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Lack of smoke flavor with leftover smoke wood...duh


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OK gurus need some help.  As a general rule I like a lot of smoke flavor.  For butts I'll add about 10 nice size pieces of wood.  I bury a layer in the coal and do a layer on top.  For a long cook like that there's some lump left over but never smoke wood.  Recently I smoked some tuna (@ 175), salmon (@175), and ribs twice (@275 and @225).  The salmon and tuna had 2 pieces of wood right around the fire and I had 1 piece leftover in both cooks with barely a hint of smoke.

 

For the ribs, I did the same thing I do with the butt just with less smoke wood.  About 1/3 of it was leftover after and the smoke flavor was obviously a bit lighter than anticipated.  I'm not sure what I should do to adjust.  My overreaction would be to put all the smoke wood on top of the fire but that doesn't seem like the best course of action but I may be wrong.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance!!

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When you say that you like a lot of smoke flavor, what are you used to? In other words, prior to kamado cooking, what were you cooking on? I have found that kamado cooking produces a far less smoky end result then other types of smokers that allow more air-flow and greater combustion. Personally, I like the lighter smoke profile. So to answer your question, I don't think you can lay down a super heavy smoke profile on meats when cooked in a kamado at really low temps (175-225°). The fire is sooooo small, that it's really hard to get many chunks of wood going. Cooking at higher temps for me (>275°) have produced a noticeable difference in the level of smokiness...I assume because I have a bigger fire/more air flow going on. Seems to me that with kamados...the higher the cooking temp, the more smoke I can produce.

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From what I have read meat will continue to "absorb" smoke flavor as long as smoke is being "applied". The only thing that changes with temperature is that after about 140°F there will be no further development of a smoke ring.

 

If you are burning up your chunks of smoke wood before all the lump is gone I'd suggest using bigger chunks or splits of your flavor wood.

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Crazy idea, goes against all the wisdoms here, but try straight wooden logs. Maybe a little lump and starter to get it going? You might have wider temp swings, but you might get what you want.

Plan b: marinate in liquid smoke before the cook.

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Thanks guys but why would there be left over smoke wood after a 6 hr rib cook? Is it location of the smoke wood?

I think rwalters is onto something with the low temps for the smoked fish but I smoked salmon before and it was a non-issue and produced the best smiled salmon I've ever had. Just not sure why the smoke wood isn't being consumed.

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Thanks guys but why would there be left over smoke wood after a 6 hr rib cook? Is it location of the smoke wood?

I think rwalters is onto something with the low temps for the smoked fish but I smoked salmon before and it was a non-issue and produced the best smiled salmon I've ever had. Just not sure why the smoke wood isn't being consumed.

Wood consumption at ultra low cooking temps is very hit and miss. If the tiny fire decides to cruz into the path of your wood chunk(s) you'll have decent smoke for awhile. If the tiny fire chooses a different path, your outta luck. My best success has been placing 2 chunks on top of the fire right before placing the food on the grate. And then having a chunk or two buried in the lump right under where you started the fire. That works best in my experience. Best chance of the tiny fire making good contact with the smoking wood for the first several hours.
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Thanks guys but why would there be left over smoke wood after a 6 hr rib cook? Is it location of the smoke wood?

I think rwalters is onto something with the low temps for the smoked fish but I smoked salmon before and it was a non-issue and produced the best smiled salmon I've ever had. Just not sure why the smoke wood isn't being consumed.

Wood consumption at ultra low cooking temps is very hit and miss. If the tiny fire decides to cruz into the path of your wood chunk(s) you'll have decent smoke for awhile. If the tiny fire chooses a different path, your outta luck. My best success has been placing 2 chunks on top of the fire right before placing the food on the grate. And then having a chunk or two buried in the lump right under where you started the fire. That works best in my experience. Best chance of the tiny fire making good contact with the smoking wood for the first several hours.
Oh...I like that! Thanks!
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