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Smoke too clean?

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    Some people like creosote! 🤦🏽 Back in the day when I’d smoke on my Webber kettle using charcoal with wood chunks I’d make sure I always saw smoke - and if it started burning clean I’d choke the air supply until it started billowing again.

    Then I learned about cooking with fire - both here at AR and in Aaron Franklin’s Meat Smoking Manifesto (a must read for anyone that likes barbecue).

    That’s when I switched to full stick burning. I was super worried the first time - surely it was going to be WAY too smoky. But it came out great!

    Nothing beats a clean burning wood fire when making barbecue. If you’re tired of the stomach ache that follows dirty barbecue it’s time to make the switch!

    Very thin blue or white smoke to completely clear…it’s the Grail, and the only source of great barbecue!

    Last edited by Santamarina; August 16, 2021, 11:15 PM.


    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      Creosote....nothing like it.
      A railroad pulled out a buncha ties by a buddies cottage, he drug home a bunch cut it up for firewood and BBQing.
      It was harsh.
      Ended up taking it back.

    From reading the comments here it seems many are comparing one extreme immediately to another, opposite extreme.

    They're saying they don't prefer their smoke too clean, but that doesn't mean they want it billowing and dirty. I don't like my drinking water ice cold, but I don't want it pee warm either. Admittedly I have not seen the video the OP is referencing, but from context it appears the point is that to a seasoned stickburner operator, it is actually possible to have your smoke too clean, and that some visible smoke is ok. In fact some prefer the more robust flavor it gives compared to a hot, invisible smoke fire. Not that anyone wants thick billowing low-temp smoke with creosote and other toxic chemicals saturating your meat, that would be the opposite, impractical extreme.


    • Clark
      Clark commented
      Editing a comment
      Huskee What temp is 'pee warm?'

    • Dr. Pepper
      Dr. Pepper commented
      Editing a comment
      Clark Here's how scientists discover the temp that is 'pee warm':
      Remove your glove, unzip, calculate parabolic path, place ungloved hand in said path of anticipated stream, hold a Thermoworks One in the sampling hand. Read the temp, feel the warmth. Simple. Science is fun.

    Gotta admit that I load up my bacon with a little touch of dirty smoke to accent the flavour. I had a few comments about the lack of smoke flavour, as it's about cooked after 3 hrs on the little COS so I mucked around a bit.
    Very easy to overdo it though, and end up with a less than ideal flavour, just practice like all things Q


      I guess he likes a bit of acridity to his flavor profile.

      No worries there. To each their own.


        My next door neighbor brought over some ribs once, he did on his offest - WOW they were so acrid and smoky I could barely choke down one. I didn't have the heart to tell him I hated them. He loved loved loved my ribs and pulled pork and such I did on my pellet grill.

        Now HE has a pellet grill, lol.

        But I don't ever see him anymore, either.

        <edit> Sounds like he liked the BBQ, but not me.


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I've had some of that type BBQ myself. It's a sign of someone who doesn't understand fire management or how to use their smoker. I may have been guilty of it myself back in 1990-something, but quickly learned not to let the offset make the black sooty smoke!

        When I use my stick burner oftentimes the smoke isn't even visible. Comes out great. I'm a clean smoke person all of the way.


          Threw a pork butt on the Grid Iron this morning before I headed to a meeting. Yes, I put it on and then started the smoker. Then filled the hopper. So the butt was in all that startup smoke for all of maybe a minute before it thinned out. I'm pretty sure my kids and grandkids will still eat the pulled pork tonight. And probably seconds as well.


            I'm in the camp that while you want "thin blue" smoke, you don't need to be afraid of the smoke you get as you toss a new chunk of wood or a new split into the smoker either, or of charcoal igniting. I've added unlit charcoal and unlit wood to both my offset and my kettle cookers for many years, and never felt it led to sooty results. I'm not talking about billowing clouds of white smoke here of course.

            I see folks that are so afraid of "dirty" smoke that they talk of preburning the wood, or even getting charcoal fully lit and ashed over in the chimney before adding additional charcoal or wood to their smokers. I think that is overkill.
            Last edited by jfmorris; August 18, 2021, 04:02 PM.


            • Santamarina
              Santamarina commented
              Editing a comment
              I throw unlit logs in my stickburner all the time. As you said, no issue with a couple mins of smoke while the log starts.
              Last edited by Santamarina; August 21, 2021, 08:55 AM.

            If your fire is too hot, the cleaner it will burn and the less smoke you will have. For the most part, it is not a concern. Even if you are cooking HOT, you can get good smoke by throwing a chunk right on the fire, that will give you all the smoke you need. It will be clean and be really clean.


            • smokin fool
              smokin fool commented
              Editing a comment
              Good advise, my preferred method.


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