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burnt coal taste

Mistick2Mistick2 Posts: 15
edited 1:56AM in EggHead Forum
Have only owned Large BGE for 2 weeks, love it! My question is, most of my food has a burnt charcoal/smokey tase to it? I use the BGE natural lump charcoal, am I doing something wrong? The food itself is not burnt & is quite juicy, but the actual taste is kind of like smoke flavored instead of meat flavored.


  • mikeb6109mikeb6109 Posts: 2,067
    this is caused by not letting your egg stabilize.what i do is let mine climb up to 500 before i actually start closing the drafts to obtain lets say a 350 or 375 degree to cook something!what you want is a clean burn not a lot of smoke or even worst a stale smoke,so that is how i avoid this! a good rule of thumb is do not put anything to cook before you smoke coming out at the top is clear.hope this helps you out a bit.
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    Try starting your fire a bit earlier. Until you have a clean burning fire and all the moisture is cooked out of your lump, you will often get a strong smelling smoke.[p]While you can cook on your egg within 10 minutes of lighting, in most cases you won't get a good clean smoke unless you give it some more time. Also, the hotter the fire the cleaner it burns. Just a cupla thoughts! Hope it helps.[p]Happy cookin.
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,993
    most of that burnt charcoal smokey taste comes from putting certain foods on to soon after lighting the lump. you want to wait til there is almost no smoke, infact when its burning clean its almost a light see thru haze. for real long low and slows you can get away with throwing the meat on when you toss smoking woods in as well, but for foods like chicken you even want the smoking wood to settle down until that darker smoke dissapates

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    I've found I can eliminate smokey taste by leaving the dome open when lighting the lump. (I use starter cubes, and don't close the dome till the cube is consumed.) It also helps to leave the dome open until the entire surface (or nearly so) of the lump is ignited. If you keep an eye on it, you can close the dome jwat as that happens, and the dome temp will be in the 300 to 350 degree range.[p]HTH

  • tach18ktach18k Posts: 1,607
    Mistick2, Let the Egg come to temp, and stay there about 1/2 hour, unless of course your at 600, for 250 -375 range I let it rest there so any food drips on the lump has been burned off or lessened the smell. I toss on the wood chunks/chips just before the food goes on and I only use enough for an hours worth of smoke, like for ribs and such. Birds maybe a 1/2 hours worth.

  • Thanks for everyones help with this! i will try again tonight; I definitely think that I am putting the meat on way too soon. Did not know about the 'waiting' till the smoke is 'clear'! :)
  • Nature Boy,[p]Thanks for the perfect lead-in Chris. [p]My question has always been, if you run out of coal and need to add some, do you just dump it in or do you get it hot first like in a chimney starter? Not much a concern with the egg but I never understood how people that use the WSM, Backwoods, etc. cookers add coal. Doesn't plan charcoal add a bad taste to the food at that time too?[p]Howard

  • Mistick2,
    My wife used to complain about the same thing. I found that if I control the temp using the bottom vent and leave the daisy wheel small opening all the way open (especially with beef) she no longer tasts the "coal" taste. I think it may have to do with trapping the "dead smoke" in the BGE during any dwell time.[p]Just my thoughts and my wife's complaints.

  • Howard,
    If I had to add briquettes to my water smoker I started them in my kettle and once they were going moved them to the smoker. Pain in the keester. BGE removes this issue.

  • BlueSmoke,[p]That's what I do. I also then close the dome and then try to get it to the desired temp with no food in yet. I wait until the smoke is light and not so thick THEN I add the meat. If I don't wait, I get the too smoked out taste also.[p]Aloha![p]Greg
  • Mistick2,
    The bad taste you are experiencing comes from some rather nasty chemicals and is a result of the charcoal smouldering rather than burning. Putting cold food on the grill compounds the effect. Your food should be at or near room temperature when you put it in the Egg. Cold food will attract the impurities coming off of the fire. If the taste is really strong you are probably also experiencing numbing of your tongue. This is another warning sign of creasote and it’s associated chemicals.[p]Starting your Egg, leave the both dampers fully open until the temp comes up. Once it starts up, close down the LOWER damper for temp regulation. You can practice playing with the upper damper, but until you get proficient at temperature controll it might be better to leave it open. You want to regulate how much oxygen can get to your fire, not how much escapes. The upper damper can be used to help contain the heat, thus lowering your charcoal consumption, but if you are restricting the exhaust more than the intake you will get a smouldering fire which, again, is not a good thing.[p]Once you have your Egg to temp, look at the smoke. If it is thick and white or yellow in color, do not put your food in. What you want is a just a little smoke that has a blue tint to it.[p]Mike

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Morro Bay Rich,
    if you are doing a dwell of fatty cuts like rib eyes, and you simply shut top and bottom vents following a sear, the fat which is rendering out of the beef will smolder on the dying coals.[p]it isn't fully combusted, and is pretty sooty. that can give a real off flavor.[p]you might notice it less on tenderloin, for example.[p]i no longer do the sear followed immediately by a dwell, but will let it die down to 400 on its own with the beef pulled off on a plate while the dome temp drops.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stike,
    Interesting thing is she says the same "coal taste" happens with chicken. So I control the temp with the bottom vent and remove the daisy wheel completely. No more "coal taste" according to her.

  • Michael B,
    WELL SAID!!![p]The other thing is if you have a wife who can taste everything, this is good advice to follow.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Morro Bay Rich,
    chicken can be fatty too.[p]sounds like you have something that works though.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Mistick2,[p]The reason I cook over charcoal on the Egg is FOR the smokey taste. Otherwise, wouldn't it just be easier in the oven?
  • Howard,[p]I used the Minion method for many years in my old heavily modified vertical smoker and never noticed an off-taste caused by using unburnt lump. Jim Minion actually says you can use a mix of burnt and unburnt briquettes without any problems.[p]Apparently, the gradual ignition process causes the impurities to be burnt off - much like a catalytic converter in a car engine - before they can affect the food.[p]But I could never bring myself to try it with unburnt briquettes.[p] [p]
  • Egg head,[p]Easier yes, but...[p]Incomplete burning is evidenced by thick white or yellow smoke. This kind of smoke contains many dangerous resins and tars such as creosote, and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as arsenic. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of many compounds including wood and coal. These are what people are talking about when they talk about BBQ and carcinogens. BTW, charcoal briquettes contain wood, coal, clay, and various binders.[p]Complete burning is evidenced by only a light amount of blue smoke. This is the type of smoke that provides the great BBQ flavor everybody works for. The absence of the billowing white smoke doesn't mean no flavor, it means that most or all of the toxins and particulates present in the white smoke have been burned off. You can test this by doing a long cook in your Egg and the same in your oven. A large brisket cooked over a long period in a smoker showing only a little blue smoke will have a pronounced smoke ring. The same brisket cooked at the same temp for the same period in an oven will not. Another test is to smell the smoke. Go ahead and take a good nose full of the thick white/yellow smoke and consider whether you really want to cook your food in that. Then, when your temps have stabilized and the fire is burning properly, smell the blue smoke coming out of the chimney. That is the smell that draws people from down the street to your back yard, and that is the smell that makes great BBQ.[p]Mike
  • Howard,[p]Unlike an ECB, a WSM is quite efficient and, using the Minion method, will cook along for a very long time on a single load of charcoal. The beauty of the Minion method is that you always have a hot bed of coals above any possibly smoldering coals, which will burn off the nasty stuff before it reaches your food. In a ECB, Backwoods, Weber Kettle, etc, you do not let your coal bed burn down to the point that you need make a large addition of cold fuel at any one time. If you do have to make a large addition, then yes you do need to preheat it before adding.[p]Mike
  • Morro Bay Rich,[p]I was getting a lot of the smokey/coal taste with my chicken as well. Now I make sure I get a clean burning fire and I cook most of my chicken indirect.
  • Michael B,[p]ECBs can be made very efficient - but it takes years of trial and error!
  • An Egg Downunder,
    Not years, but a few modifications. A Weber Smokey will supply most of the parts you need.
    Move the legs from the inside to the outside of the Brinkman.
    Replace the bottom section and charcoal pan with a Weber Smokey Joe bottom.
    Remove the lid vent from the Smokey Joe top and install it in the Brinkman top.
    Install a grid level thermometer.[p]Mike

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