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Old 08-12-2006, 08:51 PM   #11
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You did it just right. And you were still smoking the meat even though you didn't see smoke.

After the wood has burned down to a coal stage, it continues to burn and put off smoke, but it's a light smoke, in some ways a pure smoke. When the wood starts to smolder/burn, the first things to go are the volatiles, things that tend to make the smoke smell most like the type of wood it is. This smoke is darker, denser. And it usually contains some creosote.

Consider a pine log. When it first catches, it crackles and pops and puts out thick smoke. But as the log burns down some, it calms down and cleans up the smoke a bit. Same for charcoal briquets. When they first light up, it's smoky as all get out. Then it calms down and it's ready to cook on.

As the fire progresses, the smoke dissipates as the fire consumes the lignin and main contents of the wood. As long as there's not just ash, you will continue to produce flavorful smoke, but all you may see is just wisps. And that's the perfect level of smoke. Not too strong or too much, but just right.

A total smolder isn't really desirable either. This kind of fire produces the most creosote and that tastes awful.

Soaking is fine, it tends to make things last longer.

Not soaking is fine too.

You might try some of the chunk wood and see how that endures. A 1x2 piece should smoke for about 45-60 minutes if you can keep it out of the flame of the gas burner, but hot enough to light up and keep burning.

thymeless
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Old 08-12-2006, 10:33 PM   #12
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I think he is using a metal box for the chips to keep them away from the gas flame. It might not be quite the same thing that you are describing. Personally I don't use the chunks in my sidebox smoker without letting them burn down--not actively burning with a flame. I think that smoke is the acrid kind. Maybe I'm not understanding you.
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Old 08-13-2006, 12:27 AM   #13
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Gretchen, you are right. The metal chip box is located just above the propane burner and the pan of water is above that. Then there are shelves to put the meat on.

SM
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:34 AM   #14
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Soak the chips or the chunks. It will work fine then. The smoke in a water smoker is more effective because of mixing with the steam from the water pan. You really can over-smoke things by burning too many chips--in my opinon. You want a nice rosy "smoke ring" near the surface of your meat. Water smoking also does not render fat from meat as much as a drier smoke setup. When I did water smoking, particularly of chickens (which are wonderful!), when serviing I ran them in a 400* oven for 30 minutes or so. It rendered the fat from under the skin and crisped the skin nicely. I did the same thing with pork spareribs.
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Old 08-13-2006, 12:00 PM   #15
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I understand about the chip box. What I'm saying is put some chunks in the bottom or on the chip box holder and give that a try too. Maybe even put some expanded steel mesh in for the box and put on a chunk of wood or two.

thymeless
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:21 AM   #16
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Hi Sigma!

I've got a Great Outdoors smoker as well. You didn't mention if it's the standard or the big block, but the smoker box set up is the same in both so it really doesn't matter.

I've found that the chunks, not chips work best in this smoker. I put 3 or 4 hunks of wood in to start (just dry, soaking them hasn't provided any tangible benefit with this smoker). Depending on the length of time I'm smoking, I may add more later. One other note is that I found the lid for the smoker box to be pretty much worthless. It's laying around in the garage somewhere, but it hasn't been used in the smoker for over 2 years now.

Once you get a bit of practice in, you'll be able to dial this smoker in really easily, wth just a whisp of thin 'bluish' smoke coming out of the top vent. We use our quite a bit.

John
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:13 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.

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