How much smoke?

TenoMorris

New member
I'm trying to figure out how much smoke is good. I get mixed answers. Some say light smoke the whole cook, others say heavy smoke the first couple hours and then no smoke after that.
 

Erik Tracy

TVWBB Super Fan
Just saying from my experience; meat specific and personal taste.

Me and my boys like to know bbq's been done on smoke, my wife doesn't.

Pork seems to take smoke better than say chicken. Beef is in between for my preferences.

You can't 'undo' too much smoke, so go light and work your way up over multiple cooks to get to what you like.

I think there is something to what you've read regarding smoke early, then back off to finish (or wrap).
 

TenoMorris

New member
Just saying from my experience; meat specific and personal taste.

Me and my boys like to know bbq's been done on smoke, my wife doesn't.

Pork seems to take smoke better than say chicken. Beef is in between for my preferences.

You can't 'undo' too much smoke, so go light and work your way up over multiple cooks to get to what you like.

I think there is something to what you've read regarding smoke early, then back off to finish (or wrap).
Do you keep feeding the smoker with wood chunks, or do you put a few in the beginning and thats it?
 

timothy

TVWBB Olympian
Depends on the wood species and moisture content.
Hickory is a strong flavored wood and Pecan is it's milder cousin.
Mesquite is another strong flavor.
It's easier to oversmoke then undersmoke.
For me I use 1 chunk about 2" x 2" x 3". I split that into thirds.
Put that on top of my lit and I get TBS (thin blue smoke) in an hour.
 

TenoMorris

New member
Depends on the wood species and moisture content.
Hickory is a strong flavored wood and Pecan is it's milder cousin.
Mesquite is another strong flavor.
It's easier to oversmoke then undersmoke.
For me I use 1 chunk about 2" x 2" x 3". I split that into thirds.
Put that on top of my lit and I get TBS (thin blue smoke) in an hour.
Do you wait for the smoke to put your meat on or do you put it on when the smoker gets to the desired temp?
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB Fan
I generally add wood chunks to my WSM under the charcoal/when filling the charcoal ring, then I light up to preheat, put on the meat, and add some chunks on top if I don't have any smoke rolling.

I have to agree with much of what has already been said. It is really all about your taste preference, in terms of how much smoke. I use a lot of Pecan because my family prefers a more mild smoke flavor. The quality and "freshness" of your smoke wood is also important so try to buy local when you can. Big box store stuff is usually not that fresh because of the lengthy supply/distribution chain.

Generally speaking, I keep a an eye on the smoke coming out of my WSM for the first 3 to 4 hours and if I don't see any, I'll add another chunk. I use a 22" and prefer bigger chunks when I can find them. Putting chunks in strategic locations (like on the bottom grate) when you're building the charcoal bed is also a great idea.
 

MichaelM

TVWBB Fan
We prefer a milder smoke. I would love to try Pecan, but we have are allergic to tree nuts and I have no idea (yet) how this plays out with smoke.

Anyway... given I am still new to smoking I very well might be wrong with the following... Haven't I read that meat takes the smoke flavor only early on in the cook. Once the bark forms the smokey flavor no longer penetrates. Why am I thinking it's at temperature related as well... something around 140-ish comes to mind. Would someone with more experience weigh in on this please. I could be posting bad info..

With regard to timing, I have been leaning towards smoke early, allowing it to subside as the cook progresses.

Regarding how much, that's up to your palette. My very first smoke (BB ribs if I remember correctly) was WAY to smokey for me, though my guests thought it was perfect.
 

timothy

TVWBB Olympian
Haven't I read that meat takes the smoke flavor only early on in the cook. Once the bark forms the smokey flavor no longer penetrates. Why am I thinking it's at temperature related as well... something around 140-ish

140 is roughly when the smoke ring stops forming and some say it can go higher.
Meat adsorbs smoke so as long as you lay it on you'll still add smoke flavor.

Tim
 

Lee Ingraham

TVWBB Fan
We prefer a milder smoke. I would love to try Pecan, but we have are allergic to tree nuts and I have no idea (yet) how this plays out with smoke.

I'm not a doctor, but hickory produces tree nuts too. So, if you've been ok with that you may be ok with pecan? Maybe you can get a small sample of pecan and try it on a short smoke like chicken or turkey legs? Again, not a medical professional, just an observation.
 

ChuckH

TVWBB Member
Personally I like a heavy smoke presence in my food, also like a heavy hops presence in my beer. But what’s more, I really enjoy the smell coming out of my cooker when the wood chunks are doing their magic.
 

Ron De Hoogh

TVWBB Super Fan
I had heard about the Minion method from another forum and then watched Harry Soo give a practical demo in his class, bury 4-5 chunks in your charcoal and pour your lit charcoal in the center (where you leave it empty) let it get going, let it get to temp and TBS is rolling!
 

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