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Why does my ribs taste like ash?
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artteacher1975



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 10:02 am    Post subject: Why does my ribs taste like ash? Reply with quote

Why does my baby back ribs taste like ash when I smoke them? I got a smoker/grill that has a smoker box on the side. I use charcoal in the fire box and set my water soaked wood chunks and chips on a cast-iron box. this is the second time that I have tried this using a new technique and still the ribs taste like someone put their cigarette out on them. What am I doing wrong? Please help.
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Andy Reese
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use charcoal for heat and wood for flavor I quit using iron fireboxes when I got a smoker
What temps are you cooking at?
What color is your smoke coming out of the chimney ? it should be a blue color
Hope this helps
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k.c.hawg
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The wet chunks could be smoldering too much.....if wind is getting into the firebox it could actually be blowing ash into the grill onto the meat. If you had success before the new method.... go back to what you were doing before.... then try to precede to the new method again and watch closely to try and find the flaw in the new method. It is usually right under our nose but we assume success and don't pay attention to detail until it has failed......then it is too late. Good luck.
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day_trippr
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: Why does my ribs taste like ash? Reply with quote

artteacher1975 wrote:
Why does my baby back ribs taste like ash when I smoke them? I got a smoker/grill that has a smoker box on the side. I use charcoal in the fire box and set my water soaked wood chunks and chips on a cast-iron box. this is the second time that I have tried this using a new technique and still the ribs taste like someone put their cigarette out on them. What am I doing wrong? Please help.


Take a picture of your rig when it's puffing - including what's coming out of the stack - and post it up here. I expect you have thick smoke, probably white or gray, which is something you don't want. What you want is a very thin smoke - nearly invisible, something we call "thin, blue" smoke, coming out of the stack...

Cheers!
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you use ash as part of your rub recipe you get the results of ashy flavored ribs. Laughing Laughing Laughing

Sorry, had to be a smart ass.
What are you cooking on? Technique? Any viable information about how your doing things will help.
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Soybomb
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Along with the "thin blue smoke" recommendations, I'll ask what your intake and exhaust vent settings are like. Closing down the exhaust is generally considered a bad thing.

The key to a good smoke, I've found is having a small fire thats breathing well. When you start with too big of a fire or let it get going too hot and start to fight (usually with no luck) to get it back under control, you lose the magic thin blue smoke.

Fwiw, I rarely soak my wood either. Doesn't seem to do much more than delay the start of it smoking. Sometimes I'll dump some chips directly on the coals of the kettle and if I remember I'll soak them first so I'm not immediately blasted with smoke but thats about the only time I bother.
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Raijer
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.c.hawg wrote:
The wet chunks could be smoldering too much......


This. Just going off what you posted, I'd say wet chunks of wood are your probable problem. Wet wood is NOT going to create the sort of smoke you're looking for in a cook. Replace those soggy chunks for two or three well-seasoned pieces of wood.

Just out of curiosity, what's the smoke look like during your cook? I think every one here is of one mind. Do you have billows of gray smoke pouring out of your cooker? This is NOT something you want. Huge clouds of gray smoke = ashy flavored BBQ. You want a thin, almost clear, wisping of blue smoke.
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Canadian Bacon
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your cooker has a fire box stay away from wet wood chips and just throw some chunks of dry seasoned wood on your charcoal.Look for that nice thin blue smoke.
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artteacher1975



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 9:19 pm    Post subject: How do I get blue smoke? Reply with quote

How do I get blue smoke? How can I get the wood to not produce so much smoke? I believe that is my problem. Any tips?

Thanks.
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k.c.hawg
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using well cured (dry wood) and making sure it has plenty of air (open the air intakes on your firebox.....have a good hot fire when you put your chunks on.

This is not a great picture but its the only one I have to show both points. I'm using splits (larger than chunks) but if you look in the firebox you can see the flame from the wood having ignited. Rather than a smolkdering white or gray smoke you can see the exhaust has a light blue smoke.


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CliffC
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oregon smoker wrote:
If you use ash as part of your rub recipe you get the results of ashy flavored ribs. Laughing Laughing Laughing

Sorry, had to be a smart ass.
What are you cooking on? Technique? Any viable information about how your doing things will help.


Sounds like the guys have given you some good tips on sorting out the problem.
I, too, apologize for being a smart ass, but I just had to post this link-
http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13177&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
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JimmieOhio
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soybomb wrote:
Along with the "thin blue smoke" recommendations, I'll ask what your intake and exhaust vent settings are like. Closing down the exhaust is generally considered a bad thing.

The key to a good smoke, I've found is having a small fire thats breathing well. When you start with too big of a fire or let it get going too hot and start to fight (usually with no luck) to get it back under control, you lose the magic thin blue smoke.

"I couldn't agree more #1"

Soybomb wrote:
Fwiw, I rarely soak my wood either. Doesn't seem to do much more than delay the start of it smoking.

"I couldn't agree more #2"

Furthermore, IMHO this wood soaking thing comes from instructional sources (cookbooks and "amateur" cooking shows) that are typically using a traditional grill to smoke meat. I do not believe a wood or charcoal fired smoker should ever use wet wood.
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Soybomb
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18 10 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that we've all mentioned thin blue smoke, I'll also say not to panic when you first put the wood to the fire. While the cooker has all the oxygen in it from being opened up its going to light on fire and put out that thick white smoke. Once you get it together and give it a few minutes for the fire to get under control it will change over to the good stuff.
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eccho108
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19 10 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought..........take a look inside the lid of your fire chamber. Shocked See if there is a buildup of black flaky creosote, this will tell you that you are not getting a clean burn and will result in an ashy taste. The top vent, chimney...etc. should be pretty much wide open throughout the smoke. Only use bottom vents to control temps. Wink
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SmokeNride
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, man. Don't soak those wood chunks. Soak your feet and have some beer while your food cooks! Wet chunks take longer to ignite and spit out harsh smoke. Dry chunks, and warmed chunks, will fire right up if you're adding them to the fire during the cook. Also, don't put you're meat in the cooker until the white smoke mentioned before goes away. Or maybe you shook your ash basket during the cook and all your ash went all over your food! Ashy meat! Ugh! Don't need ash when there's already a butt!!
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the most part don't close off your exhast stack(I have seen a few places on the net that say thats how you control it,Wrong!)use the air intakes on your firebox to control your fire,don't put your food in the cook chamber till it's up to temp and a good small fire is going,dry wood, not green fresh from the tree wood.If the smoke from your exhast stack looks like a deisel going up a hill your fire is choking and needs more air,open the vents,open the firebox door a crack.and make sure the wind isn't blowing ash into the cook chamber.
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stetch
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

do you shake your coals to get the ash to drop? if so you should block off the entrance to the offset before doing so.
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Hell Fire Grill
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one way to get the smoke your looking for.

http://thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17614

Are you useing a homebuilt cooker?
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Wingman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21 10 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most the folks I believe called it with the smoke issue. You may may be burning too cold. Seasoned wood, more oxygen for thin Blue and you will also loose the bitter flavor if that is present. Great minds think alike...
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dmike25
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22 10 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't going to reply to this since everyone has said what I would, don't soak the wood, keep the exhaust open, etc. I gotta say thanx to CliffC for the link. That's some funny stuff right there buddy! artteacher1975, you say " this is the second time that I have tried this using a new technique ". Is the new technique the wood chips and cast iron box? Or is using an offset smoker the new technique?
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