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I've been cooking a lot over fire in addition to my CS. As you all know, when cooking with fire you want to burn off the impurities before adding the wood to your cooker. The idea is to prevent cooking with the dirty, white smoke and cook with the clean, blue smoke.

So my question: on a CS, does anyone crank the heat, add a pile of wood chunks, wait for the smoke to turn clean, and then add your meat? Or do you just add a few chunks of wood, add the meat, set the temp and call it good?
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Back in the day when smoking with my 009 and Amerique, I'd add chunks, set temp, wait about 30 minutes to hit temp and then add meat. Now and again I'd start a pork butt or brisket from the start...didn't seem to make much difference. That said, I was judicial with the weight of the wood. Butts and briskets never had more than 4 oz in the wood pan. 2 oz for ribs and chicken usually an ounce or less.
Cal, I'm with you. Why complicate a simple and reliable process that the CS design allows? As Max says, judicious use of wood (i.e., less is more) can provide all the control you need over smokiness of the result. I understand the need to appear to your loved ones and friends that you are doing arcane magic, but you can let the process be incredibly simple and just pretend it was a complicated chore!
I think, given the small about of wood that is used that it's not going to impact. The idea is to prevent creosote from building up.

Now, that being said, if you're going to jam as much wood in there and TRY to get more smoke flavor, then it's something to experiment.

My suggestion, as always, is to try it and let your taste buds be the guide, and of course, drop back in and let us know how it goes.
Since you are going for long cooks?,I usually agree.Short cooks,ie 8-10 oz fish fillets,might be different.

That being one area where I might use mesquite and it can have a yellow ,somewhat bitter smoke to start..I was taught many years ago,to let the wood start burning clean and then add the racks of fish.

It has done well for me and I've stuck with it over the years.

Just my $0.02
Thanks all, that's pretty much what I've always done.

Russ, I've done some of this in the past. I have over smoked my meats a few times, but it's funny how over time we simplify as Pags states. I usually do Tom's method and start the cooker with wood in there while I'm prepping the meat. And Cal, if I step back and give it a few seconds, I don't get the smoke in my eyes (much). Jay, you couldn't be more off-base.

Anyway, I haven't been on here for a while, good to see some familiar names.
Originally posted by Gumbo:

...... And Cal, if I step back and give it a few seconds, I don't get the smoke in my eyes (much).......

Anyway, I haven't been on here for a while, good to see some familiar names.

I hear ya. I tried to use it more for prewarming the smoker for chicken,to help with the skin. I tried to hurry as fast as I could to keep from losing heat. I got enough in my eyes that I just quite using that technique after a couple times Eeker , besides I couldn't really see much improvement in the skin.
Originally posted by Gumbo:
Originally posted by cal:
I tried to hurry as fast as I could to keep from losing heat.

You know, I've noticed significantly less loss of heat when I upgraded to a newer CS model. Could be real or perceived, but I've started opening as needed without fear or losing heat.

I never had an older model I started with the SM020, which was the black metal version of the sm025. You do have a good point of not worrying about opening it, though I have found that if you can wait till about 2/3rds of the way through your cook it seems to be the best time. You know, let some of the moisture out to get a decent bark.

I guess the newer models are still the same? No matter what temp you set it on, it will run a 20 minute warmup cycle that is on high. I always thought it was to get a good burn going on the wood, but maybe it's to burn off the impurities faster?

Anyway, I leave the smokette at the lake and only get to use it a couple times a year. When I do use it on ribs I try to use 3 little pieces of wood(pecan,oak,cherry), I really haven't thought why, but it does seem to produce a better flavor rib then the pellet smokers I have. They may not look quite as pretty though.
Last edited by cal 2

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