How to Monitor Your Smoke
To truly wow your guests and produce the best smoked food ever, you need to have a proper fire producing good, clean smoke. In his book, Cool Smoke, World Champion Pitmaster Tuffy Stone says that flavor begins with the right fire and smoke (18). Aaron Franklin agrees, "the manner in which your wood burns is just as important as the fact that it’s simply burning (Franklin BBQ 87)."
But what is "good" smoke and how do I know if mine is right? Good smoke is when you have the right balance of heat, oxygen, and fuel so that the fire is burning at full combustion. If your fire doesn't have enough heat or oxygen, it will smolder and make harsh by-products that make your meat taste bitter. Here are three ways to tell if your fire is burning cleanly and creating that magical smoke needed to create BBQ perfection.