Author Topic: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella  (Read 249 times)

Quixotequest

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Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« on: November 10, 2021, 12:17:57 AM »
Since getting my 3DW last weekend and seasoning it, I have used the Bella to imitate some of the favorite recipes my brother shares that he has made with his cold smoker on his barrel smoker. I have Bella smoked a hot box (for almonds and Chex mixes) and a cold box (for cheeses and butter).

I have been using some mixes of Weber brand pellets and mixes of pellet/small chips— burning off the initial ignite for about 15 minutes with the air pump on high, then dialing down to the pump's lowest setting to get a softer, even, lighter-white smoke for the duration of the timing -- though doesn't seem to ever be a 'blue smoke'.

I've followed the times my brother has used on his outfit, tho' I noticed his preferred times are within the range of recipes I've seen on pellet smoker forums. But what I've found is that my results have been quite strong flavored (1 hr on almonds and Chex mixes; 45 min on butters; 2-2.5hr on the diff cheeses). The results have not been acrid nor inedible but much stronger than expected, with a bit of 'tongue numbing' which my brother says I probably need to work on my smoke quality (to reduce any creosote oil) and tweak my durations. And the cheeses are obvs at this point still young and highly fragrant, but flavor should even out more in a couple of weeks. (The butters, nuts and Chex mixes did taste a bit better after resting for a day, but cheese was still quite strong and most tongue-numbing.)

The only thing I can think left to try for hardware control is the vents in the Bella's lid — and then maybe try some smokes with only wood chips. (I have had the vents open about 2/3 of aperture.) Any thoughts about how is best to use those vents in practice?

Also I've noticed is that I have been getting longer smokes than anticipated—getting about 4 hours off of the hopper filled about a third full.
3DW with Bella.
Newish to food smoking and sausage making.
Seasoned cooking and baking enthusiast (esp Spanish, French, Japanese and Italian).
Home gardener, fermenter, forager, preserver, espresso snob, and infusion-maker (like vermouth).

Lonzinomaker

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2021, 09:57:09 AM »
Try to find some 100% fruit wood pellets.  I think the Weber pellets are a blend of hardwoods and flavored with oils.
Dave
Smokin-It #3 main smoker.
1400 Smokin Tex (same size as #2) for Snowbird time.
Smokin-It #1 for camping trips.
Big Chief with mailbox mod for cheese smoking
Blackstone 22in griddle with Bakerstone pizza oven
Spokane, WA

Quixotequest

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2021, 10:38:11 AM »
The packaging on the two Weber bag mixes I have say "100% hardwood and 0% fillers". Wouldn't they have to disclose on the packaging if flavoring oils are added? That said, will do more shopping of woods.

Any thoughts about whether any hardware use of mine need any tweaks?
3DW with Bella.
Newish to food smoking and sausage making.
Seasoned cooking and baking enthusiast (esp Spanish, French, Japanese and Italian).
Home gardener, fermenter, forager, preserver, espresso snob, and infusion-maker (like vermouth).

old sarge

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2021, 03:17:15 PM »
Welcome to the forum. Not a cold smoker so I defer advice to those with experience. However some of the strong points of the Bella is the amount of smoke it produces, the ability to dial it down, the low temp of the smoke and lastly how long you can produce smoke. There is at least one good video on youtube that illustrates this. As for wood type it should be no different than selecting chunks. Experiment with wood from several sources until you get the burn and profile you like.
David from Arizona
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OldeSmoker

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2021, 09:51:38 PM »
I have experimented quite a bit with my Bella CSG. I use it for long smokes on large cuts of meat like brisket and pork butt as well as cold smoking. Initially I had the same problem you are having. I now start it with the air pump on the high setting to get a good burn. Then I turn it down to half speed which seems like a lot of smoke. Because of the additional air it burns hotter and provides a cleaner smoke. Using this message method I get a nice mellow smoke that seems to penetrate deeper into the larger cuts of meat. That solved my problem, I hope it works for you.
Paul from Southwest Missouri
*Smokin-It 3D-WiFi
with Bella’s CSG and The Stephanie Cabinet
*Members Mark SS 6 Burner Gas Grill with Sear Burner, Side Burner & Rotisserie
*River Grills Wood Fired Grill and Fire Pit
W/ Rotisserie and Dutch Oven Hanger

Quixotequest

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2021, 10:45:10 PM »
Thank you! It seems counterintuitive because it blows more smoke thru the upper port, but yes, getting a good burn is something I want to improve because I want to get the best flavor, and also want to do more cold-smoking-a-hot-box technique especially since I make sausages and this is the set-up that Chef Eric uses with his SI smoker.

Do you mix chips with pellets or just pellets? My brother has changed to chips alone for his cold smoker but it seems a pellet mix is recommended with the Bella from the instructions I've read...

Also I assume you are lighting in both ports to start? I got the suggestion to light just one port, which is what I did on my first two Bella smokes.

I have experimented quite a bit with my Bella CSG. I use it for long smokes on large cuts of meat like brisket and pork butt as well as cold smoking. Initially I had the same problem you are having. I now start it with the air pump on the high setting to get a good burn. Then I turn it down to half speed which seems like a lot of smoke. Because of the additional air it burns hotter and provides a cleaner smoke. Using this message method I get a nice mellow smoke that seems to penetrate deeper into the larger cuts of meat. That solved my problem, I hope it works for you.
3DW with Bella.
Newish to food smoking and sausage making.
Seasoned cooking and baking enthusiast (esp Spanish, French, Japanese and Italian).
Home gardener, fermenter, forager, preserver, espresso snob, and infusion-maker (like vermouth).

Quixotequest

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2021, 10:06:14 PM »
That suggestion worked out better for setting the pump air, after initial start-up burn, to medium. Mixed pellets and chips about 70:30 ratio, and fire seemed to burn a bit hotter, too, by look of the underside of lid (which I had cleaned prior).

Good full flavored result, but not overly strong, on a spatchcock chicken smoked on second tray from top. (Though I am thinking maybe I shouldn't Bella smoke our Thanksgiving turkey the full cook time-- still worried it could potentially smoke too strongly in twice that amount of time). A touch less than a one-third fill on hopper was almost finished smoking when bird came off after the ~2hr15 cook. With the startup time added that seems closer to the ~8hr full-hopper advertised rate.

I have experimented quite a bit with my Bella CSG. I use it for long smokes on large cuts of meat like brisket and pork butt as well as cold smoking. Initially I had the same problem you are having. I now start it with the air pump on the high setting to get a good burn. Then I turn it down to half speed which seems like a lot of smoke. Because of the additional air it burns hotter and provides a cleaner smoke. Using this message method I get a nice mellow smoke that seems to penetrate deeper into the larger cuts of meat. That solved my problem, I hope it works for you.
3DW with Bella.
Newish to food smoking and sausage making.
Seasoned cooking and baking enthusiast (esp Spanish, French, Japanese and Italian).
Home gardener, fermenter, forager, preserver, espresso snob, and infusion-maker (like vermouth).

OldeSmoker

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Re: Dialing in the burn/smoke on the Bella
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2021, 12:09:32 AM »
I have smoked with a mix of chips and pellets, and with just pellets. I couldn’t taste a significant difference between the two. Also, I only light one port. That seems to work best.
Paul from Southwest Missouri
*Smokin-It 3D-WiFi
with Bella’s CSG and The Stephanie Cabinet
*Members Mark SS 6 Burner Gas Grill with Sear Burner, Side Burner & Rotisserie
*River Grills Wood Fired Grill and Fire Pit
W/ Rotisserie and Dutch Oven Hanger