Guide to Smoke for Great BBQ

Tired of speculating why your BBQ comes out with a harsh, unappetizing smokey flavor or why you can’t accomplish the perfect thin blue smoke even though you seem to be doing everything right? In this blog post, we’re offering tips for achieving clean smoke and great tasting BBQ.

Achieving clean smoke starts with perfectly lit coals. Once you’ve filled your charcoal chimney, we know you’re excited to dump them into your smoker.

DO wait until your coals are bright red and ashed over before loading them into your barrel or Side Fire Box.

A good indicator for the type of smoke you’ll have is based on what’s happening in your Side Fire Box.

DON’T focus on the amount of smoke, but rather than strength of the flame you have. A strong burning flame is the best way to tell if you’ve got clean smoke running through your smoker. If your flame is too big or causes too high of a temperature, no worries. Simply lessen the size or amount of fuel you have.

DO use the amount or size of fuel relative to the type and size of smoker you own. You may not want to put large logs into an AKORN Kamado or a small amount of chips into a Competition Pro.

DON’T assume that more smoke always means good smoke. On the opposite end, just because you may not see a ton of smoke racing through your chamber doesn’t mean you aren’t getting good smoke.

DO keep your vents/dampers open when getting your fire started, if it goes too low or whenever you add more wood to feed oxygen to your fire, producing that coveted, constant flame.

DON’T be discouraged if you see SOME white smoke coming from your smoke stack. Ideally, you want that thin blue or even invisible smoke, but as long as you know you have a strong burning flame, the appropriate amount of fuel and good airflow, be confident that your smoke is rolling just fine.

DO be honest with yourself about the taste of your BBQ. As beginner pitmasters, it’s easy to convince yourself that harsh smokey flavors means you smoked it correctly, but if something tastes off, chances are, you’ve got some adjusting to do.

DON’T become discouraged as you learn about striking the perfect balance in your smoker for clean smoke. It’s a learning process that requires some serious trial and error. Keep it at and don’t forget to tag us in those awesome BBQ photos and use #TeamCharGriller!

Tired of speculating why your BBQ comes out with a harsh, unappetizing smokey flavor or why you can’t accomplish the perfect thin blue smoke even though you seem to be doing everything right? In this blog post, we’re offering tips for achieving clean smoke and great tasting BBQ.

Achieving clean smoke starts with perfectly lit coals. Once you’ve filled your charcoal chimney, we know you’re excited to dump them into your smoker.

DO wait until your coals are bright red and ashed over before loading them into your barrel or Side Fire Box.

A good indicator for the type of smoke you’ll have is based on what’s happening in your Side Fire Box.

DON’T focus on the amount of smoke, but rather than strength of the flame you have. A strong burning flame is the best way to tell if you’ve got clean smoke running through your smoker. If your flame is too big or causes too high of a temperature, no worries. Simply lessen the size or amount of fuel you have.

DO use the amount or size of fuel relative to the type and size of smoker you own. You may not want to put large logs into an AKORN Kamado or a small amount of chips into a Competition Pro.

DON’T assume that more smoke always means good smoke. On the opposite end, just because you may not see a ton of smoke racing through your chamber doesn’t mean you aren’t getting good smoke.

DO keep your vents/dampers open when getting your fire started, if it goes too low or whenever you add more wood to feed oxygen to your fire, producing that coveted, constant flame.

DON’T be discouraged if you see SOME white smoke coming from your smoke stack. Ideally, you want that thin blue or even invisible smoke, but as long as you know you have a strong burning flame, the appropriate amount of fuel and good airflow, be confident that your smoke is rolling just fine.

DO be honest with yourself about the taste of your BBQ. As beginner pitmasters, it’s easy to convince yourself that harsh smokey flavors means you smoked it correctly, but if something tastes off, chances are, you’ve got some adjusting to do.

DON’T become discouraged as you learn about striking the perfect balance in your smoker for clean smoke. It’s a learning process that requires some serious trial and error. Keep it at and don’t forget to tag us in those awesome BBQ photos and use #TeamCharGriller!