Author Topic: Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner  (Read 674 times)

CGreenTX

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner
« on: July 10, 2020, 10:50:49 AM »
I'm feeling like this is the right forum to post this to, but redirect me if not. Post is long.

I came from over a decade of stick burning. I love a good smoke and had really learned to control the temps/smoke levels/etc down to a science. I found myself not smoking much because it is a significant commitment to monitor a fire for long cooks of briskets, pork butts, etc. The promise of great results with the LazyQ methods drew me in and I ordered a 4D.

I've owned the 4D for 18 months now. I've done dozens of cooks ranging from whole chickens to briskets, ribs to pork butts, etc. For woods I've heavily used Post Oak and Pecan from Fruita Wood & BBQ Supply, but also a little Hickory and Cherry from SmokinLicious. (I'm a Texan.. I really love traditional Post Oak for beef/pork and Pecan for Poultry.) I've found that I can get some pretty decent results on short cooks like whole chickens, but one of the big drivers in getting the 4D was doing large quantities of pork butts or briskets. When doing those I've found that there just isn't a significant smoke flavor on the level that I expect from good BBQ.

I've poured over the advice on these forums for chunk sizes, quantities, etc. to try and find my issues. The shape of the box on the 4D really drives a small chunk size, or forces you to but anything remotely large in the dead center. I've tried various sizes, going well beyond recommendations at times, but never end up with the flavors I'm looking for. At the end of 2-3 hour cooks I usually have a charcoal block left, and on long cooks it is a mix of that plus ash. At this point I'm wondering if what I want is even achievable with this type of cooker and I made a mistake buying a larger one with hope of using it for 50-100 lbs of meat in the future. (Note - I haven't yet pushed the quantities because I've not been happy with 1-2 butts/briskets yet.)

Can anyone talk some sense into me and help me figure out how to improve my results?

Chris Green

TLDR; I have a 4D model and can't seem to get much smoke flavor. Wondering if I'm just trying to get stick burning results from a chunk warmer and need to adjust my expectations. ;)

barelfly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 670
    • View Profile
Re: Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2020, 11:09:03 AM »
Hey Chris,

Welcome to the board! How cool is that having the 4D! Gigantic cooker for these Smokin-its!

Sorry to hear you arenít getting what you were hoping for in the smoke flavor. I too, having a 3D have wanted a bit more smoke flavor on brisket and butts and use a bit more wood than what others discuss here. But, for some reason, it just doesnít provide the smoke profile of what a stick burner provides. Mainly because the source of heat isnít the wood and fire itself, is what I am thinking. You get great, tender results and a flavor that comes out with the rub you choose, all with the Lazy Q style of cooking.

Perhaps there is a way to get a better smoke profile, and if there is, I would love to know that as well. But, and I hate saying this, but since you brought it up, perhaps the stick burner smoke profile just isnít achievable with this style of cooker.

One thing I havenít tried and wonder if it would help for long cooks, is to replace wood chunks every few hours to see if that provides more smoke flavor? I donít know but not sure if you have tried that. You can save the chunks for later cooks, if you have a Kettle grill that you could use to burn off or some grill of sort.

But I hope you find a medium in what you are looking for. Let me know if you do!
Jeremy in NM
3D for lazy q
Bullet 4 burner gasser by Bull Grills
Weber Kettle with a Slow n Sear

LarryD

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 805
  • 3DW - San Jose, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2020, 08:02:36 PM »
I've never used a smoker other than the Smokin-It and I love the smoke flavors I get, but that leaves the possibility that I just don't have a reference for what you're seeking.  (Though I have eaten a ton of commercial BBQ in my life from KC, St. Louis, and Texas.)

I frequently use a combination of chips / slivers and chunks of wood.  I'll use all chips/slivers for smokes of 2 hours or less.  I add chunks for any longer smokes.  I also tend to use more wood than most indicate they use, but not crazy more.  (I keep a hatchet with my wood and use it to split the chunks where they fill fit in the fire box and/or to create the slivers.)

My thought is that the chips/slivers start smoking really fast providing a lot of early smoke.  The chunks provide smoke until the temperature barrier is breached beyond which most things quit taking on much if any more smoke.
------------------------------
See where the Smokin-It Forum Members are located: https://goo.gl/iFgTi1  -- Message me to be added...

Glock_21

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Re: Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 09:00:23 PM »

Have you considered adding the Bella smoke generator? 
I also prefer a heavy smoke flavor.  I bought the Bella mainly to add the cold smoke option for cheese.  I now find myself using the Bella almost every time meat goes in the #3.  I let it run until the IT of the meat hits 140-150. 

Travis from North Central Oklahoma
SI #3, Traeger Texas Grill, gas grill, Classic Weber kettle, Anova WiFi 900 watt

barelfly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 670
    • View Profile
Re: Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 09:44:05 AM »
Travis,

Curious - and I know this has no bearing on flavor, only looks of finished BBQ - but with the Bella and using pellets for additional smoke, are you getting a smoke ring on the meat? Just curious, as Iíve seen other pellet cookers produce that look. Not that Iím chasing that look, just curious.

But the Bella has peaked my interest now if you say this is helping with the smoke profile. Did you order the bella as well as a new door with the already cut hole or did you do the cutting yourself? Are you also using wood chunks in the cooks with the pellets? Would be great to hear how your cooks are done with this add on. Thanks!
Jeremy in NM
3D for lazy q
Bullet 4 burner gasser by Bull Grills
Weber Kettle with a Slow n Sear

Glock_21

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Re: Really struggling with smoke flavor - 4D Owner
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2020, 11:52:57 AM »

I haven't done a brisket since adding the Bella, mainly ribs and chicken since then.  Brisket is where I find myself chasing a smoke ring.  I've gotten pretty good at adding a fake smoke ring with curing salt.  I know it doesn't taste any better, but it's just supposed to look that way, LOL.

I have a #3.  I installed the Bella on the door.  I removed the door and drilled the holes myself on a drill press.  I believe the documentation recommends 5 inches from the bottom and 5 inches from the left side.  I went with 5 inches from the bottom and 4 inches from the left side.  I felt like it cleared the firebox a little better.  At least on the #3.

I still use wood chunks in the firebox.  I just fire up the Bella to add a little more smoke.  I actually turn down the pump a little once the flame is established.  I shut the pump off once the meat hits 150ish.

Travis from North Central Oklahoma
SI #3, Traeger Texas Grill, gas grill, Classic Weber kettle, Anova WiFi 900 watt