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Help with good smoke

JMJM Posts: 39
edited 6:22PM in EggHead Forum
I have done several long cooks - mostly boston butt's - and I haven't been able to get a good smoke flavor for these cooks. I have read many posts on how to set up for a long cook and have learned about differnet theories on achieving a good smoke like placing meat in freezer prior to cooking. I have also read that most of the smoke is achieved up to reaching meat temp. of approx. 130* and after that there is no real benefit for additional smoking.[p]Is there a good technique for proper set-up of wood chunks and coal prior to start. I get a very good smoke the first hour I start up and after that the smoke seems to die out and never returns. How can I get a longer smoke. [p]My current method is to soak my large wood chunks prior to cook (I have also tried without soaking wood). I place wood chunks in the center of the firebox and around the outside. I have not tried cutting into any part of the fat cap or meat.


  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    JM, from what your describing, your doing everything about right..I may be wrong, and other's can feel free to correct me and offer their own views.
    I have my best results with damp wood soaked but not dripping water. Generally most of what you see expiring from the stack is latent moisture in the charcoal, and some from the smoking wood itself. It takes heat to make the smoking wood smolder and make smoke. So I generally put most of my chunk or several chunks right over my hot center fire. Then cover with more charcoal so the wood smolders, but does not ignite into flame. Usually the raw wood will not ignite anyway due to the gas escaping from the lower charcoal..Nothing, even paper will ignite when laying on top of the charcoal in the will darken, and eventually disintegrate. Try to ignite a piece of paper on a wire and insert it in the dome port, or even light it and insert it....its whoooof...out in s split second. Even with a 700F internal red hot fire.[p]So back to the smoke....Once I have covered my smoking wood with more charcoal..I let it take its course. You don't have to see a great deal of smoke, (you will have a combo smoke/steam) but the affects and taste of the various woods will enter the meats..This affect is seen by the smoke ring in the darker meats and redness in poultry. If you have a 1/8th to 1/4" ring in your meats, you have about the maximum affect..Chilling does help to a point as colder meats absorb smoke more readily. As others have described, your first 20 to 40 minutes (temperature variable) will be the most affective..After that, its cooking time. You don't want meats down in the lower temp zones very long (Thanks Dave) except for Jerky.
    Now I too am confused...back to my medicine..heeeyaaa

  • JMJM Posts: 39
    If I were to wait to put my wood on the hot fire, isn't it difficult to get the temp back down if I am doing a long cook with dome temp 200 - 220*?

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    JM, not if the lower and upper ceramic castings hasn't achieved its heat levels..The dome thermometer is only telling you the flame temperature and you can disregard the dome thermometer until you have capped of the top vent and shut down the lower vent to minimum openings..then you will see the thermometer drop..stabilize, and gradually rise again as the charcoal burns according to how much lower vent is opened. You will see this more as you learn the burning curves.
    For instance, I did a 18 hour cook two days ago, and my initial start was with a half firechamber full of red hot grilling charcoal. Once I added my smoking wood, new charcoal, filling the unit all the way to the grill, adding my firebricks, drip pan, and meats and closed the dome, the internal temperature was 160F degrees.. My dome and sidewalls did not have time to retain heat, even tho I could have grilled a steak, or a burger..:-)
    It took another half hour for the temps to rise to 230, my cooking temp for the next 18 hours.
    Hope this helps..

  • JMJM Posts: 39
    This helps alot. I thought that the temp would get to high. I will give this a try next time.[p]Another quick question - Do you prefer using your fire bricks rather than the Plate Setter for indirect cooks like the Boston Butt? I tried my new plate setter last weekend for my 18 hour Boston Butt cook - although it turned out great -- I preferred using my firebricks.

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    JM, I like the FB's for the arrangements of my drip pans..but the Plate setter works also..I have more dexterity with the bricks..I use my setter primarily for pizza cooks.

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