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Wood chunks for smoking - problem

YnoYno Posts: 125
I have been using the Egg for almost three years and love it. However, I have not had good luck with adding chunks of wood for smoking, and I am hoping it is because of the chunks themselves. I bought a bag of hickory chunks from Home Depot and every time I have added a couple mixed in with the lump, I get tremendous clouds of billowing white smoke. Twice now I have opened the Egg and fished out the burning wood to dump in a bucket of water. Everything goes back to normal then.

Are these chunks too dry? I know soaking in water doesn't penetrate much into the wood. I have heard people say good things about Fruita Wood, and looking at their site, it even warns of "*DEPOT and *Mart Stores bagged woods" as being too dry. So I am thinking of ordering some chunks from them. Do the experts here think this will solve my problem?

I will thinking of cherry, as we have been using a cherry rub that we really like. what other types are popular?
XL BGE in San Jose, CA. Also a Pit Barrel Cooker, a Cal Flame P4 gasser, and lots of toys including the first ever Flame Boss 300 in the wild.

Comments

  • Brisket_FanaticBrisket_Fanatic Posts: 2,693
    You will always get clouds of white smoke until the fire is burning clean. I have used Western Brand wood chucks forever with no issues. Frutia Wood is a great site and I have been using up a large box of peach. Great smoke flavor and no issues. When the wood is burning clean it will be thin blue smoke and almost transparent but you should still be able to get smoke flavor. 

    NW IA

    2 LBGE, 1 SBGE, 22.5 WSM, 1 Smokey Joe

  • TEXASBGE2018TEXASBGE2018 Posts: 1,567
    Always upon initially lighting the wood it will smoke bad white smoke. Once its caught it will start to slow burn and get the good blue smoke that you are looking for.  Like Brisket Fanatic, I have used Western Brand Hickory Chunks forever and I always know that until the wood catches its going to be bad smoke. You can definitely tell the difference between the good and bad smoke. The good blue smoke almost smells like incense or something. I don't put my meats on until the white smoke has cleared. Once the meat is on you will occasionally get white smoke again once another wood chunk catches, but by that time the meat is already cooking and any off smoke flavor wont be tasted in the meat. Keep on keepin on.

    Rockwall, Tx    LBGE, 36" Stainless Blackstone Griddle, Contemplating which size Egg to get next. Cast Iron Hoarder.

    "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas"- Davy Crockett

  • I just watched a Harry Soo video and he says to burry the chunks down in the coal so you get proper ignition. Tried it yesterday and had a great cook ... my first brisket smoke ring 




    Large BGE 2013, Minimax 2018 
    Cedar table
    Burlington, Ontario 
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 17,958
    Depending on the protein, I will load chunks and chips throughout the lump load (low&slow).  Your initial light-off will generate the "bad smoke" due to the burning off of the VOC's from the lump.    (Detailed discussion of that is best left to someone else).   The BGE environment once the fire gets burning will drive off bad VOC's even if the lump is not yet burning.  That's why you wait for the good smoke before starting the cook.
    BTW-I have never had any issues with any wood chips/chunks (including Western) and I have found some bags that have been open for a few years (well air-dried). I load all smoke wood when loading the lump and then fire it up and go.  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,083
    edited August 6
    I just watched a Harry Soo video and he says to burry the chunks down in the coal so you get proper ignition. Tried it yesterday and had a great cook ... my first brisket smoke ring 




    Bee-You-Tea-Full!
  • YnoYno Posts: 125
    Perhaps I will give it another try. The chunks I pulled out had live flame on them but were not fully engulfed. But I have never seen that much smoke. I have been a camper all my life and never have seen a campfire put out that much smoke. I had to feel my way to the Egg. Well, that is a bit of an overstatement. But with the Cali fires going, I figured it was better to get rid of the problem before my neighbors called in the fire brigade.

    So do chunks eventually quit belching smoke like Krakatoa and settle down? When I opened the Egg to pull them out the charcoal was glowing a nice red, but the flames were licking off the chunks. Just too nasty to leave in there.
    XL BGE in San Jose, CA. Also a Pit Barrel Cooker, a Cal Flame P4 gasser, and lots of toys including the first ever Flame Boss 300 in the wild.
  • billt01billt01 Posts: 827
    edited August 7
    I'm a bit confused here...

    adding fresh wood to any bed of charcoal or bed of coals will create the smoke you speak of. It may be the amount of wood you are using to start which may be triggering too much of the white smoke.

    #wood_will_burn
     
    too add,wet wood will smolder before catching fire (never been a fan of using wet wood to cook with). 
     "Don't listen to her, Bob.Remember: those who can, do; those who can't, teach."
                                                                                                     -Jane
                                                                                                     "Man and Superman"
    Have:
    LBGE / Stumps Baby XL / Couple of Stokers (Gen 1 and Gen 3), Blackstone 36

    Had:
    Lang 60D, Cookshack SM150, Stumps Stretch, Stumps Baby

    Fat Willies BBQ
    Ola, Ga

  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 13,200
    Wet wood is not the greatest for smoking. If wood absorbed water so readily, then why did they make boats out of it?
    I have a source I have been using called Fruitia, in Colorado, great folks to deal with, and great products throughout their inventory. 
    Google them, and any questions you may have regarding smoking food with wood they will answer.
    From my personal experience, allow the white smoke to dissipate prior to adding the food, and you will be fine.
    Keep on Egging. 
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • ColtsFanColtsFan Posts: 2,330
    I've been using @stlcharcoal wood chunks for a while now. Great stuff!

    Like others have said, you have to wait for the heavy white smoke to clear before putting food on. 
    XL BGE, 2-LG BGE, KJ Jr, 36" Blackstone, Ardore Pizza Oven
    Follow me on Instagram @ hoosier_egger
    Bloomington, IN - Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!
  • 1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • That article and the corresponding video (behind the paywall) cost me $1500 (I bought a karubecue). 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,155
    ColtsFan said:
    I've been using @stlcharcoal wood chunks for a while now. Great stuff!

    Like others have said, you have to wait for the heavy white smoke to clear before putting food on. 
    I need to try his chunks. There is a guy who lives in Columbia who does a pallet order of rockwood charcoal and I buy a few bags from him each time. I need to stock up on more of that as is 
    Boom
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,868
    Related question for those of you who use stick-burners: do you start your fires and let the wood burn down until you have coals, and then put on the protein?  I thought that was the process, and if so that's what we should be doing with our wood chunks.
     
    This might actually be a nod towards using chips (which is how I've done it so far).  Chips will heat through (and thus drive off the volatiles) much faster than  chunks, and while it could be said they burn up faster, that's true but they don't burn until the lump underneath them is going (I almost always have unburned chips here and there after a cook, even a lo-und-slo).  Hmmm. 

    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,248
    I’ve never been happy adding the chunks after the fire has started. Wood for smoke should catch and burn slowly and not ignited all at once. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • mEGG_My_DaymEGG_My_Day Posts: 788
    I just watched a Harry Soo video and he says to burry the chunks down in the coal so you get proper ignition. Tried it yesterday and had a great cook ... my first brisket smoke ring 




    Now that's just showing off!!! Nice table of food - well done.
    Memphis, TN 
    LBGE, SBGE, Hasty-Bake Gourmet, Akorn (still in the box)
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 17,958
    @Botch- The objective is the same-clean burning fire.  With my small stick burner I get a solid bed of coals and then add a  small stick as needed (generally around every 20 minutes).  I run with full air-flow thru the fire box to establish and maintain the clean burning fire.  
    With the restricted air-flow of the BGE, the volume of fire is limited at any one time.  I think the atmosphere inside the BGE within the lump bed is enough to take care of any wood chunk VOC's even before the fire itself gets to the chunk.  I do use a mix of chunks and chips if looking for lots of smoke (primarily a brisket or butt cook).  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • billt01billt01 Posts: 827
    lousubcap said:
    @Botch- The objective is the same-clean burning fire.  With my small stick burner I get a solid bed of coals and then add a  small stick as needed (generally around every 20 minutes).  I run with full air-flow thru the fire box to establish and maintain the clean burning fire.  
    With the restricted air-flow of the BGE, the volume of fire is limited at any one time.  I think the atmosphere inside the BGE within the lump bed is enough to take care of any wood chunk VOC's even before the fire itself gets to the chunk.  I do use a mix of chunks and chips if looking for lots of smoke (primarily a brisket or butt cook).  FWIW-
    THIS ↑

    But with my old Lang 60, I would need to put 4 quartered logs ~ 12 to 14 inches in length every 45 minutes to maintain a temperature of 225 to 275 degrees. If it was Cold, High Humidity, or ever worse Raining, the Lang was an absolute fuel hog...

    no sleep for the stick burner...  
     "Don't listen to her, Bob.Remember: those who can, do; those who can't, teach."
                                                                                                     -Jane
                                                                                                     "Man and Superman"
    Have:
    LBGE / Stumps Baby XL / Couple of Stokers (Gen 1 and Gen 3), Blackstone 36

    Had:
    Lang 60D, Cookshack SM150, Stumps Stretch, Stumps Baby

    Fat Willies BBQ
    Ola, Ga

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