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It won’t smoke!

MaxQMaxQ Posts: 5
Had my XL a year now.  I love it for many many things, but I’ve not been happy w how it smokes food

i recently smoked ribs.  Started out at 250 w nice blue smoke.  After a short while, smoke stopped, heat maintained, finished cooking ribs.  (Guessing fire died)

had bottom vent open 1/4-3/8”and top wheel open 50%.  Anymore and heat climbs throughout cook

they were dark on the outside, Grey meat, no smoke ring.  I was very disappointed 

what am I doing wrong!

i use several large chunks of wood.  I’ve placed them on top hot coals, buried them in cools, etc. wood chunks always seem to remain.

Advice would be greatly appreciated

thank you 
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Comments

  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 13,906
    Not trying to be obtuse, but if you have not googled "How to smoke food on the big green egg" you should try it to see if you may find the solution from the 100's of responses provided.

    Not being able to witness your set up or how you place the smoking wood, and when you do it, is difficult to provide a definitive answer.

    I have not had the problem with my XL, in fact quite the opposite, it is a smoking machine.

    I use dry smoking wood, placed close to the fire typically center to the back, 5-6 chunks, fist sized, and let the airflow dictate the fire and smoke.

    I do not use wet or kiln dried smoking wood.

    I use Rockwood exclusively.

    I wait until the white smoke clears.

    I try to cook around 225F -250F.

    Never had a problem with either flavor or ring. To me, the ring means absolutely zero, it is the flavor that is critical.

    Good luck on your next cook. I am sure you will get several other responses regarding the proper smoking technique. This forum is loaded with chefs that are experts at smoking proteins or anything else.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • BGEChicagoBGEChicago Posts: 470
    edited June 8
    EXACTLY what he said ^^^^^^^ I never damper the bottom vent, I control the temperature via the daisy wheel.... Also- I know many people like sub 275 degrees but temperatures above that wont kill your cook, ribs have enough fat to still be moist at higher temps.... Search this site for "turbo style"  smoking..
    Chicago, IL BGE XL BGE Mini Webber Charcoal / Elmhurst, IL
  • Wood produces good smoke between 400-600 degrees, this is best achieved by placing the wood under the lump... hotter or colder you won’t get the science magic your after. 

    As a helper consider adding some celery seed to your rub 
    Large BGE 2013, Minimax 2018 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  Collection of my best BGE foodporn shots 
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,399
    I always thought the best smoke was produced by wood burning around 700°.  
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • JTFIOLJTFIOL Posts: 1
    I have the same problem.  IMO the green egg is not a smoker as it only smokes at the start of the cook. I'd suggest buying an actual smoker.
  • FlyOverCountryFlyOverCountry Posts: 380
    Is this why people say Big Green Eggs are grills not smokers?
  • I always thought the best smoke was produced by wood burning around 700°.  
    Check out the enclosed from multiple world champ Harry Soo if you want the coles notes version of the amazing ribs article 

    https://youtu.be/X8Xwcj5feDg
    Large BGE 2013, Minimax 2018 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  Collection of my best BGE foodporn shots 
  • TN_EggerTN_Egger Posts: 777
    edited June 8
    try this...
    Image result for yellawood

    A BGE chiminea, a small and a 17" BS in Las Cruces, NM

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,190
    Hey, MaxQ,

    I have a couple of mediums, so I don't know exactly what it takes to use an XL, but smoking is not a problem at all.

    As above, the smoke ring is not important. It is made by a nitrogen compound in the smoke reacting w. the myoglobin in the meat. The reaction stops at 140F. It used to be a good indicator of how low and slow the fire was, but w. well cooled meat and the addition of curing salts, at this point its only a nice visual touch.

    The notion that meat stops taking smoke above a certain temperature is incorrect. The surface always gets a coating. Unless, hoping you don't do this, the meat gets spritzed, which washes off the accumulated smoke.

    Ribs should be mostly black on the outside, and grey on the inside is fine.

    A well sealed Egg has a low enough oxygen flow that any smoke wood can not produce any visible smoke. The faint blue smoke is always nice to see, but when properly maintained, the oxygen flow only allows the wood to pyrolize directly to invisible vapors.

    The wood used is important. It appears the amount of lignin in wood is what contributes to the smoke flavor. Very hard "hard woods" are best. Post oak and white oak are primo. Hickory is close behind. Sugar maple works well, as does pecan.

    For ribs, any temp between 225 & 275 works well. Just let them sit until they pass either the toothpick or bend test. I'm a fan of the bend test, and will not take the ribs off until I can grab a bone end and lift, and see the slab begin to fall apart.


  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,399
    Dome temp or grate temp is not the temp of the fire. Getting the wood to burn at 600-700 while maintaining a good temp at the food level is the tricky part in a ceramic cooker. 
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • Hans61Hans61 Posts: 3,728
    Maybe the simplest solution for you would be to get a woo from ceramic grill store or an eggspander from your dealer as they have handles so you can pick up the grate and access the coals and have the Mrs drop another chunk on the fire.

    Many will disagree with this and say you don’t have to or shouldn’t have to add chunks during the cook and I agree with that but think for right now this is your quickest easiest answer to be happy with your cooks 
    “There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.”
    Coach Finstock Teen Wolf
  • 1911Man1911Man Posts: 171
    As stated already, I have no issue getting great smoke FLAVOR with my BGE (also a medium). But I also use a Woo ring from the CGS (used the insert from BGE when I started but switched to the CGS item and haven't looked back).
    The woo ring makes keeping a lower temperature for 'low and slow' cooking a LOT easier. That being said, I also tend to smoke (turkey mostly) at around 275-350F. Bottom vent is typically open about 1/2-2/3 of the way and then I use the top (Smokeware cap) to control the temp.
    I am thinking about getting a large before fall comes along. Mostly so that it's easier to smoke a whole turkey.
    BTW, I don't put the wood chunks inside the lump charcoal. I simply lay what I want to use on top of the lit coals just before putting the meat on. I get good smoke for most of the cook time. Or at least enough of it to get the flavor I want.
    Egg #1: Medium BGE with CGS Woo Ring, stone with stainless pan and Smokeware chimney cap.
    Living free in the 603 (Pelham).
  • theyolksonyoutheyolksonyou Posts: 17,518
    Try the Kamado Joe forum.  I hear there’s some smart folk over there. 
    Jason NW GA- home of carpet and Mexican restaurants
    LBGE, MM, BS (Blackstone and the other kind)
    One sorry Labrador

    My chili did not suck. My wings either. 
  • damnedhooligandamnedhooligan Posts: 204
    I dont wait for the “clear blue smoke”...just make sure that white smoke is burning a decent smell and add the cold ribs in...put them in the fridge for an hour or two after applying rub and then put them in the egg, spray with liquid after 45 mins in, every 15 mins after that. 
    Babyback


    Spare rib


    XL BGE with adj rig & woo2

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,479
    BGE and my Primo are both excellent smokers IMO. Perform as well or better with far less tending than WSM or kettle. As noted above by @gdenby , there will seldom be a visible smoke flow during the cook due to the restricted airflow in a kamado. 
    Assuming you light from the top, slightly towards the front, have your smoke wood mixed thru the lump. Experience will tell you how much lump and how much smoke wood based on the duration of the cook. Three or four hours for ribs vs as much as 10 hours for a packer. 
    IMO fist sized chunks are best used in a high air flow smoker like a WSM. I like to split fist size chunks into quarters as a minimum, or better yet use chips if you have them. The fire will follow the fuel towards the air inlet, sounds counterintuitive but the fire goes in the opposite direction of the airflow. If you mix smoke wood thru the lump, the fire will find it and it will work its invisible magic throughout the cook. Chips will sometimes flare a bit if you open the lid to baste/sauce or check the cook.
    Smoke rings only happen at the under 150ºF surface temp of the meat. Start with a cold meat, wet surface to enhance both ring and flavour. If dry rubbing ribs, apply the rub and let the ribs hang out in the fridge until the surface sweats, usually about an hour or two, then into the egg. If you want, a light spritz to add surface moisture as you put them on can help. No spritz is needed during the cook. 
    Good luck!
    Delta B.C. - Whiskey and steak, because no good story ever started with someone having a salad!
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 19,229
    edited June 9
    My thoughts on this are well documented on here so I will leave that be. That said, it’s not just you- the bge can be very inconsistent In Regards to producing good bbq. It gets better with practice so don’t give up. The best brisket I have ever done was done on a bge. Unfortunately there have been many disappointments along the way as well (all related to lack of smoke). 

    Still my favorite cooker but I don’t use it for low and slow much anymore. Did the worst ribs I have done in years last weekend. Sound just like yours. No smoke, no color, no flavor. Took one bite and threw them out. Very frustrating. 

    As as far as the Harry Soo video goes- this is good info but he cooks his Kamado style briskets hot and fast (like 350+) for 4 hours. Putting the wood chunks under the lump makes sense in this style of cook. The fire is much larger and pushing harder than a low and slow setup. I don’t think putting wood chunks under the lump would produce the results you are after with a low and cook setup. 

    Keep at it- you will get the hang of it. Lots of good bbq is cooked on Kamados, Weber Smoky Mountains etc. if I had to choose one cooker to own it would be a bge. It’s pretty good at most things and even though it leaves me frustrated sometimes, I’m happy with most of my bbq that comes off of it. 
    Keepin' It Weird in The ATX
  • 1911Man1911Man Posts: 171
    I'm smoking a whole turkey breast section on my medium BGE today. With the bottom vent at about 1/3 open and the Smokeware cap at about 1/4 open, it's keeping temps close to the 200 mark (200-225). Lots of beautiful flavor smoke coming from the cap too. =)
    Egg #1: Medium BGE with CGS Woo Ring, stone with stainless pan and Smokeware chimney cap.
    Living free in the 603 (Pelham).
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 13,906
    There is a learning curve and every BGE is a slight variant of the one you own.

    Having gone through two bases this far, there was a difference in the bottom hatch.

    My previous base had a different inlet shape than the one I have now, so I have to work the vent different.

    Because of that small difference, suggestions of openings of the bottom vent will vary from egg to egg.

    Once you get comfortable with the way your BGE handles air, then work with the wood chunks.

    You will get it, it may take some note taking and a couple of wtf-scratch-your-head moments, but you will get there.

    Welcome to the club.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • SandyHookEggerSandyHookEgger Posts: 331
    don't fall for the scientific answer, buy cowboy it smokes rocks.
  • DWFIIDWFII Posts: 299
    I have a stainless steel Amazn smoker tube. Is there any reason why I can't fill it with chips or pellets and put it on my plate setter at the beginning of a cook? Will the wood smolder and and not flame up?

    Has anyone tried this?
    Bespoke boot and shoemaker--45+ years
    Instagram
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 19,229
    DWFII said:
    I have a stainless steel Amazn smoker tube. Is there any reason why I can't fill it with chips or pellets and put it on my plate setter at the beginning of a cook? Will the wood smolder and and not flame up?

    Has anyone tried this?
    You can do this.
    Keepin' It Weird in The ATX
  • DWFIIDWFII Posts: 299
    You can do this.
    That's encouraging...have you done it? Are there any downsides?

    Seems like chunk wood burns away too quickly (or never ignites)...for me at least--that's why I've been following this thread.

    Cast iron smoke pots seem a viable alternative but I already have the smoker tube...


    Bespoke boot and shoemaker--45+ years
    Instagram
  • theyolksonyoutheyolksonyou Posts: 17,518
    The number of people who can’t get smoke on their meat here is astounding 
    Jason NW GA- home of carpet and Mexican restaurants
    LBGE, MM, BS (Blackstone and the other kind)
    One sorry Labrador

    My chili did not suck. My wings either. 
  • bikesAndBBQbikesAndBBQ Posts: 257
    The number of people who can’t get smoke on their meat here is astounding 
    Most of these people never really give details either. Just a classic internet....it no worky....help plz!!!!
    Pittsburgh, PA. LBGE
  • DWFIIDWFII Posts: 299
    edited June 10
    The number of people who can’t get smoke on their meat here is astounding 
    Most of these people never really give details either. Just a classic internet....it no worky....help plz!!!!
    I suspect that the reason for that is that most of us here are still learning (after near on to 40 years with other smokers and BBQ in my own case) ...and we desperately want to learn from experts like you fellas.
    And perhaps, just because we've smoked on other rigs for so long, we've become accustomed to a 'deeper', 'richer', more intense smoke flavour than y'all might want.
    I've read comments from some 'experts' on Kamado cooking,  that you don't need to add wood at all--that lump charcoal all by itself will impart all the smoke flavour you ever really need.
    IMO--YMMV...FWIW
    Bespoke boot and shoemaker--45+ years
    Instagram
  • unoriginalusernameunoriginalusername Posts: 689
    edited June 10
    The number of people who can’t get smoke on their meat here is astounding 

    Smoke can be a little bit like hot sauce. Spicy the first time but once your pallet gets used to it you almost don’t notice it’s there at all

    i’d be curious if the people complaining about smoke genuinely aren’t getting smoke flavour or if it’s just become more normal and harder to pick up... if that’s the case invite a neighbour over who cooks on a gasser and see if they find your cooking smoke infused or not lol 

    the kamado is a jack of all trades when it comes to Q, try searing a steak on a pellet or doing 700 degree wood fired pizza etc. but to say it does everything better than everything else is selling short other tried and tested tools that lead the industry for competitions and restaurants for very good reasons 

    the things that have helped me most:
    1) ditch the chips for chunks 
    2) place a few chunks on the vent grate and add coal on top. Add a chunk up top if your so inclined as well 
    3) increase temperatures from where I started at 200-225 (stick burner strength) to 250-275 for better smoke 
    4) spray your meat with water. This helps set the bark and allows the protein to absorb more smoke 
    Large BGE 2013, Minimax 2018 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  Collection of my best BGE foodporn shots 
  • dstearndstearn Posts: 1,366
    Ever since I started placing the
    wood chunks underneath the lump I have been getting consistent smoke throughout the cook with no flare ups. 
  • ThapcoThapco Posts: 27
    For those who think BGE is not a smoker, why do I have to run take a shower, wash my hair and throw my clothes in the washer after each cook?  Wife makes me take my clothes off outside.  Hmmm, sometimes not a bad idea but makes me set the meat after cooking for too long.  Happens everytime I open the top
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