These 6 Tips Will Help You Get Perfect Thin Blue Smoke Every Time

Rate this post

The more smoke the better, I always say!

If I had a dime for every time I heard it while standing around your smoker with family and friends, I’d be rich. It is widely accepted that in order to impart a unique smokey taste to your meat, your cooker must produce billows of smoke.

When it comes to smoking, I can promise you that less is absolutely more.

Consider smoke to be a seasoning. Excessive amounts produce an overwhelming smoky flavor and a harsh aftertaste.

It might be difficult to get the appropriate quantity of smoke. Especially if you’re new to smoking meat and finding the appropriate temperature is difficult. The aim here is to get our smokers to generate that lovely thin blue smoke that is virtually imperceptible.

Let’s take a look at six strategies to ensure you get the smoke level exactly perfect every time and achieve excellent results.

The importance of fire management

Get Perfect Thin Blue Smoke Every Time With These 6 Tips

A clean burning fire is indicated by thin, blue smoke emerging from your smoker. This is the goal you want to achieve every time you light the cigarette. No creosote signifies a clean burning fire.

Creosote, athick, black, carbon-rich leftovers, is the consequence of incomplete combustion of wood and is what changes the flavor of smoked meat from smoky to bitter.

It also destroys your cooker. If you let it accumulate over time, it will undoubtedly be a great nuisance to clean up.

You can manage the quantity of smoke produced by your BBQ by using the proper mix of airflow and fuel. This well-balanced mixture yields more efficient combustion.

The following are the most prevalent reasons of incomplete combustion:

  • Too much fuel in your smoker.
  • Your coals are not hot enough.
  • Not enough airflow for complete combustion.
  • A blazing hot fire that burns the fuel in your stove too quickly.

If plumes of white smoke are rising from your smoker, this is a clear sign of incomplete combustion. And, contrary to popular perception, this is not the kind of smoke required to impart a smokey taste to your meat.

Let’s look at the six techniques to obtain that thin blue smoke that gives the desired outcomes.

1) Remember, a little smoke goes a long way

It doesn’t take much smoke to add great taste. In fact, if you strive for too much smokiness, you risk dominating the flavor of the meat.

While you want your meat to have a pleasant smokey taste, woods with greater flavor qualities, such as Hickory or Oak, may quickly overshadow the meat’s flavor.

When it comes to monitoring the smoke coming out of your smoker’s stack, the harder you have to look to see it, the better. There should only be a hint of smoke rising from the stack, and although it does not have to be blue, it should not be dense, white, or puffy. The smoke created should have a distinct but faint odor.

When it comes to monitoring the smoke coming out of your smoker’s stack, the harder you have to look to see it, the better.

Remember, the goal is to enhance the flavor of the meat, not to dominate it; the more the merrier.

2) Build your fire for success

When cooking on a charcoal smoker, keep in mind that the charcoal is the heat source and the wood is used to make smoke. So resist the urge to add too much wood.

If you’re using a horizontal offset smoker, the wood is also utilized to create a bed of coals, which produces both heat and smoke. Even so, you should use charcoal to start the fire.

Let’s go through the fundamentals of constructing a fire that will assure full combustion. We will go through how to deal with individual smokers in more depth later.

  • Begin with heated coals (ideally using a charcoal chimney starter). The coals will serve as your heat source.
  • Introduce the wood you’ll be using for smoke after there’s enough heat. Remember, the wood’s purpose is to make smoke, not heat. To begin, two to three portions should enough.
  • If you use too much wood, the smoke will be dense and white and will not thin. This suggests you’re suffocating the embers. A little white smoke is nothing to be concerned about at first.
  • Replace the wood with a new piece only after it has become part of the coal bed.

This video gives a quick overview of fire management and pit temperature control.

Smoker Temperature Control – Controlling Smoker Temp Tips

Watch this video on YouTube

3) Use the right type of wood

There are a few hard and fast guidelines on which woodlands should never be used.

  • Never smoke with treated wood, such as plywood, particle board, or treated lumber.
  • Don’t use wood that has a lot of resin in it. Pine, cedar, and other evergreens are all out.

However, when it comes to the sort of wood to utilize, as well as the notion of combining various types of wood with different types of meat, things get contentious.

Some people believe that the assumption that various kinds of wood produce diverse tastes is ludicrous.

What You Need to Know About Wood, Smoke, And Combustion, by Meathead Goldwyn

Cured (dry) hardwoods with little sap, particularly fruit and nut woods, are ideal for grilling. They all have somewhat distinct tastes that are difficult to explain.

There are several resources on the internet that try to explain the tastes of various woods. They remind me of the flowery language used by wine enthusiasts. The majority of them are just copied and pasted from one website to the next.

These descriptions aren’t really helpful to me. To be honest, I believe much of it is nonsense. More BBQ legends.

On the other hand, others argue that the wood you use has a direct impact on the taste of the meat. Mesquite, for example, is said to have a strong, unique taste. In terms of taste, Hickory is regarded to be second only to Mesquite.

Mesquite and hickory were used in an 80/20 ratio.Some people use a 20 to reduce the strength of the Mesquite.

Pitmasters looking for a more delicate, sweeter taste say woods originating from fruit and nut trees are a wonderful option. These woods also have a reduced sap content, making them ideal for smoking in general.

Apple wood chunks are a flexible and dependable wood option in my experience.

Clearly, the judgment is still out on how much influence the kind of wood you use has on the taste of your meat. After some trial and error, you will undoubtedly determine which group you belong to.

Soaking your wood

Another issue to consider about the timber you use is: Should you soak or not?

It is often recommended that you soak your wood in water for at least 12 hours before using it. This is not only needless, but it may also have an impact on the quality of your cigarette.

As previously stated, a hot fire that reaches complete combustion creates thin, blue smoke. Throwing damp wood on hot coals can change the temperature of your fire. Remember that managing the temperature of your BBQ is essential for success.

Soaking your wood is often done to help it burn longer. If you want to cook for an extended period of time, just use bigger bits of wood.

4) Manage your air flow

Airflow is an essential component of the combustion process. Not only is the proper quantity of airflow important for managing the temperature of your fire, but it is also critical for ensuring the fire burns effectively.

This does not imply that more air is preferable. It comes down to understanding your stove and keeping an eye on the smoke it produces.

Let’s have a look at some fundamental air flow fundamentals.

  • You need enough oxygen to achieve full combustion. However, let too much air in causes the fire to burn too rapidly. This causes pieces of your wood to burn incompletely, resulting in the dreaded white smoke.
  • In most circumstances, keeping your exhaust open and controlling the heat with your intake vents is the best approach to get the proper amount of air flow. Monitor the color and quantity of smoke created, and adjust the vents as needed.

5) Work with your smoker

We’ve discussed some broad guidelines for constructing a fire that produces nice smoke, but each smoker is unique. Here are some broad guidelines for creating the proper sort of smoke on certain popular smoker types.

Weber Smokey Mountain:

Expect to see some white smoke when bringing the smoker up to temperature on a Smokey Mountain. However, the white smoke should dissipate in no more than 30-45 minutes.

  • To get started while cooking low and slow using the minion or a similar technique, need around a chimney of lighted coals. Put these coals in the middle of the fire.
  • Place unlit coals and wood around the perimeter of the fire.
  • Open up the top vent completely.
  • Adjust the bottom vents to the position necessary to maintain the desired temperature during the cook, and then leave them there. Some pitmasters advise keeping just one bottom vent partially open, while others advise leaving all bottom vents open. You may need to perform some preliminary testing to determine your favorite vent position.
  • Don’t suffocate the fire with too much wood, and keep an eye on the smoke.

T-ROY COOKS goes through some additional methods to generate that thin blue smoke on a Weber Smokey Mountain in this Q&A.

Why Can’t I get a Thin Blue Smoke on my WSM? | Ep 38

Watch this video on YouTube

Offset smoker:

You should constantly burn your wood down to produce the coal bed, says Malcom Reed of How To BBQ Right. Remember that here is where your cooker gets its heat. The fresh sticks you put on top provide the smoke and smokey taste, and they should only be added a bit at a time.

More information on starting your offset smoker and managing the fire may be found here.

To get thin blue smoke with a Kamado cooker:

Here are two tips for obtaining the appropriate kind of smoke on a Kamado style cooker:

  • Reduce the quantity of wood in the fire until the temperature reaches the required level.
  • Place a layer of charcoal at the bottom of the fire box, followed by a layer of wood, and then another layer of charcoal on top of the wood. Make a trench in the middle with a few of charcoal lumps to spark the fire.
  • Sandwiching the wood between the coals allows it to begin burning at a higher temperature right away.

6) Keep your smoker clean

The bad news is that you must clean your smoker on a regular basis.

We’ve already discussed creosote, a result of incomplete combustion that imparts a harsh flavor to meat. Creosote, ash, oil, and soot may all accumulate in your smoker. As the grease from your old cooks burns off, it will produce black smoke.

Cleaning your BBQ also provides an excellent chance to check for rust, which can needlessly affect the life of your smoker.

Wrapping it up

Have you found our list of six techniques to obtain excellent thin blue smoke useful?

Getting that particular, smoked taste is something to be proud of. It might be difficult when there are certain misconceptions about how to go about it. However, producing the desirable thin, blue smoke does not have to be out of reach. Have some practice now that you’re equipped with some information and useful ideas.

Do you have any suggestions or questions? Please let us know in the comments section below. And, if you found this information useful, please share it!

Bryan Adams on Flickr provided the featured Creative Commons image.


How do you make thin blue smoke?

Soaking the wood

As previously stated, a hot fire that reaches complete combustion creates thin, blue smoke. Throwing damp wood on hot coals can change the temperature of your fire. Remember that managing the temperature of your BBQ is essential for success.

What is the thin blue smoke for smoking?

Thin blue smoke is produced when an equilibrium (fuel, oxygen, and heat) is reached and the burning process is regarded efficient. The fuel in the woods carbonizes or caramelizes at this point, producing thin blue smoke.

How do you get the perfect smoke in a smoker?

Airflow is critical.

Keeping your vents open on a charcoal or wood-burning smoker is essential for optimal combustion. If the fire grows too hot, adjust the vents to reduce airflow, but keep an eye on the smoke! Enough airflow is required to keep the smoke white.

What temp do you get blue smoke?

Assume you’re cooking on a stick burner. In most circumstances, you want your top vent to be completely open. To produce a thin blue smoke coming out of your exhaust vent or stack, use your fire box vent to regulate the burn. When smoking meat, your chamber temperature should be between 180 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit, with a preference for 225 degrees.

Can you see thin blue smoke?

The color of your smoke will reveal a lot about the nature of your fire. A cleaning fire will create exhaust that is either light thin blue or completely clear. That’s the smoke you’re looking for. Keep an eye on your fire to observe how it changes.

Is Blue Smoke bad for you?

Blue smoke from an automobile exhaust is usually a dangerous indicator, and the source of it should be fixed as soon as possible. It’s either an oil issue or an issue with internal engine components.

What color smoke is too lean?

Dark Smoke

When the fuel-air ratio is skewed toward too much air, the engine is said to be lean.

How do you prevent creosote when smoking meat?

To begin, open your smoker’s exhaust vent. Most current smokers feature exhaust vents, which you simply open while cooking. This will provide a path for the smoke to exit, preventing the formation of creosote. Second, take aluminum foil and wrap it around the meat.

What is the best color smoke for smoking?

The smoke produced by wood or charcoal for cooking might be blue, white, gray, yellow, brown, or even black. The most attractive smoke has a delicate blue color and is virtually undetectable. It is seen below. The holy grail of low and slow pitmasters, particularly during lengthy cooking, is blue smoke.

What is the 3 2 1 rule in smoking?

Essentially, 3 2 1 ribs are as follows: 3 hours of direct smoking on the pellet grill. 2 hours covered in foil, still on the grill. 1 hour cooking time, unwrapped and coated with barbecue sauce.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *