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Thread: Harry Soo can't be right....

  1. #11
    TVWBB Pro Lynn Dollar's Avatar
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    This is where I become confused about the type of smoke from a WSM. It seems to me that Harry Soo gets smoldering smoke as the wood ignites, but maybe not. Maybe its heated enough that it combusts when next to burning charcoal. But this makes me rethink my WSM cooks and where I place the wood chunks.

    In Chris's " Cooking Topics " the BRITU cook, it calls for allowing the wood to become totally engulfed in flames before assembing the WSM, and then even waiting an hour to put the meat on

    The recipe calls for 10-15 pounds of charcoal and the smoke wood to be lit using a chimney starter about an hour before cooking. All fuel is supposed to be covered with white/gray ash before cooking begins.

    I deviate from the process somewhat on this point, but achieve the same end result. I fire the cooker using the Standard Method, lighting a Weber chimney starter full of Kingsford Charcoal Briquets, dumping them into the charcoal chamber when hot, then adding another full chimney of unlit briquettes and the smoke wood chunks over the lit coals (Photo 5).

    Note that a Weber chimney filled to the top holds about 5 lb 5 oz of Kingsford charcoal, so two Weber chimneys of Kingsford is sufficient for this recipe.

    When the smoke wood is engulfed in flames, but not fully consumed (Photo 6), assemble the cooker.
    Put the water pan in place and fill it with cool tap water. Close all three bottom vents, but set the top vent fully open and leave it that way during the entire cooking process.

    Allow the WSM to sit for about an hour before adding the ribs to the cooker. During this time, the cooker temperature will drop, and much of the smoke wood will be consumed, leaving just the right amount of smoke called for in the recipe.
    I warm splits when running my stick burner, just like in this video from Yoder , I build my fire to one side and keep a split on the other side


  2. #12
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    I have seen Harry say several times "This is way I do it. If you way better do it you way"
    Not trying to get offensive,I think it's funny.. But I think he just throws ideas out there to try,and to make us think. As was said,yes 8 chunks of wood might be to much for a rib cook. But a hot and fast brisket might be about right.
    I tried V8 Peach Mango on a batch of ribs yesterday because Harry mentioned it on his Championship ribs. It doesn't work for me. But I also didn't use all the ingredients he was using either.
    I started putting my wood next to the grate because of a thread on here a few weeks ago. My results so far have been that I think the smoke flavor seems stronger. But when I clean out the ashes,for the most part the wood hasn't turned to ash. I'll probably keep on doing it this way from now on.
    Harry also says always have fun. And i think it's cool he shares ideas of different things to try. My next batch of ribs I think I am gonna use plane old V8 juice instead of Peach mango. But then again,I might just use a little less peach mango.
    What i'm trying to say is it isn't an exact Art. But it is an Art. It says that at all Gates and sons BBQ joints in KC.
    "BBQ is an art. Be an artist or be gone"

  3. #13
    TVWBB Guru Rusty James's Avatar
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    Speak of the devil.

    I smoked a Kentucky Legend ham today on the 18" WSM, and I placed one chunk of apple on the grate and covered it with premium charcoal briquettes. After the initial smoke died down, I had the idea of adding a tin foil pack of peach wood chips with a pencil-size hole in the top of the pouch for extra smoke flavor just before adding the meat. I've used pouches on the Genesis gas grill with great results, but today, the wood in the pouch left a slightly acrid taste to the meat.

    Did the pouch get too hot? I don't know.

    When using the WSM, I've always had my best results by placing my wood chunks directly on the grate first. I see Steve Raichlen, of Project Smoke, place wood chunks directly on the lit coals and start cooking almost immediately with great results. It never has worked that way for me, unfortunately.
    18.5", 18.5", 14.5", Royal Oak Lump / Royal Oak All Natural Briquettes, Blue Genesis Silver C, Q1000

  4. #14
    TVWBB Pro Lynn Dollar's Avatar
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    To further complicate, do not pellet poopers and gravity feed smokers, continually add wood to lit coals ?

    The complaint with pellet poopers has been they don't produce enough smoke, others counter that its clean smoke because its very clean combustion.

  5. #15
    TVWBB Platinum Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Dollar View Post
    To further complicate, do not pellet poopers and gravity feed smokers, continually add wood to lit coals ?

    The complaint with pellet poopers has been they don't produce enough smoke, others counter that its clean smoke because its very clean combustion.
    My understanding is that they run very clean. You get a lot of convection because they use fans to blow the air through the cook chamber and they have a very small fire. Because of this, at higher temps they have almost complete combustion and so the smoke is TOO clean. To counter this, people will also run a small pellet burning tube like an A-maze-N to add some smoke flavor at high temps.

    Taste's change over time. Right now it's towards a very clean smoke taste on very well drafting stick burners, at least in the Texas restaurant barbecue world. I'm willing to bet that some smokers that don't draft was well were designed that way intentionally because people complained of lack of smoke flavor.

    Charcoal is a great filter. Maybe what's at play is the smoke from the chunks on the bottom is somehow cleaned by the charcoal on top of it? Just a thought.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Slow N Sear 2.0, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

  6. #16
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty James View Post
    When using the WSM, I've always had my best results by placing my wood chunks directly on the grate first. I see Steve Raichlen, of Project Smoke, place wood chunks directly on the lit coals and start cooking almost immediately with great results. It never has worked that way for me, unfortunately.
    I've ONLY put them on top once the WSM gets up to temp so--> Proper temps then wood on top then immediately put on the meat. Always get a great ring .
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  7. #17
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    Took a Brisket class with Dizzy Pig BBq in Manassas, Va. Now to be fair he cooks with a Kamado, however his rule of thumb would be to smell your smoke first before you add your meat. I know we all have been in situation where we got our head to close to our smoker and then our eyes started watering and our noise hairs fell off. Well this he would argue is bad smoke. The same smoke that waters your eyes, is the same smoke that is getting into the food. This is what he tries to avoid. I've gotten that clean blue smoke before, but it always seems to come bout 2 hours after I have added my meat. The question is how can you achieve this clean blue smoke quicker in the WSM.

    I have always started with a little bit of lit coals and then bring it UP to temp before putting on food. Perhaps for my next cook I will start with a whole chimney of lit coals (By the way the coals i use are Redwood Lump Charcoal) and then get my WSM DOWN to temp. The thing is, when I am grilling, I full my chimney with coals and light it. In the beginning of the lighting process, I am getting nothing but white smoke, but after about 5 minutes, that is when I start getting the blue smoke from the chimney. I can only conclude that transistioning from white smoke to blue smoke has something to do with how hot the fire is compared to how many coals are in the container/cooker.

  8. #18
    TVWBB Pro Lynn Dollar's Avatar
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    My theory on Harry Soo's method, is the chunks are being warmed as the fire spreads to reach them, so they combust quicker , without smoldering.

    Now that said, I don't think a WSM has enough air flow for those chunks to burst into flames as a split does in a stick burner. But do the pellets in a pellet pooper burst into flames when they hit the fire ? IDK enough about pellet smokers.

    But I do know , running my stick burner, I want that split to burst into flames quickly. I don't want it sit and smolder. And not only warming the splits avoids that, but I also have to have good air flow. In the Yoder video I posted, they recommend shutting the exhaust stack about a 1/3, I can't bring myself to do that, I've never done that on the WSM. I want air flow, and a lot of it. So I have the stack wide open and a lot of the time the door on the firebox is open a couple inches. I may go through more splits, but my smoke stays clean.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Dollar View Post
    My theory on Harry Soo's method, is the chunks are being warmed as the fire spreads to reach them, so they combust quicker , without smoldering.

    Now that said, I don't think a WSM has enough air flow for those chunks to burst into flames as a split does in a stick burner. But do the pellets in a pellet pooper burst into flames when they hit the fire ? IDK enough about pellet smokers.

    But I do know , running my stick burner, I want that split to burst into flames quickly. I don't want it sit and smolder. And not only warming the splits avoids that, but I also have to have good air flow. In the Yoder video I posted, they recommend shutting the exhaust stack about a 1/3, I can't bring myself to do that, I've never done that on the WSM. I want air flow, and a lot of it. So I have the stack wide open and a lot of the time the door on the firebox is open a couple inches. I may go through more splits, but my smoke stays clean.

    So how to control your temp? Having said this, I have a choice angus brisket that I am cooking experiment on. I am going to start my WSM on High say 325 and then work my way up to 275. See how long it takes the white smoke to disappear.

  10. #20
    TVWBB Pro Lynn Dollar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre A View Post
    So how to control your temp? Having said this, I have a choice angus brisket that I am cooking experiment on. I am going to start my WSM on High say 325 and then work my way up to 275. See how long it takes the white smoke to disappear.
    The only real way to learn is to experiment and smoke meats. Reading what others do can help, but I've reached the age that I forget most of what I read

    I control the temp with size of the coal bed and the split.

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