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View Full Version : Billowing clouds of white smoke with ST1400! How to get Thin Blue Smoke?!?



Clarissa
12-30-2012, 09:42 AM
Hi all,

I have a SmokinTex 1400 which I received a couple of weeks ago. I seasoned it per the instructions. Last week I tried a rack of pork spare ribs following the 3-2-1 rule using about 5 oz of hickory wood chunks at 225 deg F. They turned out terrible...bitter, black, and dry. So yesterday I tried brined boneless pork chops. I just put in a single 1 1/2 oz chunk of apple wood at 225 deg F. The wood chunk was dry as the instructions say to use. I did not have the chip insert or any aluminum foil in the wood box. I monitored the chamber temp and the IT using a Maverick ET-732. Chamber temp seemed pretty good...holding 225 deg +/- 25 deg or so. However, my smoke was billowing white clouds. Not Thin Blue Smoke. Any suggestions on how to get Thin Blue Smoke with the ST1400? As far as I can tell, there is no way to adjust air vents (I guess it is just the drain hole at the bottom and the circular vent at the top).

I'd greatly appreciate any help or suggestions, especially from SmokinTex owners that may have encountered/solved this same problem.

Thank you!

DReeves
12-30-2012, 03:12 PM
It appears as if your 1400 is working as designed. I would back off on the amount of wood, though. Just as you encountered, too much wood imparts a bitter piece of meat.

I'm not sure I've heard of thin blue smoke. Mine simply smokes.

Try some baby backs @ 225 for 5-6 hours. Amazing!

Just a small amount of wood will do.

DReeves
12-30-2012, 03:19 PM
I will say this: you should see smoke (regardless of color) for the first hour or two. Once the wood is burned down, you will start to see smaller amounts of smoke, mostly from your meat dripping on the wood box.

What is the thin blue smoke you are talking about? I've asked several seasoned cooks, nobody seems to know.

Thanks. Looking forward to helping.

Clarissa
12-30-2012, 04:04 PM
I will say this: you should see smoke (regardless of color) for the first hour or two. Once the wood is burned down, you will start to see smaller amounts of smoke, mostly from your meat dripping on the wood box.

What is the thin blue smoke you are talking about? I've asked several seasoned cooks, nobody seems to know.

Thanks. Looking forward to helping.

Hi DReeves,

Thank you very much for your response. I'm new to both smoking and the SmokinTex 1400 so I appreciate you giving me the benefit of your experience. Per your suggestion, I'll try less wood (maybe 1/2 ounce?) the next time I try out the smoker.

The thin blue smoke is just a description of the ideal smoke, at least according to sources on different online BBQ/Smoking forums. It apparently means that the smoke is blue-ish in color and thin enough to see through. However, it may just be an urban legend....I certainly haven't been able to produce it yet!

Thank you again for your feedback, and Happy New Year!
Clarissa

DReeves
12-30-2012, 04:36 PM
Sounds like a plan, Clarissa!

Please post results here. I really am interested in helping you succeed :)

billy b
12-30-2012, 04:45 PM
My 1400 has never smoked anything but white, I usually use cracked pecan hulls or fruit wood chips wrapped loosely in foil, it smokes moderately for the first few hours then as DR says it's mostly the juice from the meat sizzling on the wood chip doghouse.I use a small handfull (maybe an ounce & 1/2) for a rib cook.

bigwalleye
12-30-2012, 04:45 PM
I wonder if the "thin blue" is what we're seeing, DR, when the wood's gone and we're getting the remnants of the off-burrning drippings. I, too, see lots of white initially and then it "calms down".

I agree, Clarissa, with DR, try less wood. I trypically run 3 or 4 racks of ribs on 2.5 oz of apple. Hickory is a pretty strong flavored wood. If you want to stick with hickory or mesquite, I'd rocommend starting with an ounce and a half, and 3 or 4 charcoal briquettes. They'll also help with the thin blue smoke.

How did your chops turn out?

Clarissa
12-30-2012, 05:32 PM
I wonder if the "thin blue" is what we're seeing, DR, when the wood's gone and we're getting the remnants of the off-burrning drippings. I, too, see lots of white initially and then it "calms down".

I agree, Clarissa, with DR, try less wood. I trypically run 3 or 4 rqcks of wood on 2.5 oz of apple. Hickory is a pretty strong flavored wood. If you want to stick with hickory or mesquite, I'd rocommend starting with an ounce and a half, and 3 or 4 charcoal briquettes. They'll also help with the thin blue smoke.

How did your chops turn out?


When I saw the "billowing white smoke" I panicked because I thought I was going to ruin another dinner. So I opened the door of the chamber and dumped out the wood chunk then let the pork chop finish with just residual smoke. When I opened the door, the chunk of wood burst into flame (I could hear the "whump" when I opened the door). The chops tasted smoky and somewhat dry despite brining them beforehand, but I guess that could be attributed to me opening the door and catching the wood on fire, and then of course the loss of moisture from opening the door.

Thanks so much for your help, and Happy New Year!

Steven Par
12-31-2012, 12:25 PM
One or 1.5 ozs should be plenty of wood for 1 rack of ribs. The most I have ever used is probably 4 ozs and thats with 2-8lb butts smoking. I have also found that hickory can be a little harsh in the Tex and have switched to just using apple chunks per a suggestion from this forum and have had great success. Also your smoker will get better with time and seasoning.
Steve

Clarissa
12-31-2012, 06:16 PM
My 1400 has never smoked anything but white, I usually use cracked pecan hulls or fruit wood chips wrapped loosely in foil, it smokes moderately for the first few hours then as DR says it's mostly the juice from the meat sizzling on the wood chip doghouse.I use a small handfull (maybe an ounce & 1/2) for a rib cook.

Hi billy b,
Thanks so much for your info about smoke color. It is great to be able to benefit from your experience. I really appreciate the help. Thanks and Happy New Year!

Clarissa
12-31-2012, 06:22 PM
One or 1.5 ozs should be plenty of wood for 1 rack of ribs. The most I have ever used is probably 4 ozs and thats with 2-8lb butts smoking. I have also found that hickory can be a little harsh in the Tex and have switched to just using apple chunks per a suggestion from this forum and have had great success. Also your smoker will get better with time and seasoning.
Steve

Hi Steven,
Thanks for the reassurances and your advice about wood type and quantity. I'll follow your advice and stick with apple, especially for hot smoking. It sounds like 1.5 ounces for 4 pork chops was still too much wood, so I'll also back way down on wood for my next attempt. Thanks very much your help and Happy New Year!

baconboy
07-27-2013, 08:11 PM
I know this thread is old but the best way I can explaine the smoke you are asking about is from my stick burner. When it's first started up until its up to temp it has the thick white smoke as it is coasting along with a good bed of coals you can just make out seeing smoke coming out the smoke stack. When she is running like that your going to get some good eats. If you get black smoke from wet wood just toss out what ever is in there cause its gonna be nasty. Think of watching a fireplace chimney from outside. When it's starting thick white smoke. When it's been going and has a good bed of coals you don't really see the smoke but you can smell some one has a fire going. You see black smoke coming out something is wrong.