How Do You Get a Blue Smoke Out of a Smoker? Our tips

by Susie | Last Updated: September 25, 2020
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How your meat, fish, or other grilled items taste after a smoking routine mostly depends on the quality of smoke you used to grill them.

Blue and white smoke are the most common types of smoke given off by smokers.

Therefore, If you have ever tried to smoke meat, or happen to be more experienced in the meat roasting/smoking business, you will agree that it is essential to get a blue smoke over any other type of smoke (white) when grilling the beef.

How to get blue smoke out of your smoker

Asides the fact that white smoke is a nuisance, blue smoke determines the beef’s outcome (taste and smell).

However, many people usually struggle when it comes to getting continuous blue smoke from their smoker.

If you belong in this category, keep reading as we reveal the steps involved in getting blue smoke from your smoker.

Why do you need to get Blue Smoke from your smoker?

That blue, almost faint, and invisible smoke we get from our beef smokers is indicative of the type of reaction that goes into making the fire.

In science, that reaction is the combustion and only a complete combustion results in blue smoke or flame.

You will better appreciate the blue smoke’s essence because it is responsible for the smoky taste that is paramount to a good roasted beef.

White smoke indicates incomplete combustion and, most times contains what is known as creosote.

This is a thick, black, carbon-rich residue resulting from incomplete combustion of wood. It is also the reason why some smoked meat tastes bitter.

One misconception about smoking beef is that the more smoke, the better its taste. This is a wrong notion.

When it comes to smoking beef, trust us when we say less smoke is better because a less smoky flame is an indication of complete combustion, which reduces the chances of the formation of creosote.

Now that you are convinced that blue smoke gives a better taste and aroma to your grilled meat than white smoke, the question remains how to get the blue smoke that gives smoked beef its characteristic taste and smell.

Keep reading because the section that follows is dedicated to answering that question and providing many more tips on getting blue smoke from your smoker.

Tips to Getting Blue Smoke from your smoker

Now, the goal is to achieve complete combustion because the efficient burning of the fuel used determines if you will get that blue smoke or not.

All that remains is for us to tweak our set up and force complete combustion of the used fuel.

To do that, we need to manage and control two of the three elements of the fire triangle: air and fuel.

Control your airflow

Fire needs oxygen to burn, and this oxygen is found in the air at specific proportions.

Incomplete combustion occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen to burn off the carbon in the fuel totally, and when that happens, it results in the white smoke that we are trying to avoid.

So, it is only natural you try to control the airflow, which, in turn, controls the amount of oxygen you let into your smoker.

This endeavor can be tricky because if you let in too little oxygen, you get incomplete combustion, and if you let in too much oxygen, the fire will burn through too quickly, resulting in some parts of the wood not burning.

And again, we are back to where we don’t want to be – incomplete combustion.

The trick to managing the airflow is to keep your exhaust open and then control the heat with your smoker’s intake vents.

Ensure the color and amount of smoke being produced, and adjust the vents accordingly as you notice the smoke’s characteristics.

Build your fire right

You also need to set up your fire for success.

Most people feel building a fire is too easy to pay any rapt attention to, but if you are not technical about it, you are essentially setting yourself up for failure.

For a typical smoker, you will need charcoal and wood. This is where people get it wrong; the charcoal is for making the fire, not the wood.

The sole purpose of the wood is to generate the smoke that gives smoked beef its taste. When setting up your fire, you need to

  1. Heat your coal till they are red hot.
  1. Introduce the wood into the fire. Make sure you don’t put too much because, as we said earlier, we only want the wood to produce the smoke. It doesn’t contribute to the actual fire production.
  1. Monitor the smoke. If you notice thick white smoke, then the wood you added is too much. So, take out one or two chunks and check again. If it persists, keep reducing it till you can no longer see that thick white smoke.
  1. Replace the wood when you see that it has already become a part of the coal bed.

Use the right type of wood

This is also very crucial. The type of wood you use is going to affect the flame and characteristics of the smoke.

When choosing your wood, try to steer clear of woods like plywood, cedar, or pine because those might have undergone treatment at a particular stage of their growth, or even contain resins.

When they go into the fire, there is a high possibility they give off creosote.

Also read: these are the right types of wood to smoke meat

Now when the issue of wood springs up, there are different theories around it.

Some tell you to pair different kinds of wood with specific meat types; however, such practice is not necessarily proven to work, and to be honest, it is stressful.

You just want to roast and enjoy your beef. You don’t need to have to use a chart to do that. Using a Mesquite, Oak. Pecan, Hickory, Applewood, Maple, or Alder will do just fine.

Final thoughts

If you grill meat often, you will know that the white smoke that comes off during the process can be a pain in the behind. 

Even when you have all the spices and the best red meat, the kind of smoke that comes out of your smoker can ruin the whole thing.

And that is why we prepared this article. So, you do not have to go through that painful experience anymore.

So, follow these steps, sit back, and enjoy your weekend with a nicely grilled beef and fresh wine.

Read more: how to store your wood for the best smoke