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Smoke at low temps?


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I've spent the last week getting use to cooking with this Akorn. I've never had a smoker of any type so it's been work but fun. I've finally made some mods and been able to keep the temp around 235 without any work after. I've been using the volcano method to start it with lump and wood mixed in it.

When I keep the smoker low(235ish) I don't seem to have any smoke. When I open it there's none in it and none comes out of the top. Is it there but so little that I don't see it? I'm use to my friends smokers letting out lots of smoke so I'm trying to figure out if this is normal.

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Your going to get less smoke because your temps are much lower and you are using charcoal and not wood for fuel. Wood burns at 256* so how do you expect to get a lot of smoke? In a stick smoker the temp is much higher than the cooking temperature because of heat loss. With wood all but the carbon (charcoal) is burned off producing a lot of smoke. When the smoke dies down you add more sticks and the smoke come bellowing out again. I would prefer less smoke.

if your looking for more smoke use more chunks and a temp of at least 260*.

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  • 1 year later...

A good clean fire like what you are getting is what you want, with whisps of thin smoke. If that thing is billowing smoke, something is wrong and you should take great care when opening the lid; kamado flash may be immenent! I use chips in my Akorn with a smoke box, I put them in dry and set the box off the side of the lump pile. It will catch when the lump gets going and give off some smoke. Most of the time though, I just let the natural flavors of the Red Bag Royal Oak lump do it's thing. I find that the taste is not overly smokey and just right for a wide range of different folks' taste.

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You have got to figure there is only a small amount of charcoal lit (handful or so) to maintain low temps, where the fire is actually burning may not even be in contact with a chunk.. I personally use chips, you could try a mix of chunks with chips over the top to even out your smoke.. Or there are many illustrations and pictures on this board you can search out to find a way of placing your chunks to give you more consistent smoke, some have resorted to a snake method of charcoal arrangement to give them smoke when they want it. 

 

You are going through what most folks new to smoking without a mentor go through, you think that there should be so much smoke billowing out that you cannot see across the deck and if you do not have that, you arent smoking LOL.. As mentioned you want thin blue smoke to no smoke.. 

 

I have to respectfully disagree on the large amount of smoke produced by a stick burner.. I have a cheap offset that I have a pretty good handle on.. It is all about a small HOT fire and "small" varies by size of smoker, weather, wood and amount of meat.. Generally in my cheap offset, when one log has basically run its course and you could break it up, I take another log that is heated up on the firebox and lie it on the dying log an it instantly combusts giving me instant thin blue.. This method generally ranges my temps from 240-260. There are times this fire is so efficient I have zero smoke even while burning strictly logs. If I load too much fuel an have to close down vents a fuzz, that is where the amount and color of the smoke change. Its all about being in tune with the unit you are cooking on.. 

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Great post, very informative.  I actually have been "smoking" for several years, it is just now in the past few months that I realize we have been doing it all wrong.  I got a Akorn for Fathers Day this year and haven't turned back.  It is so versatile.

 

Thanks to this forum and all the tips and instruction, I am producing very edible food, consistently.  I think my taste and love of a good strong smoke flavor come from probably over smoking on my old NB Bandera, in which the food was VERY hit and miss.

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Thanks to this forum and all the tips and instruction, I am producing very edible food, consistently.  I think my taste and love of a good strong smoke flavor come from probably over smoking on my old NB Bandera, in which the food was VERY hit and miss.

 

Palates differ and that is why you see a wide range of wood options.. You can still have a stronger smoke flavor just use a different means to get there, instead of thick smoke change the wood.. Mesquite and hickory tend to be on the stronger side whereas fruit woods such as apple, peach are lighter flavored... 

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  • 4 years later...

I've only been able to get my Akorn down to about 225° for smoking. For salmon, I'd like to get down to 150-175° using top down on the fire. I use a BBQ Guru to maintain temps but it cannot maintain below 225°, as it races past the requested temp. I engage the Guru about 50° below the temp I'm trying to achieve. Any thoughts?

 

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I've started cooking at around 275 for just this reason and it greatly improves the smoke level while still getting that low-and-slow cook.  In fact I've found I prefer the way the food comes out at 275 vs 250 or less.

 

Similar topic:  

 

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I tend to end up between 235 and 260F.  That's usually where I get my thin blue smoke.  Honestly though, it seems like us kamado people tend to worry about the smoke color way too much.  As long as it is thin smoke and your temps are in control, leave the meat alone and let the fire do it's thing. 

 

 

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