Clean out chips/chunks?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by andy32pinkerton, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Hey everyone, noobie to the forum here and to smoking in general. I seasoned my Smoke Vault last night and came across a couple questions:

    - Should I do anything about the burned wood chips when they are "used up" (aka burned up), or just leave them there and perhaps add some more on top? Im assuming I do clean the chip pan out between uses though?

    - I am going to use wood chunks with some chips around the sides for my first smoke on Super Bowl Sunday!!, and I think i'll soak my chips as well since they seemed to burn up quickly during the seasoning.

    - ive read elsewhere that I might want to bend in the tabs on the bottom dampers to limit the amount of o2 that reaches the flame, has anyone had experience with this helping?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm basically bumping this so someone else with experience with your smoker might come along and offer some advice. Welcome to the forum and good luck with your first smoke!!
  3. In my Smoke Vault, i only use chunks, and dump the ash out when they are used up.  I then replace with more chunks as needed.  Not too much need for soaking in H2O since the water would need to evaporate before the chunks can generate smoke.
  4. Thanks! Sorry, I know these are super newbish but just getting the basics right :)
  5. I'm new here, too, and new to smoking beyond a chip box in my gas grill, but have a new Smoke Vault 24 and I'll share with you some things I have noticed.  

    I haven't had to add wood during smoking, always had enough to start with, but if I was smoking I would just add if needed and not try to empty the pan.  I would empty it after it cools, though.

    I started with wood chips around the chunks, too, but have learned from past smoking on my grill, all the soaking does is prolong the inevitable and creates some steam along the way so I don't soak anymore.  This weekend I am going to smoke with only chunks because I found the chips to give me too much smoke, too quickly.  I'm learning patience and the patience is paying off.  If I were to use chips, I would probably use only a few (4-6) around the chunk to get the chunk to start smoking a bit sooner

    I didn't do the bend on the bottom dampers but may after some more experimenting.  It was a very cold windy day on my last smoke and I was having a hard time keeping the temp so I put some crumpled foil in the damper holes to limit the air, it helped tremendously to control the temp, stayed with a couple degrees of my target for hours.

    One other thing, I ordered one of these ( to help control my temp, haven't got it yet but believe this is going to help tremendously.  

    Keep us posted, let us know how things go and I'll share whatever else I learn this weekend.  Planning on a couple rib slabs, two fatties, some ABTs and Dutch's wicked baked beans.
    andy32pinkerton likes this.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you have "used" chips left in the smoker, I'm betting they are black in color..... You just made charcoal...
    Lack of oxygen in the smoker.... Whatever is left over should be "white ash".... that is how you know you had complete combustion....... and sweet smoke... no creosote flavors... nice golden color to the smokey surface.... etc......


  7. Thanks man, this is really helpful. I live in Upstate NY and it was chilly here last night as well, so that might have been the major issue with my temps fluctuating. I'll let everyone know how it went with some (hopefully good!) Q-view of my ribs and brined whole chickens!
  8. So I should open the dampers more? I noticed during seasoning when I went out that there was some very heavy smoke and that I had it too hot (was around 300) so i turned it down, will maintaining a more steady temp help with the proper consumption of the wood?
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A turkey I did a few weeks ago...... thin smoke and lots of air moving through the smoker..... The smoke flavor is sweet.....

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I smoke with the exhaust damper wide open on my MES 30.....


  11. Ribs and chicken seem to have been a success!!! Probably not perfect but they both tasted damn good to me. Enjoy the Q-view Thumbs Up

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014

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