How to Fix Over Smoked Meat? – Why does it Happen and How to Avoid?

October 2, 2021

Smoking is a process that requires plenty of attention. Those who are new to smoking have one common problem in them; that is how to fix over smoked meat. Obviously, after smoker turns meat black, they think that it is the end of the dish. However, if you are facing a similar issue right now, relax; there are many things you can do to make the most out of your effort.

What Is Smoke Flavor?

The smoking process has a tendency to change the flavor of the food you cook. The smoke flavor is a result of the wood-burning process, and it is called pyrolysis. Although we are talking about meat in this article, the smoky flavor is applicable to all sorts of foods.

I would suggest that smoky flavor heavily depends on wood combustion conditions, and in order for you to get the best flavor, you should be looking at a temperature level of between 650°F – 750°F. As I said, the type of wood is the key, but if you don’t know how to manage the fire in outdoor smoking meat, it won’t be easy for you to get the intended smoky flavor.

Mesquite, maple, hickory, and oak are some of the popular wood types that people use to blend smoky flavor to the food.

Why Does My Smoked Meat Taste Bitter?

Creosote is the reason for the bitter taste in meat. If you are experiencing the smoker turning food black, it says that you are dealing with an inappropriate combustion process. The fire of the smoker has to be blue all the time if you want to stay away from bitter-tasting food.

Most people only worry about whether the smoking should be low and slow or hot and fast, but that shouldn’t be the way forward if you want to keep creosote at bay. 

In addition, don’t think too much smoke from smokers will help you get the smoky flavor you wish. Yes, there should be adequate smoke in the smoker, but preventing too much smoke flavor won’t be easy if you happen to work with an excessive amount of smoke. 

To work with the right amount of smoke and blue fire, please make sure you keep an eye on the following aspects.

  • Do not add too much fuel to your smoker
  • Ensure you are providing a good airflow to the smoker
  • Don’t let the fuel burn fast

How to Tell If BBQ Has Been Over Smoked?

Let’s see how to recognize over smoked meat before moving into the complete process of “how to fix over smoked meat”.

In certain situations, it would be really difficult to determine over smoked chicken and similar meat sorts by the outlook. The easiest way to detect over-smoke meat is to have a bite. If you notice a strange flavor than the usual one or any overpowering taste, it says you have over smoked the meat. 

As far as I’m concerned, that is the only way I can explain to you to check whether the meat is over smoked or not. The outlook can mislead you, as the burnt-looking meat might be in the right condition on the inside. So, before you search how to fix over smoked meat, see if it has actually over smoked by having a bite. 

How to Fix Over Smoked Meat

Why Is My BBQ Smoking So Much – Top Reasons

Is the smoke flavor too strong? This can be a byproduct of excessive smoke. Let me explain to you why your BBQ is smoking too much. 

Ash

If you fail to clean the ashes from your smoker, you make it harder for proper air circulation. When this happens, getting high-temperature levels will be difficult, and obviously, there will be smoke all over the place. However, I’m not insisting that you need to clean the ashes right away, but make sure you maintain the smoker every now and then to get rid of the ashes. 

In addition, when unburnt oil falls onto the ash, there will be an unpleasant smell, and the food you cook may absorb it, making undesirable dishes. 

Grease

Just because you are using a gas grill, it doesn’t say that you are free of over smoke hassle; they too will throw the same issue at you if you don’t clean the grease and run off liquids.

Again, this is an avoidable problem if you regularly upkeep your grill. So, make sure you wipe off the grill once it becomes cool after you cook the food. 

I can understand that most rookies would get an idea of using less fat in order to minimize the runoff liquids. However, fat is what makes the food more flavorful. So, don’t be lazy; cleaning your gas grill not only helps you minimize the smoke but also enhances the lifespan of your machine.

Ventilation and Firelighters

Not having enough ventilation and not using a suitable amount of firelighters also contribute to this issue. There should be a good combination between the two.

When you are using the firelighters, I recommend you not to break them into smaller pieces. If you happen to do so, the charcoal in the charcoal smoker won’t get the needed allowance to ignite fully.

By using firelighters as a whole, the charcoal will take control quickly, and all you have to do then is to facilitate enough air to aid the burning process.

Kindling Wood In Place Of Wood Chips

Take a second and think about how you start your BBQ grill? I’m not going to guess your method, but if you are cooking ribs and notice too much smoke on ribs, I suggest you start the fire using kindling wood in your next BBQ session. This good old way ensures there is less smoke, and you can add larger wood into the fire once it gets stabilized.

This is one of the most convenient methods you have to tackle immoderate smoke, and also it will help you burn off the charred material before you put the meat on the grill.

Don’t Close the Lid Too Soon

Regardless of the type of grill you own, it is not a good idea to close the lid too soon. It will act as a barrier for the fire inside the smoker, and when the fire gets reduced, inevitably, there will be smoke. Aim for a strong fire first if you want a high-quality output.

How to Fix Over Smoked Meat?

Can you over smoke meat? Yes, but you can absolutely prevent it from happening. Let’s discuss that in the next phase of the article. For now, let me explain to you two methods that I use to fix over smoked meat. 

Remove the Over Smoked Parts 

Yes, as you would assume, this is the easiest and go-to method most people have in order to use over smoked meat. First, you have to precisely understand the over smoked portions of the meat and trim such places off using a sharp knife

As I stated earlier, it is kind of difficult to identify the over smoked meat by the outlook, and you will have to try a couple of bites to spot the exact regions. I can understand that it is pretty much frustrating to cut and throw away your hard-fought meat, but you should do that to save the rest. 

Using Spices

This method only can be implemented if the meat is not severely damaged. By scraping off the outer layer of the meat and adding your favorite spice mix , you can minimize the charred taste. Where you can use mix of Paprika, Basil or Rosemary. Again, this method only works when the meat is not beyond the recoverable range.

Guys, I think now you can understand that it is quite demanding to salvage or remove the smoke flavor from the meat. So it is always good to know how to prevent this from happening rather than worrying about the cure.

How to Fix Over Smoked Meat

How to Avoid Over Smoking Meat?

Every pro is a rookie at the beginning, and I can remember how I struggled to prevent over smoking meat. If you follow the below-mentioned points, you can definitely climb up the ladder fast to become a good pitmaster. 

Use Right Wood

If you are thinking about how to smoke meat with less smoke flavor, you got to use appropriate wood for the job. When you choose the wood, be mindful not to opt for too strong wood types.

If you are brand new to smoking, I strongly recommend you to go with mild wood chips such as maple or oak as it will keep you away from searching “how to get rid of smoke flavor in food” on the internet! I’m serious here guys, by choosing such wood types, you can minimize the chances of infusing strong flavor in the meat. .

If you feel they are too mild, there is nothing wrong with using a few pieces of strong wood chips, but preference has to be given to mild ones. 

Can You Use Pellets in a Regular Smoker? Learn How To It!

Invest In a Thermometer

If you love smoking, I urge you to buy the necessary tools that ease the work, particularly at the beginning of the journey. The guesswork won’t help your cause, and not knowing about the exact internal temperature can be one of the main reasons for over smoked meat. 

In addition, keeping track of temperature will cut down the unnecessary opening of the lid, which is another vital aspect of smoking. Also, I know you like to sip a beer while you smoke, and having a thermometer next to you will not distract your other fun activities. Moreover, smoking multiple lumps of meat at once would be a hassle-free job as well.

Pay Attention to Brining

Yes, don’t wait till the last moment to brine the meat. If you want quick smoking of meat overnight brining is the best option. Just apply kosher salt and let it sit in the fridge overnight or at least two hours before you cook. 

Well brined meat is capable of absorbing the smoke more efficiently, and it adds flavor to the dish. Little things do make significant differences, so keep that in mind. 

Place the Meat on a Well-Heated Grill

Over smoking often happens because you let the meat sit more time on the grill. The more it stays on the grill, the more it will become vulnerable to different kinds of issues. In that sense, ensure you keep the meat on a well-heated grill to minimize the cooking time. 

Change the Wood Chips Frequently

It is important to notice the color and the type of smoke coming out of the smoker. If you note anything out of the ordinary that says you should change the wood chips or add more on top of the previous ones. If you fail to do so, the color of the smoke will change quickly and eventually spoil all your efforts. 

why does my smoked meat taste bitter, How to Fix Over Smoked Meat

FAQs

Does Meat Get More Tender The Longer You Smoke It?

It really depends on the type of meat you cook. That said, smoking itself is a long cooking process and does take more time to get completed compared to other cooking methods.

As said, you will have to provide an extended cooking time for the meat that is tough in nature to make them tenderer. However, most types of meats require an internal temperature of 145°F, and for poultry, it gets up to 165°. 

I usually stick with a higher final temperature for tenderer outputs, but I cannot recommend this method to newbies, especially when they don’t have thermometers in their toolbox. 

Does Smoking Meat Too Slow Prevent Over Smoking? 

You got to look at a good combination of time and temperature. Yes, smoking is a slow process, but cooking meat too slow at too temperature levels would not provide you with the results you expect. In fact, there should be a minimum temperature of 140°F during the process. Anything below that margin is considered unsafe. 

So, do not reduce the temperature of the smoker to achieve a slow smoking process.

More Meat in Smoker Longer Cook Time? 

Well, it works like this. The meat that is closer to the heat will cook faster compared to others. So, I cannot second the statement of “more meat in smoker longer cook time.” On the other side, if you don’t provide even chances of heat on meat, only the ones that are closest to the heat will cook properly. So, rotate the meat every now and then to facilitate even temperature to all food. 

Is Smoke Flavor Bad?

Well, smoked meat is considered less harmful to the body compared to grilled ones. The grilled meat is exposed to direct fire, and when this high heat interacts with animal fats, it can bring potential risks. Since smoking is a slow process and uses low-temperature levels, the said issue applies less to smoked meat. 

Coming back to flavors, if you are using liquid smoke to flavor food that can be injurious to health in the long run. People who are experts in the subject suggest that still there will be no issues if you consume them in moderation.

What Color Should Smoke Be When BBQ?

There can be different colors to the smoke of BBQ; blue, grey, white, yellow, brown, and black, to name a few. However, blue is the color you will see if everything is in order, and it is the ideal color for long hours of cooking.

Noticing the blue color might not be as easy as it sounds because it relies on various factors. Choosing the right type of wood, providing a good airflow, keeping your machine clean and many other aspects have a say on this.

In addition, just because you can’t see the bluish smoke, it doesn’t mean that it is not there. If you feel it difficult to identify the color of the smoke, move a few steps away from the smoker; you will see the exact color.

Can You Smoke Meat Twice?

The simple answer is yes, as far as you don’t rush the process. You may want your meat to go into the smoker for the second time to add more flavor to it, and it has to be done with caution. I do this thing more often than not, and when added some extra fat on meat, I get a taste that is better than the original one. 

The deciding factor in smoking meat twice is the heat. Keep in mind that there are already cooked, and you should not provide high heat on the meat again as it will lead to over smoke the meat to an unrecoverable condition. Also, you cannot re-smoke all sorts of meats, particularly the softer ones. 

Conclusion..

Guys, according to my book, it is always better to know about how to avoid over smoking meat rather than worrying about how to fix over smoked meat. I say this because it is kind of frustrating work to salvaging overcooked meat.

The best way forward is to learn the art of smoking fast and keep the points that I explained in mind when you are cooking stuff in your smoker. As I always say, please let me know if you have any questions in the comment section; I will respond to them in an instant. Have a great day!

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