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Thin blue smoke. Discussion.

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    Thin blue smoke. Discussion.

    Here’s my thought. Most of us don’t use wood burners. So our fires are regulated by controlling air flow, not by controlling fuel quantity. We load those suckers up, and then either set up a snake, so the fire has to burn slowly, or set a damper, so that the lump burns slowly. It’s all about sustaining a flame front. You set your dampers, your fire hits, lets say 250*, and holds.

    So, when you throw a couple-three-four chunks of hickory, or apple or pecan on, you lifted the lid, and of course your temperature dropped (it will rebound, of course). But also, the wood doesn’t immediately start burning at the same temperature as your flame front, And, you added fuel! So what you get is the gray smoke, which is wood burning at a lower temperature. As the chunks heat up, they start burning white; that’s the water vapor “burning” off. Then, when that’s done, you get your thin blue smoke.

    Now, I’ve found that the smoke turns blue when my pit temp nears 220* in my BGE, with the plate in. I don’t know what the fire temperature is, but I’m sure the wood is over 212*.

    I’m okay with putting my meat on the fire while the smoke is white. 5 or 10 minutes of that is no big deal, IMO. But the gray smoke is asking for trouble.

    White smoke:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	96A45D94-F280-45BA-981E-5FB8D3F11E62.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	2.16 MB ID:	897084

    Blue smoke:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	8E11EC84-F0CF-4A21-8DE6-60A77F6449E6.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	1.70 MB ID:	897085

    #2
    Don’t really follow any smoke colour rule. To my eyes hard to tell gray n white smoke apart
    Letting the fire then coals get established is what I loosely go by.

    Comment


    • rodkeary
      rodkeary commented
      Editing a comment
      Ditto for me.

    • Jfrosty27
      Jfrosty27 commented
      Editing a comment
      +2

    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      I Do, on occasion, Burn Wood. this is a Given.
      While I fully realize how un-sophistimacated an non-scientific it might sound, an with my sincere aplogies fer both th previous, I jus unceremoniously plop th protein of choice onto my grate, then wait, an see what happens

    #3
    Mosca you make it sound so easy. It took me years to: learn what good smoke was, learn how hot different brands and sizes of lump burn, learn how to fill the fire bowl with large coals on the bottom and not so much gravel that it stops airflow, learn how not to overshoot the temp on the BGE, learn that fruitwood burns dirtier than hardwood at low and slow temps, learn not to close down any damper after you put the smoking wood on, learn how much smoking wood to use and learn not to open the cooker to see if the wood was burning yet.

    What you wrote is spot on, I just had to try all the other ways first

    Comment


    • Mosca
      Mosca commented
      Editing a comment
      I got my BGE in 2011. It took me some time, too!

    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      It's such a Great, an Rewardin pursuit , though

    #4
    I agree...a few minutes at “white” probably won’t have a significant difference. And truth be told, I do it all the time.

    OTOH, I once saw a smoker on a backroad through Texas that looked like a tire fire. O_o I don’t even want to know what the finished product tasted like...but I can imagine.

    Comment


    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      Probably only had one bullet, didn't kill it with the first shot but once in the smoker.... game over.

    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      Black Smoke BBQ? Thankee, No...

      I'm certain I've smoked better things...

    • surfdog
      surfdog commented
      Editing a comment
      Way I was taught it, things work out th way way theys meant to be, not neccessarily th way we'd like em to be, learn to live with it Yeah Mr. Bones it was a slightly horrifying site. LOL But they all seemed happy enough watching it from the porch... To each his own I reckon...
      Last edited by Mr. Bones; August 17, 2020, 08:32 PM.

    #5
    I load cold meat, either turn on mr. pellet or dump lit coals into the SnS, and walk away.

    If you don't watch the smoke you never have bad smoke.

    P.S. Don't watch a Pit Barrel when 4 briskets stall.
    ​​​​​

    Comment


      #6
      I had to throw away a bunch of chicken thighs the other day because I was in a hurry and put them on before the bad smoke settled down. They were so acrid tasting we had to order pizza....Ha

      Comment


      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        Hail, ya shoulda called me, I'da took em offa yer hands

        Reckon I've et worse...

      • Dadof3Illinois
        Dadof3Illinois commented
        Editing a comment
        @ Mr. Bones not sure my dogs would have eaten those they were so bad!!

      #7
      Try heating your wood first, before putting it on the charcoal. It will catch faster and help eliminate incomplete combustion.

      Comment


        #8
        Instead of 1large chunk I go with smaller chunks - they catch more quickly.

        Comment


          #9
          If I want smoke flavor for a short smoke on the PK360 I actually put the wood chunks on the charcoal chimney. By the time the charcoal is ready, the wood is in full combustions and I never get white or gray smoke out the upper vent. I do not have any experience with smokes on the PK360 over 3 hours, but I've always gotten really clean smoke out of that cooker.

          Comment


            #10
            Gotta be truthful, mebbe interject my ¢2...

            Whole lotta times, when I wants me some 'Smoke' on a piece o protein, in a short time frame, I jus use Hickory, Apple, or Mesquite Briqs, (K Brand, with th lid on, on my SJS... might also be Royal Oak)...Since I'm purty much incorrigible, they is always some kinda chunksa wood involved, as well
            Last edited by Mr. Bones; August 17, 2020, 08:35 PM.

            Comment


              #11
              I usually get the thin blue smoke after about 20 minutes on the WSM or 26" kettle with SnS. I find it just takes a little time for everything to settle in. I also bury the chunks of wood under the charcoal before lighting.

              Comment


                #12
                Thanks, Mosca , for the examples. That's pretty much exactly how it is with my WSCGC as well--lots of white smoke until it hits 220 or 225°. But as long as the smoke isn't grey, I throw the meat on. Good eats result.

                Kathryn
                Last edited by fzxdoc; August 18, 2020, 02:56 PM.

                Comment

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