I smoked these using the 3-1-1 method at about 225-250 dome temp. 

Thanks everyone.


  • I'm a little stumped on this one. i can say that the only complaint i have from time to time is that I don't get that heavy smoke flavor every once in a while. it's rare for me but it happens.I did a brisket that appeared to be perfect 6 moths ago and took it to a party. I was shocked at the non-smoke flavor. Everyone said it was great but I knew better. Al i can say is try again and see what happens. It's one out of 500 for me but it does happen.
    1- LGBE
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    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
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    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    @busmania you are doing everything right, even adding more chunks than I would.  On low and slows I put my chunks right in the middle, shape the charcoal sorta like a pyramid and light the top of the pyramid. As the fire burns down, the chunks are right in the middle of it all.

    You will get it, just keep trying to find out what works for you.
  • Mama RoneckMama Roneck Posts: 385
    Ask the others who ate it whether it had enough smoke. You may have smoked yourself out and just didn't taste it. There was a thread about this a few weeks ago. I think the consensus was that everyone needs to shower more if they want to taste smoke!
  • TonyATonyA Posts: 582
    Is all that wood catching? How much unburned do you see after the cook? If most of it is burning, the only thing I can think of is it is burning too hot and therefore making less smoke. I use just chunks: 2-3 for ribs and 5-6 for big cuts. Some can be smokier than others but they all have a sweet rich smoke flavor.

    If its burning too hot, try closing your lower vent more and opening the daisy wheel, or start with a smaller fire.
  • calracefancalracefan Posts: 602
    +1 MaMa Roneck,I often cannot taste or smell the smoke in the food others say it is great.Being in the smoke during the cook seems to desensitize you.
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • busmaniabusmania Posts: 407
    It seems as most of the wood IS burning as I don't find any after the cook.  Also, the other people eating the food agreed with me that it was not smokey (on the ribs...I did the pork butt for myself only as I am trying to learn....not ready to cook for others just yet).  Ill keep trying!  That's why I love this hobby.  Its an experiment every time!  Thanks everyone.
  • ToolmasterToolmaster Posts: 41
    Try adding the wood just before you put the meat on the BGE. That way you wont be using the smoke while the fire is getting up to temp.
    I went to bed last night mean and woke up meaner !  
    "Matt Dillon"

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    I think you should either distribute the wood throughout the lump or use a different lighting method. I would be willing to bet that the chimney lump is incinerating your smoking wood or at least getting it burning too clean instead of smoldering.


    Caledon, ON


  • busmaniabusmania Posts: 407
    I think you should either distribute the wood throughout the lump or use a different lighting method. I would be willing to bet that the chimney lump is incinerating your smoking wood or at least getting it burning too clean instead of smoldering.

    How do you recommend lighting? 
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,860
    edited June 2013
    It sounds like you are using plenty of wood.  One thing to consider is if you are dumping a hot chimney of coals on top of the wood then you will burn it all up fast.  Perhaps try mixing the chips/chunks throughout the lump more.  You might also consider starting a smaller fire...perhaps try lighting without the chimney or use less lump in the chimney.  A full chimney of lump is a pretty big fire to start out with. 

    Like @Duganboy mentioned I usually light in one place and build a pyramid.  I have found that by placing chips/chunks around the periphery (under and around the fire) I can get a nice steady smoke.  For some reason my egg always seems to burn hotter in the back so I will usually place some wood in the very back.  

    One other suggestion is to try a different type of wood.  Oak or mesquite will give a stronger flavor.  

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    I use a map torch and light the lump in three places, maybe 45 seconds total. You can use twisted up paper towels with a little cooking oil dripped on them. There are a lot of methods. Just get the lump sort of glowing and wait for dark smoke to clear, best method is to wave your hand over the daisy so you can smell the smoke.


    Caledon, ON


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