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Thread: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Hi everyone! I've been having this problem for some time now. My Big Green Egg is creating/imparting too much smoke flavor on the food. I'll start with my routine....

    Lighting Grill
    Remove small Green topper
    Remove Grill piece
    Stir up old charcoal really good
    Check for accumulated ash in bottom (remove if too much)
    Insert electric starter
    Add more charcoal to fill up to the joint between ceramic pieces
    Plug in starter for 10 mins.
    Remove starter
    Replace Grill piece
    Leave lid open until fire is burning good
    Clean grill
    Close lid and lesson air flow until approximate temp is reached (happens very fast)
    Start grilling

    Shutting down grill after use
    Close air flow at the bottom
    Replace steel cap with green cap


    For instance 2 nights ago i wanted to cook eight burgers, i had a 10" circle of red hot coals in the middle of the charcoal pile. This was so i could cook some burgers a little faster than the others (kid size and adult size). Everything i've been told or read suggests you need to KEEP THE GRILL CLOSED will cooking, but maybe that only applies to smoking/low temp cooking. I tried shutting the lid, lessening the airflow and smoke just pours out the cap. I open lid to check burgers and it's like i'm sending smoke signals, huge amount of smoke, smoke in my eye, can't see a thing. Decide to leave grill open and finish cooking burgers. Still so much smoke coming off the grill it's kind of ridiculous. Wife says burgers tasted smokey, but not as bad as previous grilling.

    So this is what i'm wondering, by re-using the charcoal, which would be soaked with previous grillings drippings, is this stuff burning causing the excess smoke?

    It's been so rainy this summer, is my charcoal absorbing that moisture, and most of my smoke is water vapor?

    What else could i be doing wrong?

    I cooked a frozen pizza not to long ago (lid closed) and i'm telling you it tasted like someone doused the pizza with that liquid smoke, i couldn't even eat it. I also smoke some salmon, that i added soaked hickory chips too, it was so acidic with smoke you couldn't even eat it.

    I've got to fix this!
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Your overall routine looks fine to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    So this is what i'm wondering, by re-using the charcoal, which would be soaked with previous grillings drippings, is this stuff burning causing the excess smoke?
    As long as you are letting the charcoal burn to the point where they are red hot and burned down to white ash, any leftover drippings will have been burned off by this time.

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    It's been so rainy this summer, is my charcoal absorbing that moisture, and most of my smoke is water vapor?
    It's possible, but I would think the first thing you would notice is that the charcoal would be harder to light and get going. Even if this is the case, any moisture would be driven out by the time the coals turn white & red hot. It just may take the coals longer to reach this state.

    Next time you do burgers, I would try cooking with the lid off or with it partially on (if that's possible with the BGE). You may experiment with the vent settings as well - intake and exhaust (suspect you may need to leave them more open for burgers). I would also try stacking the charcoal so it is higher on one side and tapers off toward the other. This would give a bit more temperature control. If some of the burgers drip to the point of causing flare-ups, you can move them to the "cooler" side of the grill so they do not over-char.

    From what I have read about the BGE, they are better suited for "low & slow" smoking of meats like briskets, pork, chicken. Burgers, OTOH, usually come out better grilled over a more direct flame. When I had my old Weber Kettle (closest thing I had to BGE) , I cooked burgers with the lid off or ajar (on colder days) with all vents wide open. I still got that hint of charcoal-grilled flavoring, but never anything approaching excess smokiness. And I even used the Myron Mixon lighting method...lighter fluid (gasp!)
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    If you're getting thick smoke off the grill, something is wrong. Either wet charcoal, bad charcoal, or more likely there's some smoldering grease in there somewhere.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Perhaps i should replace charcoal, or just light it and let it burn all night. Something is definitely not correct, i can smoke with no additional wood chips, and when i say smoke i'm talking SMOKE! I'll light it up tonight and take a vid.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Are you having "too much smoke" or "too much flavor from smoke"?

    What charcoal are you using?
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Yeah, a good burn should clean things out if there's anything nasty in there. You are using lump charcoal, right?
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    I have to ask first, what brand charcoal are you using? I have found MOST briquettes are either too hot burning or to smokey on my BGE....try using Royal Oaks LUMP...It's the ONLY charcoal I use now, and it burns great and long on the BGE. I've never had an overly smokey taste using it on my BGE.

    HTH
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Yes using BGE charcoal as the Lowes and HD brand of lump was inferior, pulled a whole log out of one bag!

    And it's a combo of overly smoky and too much smoke flavor.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    I just read that one site deemed the BGE lump to be the same as the Royal Oak (red bag) for a higher cost. I have been using Lazzari and its been good. It is a mesquite so it is a different smoke. I am going to try other woods.
    -- Guy --
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    The people at the BGE store did tell me about that brand, and how there's was just labeled different. I still have 3 large bags of BGE lump i'll need to use.

    Like the tip on an uneven pile of lump to control temp, i'll remember that.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    Here's a good site for charcoal review, if you feel like reading. I'm not sure how useful it is, since most areas have just a couple brands available.
    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm

    That being said, I still think your problem is grease. Usually, the only times my Keg ever billows smoke like that is smoldering pork fat from the last cook (lazy me), or if you have a decent fire going then choke down the air so much that it goes out. I've also gotten it once when I used the cooking-oil-on-the-paper method to start it...I used too much oil and it smoked heavily for 15 minutes or so till it all burned off.

    I cook steaks or burgers with the lid open. I'm not sure it matters.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    I would agree with Melt in the Sun..I NEVER have heavy smoke coming out of my BGE. I do have a "stoker" unit that controls my temps...blows air into the bottom vent when needed and shuts down when not.....Works great, and maintains a nice heat.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    OK, Melt, since we are both lazy BBQrs, what's the easy way to clean the grates on your egg/kamado? I have read you can run your egg up to 660+ but that seems silly to light a fire only to clean... and have it take 6 hours to cool back down.

    That being said, I let my Vision get to 600 (in about 10 minutes when lighting) last month when I was looking to go slow and it took several hours to get the temps down below 300
    -- Guy --
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    I've had mine over 700, and that's where it's headed right now, gonna leave it burning all night then clean it out good this weekend and go from there, pics tomorrow.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    So, you just light a hot fire and char the junk away? I don't suppose it takes much of a fire to do this.
    -- Guy --
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    IDK but that's what I'm trying, only at 450 with the smallish amount of old lump that was in it.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    I just read, some use the remains of an existing fire, after the food is off the grill, and just open the vents to get a hot fire and use that.
    -- Guy --
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    I basically relighted the lump from the last cookout, same thing i guess. This is what I always do and was told to do, a selling point, re use charcoal. This time I just didn't add any new.
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    For you guys wanting to know about cleaning your BGE grills, I assume the Grill Daddy would work as well for that as it does for my Bull stainless grill. Fill it with water, turn the valve to On and lightly scrub the grills. It steams off the caked on residue like you wouldn't believe. This is one of the few "as seen on TV" products that I would vouch for. Just be sure to use it after you are done grilling/smoking while it is still hot.

    [attachment=0:20mp47he]grill-daddy-pro-steam-cleaning.jpg[/attachment:20mp47he]
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    Re: Too much smoke flavor imparted on food Big Green Egg

    This is probably overkill for burgers, but for the briskets & pork that will be on the smoker for a while, I use a pre-burn pit. In my case, this pre-burn pit is a cast-iron chiminea. I begin by lighting the smoker normally using virgin wood/charcoal and let it warm up until the wood/charcoal has a covering of gray ash. When this is about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way there, I start another fire in the chiminea using mostly larger wood logs. When more fuel is needed for the smoker, I add the burning wood from the chiminea which is already up to temperature. The purpose of this is to avoid temperature drops and excess smokiness when adding raw wood/charcoal to a burning fire. Yes, you might sacrifice some wood by managing two fires. But with experience, your timing will improve and you will get more efficient with the wood. On several of my most recent BBQ's, no wood was wasted.
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