Question Submitted by Jared
I just completed my second cook. This time I changed wood to hickory. Some of my friends liked the meat and some said it was too smokey. How can I make the meat less smokey? Should I make a little fire where I cook the wood chunks down a little bit and then put the chunks into the smoker? Or should I stop using wood chunks and use logs?
Too much smoke or bad smoke can give your BBQ a bitter flavor.
You can put the logs/chunks in a burn barrel, let them burn down to hot coals, and then use the coals. This will definitely cut down on the smoke. You will use a lot more wood though. You can use 30% logs and 70% Kingsford charcoal. This will produce less smoke, but Kingsford charcoal can be expensive. One thing is to make sure your exhaust vent is wide open, ensuring that all smoke is flowing through the cooking chamber. If smoke lingers in the cooking chamber, then it will definitely add too much smoke, and sometimes a bitter taste.
Another thing to remember is not all people like smokey food. If everybody thought it was too smokey, then it probably was, but somebody will always think it is too smokey. I feed them a burger or something. Another choice is to use Alder, which will only add a little smoke flavor to your food. Cooking with Alder produces a very, mild smoke flavor, and is great on poultry or fish. Cherry and Apple wood are excellent too.
Using only mesquite can produce a very heavy smoke flavor. It depends on how well the mesquite wood is aged, and if the exhaust damper on the pit is fully open. I would cut back on mesquite and add hickory or another milder type wood such as cherry or alder to lessen the smoke. I hope this helps.
The Smoker King