Pucks not burning completely

Started by BBQ_Ben, April 17, 2018, 07:37:49 PM

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Cold smoked some lox over the weekend. Odor and flavor seem about right but when dumping the bowl, I noticed that the pucks didn't burn completely. Burnt some, but still raw wood on top.

Outside temp in the low 30's and it was a little rainy, but I thought I had it mostly out of the weather...

Any thought? I don't know how to even start diagnosing.

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Habanero Smoker

There are several reasons that causes bisquettes to not fully burn. The most common causes are the moisture content of the bisquettes,  a colder cabinet than usual; such as using the cold smoke method and/or colder air temperatures, and/or a dirty heating pad.

In your case the rainy conditions may have increased the moisture content of the bisquettes. The higher the moisture content, the poorer they will burn. While in storage, keep them in a moisture proof container. Secondly, the heating element provides extra heat to help the bisquettes burn properly. I've found that when the element is off, while I'm cold smoking; the bisquettes don't burn as completely as they would, if I had the heating element on. With the additional factor that the ambient temperature was in the low 30's that will just worsen the situation. I also found this to occur when I'm using low temperatures during the smoke application; such as smoking salmon or sausage; but it is not as bad as when I cold smoke

Other factors are the type of wood you are using; some types seem to burn better than others. How they are manufactured also seems to play a role. Some times I'll get a batch of bisquettes that are more compressed than others. For example, I may get a batch of bisquettes that are light to the feel, and are flakey. While others seem more dense (compressed harder together), and don't flake as much or not at all. The denser ones don't burn as completely.

Less common is that your bisquette burner could be faulty. If you have an infrared thermometer, check the temperature of the burner surface after it has heated up. It should register around 550°F. But even when my bisquettes don't burn completely, I still get the amount of smoke flavor I'm looking for.



I've used my Bradley for about ten years & I'm not sure I have ever had a puck burn completely. (even when smoking at high temps)
I keep my pucks inside in a dry environment. I always clean my burner before using.
I've never checked the temp of the burner. (thanks for the tip, Habs) I probably should do that.
I have always just assumed that it was the nature of the beast.
Like Habs, I have always gotten plenty of smoke flavor, even when smoking cheese or jerky. :)



Thanks for the advice! I ran pork butt the day before and things burned completely, so I suspect it was the wet. I'll test and see what I find.

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When I store my pucks for any length of time I put some of this in the container with them.

DRY&DRY Half(1/2) gallon Replacement Desiccant Indicating Silica Gel Beads Reusable, Blue. When they are used up put them in the Micro Wave they will be ready to go again. I use this with my hearing aids at night.
Bradley 4 rack Digital, 900 watt, Auber PID
Bradley cold smoke adapter
Char-Griller Smoking Pro BBQ Smoker with rotisserie
Brinkman Bullet Smoker
Weber 24"
Custom Hard Cure Cabinet for Salami
One Auber Master Temp monitor and two remotes with probes, up to ten remotes can be used.