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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Corvallis, Oregon
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    7

    Default Billowing clouds of white smoke with ST1400! How to get Thin Blue Smoke?!?

    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!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    587

    Default

    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.
    Remember: If it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Plano, Texas
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    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by DReeves View Post
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    Sounds like a plan, Clarissa!

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Lake Richland Chambers in Texas
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    58

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    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Cedar, MN (but still not far enough from the Cities)
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    693

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    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?
    Last edited by bigwalleye; 01-01-2013 at 10:04 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwalleye View Post
    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!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    47

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    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Corvallis, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy b View Post
    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!

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