As others noted, you won't get a smoke ring, unless your wood actually ignites in the woodbox, which would be a bad thing, or you add charcoal (charcoal contains the nitrogen dioxide from the burning process that made it charcoal). 'Smoldering' a piece of wood doesn't create the airborn notrogen like 'burning' wood does. You can read up a bit on the chemistry of what happens to form a 'smoke ring', but in reality, it is not a smoke ring, it is nitrogen dioxide slightly curing the outer portion of meat.
I also use a 160 in my restaurant (along with an FEC-120), and like the way it does Brisket (it's quite a moist smoker). Something I like to do is get the smoker up to temp prior to adding wood blocks, as the heating element isn't screaming hot trying to get up to initial temp. After coli not so hot, add wood blocks and you should get a slower initial smoke. Also, don't think that the wood isn't still doing it's job after the initial heavy white smoke - as that block smolders, it's putting out the 'thin blue smoke' for quite a while, and adding the good flavor you want. If you want to 'attract' smoke flavor, try keeping things moist. As example, I always try to smoke my Briskets with another meat (pork butts) on the shelf above it, so the fat dripping from the butts helps moisten the Brisket. The tasty bark of the briskets that were setting under pork butts for 12 to 14 hour is just awesome. A lot of my customers request I don't trim their beisket, they want all the flavorful fat. :-) My typical smoker load is (top down)pork butts, then a few shelfs of brisket, then butts on the bottom again. Butts on the bottom can handle more heat that Brisket and finish first. I try to avoid the top shelf, as I find it is the location that dries meats more.
I also find that using an additive to wet the Brisket can help take on more flavor. Many use mustard, I sometimes use Worcester to keep the rub wet when loading brisket onto smoker. I think it only helps moisten the first few hours, but I like how all turns out.
There are a few times that I pulled meats out of the SM160 and there was a thin smoke ring. That meant my wood ignited and burned off too fast, made smoker too hot, meats were dryer, and taste wasn't where it needed to be.
Originally posted by Brett huber:
Hey Guys i'm new on this forum. have been running a busy bbq restaurant for about a year and a half with a cookshack sm 160, brisket turns out really nice however, I don't really get a smoke ring on my meat, is it even possible with my smoker? as well is it possible to soak my wood prior to smoking, not sure if this is recommended with my smoker? I find the wood burns off really quickly then the smoke supply basically just runs out. What type of rubs work best for attracting smoke to your meat, Mine is high in sugar(brown)which is really nice on just about everything I smoke? thanks look forward to your comments...