amount of wood chunks

TroyS

TVWBB Member
I'm using orange and/or cherry wood chunks for a comp this weekend that will involve brisket, ribs and chicken. Will be cooking with the WSM 22.5 and charcoal briqs. How much wood is a good average to use? The reason I'm asking is because on two separate occasions I was told the smoke was a bit too much. I find this odd because my reverse flow burns nothing but wood and get no complaints. The charcoal/wood thing is new to me so I'm just looking for some feedback. During an 8 to 10 hour cook is there a right or wrong amount of wood on average to use?
 

Bob Ivey

TVWBB Emerald Member
On which meats did you get this comment and how many chunks were you using in the WSM and when did you add it?
 

TroyS

TVWBB Member
On which meats did you get this comment and how many chunks were you using in the WSM and when did you add it?

Good morning. The brisket and the chicken were "too much smoke" according to my famiy and some co workers. I used cherry wood chunks for both. The ribs seemed to not draw any negatives but it was also heavily sauced. I added approx. 5 to 6 pieces to start and 4 to 5 during the cook. The one variable I'd add is that this has been a new process for me with regards to using a WSM and charcoal. I found that the taste was just very different from the times I've cooked using oak with my reverse flow smoker. The charcoal was Kingsford Blue along with the cherry wood. Yesterday I cooked two half chickens with Stubbs and used about 6 or 7 pieces of orange and the family loved it.
 

Andrew F

TVWBB Super Fan
How much is too much? How much do you like? It is a personal choice. I like a lot of smoke. I'm pretty sure that you can't over smoke a brisket or pulled pork product for me. You could do a bad job smoking it, i.e. creasoat from a cold burn, but not over smoke it. Chicken can be over smoked. Chicken is a little harder, it soaks up smoke like a sponge and can get bitter if over smoked.
Both can seem too smokey to somebody who has lived off of gas grilled food for far too long as well. I also find KBB can have an off taste to me.

I tend to go with 5-6 chunks of wood and might add three or 4 if needed as it cooks. IF I'm cooking chicken, then two or three only, as the charcoal will give it some smoke too.
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
A lot of times the chunks in the WSM can smolder and that's going to produce a different taste than a very clean burning fire on a stick burner. I probably use 4 large chunks for short cooks on my wsm. I find burying the chunks gives a cleaner taste. I might use 8 for a low and slow brisket, 4 on top and 4 buried. That said. Usually my cooks on the WSM are never too strong. Even when I've screwed up and gotten a ton of smoke the WSM smoke taste is comparatively mild.
 

Geo S

TVWBB Fan
I use from 5 to 8 chunks depending on size, I can't get it too smokey for my wife, I think she'd like licking the bottom of an ashtray. lol
I can't ever say the finished product was too smokey, this is with a 22 WSM
 

TroyS

TVWBB Member
Sounds like I'm ok. Maybe cut back if it's only chicken. Overall I'm thinking the transition from wood smoker on the reverse to the charcoal/wood chunk combo was just that a transition. We literally have not used charcoal in 10+ years. One thing I did notice yesterday just by default of being busy was that I put the food on with most of the charcoal 3/4's to fully lit. Previously I was not thinking about the charcoal as I normally do with a wood fire and had the food on early in the burn. Will keep at it and keep learning. Thank you all for the information and tips.
 

Bob Bass

TVWBB Guru
Troy,

Treat the smoke as just another ingredient. Don't over do it nor under do it. Although, of the two, less is better ! Remember... you're cooking for those judges, not your family, friends or co-workers. Is this an IBCA contest ?

Unlike your log burner, there's relatively little air flow in the WSM. As such... only a couple (2 to 5) baseball size chunks per cook are needed.
 
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Enrico Brandizzi

TVWBB Honor Circle
In my experience, I discovered that using charcoal or briquettes (weber or coconut is the same) in my 22 WSM cooking in the 225-250F (for higher cooking T the phenomenon is less evident but still there), it happens this:
1) chunks seated over briquettes during the cook never been burnt. Only smoldered.
2) chunks buried UNDER briquettes during the cook always have been totally burnt. And accordingly to amazingribs.com the higher burning temp on wood, the better is for aromatic compound release. This is why I never add new chunks during cook
3) always let the WSM get to its operative smoking T before putting meat in. In my opinion, minimum time to get a steady T and clean smoke with ATC is 90 minutes to 120.
 

TroyS

TVWBB Member
Just wondering, are you using the minion method and if so, what is your process?

I have used this method and in doing so tried center (tin can) burn outward as well as lit coals over the top burning down. Of the two I found that coals lit and put on top evenly provided a consistent burn as well as longer without refueling. But I know this is all subject to other factors so it's nothing exact.
 

TroyS

TVWBB Member
Troy,

Treat the smoke as just another ingredient. Don't over do it nor under do it. Although, of the two, less is better ! Remember... you're cooking for those judges, not your family, friends or co-workers. Is this an IBCA contest ?

Unlike your log burner, there's relatively little air flow in the WSM. As such... only a couple (2 to 5) baseball size chunks per cook are needed.

It's a BCA comp Bob. Not sure if that's the same as IBCA. I do agree with "less is better" and you are right about the air flow. Good point and I appreciate you bringing that up.
 

TroyS

TVWBB Member
In my experience, I discovered that using charcoal or briquettes (weber or coconut is the same) in my 22 WSM cooking in the 225-250F (for higher cooking T the phenomenon is less evident but still there), it happens this:
1) chunks seated over briquettes during the cook never been burnt. Only smoldered.
2) chunks buried UNDER briquettes during the cook always have been totally burnt. And accordingly to amazingribs.com the higher burning temp on wood, the better is for aromatic compound release. This is why I never add new chunks during cook
3) always let the WSM get to its operative smoking T before putting meat in. In my opinion, minimum time to get a steady T and clean smoke with ATC is 90 minutes to 120.

Good info for sure. The point about operating temps is definitely something that stood out. Thanks Enrico I appreciate your response.
 

TroyS

TVWBB Member
Thank you Andrew.

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Thank you Dustin.

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LOL! Thanks Geo.
 

Johnson Ian

New member
I found if you take a fist size chunk and break it down into 3 pieces using a hammer they don't smolder and burn down easier and put off a nice blue smoke.
Something I tried after having some chunks I bought just smolder and not really burn.
 

S.Six

TVWBB All-Star
On my wsm's I use 3-4 chunks on briskets and butts. Ribs 2-3 chunks, chicken usually just 2 chunks. it really doesn't take that much to get a good smoky flavor. 11 or so chunks that you were using is way too much.
 

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