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Trouble smoking at low temps

Hello.  I have had a large BGE for almost a year and I love it.  I have used it mainly for grilling at higher temps but I have also attempted a beef brisket once and ribs several times.  Both have turned out pretty good except I am having trouble getting a good smoke ring.  I have tried hickory and applewood chips.  I have soaked these overnight.  I have tried layering my lump with the soaked chips and also putting the soaked chips on top of the lump.  When I have my egg stabiilized at 200-225 degrees i get little to no smoke, except for an inital smoke from chips i put on top of the lump, and this only lasts a short time.  I can cook  for many hours at 200-225 degrees with no smoke.  If I increase my temp to around 275 to 300 degrees I start getting good smoke.  Unfortunately this is too hot for what I am trying to cook.  Any advice?  Thank you.


  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    If you temp is coming from your dome thermo, which I'm going to assume it is, then your grate temp may not even be 200 degrees.

    There is no need to soak the chunks or chips.

    Get your dome temp up to 250 or 260 that is still very much, low and slow.  I did baby backs last night at 250 and they had a beautiful smoke ring.

    Good luck.
  • 275-300 is perfect for almost everything low and slow. 200-225 is WAY too low for an egg. First of all 200 is more like 190 at the grid so it's pretty tough to get things up to 200 wen you are cooking at 190. do like dugan said- go at least 250 and see what that does for you. Don't worry about the smoke ring. I never get them either. If you really fell like you need one, add a water pan to your cook and see if that helps.

    another good thing to remember....good smoke is smelled, not seen. You are getting plenty of smoke at those low temps. 

    and soaked chips don't help. They just steam the little bit of water out and then smoke as they would have in the first place. don't soak- no need.

    1- LGBE
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  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    If you have burning lump "in contact" with a wood chip, dry or wet, you will have smoke! For whatever reason, this must be the problem. Check the way you are starting your egg and where the smoking wood is in your egg..
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,013
    What @Dunganboy said.

    The dome is around 40 degrees higher than the grid level(average) so your dome of 225 could be anywhere from 175-200. The egg is completely different than other cookers as it is so well insulated that it hols onto moisture making the cooking area quite humid and fine to go at 275 or 300 dome. At such a low temp, the fire may be too small to actually catch the wood chunks. Also, just because you can't see the smoke doesn't mean it's not there. Do you still get smoke flavor? The ring is just visual and does nothing for the taste of the food.

    You don't have to soak the wood chunks. Water only penetrates by a few mm at most. This will just steam off and delay smoking(which can be beneficial in some cookers) but is not necessary in the egg.

    Unless you are "cold-smoking" cheese or bacon, you don't need the traditional "low and slow" temps that conventional wisdom dictates. You can get great BBQ at 350 dome. Hell, Aaron Franklin(considered the best brisket in the country) does his at 325.

    This is a learning experience, and a blast at that. Good luck and welcome!
  • dpittarddpittard Posts: 126
    I would suggest using chunks, not chips as the smoke (visible or not) will continue for much longer than the chips will.  Also, like others have said, don't bother soaking them.

    LBGE with a massive wish list
    Athens, Ga.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    The smoke ring color change is the result of the nitrogen in the smoke reacting w. the myoglobin in the meat. The reaction stops above 140F. Also, the depth of the ring is affected by the moisture near the surface. You will get a better smoke ring, but not a better smoke flavor from putting cold meat w. a damp surface into the Egg.

    If you really want a nice ring, it can be faked by brushing the meat surface w. a dilute solution of Mortons Tender quick, and letting that sink in. That adds extra nitrites.

    And, if what I've read is correct, the amount of ring differs w. different meats. Beef can have a good ring, prok not so much, and white meat poultry even less.
  • WokOnMediumWokOnMedium Posts: 1,376
     I let my Egg stabilize, add the top wood chunks (dry) a few minutes before I haul the food out.  Chips don't smoke long.  I don't put the platesetter in until the wood has been added.  The temp will dropbecause of the addition of that honking piece of cold ceramic, but the Egg was stable, just keep the faith, it comes back up.

    I don't know for sure why I was raised to soak wood chips, but I need them to smoulder not steam.  Your chunks will burst into flames if you leave Egg open, but left in a low dark Egg they'll smoulder away.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    I turbo cook all my pulled pork butts so I want MAXIMUM smoke during the first few hours of the cook, or before foiling which occurs after it reaches 160 internal degrees. So I place a few,two or three chunks of pecan, directly on top of my lump bed, and it starts producing a solid stream of smoke for near two hours.
  • graysilmgraysilm Posts: 5
    Wow thanks for the replies.  I will try a higher dome temp and will not soak the wood.  Thanks again
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