Web Analytics Made Easy -
StatCounter
Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Forrest

Only The Cleanest Smoke...

Recommended Posts

I'm curious to hear everyone's opinion on getting the absolute cleanest best tasting smoke in a Kamado. I think a big reason people don't like the taste of some charcoal produced BBQ is due to the mistake of adding dirty, thick, creosote, volatile smoking wood smoke to the food during the cooking process. I have seen many methods popular here within this forum for producing clean smoke:

1- Throwing wood on top of the hot burning coals and waiting for the thick white smoke to clear up and burn off all of the gross tasting volatile compounds in the wood before putting your meat on the grill. The advantage I see to this is that you get extremely clean smoke. The disadvantage I see with this method is that it's hard to control how long the wood will burn and it may burn up too fast not providing you with enough smoke throughout the length of the cook, for this reason I believe this method is better with larger wood chunks for extended smoke times.

2- Building a smoke pot made out of cast iron with three 1/8" holes drilled on the bottom and a flour paste glue to secure the lid or an MSR stainless pot with the holes drilled in the lid for the same purpose. I have never used this method but as I understand the advantage/concept of this is to smolder the wood in an oxygen restricted environment and create pressurized smoke to shoot out the bottom of the holes back into the charcoal fire burning off the volatile compounds in the wood within the charcoal fire before the volatile compounds make there way to your food. More advantages as I understand is that this method does a good job of producing thin blue smoke for extended periods of time and creates a little pile of homemade charcoal within the pot. The disadvantages of this method that I can see is I've heard throwing the pot on top of your charcoal fire can potentially extinguish your fire, it is also creating a barrier for the heat to enter into the dome.

3- Putting the wood chunks on bottom of the charcoal. This method is pioneered by Harry Soo a BBQ champion (he uses Weber Smoky Mountain's). I have ran meat probes at the bottom of my charcoal basket and it takes hours to get the temp at the bottom of the charcoal basket to get above 400 degrees when you are cooking at BBQ temperatures in a Kamado. Kamado's are just so well insulated that such little burning charcoal is needed to keep them at BBQ temps that I believe the smoking wood has a hard time getting to proper smoking temperature at the bottom of the basket. Steven Raichlen suggests that wood smoke production burning/smoldering at 590 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for producing good tasting smoke. The advantages I see with wood chunks on the bottom is the wood smolders for a long time producing smoke over a long period of time and the smoke is somewhat purified when it travels through the burning coal burning off some of the volatile compounds.

4- Using the Hot/Cold smoker that KK manufactures. This method I'm very new to. Many have touted it as producing the cleanest smoke possible, others have said it is hard to keep lit. Dennis Linkletter tried to explain the philosophy of the Hot/Cold smoker to me and I don't know if I completely understand how it produces the best smoke. Dennis recommends microwaving your wood for 5 minutes to dry it out first before putting it in the hot/cold smoker. If I understand right Dennis said that it smolders the wood at low temperatures and the wood alcohol/volatile compounds in the wood burn out in the wood at a very slow rate (not all at once like if you throw your wood on top of the burning charcoal). Apparently a lot of the volatile compounds burn off at the sight of the cold smoker in very small doses that won't flavor your food badly. The advantages to this is that it is an external unit allowing you to have complete control over the smoke production during a cook. You can add smoke through the entire cook and stop it at anytime. The downsides I see is it does add some additional airflow to the cooker but this probably can be compensated by closing your vents more (the smoke comes through above the charcoal rather then through the charcoal so it probably doesn't fuel the fire a ton). The only thing I don't quite understand is does the hot/cold smoker really get the temperature of the wood you are supplying it to high enough temps to get the best cleanest tasting smoke? Curious to hear your thoughts.

So let me know what method do you use to provide the absolute best tasting smoke to your cooks? What method do you think works best and why? I'm nerdy about this stuff so the more details and technical you are the better, thanks.

Image result for komodo kamado

 

Edited by Forrest
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a personal question; everyone has a different take on what quality of smoke tastes best.

I devised the smoke pot many years ago. Once my wife tasted the difference, there was no going back.

I continue to be tempted by the Hot/Cold smoker. For me those would be the two choices. My KK is old enough that the Hot/Cold smoker would compete with my BBQ Guru for the single port. With a newer KK the Hot/Cold smoker is probably far easier and more reliable. There's an art to getting a smoke pot going. I've mastered it (school of hard knocks) but I appreciate that it's not obvious.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Syzygies said:

I devised the smoke pot many years ago.

Thank you for your contribution with this. I’m excited to try this as I’ve seen many people say it has taken their bbq to the next level.

 

10 hours ago, Syzygies said:
There's an art to getting a smoke pot going. I've mastered it (school of hard knocks).

Can you share your method of madness? I’m curious what tips and tricks you use. Also what is your opinion on using the stainless MSR pot with locking lid?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by Forrest
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of us here are smoke-potters. Be sure to get the order of those words correct. :shock:  Many folks at Amazing Ribs have tried it and like it. There's another kamado forum -- Kamado Guru, I think it's called (haven't been there in years). The site's owner -- can't remember his name -- was encouraged to try it, but Meathead he's not. He did everything precisely wrong -- drilled the holes in the wrong place, etc., and then proceeded to pronounce it useless. It's like those people who review recipes on All Recipes: "I substituted 17 of the ingredients and decided to boil the meat and grill the pasta. This recipe sucks!" Get the holes in the right place (DOWN), make sure it's air tight and won't melt or off-gas noxious fumes. I think Syzygies' method for lighting is to use a weed-burner to preheat and then move it into the charcoal basket, but I'll let him fill you in. Don't ask him about shuffling cards. <_<

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pequod said:

"everything precisely wrong -- drilled the holes in the wrong place"

So the current proper method as I understand is three 1/8" holes in the center of the bottom (facing the charcoal). Is that right? Also I am curious what you smoke-potters think of the MSR pot with the holes in the locking lid and then inverting it upside down towards the charcoal? Do you think the stainless steel would work well or is cast iron required? Also is the volume of the smoke pot an important component to making it work well? I am wanting to get a small pot for my 21" with its smaller charcoal basket size I don't want the pot to take up too much space in the charcoal basket.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Forrest said:

So the current proper method as I understand is three 1/8" holes in the center of the bottom (facing the charcoal). Is that right? Also I am curious what you smoke-potters think of the MSR pot with the holes in the locking lid and then inverting it upside down towards the charcoal? Do you think the stainless steel would work well or is cast iron required? Also is the volume of the smoke pot an important component to making it work well? I am wanting to get a small pot for my 21" with its smaller charcoal basket size I don't want the pot to take up too much space in the charcoal basket.

Yes on 3 holes. I've not seen anyone use an MSR pot, but can't think of any reason it wouldn't work. Lid or bottom...main thing is holes are down into the flame. Just make sure the hotter temps of the flame won't warp the clasping mechanism if you choose that side down. As for size -- 1-2 quarts works. It's just how much smoke wood you can get into it. A filled 2-quart pot will generate smoke for about 4 hours. A smaller one won't smoke as long. A 2 quart pot works well in my 23. At low and slow temps, I'd expect you'd have plenty of room for all of the charcoal you need + 2 quart pot. KK's are so well insulated they use less fuel than even other kamados.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pequod said:

 I'd expect you'd have plenty of room for all of the charcoal you need + 2 quart pot.

I'm more concerned with the fact that the pot goes right on top of the fire acting as a barrier for the heat to get around, kind of the same reason why no one recommends using the factory included KK heat deflectors down at the firebox.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Forrest said:

I'm more concerned with the fact that the pot goes right on top of the fire acting as a barrier for the heat to get around, kind of the same reason why no one recommends using the factory included KK heat deflectors down at the firebox.

The smoke pot is only used at temps from 225-275, so you’d typically be indirect regardless. At other temps your choices are the traditional wood chunks on charcoal or the cold smoker which can be used at any temp. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just adding my +1 to the smoker pot. I'd recommend slightly smaller holes - I did 3/32", but if a 1/8" bit is all you have, then it works just fine. The one thing is that cast iron is easily drilled, whereas depending on the stainless steel composition, it can be quite hard and difficult to drill. It takes some practice to get the flour paste consistency right - think Playdoh. My usual problem is that I didn't get it fully hydrated and have dry pockets when piping it onto the lid. (Mix up the paste in a zipbag, cut a bottom corner off, and turn it into a disposable piping bag.)

In all the years/cooks that I've used the smoker pot, I only have had ONE cook where the pot caused a problem with the fire. Just random chance that the fire burned out all the charcoal underneath the pot and it collapse into the basket and prevented the fire from burning outwards. 

I also own the cold smoker unit, as I have named it so, that's pretty much all I've used it for - smoking cheese, nuts, salmon, pork chops and bacon. I've never used it as my smoke source for a hot cook. I understand that it will work just fine in that application, but I have an older KK with the single port, so I'd have to make a choice over the Guru or the smoker for that cook. Many of us have found that the cold smoker works better with pellets than with small wood chips. They are more compact in the tube and propagate the fire better than chips, hence the posts about difficulty keeping it lit. 

Given that the cast iron DO is a lot cheaper than the KK cold smoker, start there and see how you like it. You can always get the cold smoker attachment later if you think that it would fit your needs better?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Given that the cast iron DO is a lot cheaper than the KK cold smoker, start there and see how you like it.

I’m definitely going to build a smoke pot, I haven’t decided wether I’m going to go Stainless or cast iron. I might try both and see what yields better results. TBH the flour paste is the biggest barrier for me, I just don’t want to add that to all the other prep that is required for a BBQ cook, so I might start with stainless and see if it works out.

Additionally, I’m definitely getting the KK cold/hot smoker. The smoke it produces in Dennis’s videos looks brilliant. I’m still not totally understanding the concept of why it produces excellent smoke. But I’m sure the taste of the food will do the talking.

I’m a fan of wood on top of the coals and put the meat on after it clears up. Maybe I will have to do a head to head battle on these methods. Maybe even make a YouTube video out of it. Thanks for all the ideas thus far.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m definitely going to build a smoke pot, I haven’t decided wether I’m going to go Stainless or cast iron. I might try both and see what yields better results. TBH the flour paste is the biggest barrier for me, I just don’t want to add that to all the other prep that is required for a BBQ cook, so I might start with stainless and see if it works out.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


I bought a cast iron 2 quart and also plan to make a smoker pot. I’m going to try a different route than flour past though because I also don’t love the idea of extra prep and mess...bought a couple square washers and j bracket screws so I can tighten them around the handles and the washers flat over the lid to keep it nice and snug. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m doing a Boston Butt today for the in-laws who are in town. I’ve read a couple places that people have had good success with the Syzygies Smoke Pot method by only using a foil wrap around their wood chunks with a couple of holes in the bottom of the foil wrap. I’m testing this method this morning and I’m shocked! Within a matter of 15 minutes I’m getting this absolutely gorgeous thin blue smoke profile. I’m using three large peach wood chunks and it smells wonderfully too. There was never thick billowy smoke at the beginning like I’m used to when I just throw the wood chunks by themselves on top of the coals. I guess we will see how long this smoke runs.
4a4085e17bffe8bd28bb10e9ce502ce7.jpg


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice Plan B with the foil wrap. 

I will confess that the flour paste is messy, so I always do it over the sink. But, it really doesn't add significant time/effort to prepping a cook. I start my fire and while waiting for it to come up enough in temp to ensure that it's going well, I mix up the paste in the bag and pipe it onto the rim of the lid of the DO. It generally takes me less than 5 minutes, including clean up. YMMV

@BOC - definitely want to see pics of your smoker pot set up. My only concern would be the quality of the fit between the pot and the lid. If there's any imperfections in the casting, it could leak, as you won't be able to apply enough pressure with the screws to deform the material to close it up. A good check would be, before you drill the holes in it, put a lit piece of wood inside, clamp it down and look for leaks around the lid. If none, drill the holes and you're good to go. If you have a small leak somewhere, mark the spot and fill it in with some high temp silicone gasket maker. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

So...confession time here.  Hoping to learn something.  I use my smoke pot regularly and I never use the flour paste.  It is a Le Creuset pot with lid that fits well and I definitely cannot be bothered to mess around with flour paste before each cook.  What I am not sure of is whether I am getting the right effect.  The chips in the pot always combust nicely by the end of the cook and I get smoke that I think is acceptable.  I got a lot of smoke recently, using chips that I made from cutttings from my apple trees earlier in the year.  Not sure if that's the wrong sort of smoke.  It was a cold night.  Will try again with and without the flour paste to test but just saying that it may not be essential...

IMG_8939.thumb.jpeg.074006fe27acc51ecce25ff784f20468.jpeg

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Waiting for the perfectionists and engineers to chime in and say no way, but my vote is you are probably fine unless the seal is really bad. You’d have some smoke sneak out the top and some smoke take the right path. The smoke that sneaks out is not the kind you want if you are taking the time to bother with the smoker pot. If you had a large hole or a lot of air flow through the pot, my answer would be different...because that wood would probably fire up instead of smolder and would not leave out of the correct path.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to post
Share on other sites

@tekobo - may be just that your wood isn't fully seasoned yet and still has some moisture in it, so what you were seeing could have been steam and not smoke? I can't believe that you drilled holes in a Le Creuset DO - that's KK bling, baby! I'm sure that's how you get away with no flour paste - a very high end, well made DO. Most of us are looking for the cheapest one we can find, which usually means less quality, so the need for the sealing paste. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
[mention=3070]tekobo[/mention] - may be just that your wood isn't fully seasoned yet and still has some moisture in it, so what you were seeing could have been steam and not smoke? I can't believe that you drilled holes in a Le Creuset DO - that's KK bling, baby! I'm sure that's how you get away with no flour paste - a very high end, well made DO. Most of us are looking for the cheapest one we can find, which usually means less quality, so the need for the sealing paste. 

I thought the same tony b. Tekobo rocking a Ferrari in the demolition derby. I’m not mad at you though tekobo, can’t say I wouldn’t want one.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Like 1
  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, BOC said:

I thought the same tony b. Tekobo rocking a Ferrari in the demolition derby. I’m not mad at you though tekobo, can’t say I wouldn’t want one.

 

10 minutes ago, tony b said:

I can't believe that you drilled holes in a Le Creuset DO - that's KK bling, baby! I'm sure that's how you get away with no flour paste - a very high end,

Ha ha.  You need to shop smart.  I bought mine preloved on ebay in 2017 and it turns out it is a Chasseur and not a Le Creuset.  Looking at the date it was before my first KKs arrived so I was in the same pre-arrival frenzy that Forrest and BOC are experiencing now.  I know they are making a big thing of their age but, in the end, we are all the same.  Mad, bad children forever.  

Chasseur Cast Iron Casserole Dish Pot Cream Cas...

Item ID: 292114762261
Quantity: 1
Estimated delivery: Thu. 14 Sep. - Sat. 16 Sep.
Paid: £21.99 with PayPal
Edited by tekobo
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, tony b said:

@tekobo - may be just that your wood isn't fully seasoned yet and still has some moisture in it, so what you were seeing could have been steam and not smoke?

Could be, although they have been drying for about a year now.  One thing that I have never done is to watch the smoke pot in operation to see where the smoke exits.  Could do it on the stove in the kitchen but I suspect I wouldn't be popular with The Husband or our alarm company.  Will devise an experiment to check this out.  

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...