Having a hard time with chips smoking

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by custom99, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. I am having a hard time keeping my wood chips dry. I am using an electric smoker, very dry chips bought at home depot. I have tried using them after soaking them and using them dry. I have tried starting them using the torch. Is there some type of trick to keeping them going. I am going to be smoking my bacon on Thursday and dont want to keep opening the door to light them with the torch. I thought maybe the juices from the ribs were putting them out but I built a little foil tent over the chips but it still did not work.
  2. I always proof read my posts and still missed the first time. What the first sentence was to say is I am having a hard time keeping my chips smoking.
  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What you may think is "Very Dry", is not.  Commercially packaged chips are approximately 20% moisture.  This may seem dry to you, but compared to kiln dried oak, maple cherry or hickory @ 6%-8% moisture, it's not.  This is not to say your chips won't burn, but you'll need a heat source.

    What electric smoker are you using?

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  4. The smoker is a Smoke Hollow No.4 made by outdoor leisure products.
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm just guessing, but I'm thinking it's more a problem of the chips not getting hot enough than the chips not being dry enough.

    Need more info---What temps are you running? Don't they smoke at all, or do they smoke & not smoke, depending on the cycling heating element.

    Todd's right about the dryness of lumber & chips, but chips are so thin, even if they're 20% they should dry quickly. Maybe you could take some in the house? Anyway---20% shouldn't hurt anything, since many people even soak them. If they are too dry, they may flame up on you!

    Construction lumber is kilned to about 20%.

    In PA:

    Cabinet Hardwood kilned to 6% to 8%.

  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Can you post a pic of the inside of your smoker?

    Are you using the chip pan that came with your smoker?

    Are you smelling smoke, just not seeing it?

    Thick white billowing smoke is not good. 

    You may be getting TBS and not realize it.

    Are you planning on "Cold Smoking" your bacon or using heat?

  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Are the chips in a chip pan or do you put them right next to the element? Is there a water tray between the chips & the food? Do you have a photo of your smoker?
  8. I have experimented at temps between 100 and 240 and not getting smoke. My ribs are all incredible fall off the bone but not smokey flavored. The only thing I was wondering about is that the vent hole in the rear wall is only about a 1/4 inch. Seems too small too me to give enough oxygen for the wood to burn right. The chip pan is about an inch off the element.
  9. I am on my way home. I will post a few pics of the setup when I get to the house.
  10. [​IMG]


    Small vent hole at the top.


    The insides a mess. Just finished some jerky.


    Chip tray about an inch off of element. Water and chip tray on same shelf.

    The only time we smelled smoke was when I was doing one of the batches of ribs. I always do the 3-2-1 and not a sign of any smoke rink at all.
  11. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    To me your chip tray is to high off of your element. Mine is 1/4in from my element and when I want to smoke at a low temp I put it right on the element. You can solve the no smoke problem with AMAZN smoker...but I have not done it yet because I do not have trouble making smoke but I am going to buy one sometime...Its really the way to go for easy smoking.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  12. hardslicer

    hardslicer Smoking Fanatic

    I have the exact same smoker.  I have noticed the same issues and wondered if I was putting out enough smoke.  I have felt the temps just had to be high enough to get the wood smoking and the last smoke I did I tried just putting my chips in alum foil instead of the chip tray...seemed to work ok.  I have considered trying a cold smoke generator when I have to keep the temps below 225.  However, I do like this smoker and it can really keep the temps steady which makes it easy for long smokes.  I might drill a couple of holes in the bottom to try and give it more Oxygen.....can't wait to hear everyones input
  13. That one thing I really like about it is there is no messing with temps at all. Preheat to what I want and it comes back up to temp in about 5-7 minutes after putting meat in.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with Roller.

    IMO---1/4" above the heating element would be the Max to have the chip tray floor above the element.

    However even a perfectly functioning chip burner can not match an AMNS or an AMNPS.

    11 or 12 straight hours of perfect smoke, without touching anything, is more pleasurable than you can imagine.

  15. Well I guess I will try setting the tray on the element in a test run right now. I just did a fry test on my bacon earlier and I am planning on cold smoking it Thursday.
  16. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's another observation....

    The chip pan is a cheapie tin pan

    Try using a cast iron pan.  They retain heat much better

    Also, try removing the rack, and place the chip pan directly on the element

    Cold Smoking On Thursday???

    Your unit won't cold smoke on it's own, so you better figure out a smoke generator quick!

  17. I may not be smoking thursday. Not happy with results right now. Been messing around over an hour now and not happy. Set at 140 and have some chips in pan and others in foil, right on the element. The ones in foil got dark but no smoke. I tried helping the ones in the pan along by using a torch. They went out pretty quick. I just tried removing the little vent in the rear to see if giving it a little more oxygen helps the wood burn. That gave me (3) 1/4 inch holes instead of one. 
  18. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's not gonna work for you at 140°

    Just the way electric smokers cycle on and off

    Do you own a soldering iron?

    Stay with us and you'll be rolling out some smoke soon!

  19. Yes I do, I think I see where you are going with this. This is why I fell for this forum. Just like the Jaguar forums, friendly and helpful.
  20. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Soldering Iron, Soup Can and Chips.

    Dude You Have a "Cold Smoke Generator"

    Do a Google Search, and you'll even find a YouTube video

    For "Obvious Reasons", I don;t use one, but the soldering iron cold smoker works good for many guys.

    Keep on track with your bacon smoke!


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