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How Much Smoke?

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    How Much Smoke?

    Something I've always wondered, how much smoke when smoking? Sounds a bit stupid perhaps, but do I want to see it billowing out of the smoker throughout the cook? Should it be a certain color? (White? grey? barely visible? invisible?) I'm talking low & slow ~225-235 degrees at grate smoking.

    I'm using a BGE (Big Green Egg), lump charcoal with wood chips/chunks. Adding more wood is not super quick (though I have started using a separate rack for smoked foods so I can more easily pull it off the grill to remove the grate and plate setter to get to the coals). From the "last meal ribs" article, it indicated only using 4oz at start plus 4oz 30 min into the cook, but I wonder if this applies when using a BGE + Plate Setter (for indirect cooking) vs. a 2 zone regular grill (where presumably the fire at the coals actually burns hotter).

    I also recall reading that smouldering wood is bad... How do I know if I'm smoking or smouldering?

    If you see thick billowing smoke coming out, that's not great. It wont hurt you too much if it's for a short time, but you don't want an all day smoke with billowing smoke. Fresh wood tossed into a fire will begin as white smoke, much of that could be moisture evaporating out if it's green wood. It tends to give you that fresh fire billowing smoke. The best smoke to smoke with is arguably thin blue smoke. This results from a hot fire where the wood is burning good and there's plenty of intake air to feed it. Smoldering wood is lower temp, low oxygen and tends to result in grey smoke. Good airflow results both in a hotter fire and better smoke. In your case it sounds like it might not be a bad idea to bury a couple chunks into the coals so they light in stages. I haven't run a BGE to know about their unique temp control idiosyncrasies, but when I use mostly charcoal as the heat source and some chunks of wood, I don't worry too much about it. If you were to cook with all logs, you'd want to limit that fresh smoke by using mostly embers instead of fresh wood on your meat. But in the case of bits & pieces of wood for flavor, don't sweat it too much. You'll have smoke from the charcoal as it burns down and lights the fresh coals and the wood, it all gets mixed.


      Mettius I posted a response in your last meal rib post that's relevant to this question, and I agree with Huskee above!



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