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HELP!!! bitter flavor


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Guys, I cannot figure out why every single time I use my AKORN i have a nasty horrible bitter flavor on anything I cook. it's almost acidic in nature and unpleasing to say the least. It only happens when I use wood. i don't like the flavor of straight charcoal so I add wood for flavor. why does it make the meat turn out so dang bad?!!! Please help with suggestions so that i can still use wood for flavor. how come this doesn't (never has happened) with my stick burner? Thanks

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The Naked Whiz explains why you can't just use word here (short answer is the Akorn kamado is too efficient, just like the ceramic versions).

Can I Burn Wood In A Ceramic Cooker?

Not really. You don't want to simply burn wood in a ceramic cooker. You are asking for creosote deposits on the inside of the cooker. Also, you may find it very hard to regulate the temperature because the wood may choose to ignite and burn with a flame, sending the temperature sky high. If you cut down on the airflow, the flames may go out and the wood will smolder producing clouds of smoke. If you want to try using wood in a ceramic cooker, you should probably do it the way that folks do in normal BBQ pits: burn the wood down to coals in another container, and then add the coals to the cooker as needed to keep your temperature where you want it.

Note that this information comes from personal experience. We were asked to review a wood fuel product which was going to be advertised as a replacement for charcoal. When doing our normal burntime test, we ended up with creosote on the dome of our cooker, and the top vent was stuck shut. We couldn't regulate the temperature and the wood only lasted about 25-35% of the time that even the worst charcoals would burn.

Lots of other good stuff on his website: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm#burnwood

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If you watch john's videos he only uses a few tiny chunks. Probably much less that in a more leaky cooker.

Also my food got better as i kept the top vent open and used the bottom as much as possible to control the heat.

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Thanks Dan. pretty much what I was looking for. not what I wanted to her but an answer nonetheless.

Yeah, kamados are a bit different than cooking on anything else so there's a bit of a learning curve on what you can and can't do on them. I have used some thick pieces of peach wood in the Akorn that work quite well, but they are NOT the heat source- I use Kingsford Competition or Trader Joe's natural briquettes- but rather just a source for real smoke flavor.

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Guys, I cannot figure out why every single time I use my AKORN i have a nasty horrible bitter flavor on anything I cook. it's almost acidic in nature and unpleasing to say the least. It only happens when I use wood. i don't like the flavor of straight charcoal so I add wood for flavor. why does it make the meat turn out so dang bad?!!! Please help with suggestions so that i can still use wood for flavor. how come this doesn't (never has happened) with my stick burner? Thanks

Seems like you got your answer.

Question, Are you using something like kingsford briquettes? 100% lump is nothing more than burned hard wood such as oak or mesquite. Using it adds real wood flavor but is VERY mild. Kind of like burning wood in a bucket unitl it has burned down to coals and then shoveled in to the cooker.

If you are using something l ike kingsford briquettes I'd bet switching to 100% lump would make a big difference for you. Add 2 or 3 hunks of wood and presto!

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If you are using something l ike kingsford briquettes I'd bet switching to 100% lump would make a big difference for you. Add 2 or 3 hunks of wood and presto!

Well said philpom.

I have converted some, I only like gas grilled becuase I don't like the charcoal taste, people over to the lump side. Of course I don't use lighter fluid. Lump provides that slight campfire cooked taste and if you like it a little more smokey taste add a few wood chunks.

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I beg to differ on the KB. I am a relative noob when it comes to the akorn or any other kind of egg, but have years of experience on Brinkmans and variations and a couple of years with a WSM. I have done several racks of ribs, several chickens, a couple of fresh salmon filets and a couple of flank steaks in the 3 or 4 weeks since I bought my akorn. Even though I am still gettting the hang of temp regulation, I have gotten no hammy or creosote or bitter flavor on any of these cooks, even the ones where the temp varies between 225* and 350*. I use only KB and only slightly fewer hickory chunks than in my WSM, 3 or 4 medium to small vs. 4 or 5 medium or plus. My kamado is well sealed and has the new top vent. The only mod is a 15" perforated aluminum pizza pan from Walmart as a diffuser, with an empty alum foil 1/4 pan sitting on it to catch most of the drippings. I grew to dislike intensely any kind of lump after getting spark burns trying to light it in a chimney for my WSM. Besides, if Harry Soo can win a dozen GC's in a couple of years and two CA TOYs, plus be nationally placed by the KCBS using only KB, then that is good enough for me.

I use about the same lighting technique as on the WSM. Shake out the old ash, scrape the remaining coals to the outside, place the wood chunks, place lidless soup can in center, pour ~20-30 briquets around the can. Put six to eight briquets in inverted chimney, light thoroughly with blowtorch,remove soup can and pour lit coals into center of unlit coals, stack all the pieces together before the smoke and fire get out of control, and open both top and bottom vents to about one. When my Maverick remote tells me the temp is up to about 200, I close the vents down to about 1/2 and monitor from there. Put meat on when temp gets to ~225. This usually takes about 20 mins from blowtorch time.

I would guess you are letting it get too hot too early and then when you close down the vents you are getting too much wood smoldering at the same time.

I do like things smoky tasting but not hammy or bitter from creosote.

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my current method. 8-10 chunks of hickory lit with torch. burn for 5 minutes then close lid. let temp rise to 325 then put on meat. keep temp between 340-370. chicken 1-1.30 hour (like it well cooked and almost over cooked) boston butt temp around 300 for 4 hours then wrap in foil. tri tip 1 hour at 290. any way I cook it has an awful bitter creosote flavor. I have used straight bge lump, royal oak etc but its not wood flavorful. just coal and that isnt what I want. I have used straight kingsford charcoal with around four chunks of oak and it is too bitter, or creosote flavored.I like the idea of opening the top vent and using bottom to control temp. will let everyone know how this works. I just find it boggling that the same exact wood cooked in my stick burner doesn't produce this awful flavor on my meats. If I use straight lump or charcoal it only produces charcoal grilling flavor. i want smoke flavor

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A KAMADO is a sealed cooker it is much more air tight and it holds more moisture---more heat-- and there fore more of the smoke.

If you watch Jonhn's video at the top he does use wood---SPARINGLY. I used a bit too much wood the time I did three pork butts. I used about double what John used and next time I will use less and I did keep the top vent open as much as possible.

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my current method. 8-10 chunks of hickory lit with torch. burn for 5 minutes then close lid. let temp rise to 325 then put on meat. keep temp between 340-370. chicken 1-1.30 hour (like it well cooked and almost over cooked) boston butt temp around 300 for 4 hours then wrap in foil. tri tip 1 hour at 290. any way I cook it has an awful bitter creosote flavor. I have used straight bge lump, royal oak etc but its not wood flavorful. just coal and that isnt what I want. I have used straight kingsford charcoal with around four chunks of oak and it is too bitter, or creosote flavored.I like the idea of opening the top vent and using bottom to control temp. will let everyone know how this works. I just find it boggling that the same exact wood cooked in my stick burner doesn't produce this awful flavor on my meats. If I use straight lump or charcoal it only produces charcoal grilling flavor. i want smoke flavor

That is just too much wood and too much lit fuel to start with. Use a combination of mostly lump and 2 or 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood. Johns video or viewtopic.php?f=22&t=637 will show you good examples.

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my current method. 8-10 chunks of hickory lit with torch. burn for 5 minutes then close lid. let temp rise to 325 then put on meat. keep temp between 340-370. chicken 1-1.30 hour (like it well cooked and almost over cooked) boston butt temp around 300 for 4 hours then wrap in foil. tri tip 1 hour at 290. any way I cook it has an awful bitter creosote flavor. I have used straight bge lump, royal oak etc but its not wood flavorful. just coal and that isnt what I want. I have used straight kingsford charcoal with around four chunks of oak and it is too bitter, or creosote flavored.I like the idea of opening the top vent and using bottom to control temp. will let everyone know how this works. I just find it boggling that the same exact wood cooked in my stick burner doesn't produce this awful flavor on my meats. If I use straight lump or charcoal it only produces charcoal grilling flavor. i want smoke flavor

That is just too much wood and too much lit fuel to start with. Use a combination of mostly lump and 2 or 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood. Johns video or viewtopic.php?f=22&t=637 will show you good examples.

I am sure you have heard the quote atributed to Einstein--"-Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

These people especially John and Philpom know what they are doing and i would say--- just try what they say at least once.

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