Charcoal smoke

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2browndogs
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Location: Melbourne - Bayside

Charcoal smoke

Post by 2browndogs » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:13 pm

Hi all. I've been cooking with charcoal for a few years now (prob 4 times a week or so :roll: ) and i have a question.
I've used heat beads, stick & branch mangrove, gidgee, mallee root. I think my favorite is gidgee for a few reasons.

Anyway, last nite did a big rib-eye steak, using Mallee root, and a bit of redgum/rosemary pellets for some smoke. The ribeye was perfectly cooked, and the mad hunky rub was very nice. But the smoke flavour was overpowering, a bit acrid if you like. And i wondered why.

Tonite is a brined chook, capitano style.

What i noticed getting the fire ready, was the mallee root gives off a lot of smoke before it has ashed over. A lot more than any other charcoal. And the smell of the smoke wasn't that good. Then i realised i'd added some largish chunks just before the cook with the ribeye, but not let them ash over. So i had a smokey fire, but not necessarily from the redgum.

So i reckon the unpleasant smoke was from the mallee. This begs the question, and to cut a long story short, do different charcoals behave differently during the lighting stage ? Or is there some issue with my batch ? It could affect what type of charcoal you'd use for a snake etc !! I don't use firelighters - just a Looft. 8)

Thoughts ?


urbangriller
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Location: Perth WA

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by urbangriller » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:29 pm

Yes charcoals are different, they burn different, taste different and give off different amounts of smoke, but acrid smoke from charcoal sounds like it's damp or has not been fully converted to charcoal.

Cheers
Chris
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!

2browndogs
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Location: Melbourne - Bayside

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by 2browndogs » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:32 pm

Thanks Chris. Yeah the fully converted bit was what i was thinking. Probably wont buy from that supplier again.

Smokey
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Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by Smokey » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:59 pm

I'd say its the process of manufacture. Its a rough process and requires some modicum of skill to get it right.
(Where is Aussie Charka when you need him, miss ya mate)
You were cooking steak so ive got to ask were you choking the fire at the top? as that will do it most every time.
Char fire is a jet engine reversed. Small intake and large exhaust = clean fire
If trees screamed when we cut them down, We wouldn't. If they screamed all the time we would.
http://www.aussiecue.com.au

2browndogs
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Location: Melbourne - Bayside

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by 2browndogs » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:20 pm

Hey Smokey, nah - vents were all fully open. Indirect cook to start, with a reverse sear. I'd decided just before the cook that the fire looked a bit small - this happens with the mallee because you get some quite big chunks, with a lot of small stuff as well. So the small stuff burns down quick, and when you go to throw the food on, you've lost a lot of 'size'. So i threw on some chunks & let it go.

urbangriller
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Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by urbangriller » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:27 pm

Smokey Mick wrote: (Where is Aussie Charka when you need him, miss ya mate)
+1 that!

Cheers
Chris
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!

Smokey
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:47 pm
Location: Terranora- Tweed

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by Smokey » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:33 pm

2 dogs, I can only concur that the large chunks are still not burning through and your ready to cook.
Your skill seams right so id blame it on the materials :lol:
I got nothing to offer other then I buy small stuff. Big chunks piss me off on my gear and mess up my mojo,
God I hope my wife dont read this, She would have a field day :roll:
If trees screamed when we cut them down, We wouldn't. If they screamed all the time we would.
http://www.aussiecue.com.au

2browndogs
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Location: Melbourne - Bayside

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by 2browndogs » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:07 am

Thx SM :lol:

emberpak
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:49 pm
Location: Mt Druitt, NSW

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by emberpak » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:12 pm

Break apart some of the large chunks and have a look inside. The examples of incompletely carbonised charcoal I've seen are a rusty brown on the inside. The worst I've ever seen was charcoal on the outside, but normal wood on the inside. Even had lichen growing out of the cracks in the charcoal.

Basher
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:10 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by Basher » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:45 am

Haha smokey mick. I'm not sure what it is about these wives who don't appreciate the flavours.
2 dogs I have sometimes had that acrid, creosote/ tar flavour and have put it down to my impatience to get the food in and not allowing the charcoal to fully light.
Especially on my first cook where the charcoal was red, white and black when I put the food in.
Even topping up the fire with fresh charcoal needs 15 mins with no food.
Lately I let the fire burn for an half an hour, then top up and leave for another half an hour before putting food in and the results have been outstanding.
Mostly I'm using gidgee and sometimes red gum charcoal.
You will never know until you have a go!

Irish junee
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:53 pm
Location: Junee nsw

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by Irish junee » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:25 pm

G'day

This thread is why I enjoy this forum so mutch.

I have learnt heaps by reading this.

I have just started using charcole 20 kg bag go Gidgee.

Regards.
Irish Junee

peteru
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by peteru » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:42 pm

Are you sure it was from the charcoal and not from some fat burning? I find that even just a tiny fat fire that lasts less than a minute can ruin the flavour.
____________
"Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder."

2browndogs
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Melbourne - Bayside

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by 2browndogs » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:17 am

Yeah, definitely not a fat fire. Did a small cook last night using a new bag of Gidgee - little to no smoke during 'start-up'. Think i just had a poor bag.

And, as others have noted, particularly when doing snakes etc., you can add fresh charcoal to what's already burning, without any significant acrid smoke. This would not have been possible with that mallee i had. Not to diss all mallee, just this bag :mrgreen:

urbangriller
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Location: Perth WA

Re: Charcoal smoke

Post by urbangriller » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:31 am

2browndogs wrote:Yeah, definitely not a fat fire. Did a small cook last night using a new bag of Gidgee - little to no smoke during 'start-up'. Think i just had a poor bag.

And, as others have noted, particularly when doing snakes etc., you can add fresh charcoal to what's already burning, without any significant acrid smoke. This would not have been possible with that mallee i had. Not to diss all mallee, just this bag :mrgreen:
Could have been a bit damp, charcoal sucks moisture from the air....it can get damp in your shed! It is mostly sitting around in piles on the ground before being bagged, so it's exposed to the weather....maybe was not 100% dry when it was bagged.

Cheers
Chris
Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!


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