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Wood smoke too bitter

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    Wood smoke too bitter

    I have a question. My name is Eddie Herrington from Flowood Mississippi and i'm brand new at this smoking meat. I have just finished building a RF smoker and fired it for the first time today. I smoked three chickens just to try, and they were way to smoky. almost bitter. I used apple and hickory for wood. What I did was started thefire good and then added the wood. about one hour into the cook, the smoke stopped so I added more. the smoke got real thick and the outcome was bad.
    so, when you see the smoke stop, what do you do?

    #2
    eddie1960 I moved your post to the Logs channel here where it fits better. I titled your post "wood smoke too bitter", this is in an effort to keep it organized and searchable in the future, as Jon mentions, so it doesn't get buried somewhere hard to find in the future.

    Anyway, with chickens a little smoke goes a long way. When doing chickens, we recommend cooking them at 325, and they'll typically take about 90 min to get the breasts to 160. On a stickburner, if you maintain a small hot fire, adequate enough to keep your cooking temp where you want it, they shouldn't come out too smokey. If the smoke was thick when you reloaded, it was likely due to the fire just getting too cool. Perhaps this was just a lack of oxygen to the new wood you added, or maybe the wood was a little too moist and didn't catch fire well. Cooler smoke tends to be thicker and whiter, and this is more soot and more bad taste. Your best bet is to keep your fire HOT, but small enough to get your cooking temp where it needs to be with the fire still being HOT. Make sense? Leave your firebox vents open, the fire needs oxygen, you don't want to choke the fire of oxygen. Hot fires produce a thinner, more blue smoke (sometimes even invisible). This is the best kind of smoke for smoking meat, whether a quick chicken cook, half a day rib cook, or an all day brisket cook.

    Preburning your wood is a great way to get the best fire quickly...but that may be a thing to worry about later on if it's all too much to tackle now.

    For more on a good fire in a stickburner, check out Meathead's article on stickburning here, and my post about a stickburner fire here. Hopefully between the two of them you can pick up some more pointers and put them into practice.
    It'll be a fun and tasty journey for you!

    And, welcome to The Pit!

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