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Newbie - controlling smokey flavor

EubletEublet Posts: 54
edited 9:58AM in EggHead Forum
Hey, guys. New egg owner here. I'm really liking this thing, but there have been a couple of instances where I think I had to much smoke flavor in my food.

Example. I grilled some chicken breasts today for about 20 minutes at 350. I let the grill stabilize before putting them on, and there was no smoke coming out of the grill. Of course, putting the chicken on caused it to start smoking a bit. They had a great flavor, but where very smokey. I did not add any wood chips of any time. I am using Royal Oak lump charcoal.

Is there something different I could do to cut back on that flavor when I don't want so much of it?

Thanks,

Jason

Comments

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    what was on the chicken that made them smoke? oil?
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Did you start with wood chips? If so, you only need a hand full or so. When I am grilling, I don't usually use any chips. (I tend to have left overs from a previous cook.) For low and slow cooks, I place wood chips in a spiral (from center out). This allows chips to slowly burn as lump ignites out from the center.
    If had no wood chips, I'm at a loss as to why you get smoke taste. I use Royal Oak with no troubles.
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    No wood chips at all.
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    I did spray with a little bit of 100% EVO cooking spray just to help the Big Green Egg seasoning stick a bit. Not a lot of oil by any means. Moistened them a bit. that was about it.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    My guess is it was the drippings from the chicken that caused the smoke and the smokey taste. That should not have made it strong for my tastes but if you prefer less you might try a drip pan.
  • Little ChefLittle Chef Posts: 4,725
    Were you using leftover lump? Perhaps wood left over from a previous cook?
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    Yes, some left over lump. Some new. But there were no wood chips in the previous burns, and there was no smoke coming from the egg before I put on the chicken and it start dripping on the coals.
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    It wasn't all that strong. I just didn't want to taste so much of it.

    I'm also starting to wonder if I'm just wearing this thing out. I've been cooking on it 4-5 times a week for the last 3 weeks since I got it. Maybe I'm just ready for a break? ;-)
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    what was your previous cook. burgers?
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    keep comming around here and you will have a really long list of things to try that are diffrent... you will also have to still cook the regular meals that will no longer be regular...


    welcome to the forum!!


    no advice on the smoke except let it stabilize longer and if you light a piece of uncarbonized wood it will give a strong smoke flavor.. you will notice them cause they do not look like all the rest of the pieces of lump.. just throw them out or let them burn after your food has come off ;)

    happy eggin

    TB

    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • Chicken is very sensitive to smoky flavor.
    oil or fat dripping will generate smoke.

    I will often trim the fat and excess skin from the chicken pieces before I cook.

    The best way to avoid any smoke is to cook indirect or at least cook over a drip pan. If you have a raised grid, you can put the pan on the regular grid and put the chicken on the top bunk.

    or

    if you have a platesetter, put that in, legs up, put the drip pan on and then put the grid on the feet of the platesetter.

    Even when I think the chicken's not smoky one of my kids will tell me it is. No matter what you cook, the leftovers will taste even more smoky.
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,392
    LC, I almost always put in too much lump for fear of running out, it's a vicious cycle of cooking with 50% fresh lump and 50% used lump. Will it cause too much smoky taste in the food? In fact my wife often complain of the smoke taste. Please enlighten.
    -Gary
    canuckland
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    Yes, it was burgers.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    that might do it.

    i'd ask if the smoke was WOOD smoke, and good, but just too much. that might be a case of left over wood from a previous smoke. it could also be a case of the charcoal itself (which has some uncarbonized wood in it usually) adding the smoke flavor. you can really taste the difference with chicken or turkey. smoke really stands out on those.

    if it was "yecch" tasting. burnt black tasting, i'd guess it was the oil. i marinated octupus in oil once (with lemon and i think parsley) and it flared like a sunnuvab!tch when i put it on.

    lots of folks will oil a steak before grilling, but you'll get that burnt flavor very quickly. olive oil especially burns at lower temps.

    your meat won't stick. put it on fairly dry, and if it is sticking, it just isn't ready to flip. honestly. as long as the grate is hot, it will sear it well enough where it contacts it so that you can flip it eventually. if it sticks, the grate hasn't finished searing the meat from contact
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    I'll try using less lump on the shorter cooks and see what happens. Thanks.
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    It wasn't burnt tasting at all. Just very strong smokey flavor, like jerky that had been smoked for hours. It was just strong...not bad. I'll try it without oil next time as well.

    For what it's worth, the burgers I cooked the night before had the same strong smoke flavor. But as another person mentioned, I've been using old lump every time, about half-way up the firebox. I top that off when new lump to the top each time, and then light it. It's definitely stabilized by the time I put food on it. Absolutely no smoke coming out the top at all. Just heat.

    I did a single spatchcock chicken. Cooked for almost two hours at 350 as it was a large chicken. It wasn't smokey at all. In fact, I did that immediately AFTER I did the burgers, on the same fire without adding any lump.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    My guess, when you opened the dome to add the chicken the air caused the fire to flare and burn the grease from the burgers.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    well, if it is a GOOD smoke flavor, it wasn't from the burning fat or leftover fat from cooking burgers.

    some lump has more flavor than others. 'Cowboy' lump is a lighter, less smokey tasting lump. you might try that.

    old lump (leftover) won't have much smoke flavor left either. maybe you are not used to the smoke flavor, even when it is coming solely from the lumop itself. chicken reallys allows the smoke to stand out, which might make it seem extra smokey.

    dunno.

    what kind (brand) of lump are you using?
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    'cept he said it was a "good" smoke, just too much.


    Eublet; was it WOOD smoke flavor? if so, it has to be the lump.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,538
    You've gotten some nice advice. Without tasting it, it's hard to say, but personally I like the flavor of the fat dripping on the coals. So long as it is not a choking thick smoke (like you get when you cook burgers). And even then, the flavor is not bad. So I am doubting that it was a fat issue.

    Wood/charcoal smoke, on the other hand, can be quite strong. Obviously an established fire is important (as others have said), but the key (for me anyways) is to use only enough charcoal to complete your cook, and not much more.

    Not sure if it helps, but it's all I gots!
    Cheers
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
    Instagram: @DizzyPigBBQ
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,538
    Good call Pat!!
    I did not even read this before posting, but I did mention burgers making thick heavy smoke. You are a psychic mang!
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
    Instagram: @DizzyPigBBQ
  • 500500 Posts: 2,759
    For what it's worth, I got a whole new flavor dimension from foods cooked on the Egg, even without smoking wood. I'm a relative newbie, and thought the same thing on some cooks. I think it's the nature of cooking with natural hardwood lump. It's something that I never tasted from the gasser-cooked foods. I like the smoke flavor of the lump, even without adding smoking wood.
    Large BGE; Midlothian, Virginia
    I like Pig Butts and I can not lie.
    "Barbecue is a journey, one meal at a time."
  • egginatoregginator Posts: 569
    I struggle with the exact same problem, but I don't have a solution. I would like some of the smart people discuss the benefit of cooking it hotter. I think the smoke flavor sets in the meat below a certain temp and a hotter faster cook should result in less smoke. Maybe less lump, a hotter fire and less time.

    Ed
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    yep. if he's coming over from cooking on gas, well, everything will have that smoke flavor.

    good point
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • I agree that everything cooked on the Egg is going to have a "smoked" taste compared to anything cooked with gas.

    I believe that cooking with a hotter temp will still have that taste of smoke no matter how short you cook the meat.

    Faith
    Tampa, FL
    Happily egging for 13 years and counting!
    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
     
    3 Large, 2 Smalls, 1 well-used Mini
  • It wasn't burnt tasting at all. Just very strong smokey flavor, like jerky that had been smoked for hours. It was just strong...not bad. I'll try it without oil next time as well.
    I think your smoke was the oil dripping from the chicken onto the coals.
    For what it's worth, the burgers I cooked the night before had the same strong smoke flavor. But as another person mentioned, I've been using old lump every time, about half-way up the firebox. I top that off when new lump to the top each time, and then light it. It's definitely stabilized by the time I put food on it. Absolutely no smoke coming out the top at all. Just heat.
    Another reason I figure it's the oil dripping causing the smoke. As Stike said, old lump is less smokey unless it also has drippings on it. In that case it would be smoking before you put the food on. I save a container of used lump for quick cooks after work. It's ready to cook on quicker than new lump.
    I did a single spatchcock chicken. Cooked for almost two hours at 350 as it was a large chicken. It wasn't smokey at all. In fact, I did that immediately AFTER I did the burgers, on the same fire without adding any lump.
    You got me there- I have no idea! Usually chicken fats and oil drippingt onto the coals will yield a bitter tasting smoke. Therefore I found that when doing vertical chickens, I set them in a disposable pie pan and they taste better. My favorite method for whole chickens is indirect, set them on the grid and cook at 450 - 500 for an hour.
  • ILL--EGGERILL--EGGER Posts: 478
    Whenever I talk to a new egger about grilling the one complaint I always hear is that the food is too smokey. Anytime you are just grilling some burgers, chicken, chops, steaks...etc leave the daisy top OFF completely. Stabalize your fire and then just control your temp. with the bottom vent only and leave the top completely OPEN with NO daisy wheel. You'll be able to hold 400 or so with no problem and I guarantee you'll get the smoke free taste your looking for. ;)
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