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Color of smoke

Katodude00Katodude00 Posts: 98
edited 4:32PM in EggHead Forum
Ok, so I know not to cook until the white smoke disappears or turns a wispy blue. But why is the smoke white when it starts and why does it change colors?


  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    The smoke is white or tan at the beginning because it is trying to tell you not to put your food on yet. At least that sounds good for an explanation from an artist.

    An engineer would probably tell you it is the result of incomplete combustion, but I am not an engineer ;-)

    Clean smoke toya!!
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • BrocBroc Posts: 1,398

    And .. When the color of the smoke has changed, and you think you're ready...

    ... wait another ten minutes!



    ~ Broc
  • TomM24TomM24 Posts: 1,364
    I have to say this ten minute rule is on of the best things I've learned hear. On Superbowl Sunday my wifes friends went to a craft show then they came back for lunch and I had forgotten to cook the boneless chicken breasts. So I quickly fired up the grill 15-20 minutes later my wife looks and say the white smoke is gone you can start cooking and I told her no we have to wait 10 minutes more. I was rushing and I only waited five minutes. The pieces I had were fine but my wife got one with a little off taste. Now we both know. I guess sometimes you have to learn a lesson twice.

    I wish I could have taken a pictures. The breast were marinated in oil and the grill marks from the cast iron grill were perfect. I hated to slice them up for the Ceasar Sald but I had hungry guests.
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    True dat.

    Also, with some observation and practice, you can tell just by smelling. It's a nice skill to work on, as the timing is different every time.

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  • bad smoke is burning off of VOC's volitile organic compounds.
    thanks for the recommendation on the coffee roaster. i got the behmor on monday used it once. good so far will play iwth it this weekend thanks agin
  • I think you will enjoy the roaster. We pretty much just use the P1 and P2 setting.

    What is the average amount of time before the smoke changes? Just trying to hone those skills.
  • dbdb Posts: 37
    As wood heats up, moisture is driven off in the form of water vapor. It also carries some amounts of small particles. When the wood temperature reaches around 450 degrees, most of the water is gone and the wood is now releasing yummy gasses. When the exhaust has lots of water vapor and large bits of unburnt stuff, light from the sun (all the visible colors, think rainbow)get scattered in that little "cloud" of smoke and it appears white to our eyes. That is, all seven visible colors viewed at once, equal white.
    Once the wood is burning between 450 degrees and around 750 degrees, most of the wood is being converted into those yummy gasses. These gas molecules are much smaller than the large water droplets causing the white smoke. Most of the light passes through this gas cloud unaffected, but some of the gas molecules in the cloud is just the right size to scatter the blue light, so the smoke appears blue to us, and maybe to dogs. I'm not quite sure.
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