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Only The Cleanest Smoke...

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Once I get my KK I'm going to try the smoke pot I think and see what it's like. I want to taste the difference on this "ultra-clean smoke" and see if the smoke pots really give a better flavor.

But for the sake of notes from a Kamado (BGE) user for 12+ years I have a method that I like and I will try that as well on a KK.  If you start with kiln dried wood to begin with it doesn't end up with as much of the crappy smoke (in my opinion) - and also if you keep your wood in a dry place that makes a difference.  So I buy good quality wood chunks that have been pre-dried and I keep them in a dry place.  I like to distribute my wood chunks throughout the firebox (not on top strictly and not on bottom, but just mixed in well with the charcoal.  (4-6 good sized wood chunks or maybe even up to 8 chunks if some of the chunks are small).  I light the fire (I use a looftlighter but before I got that I used a regular electric starter), put in my water pan, and close the grill with open vents.  When dome thermometer reaches desired temp, I set the vents.  30-45 minutes later, I put the food on.  I usually have a good bit of smoke throughout the cook and usually the smoke doesn't stop since chunks are distributed throughout the firebox.  My theory is that the initial burn gets the wood hot and dry enough.  I feel that I don't get as much of the acrid smoke this way.

I also have these wood chips that are made from an old hickory tree that was cut down in my front yard at my previous house 5 years ago. The arborists gave me a huge bag that I haven't even gone halfway through yet - probably still have 20 lbs or more of it left.  I let these chips season in my garage 3 years before I even started using them so they are very dry.  When I use chips I mix dry wood chips in with the charcoal.  Put a little charcoal, sprinkle some chips, some more charcoal, some more chips.  I try to evenly distribute chips throughout the firebox.  Usually this results in still having plenty of smoke throughout a cook but sometimes most of the chips burn up.  It depends.

Anyway, that's my classic method for chips and chunks, and I've always gotten "OK" smoke. Probably not the cleanest, but also probably not the dirtiest.

I personally like Hickory.  2nd favorite is pecan.  Partially this is because there's a lot of these woods in my area in Georgia and they are easy to get.  Also Hickory imparts a classic North Carolina / South Carolina / Georgia BBQ smoke flavor that I am hooked on for pork BBQ.  Hickory is just what we use around these parts and what my palette is used to.  I have used apple and love it, even for beef brisket.  I've used cherry / not sure that I cared for it, specifically.  (To me a lot of the fruit woods taste similar so why not just get apple wood since (in my area apple is very easy to get). 

Oddly enough I like the flavor of mesquite wood on poultry.  You have to be careful how much of it you use, but to me, a bird is great with a little mesquite wood.  (that's just me).  However, b/c of the aforementioned large bag of wood chips from the tree in my old front yard, I use hickory more than anything else right now and I haven't used mesquite in idk at least 2 years.

I've not been very adventurous outside of these.  I've heard cold smoking salmon with Alder is the classic.  I'd love to try that if I get that cold smoking attachment for the KK.  



Edited by johnnymnemonic
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Everyone has their own style! It's what makes this so much fun! Many of us use Syz's smoker pot and are very happy with it. YMMV

A good source for wood chunks is Fruita Woods. Lots of variety in both types of wood and sizes of chunks. My "go to." 

One thing about your method that will change with your KK - dump the water pan - won't need it. The KK is so efficient in airflow that your foods don't dry out. If you still like to spritz your ribs/butts/briskets, etc., you can, just to impart some flavor and get a bit more smoky flavor, but you won't need it to keep the meat moist. 

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