Help my cookshack is on fire! please help me out!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mavven, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    If anyone has been following my posts the past couple of days, you know I purchased a used cookshack 009. I just cleaned the entire inside with "greased lightning" cleaner, as was told to do so from bill at cookshack. So he said after I clean it, needs to be seasoned again with 4oz wood in the smoke box. So I did all of the above and started her up at 250° like I was told. At 10:40 pm I started the seasoning process. I just came outside to check on her, and I noticed smoke kind of puffing and making a weird noise. I slowly opened the smoker and the entire box was on fire!!!??? What gives? What am I doing wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  2. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Also I'm noticing a lot of smoke coming out from around where the door should be sealed, hinge side the most and the top right corner. Is it possible air is getting in there and that's what ignited the wood chunks? It's a little windy tonight.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  3. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Wow not one response! Here is a video I was taking right before I realized it was on fire. Keep in mind I started it at around 10:40pm and I recorded this at about 11:05.

  4. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That sure is a lot of smoke. I have the 066 and have some leakage along the top of the door that has reduced over time with use.  But I did  experience a considerable amount of smoke during seasoning.

    3M makes a  high temperature stainless steel tape that can be cut and used to seal the gaps and reduce the air intake and smoke loss from around the door.  

    If you opened the door, and noticed flame, it is likely the rush of air caused the wood to burst into flame. Typically, these smokers have only sufficient oxygen flow to promote what I call smoldering, or burning without a flame. However, if the gap between the door and the smoker is severe, and closing/latching is effortless (it is compression fit so you should feel resistance when closing),  your hinges may be bent  and you may be getting too much air and thus promoting actual fire.

    Get some cheap brass feeler guages from an auto parts store and measure the gap.  I would think Cookshack would use that information to help you solve solve the problem. 
  5. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Thanks for the advice sarge. When I picked it up the other day, I threw in a few wood chips and let it burn a bit to see how she ran. Only a little smoke leaking out on the hinge side and upper right corner. The video above is the re-seasoning (so to speak) after I cleaned the entire unit down. Box caught fire during that video, so I shut it down and went to bed. I am back at it as I write this. This time instead of 4oz Hickory chunk, I'm using 2oz. I also placed the chunk in the front not over the holes in the smoke box and I added a pan with water to help the temperature come up a bit slower. I saw that on a cookshack video, water pan was placed inside for gradual temp increase.

    This is all new to me so I'm not sure if having the wood exposed directly over the holes is what caused the fire or too much oxygen getting in, or maybe 4oz of wood was too much.

    It's just about to start smoking. I'll take some videos now. My chance to get a pork butt in at 3:00am for 6:00pm bbq is ruined, now hopefully I can get my ribs in at noon after the seasoning. Fingers crossed!!!!
  6. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    I also notice that the right side of the heating element is a bit bent upwards. Not sure if it may be too close to the box and that is what may be igniting it. Here is a picture I took when I first took it home.
  7. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Over on the dedicated CS site, as well as the SmokinTex site, there were some folks who posted about a "lack of smoke".  Replies centered around raising or bending the element to get it closer to the box. The previous owner may have done just that, or accidentally bent it. You may be able gently level it out.

    You mentioned moving the wood further from the hole. You do have a drip tray that should help to restrict the air flow to the point where you do not have actual flame combustion.  Also, the wood you used may have been too dry. Lots of variables. 

    I have never used a water pan.  And I have seen advice for filling a pan with sand to aid in maintaining heat. I have never done that either. 

    This is a great site for lots of tips and help but I will say that the number of CS owners here are few and far between.

    Good luck.
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    maven, breath easy, everything is okay.  The unit I see cleaned up really nice.  The smoke leaking from the door will diminish with use. Old sarge made some good points.  You have already learned that opening the door when full of heavy smoke is not the thing to do.  It will burn pretty hot for thw first 20 minutes getting to temp, not the time to be opening the door and letting oxygen in.  Everything will settle down after the initial 20 minutes.  When full of heavy smoke as in the video, you may also experience some puffing sounds and smoke pushing out around the door, not to worry, just let her go.  Back off on the amount of wood in this case.  You will find that a two ounce chunk of wood will suffice for most smokes.  If using wood other than chunks, this could cause the same problems.

    Advise to foil the lid of the wood box and the bottom of smoker. Don't forget to punch hole in foil for drippings and air intake. 

    Take the time and keep notes and learn your new smoker, you will be happy with what it can do.

  9. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Hey thanks Mr T! Well the seasoning process went well. I used 2oz of hickory instead of 4oz. Although after 1 hour there was no more smoke. Is that normal?

    I just loaded her up with three slabs of ribs (all cut in half) at 12:25 and set it to 225. She started smoking at 12:40 but im already noticing much less smoke now at 1:06. I used a 2oz chunk of hickory. Is this normal not to have a ton of smoke or is too much leaking out of the door hinge side?
  10. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    Yes everything sound fairly normal, it is still producing smoke just not a lot of it and the door leakage will eventually stop. It looks pretty nice, you got a good deal there hope you enjoy it. Get yourself some bags of different flavor wood chips to use when you are not going to have to cook for a long time these small chips will give smoke quicker. Also different size chunks are good.
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  12. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    So Mr T. and everyone else who helped me, first and formost I would like say thank you very much, your help and advice is greatly appreciated on my end. So here is how it went down today. I seasoned the cooker at 7:00am. 3 racks of ribs went on at almost 12:30. Used bilboas (not sure if spelled correctly) rub on 2 racks and used a Kansa City rub I found online (which I love) for the 3rd rack.

    Now in no way is this a knock on bilboas rub, maybe I missed a ingredient or maybe im doing something wrong. I used his rub two times when I was using my gas grill as a smoker and both times they came out extremely dry. I figured it was due to all the temp. swings. Fast forward to today and the same thing happened. The ribs with the kansas city rub were moist and almost fall off the bone, the ribs with bioboa rub were dry and tasted overcooked. I did the 3-2-1 method for all three racks.

    They weren't horrible but they came out dry for me three times already, even with the cookshack.

    All in all I am very impressed with the smoker. I can't wait to tackle a bunch of smoke days!!!
  13. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    Glad you like it it would have been bad to spend that much and not like it. Ribs I have never foiled, I usually do spares, and just do them for 5 to 6 hours at 225 I check at 5 no temp for me on the ribs, pick up a rib rack or 2 if you need to do more at a time.
  14. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Hope you are keeping good notes.  If you are cooking baby backs and using the 3-2-1 method, try 2-2-1. The ones you did that were dry were overcooked. Do the toothpick test to determine when they are done.  When using the toothpick test, insert a toothpick into the meat and it should pull like butter when done.  Keep in mind that you are cooking in a very moist environment with the Cookshack unlike many other smokers, so your dryness isn't caused by it. 

    How was the smoke on the ribs?

    Hope this helps.

  15. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I agree with Mr. T regarding the ribs being overcooked. 

    As for foiling, I have only done that once or twice. Too much fooling around. Regarding a rub, I use brown sugar and garlic powder.  Nothing commercial. Towards the end, I will brush on some Sue Bee Honey BBQ sauce. Mostly though they are naked except for the brown sugar and garlic powder. This applies for ribs and butts. I cook ribs at 225 for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat has pulled back from the bones.  If they were extremely fatty, I up the temp for the first hour to 250 to render most of the fat, then lower the temp to 225 and reduce the overall cook time.  Butts I cook to an internal temp of 190/200.

    And as Mr. T said, take notes. Weigh/type of meat, amount/type of wood, wind, temp, humidity, start/finish times, smoker temp fluctuations hi/lo, etc. Eventually you will get a feel for all the variables and what works best for the prevailing conditions.  Then it is just a matter of loading the smoker and finding something to do until the food Q is finished.
  16. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Thanks again everyone for all the great advice. Couple of things, all the racks were St Louis cuts. I didn't have time to keep notes. I did buy a taylor digital temp gauge with probe to sit in the smoker. It works ok, will be ordering a maverick tonight.

    I don't think I like the 3-2-1 method for any ribs, St Louis or baby backs.

    As I write this I am at it again :) with a Q-view coming up in a minute. I am doing 1 rack of St Louis and 1 rack of baby backs. I am also doing all of them the Johnny Trigg method. I've done the Trigg method on the gas grill before and I loved them!

    I took pics of the beginning, I was rushing to get them back in the smoker after 2 hours, so I missed the pics of the foil with parkay,honey (my girls dad's homemade honey) brown sugar and tiger sauce (love it)...

    They went in at 1:00 at 225 and trying my best to get use to this cookshack. What I am noticing is that this thing gets 225 setting my taylor digital reads 240-245 along with a bbq thermometer inside that reads 250 when therm. is set to 225. So I backed the cookshack therm. down a bit.

    I will post pics in a minute along with final pics at around 5:30ish est.
  17. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    St Louis cut...

    Kansas city rub that I love (will post ingredients soon)

    Rub just seems like it melts on the ribs :)

    Baby Backs!

  18. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    These are the St Louis cut! My girl and I didn't even wait for the baby backs to come off the smoker. As you can see we ate the entire rack! They were perfect. Did 2 hours smoke 1.5 hours foiled Trigg style and .5 back out of the foil, 4 four hours total.

    I guess this is why they say "it's done when it's done" This is obviously shorter than the 2-2-1 I intended

    the baby backs will be next, i honesty don't think they are coming out very good. Maybe I will surprise myself.

    One thing is for sure... the St Louis ribs are the best I've made yet!!!
  19. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    They look mighty good to me.
  20. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Here are the baby backs. They came out better than I thought they would, not great but not bad either.


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