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I'm new to this forum and "electric" smoking and I'm doing a lot of reading until my smoker comes in so I apologize if this has been covered before but, why do several posts mention using one piece of charcoal in the smoker box with the wood? My experience with charcoal is that it gives off an unpleasant odor/taste until it burns for awhile and fully ignites.
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Why? No practical reason really. It doesnt add flavor or change cook times etc. Its just there for appearance. For me smoking (cooking in general) is a hobby. Anything I can do to change it up a bit or to experiment adds to the enjoyment. Im a tinkerer and will rarely leave well enough alone. This smoke ring debate has been discussed many many times. It all comes down to personal preference. I dont bother most times but even when I do, the results are mixed with an electric smoker.
It's only for appearance. Some people believe and will get into heated arguments that "REAL" BBQ will have a smoke ring.

In fact, it's a BBQ Myth, the SR has nothing to do with real Q.

In reality, if people knew what it was (just a pink piece of meat that's been cured by chemicals in the smoke) then'd understand.


You can't change the world. Adding charcoal is a visual step, nothing with flavor. If one doesn't work, add two. If a particular brand doesn't work, change. Try straight lump.

You have to use a LOT of wood in a stick burner for it to happen naturally.

Oh and the denisity of rub, fat cap, other things come into play with the SR.

If you want more info on SR, just do a search and there's plenty of info.

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