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? asked in Food & DrinkOther - Food & Drink · 1 month ago

Will adding too much smoking pellets in a vertical smoker cause meat to become bitter?

I added BOTH hickory and mesquite smoking pellets on my vertical smoker by throwing them over the hot charcoal by the handfuls , but now my meat taste a bit bitter. I’m also worried I may have burnt it because it has a dark brown color.

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  • 1 month ago

    If the firebox had access to oxygen, the pellets would most likely have caught fire and you flame grilled the meat. I have a cold smoker setup, and made the mistake of taking the lid off the smoke generator to add more hickory. I had a fine fire going until I put the lid back on. Since it was remote it didn't mess  up the cheese I was smoking, but I had a small panic.

  • CB
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Over smoke can make things bitter - you can over smoke too with any wood (been there done that - ribs especially become bitter/acrid). Mesquite is especially acrid. 

    I guess the problem you need to figure out is: too much smoke too fast or too long at less smoke.

    I have had very good luck in my vertical water smoker using chunks of woods soaked for at least 30 minutes- I just pick oak firewood logs and cut them into 2x3" chunks (not critical).

    Ribs, about 3-4 hours of smoke then finish in oven wrapped tightly in foil at 250F

    Boston Butt or Picnic - 8+ hours of smoke finish in the oven wrapped tightly in foil at 250F

    Chicken - 2 hours of smoke finish in the oven wrapped tightly in foil at 350F.

    Salmon - 1-2 hours then finish in the oven at 350F.

    When I check the coals I remove the burning chunks of wood and drop them in the soak bucket for later use and pick a fresh one - a little fire is ok but several of them on fire is not. 

    Hope that helps - trial and error gets expensive (been there done that). 

  • kswck2
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The principle behind smoking over a live fire is the minimum amount of fuel is enough. More just creates problems. 

    The burned parts may just be able to be cut off, but there is such a thing as over smoking meats.

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