How to maintain thin blue smoke GOSM?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by tlzimmerman, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    Hey guys.

    Relatively new here. Have been using my huge home built electric for smoking cured sausages, and its been great, but it tops out at about 200 and I want to get into doing butts and brisket as well as having a smaller smoker for just smoking things for the wife and me or a few I went out and bought the GOSM with drawers.

    I seasoned it, and have just been playing around before i attempt my first butt smoke this weekend, and have been having problems maintaining a thing blue smoke.

    I used the chip pan to start, and like my electric just did hickory sawdust dry. It started as a beautiful blue smoke, and held there for about 15-20 minutes, it then slowly turned the ugly bitter white, and then the chip pan caught flame. Ok so lets try with wet sawdust....same thing except no fire this time, but still the smoke after about 20 minutes turned white. I have some hickory chips around as well, tried those dry and same even with the top on, so then I wrapped them in white....then fire. So I thought ok enough with this pan, and used my 10" cast iron skillet (which fit perfect by the way, may modify to give me a little more top clearance, but thats down the road). I was able to hold the blue smoke for alot longer with various methods, and I had less flame problems with dry (although it still happened), but no matter what it ALWAYS turns white before the pan is finished smoking.

    So basically I am looking for tips to help me keep a good burn going without letting things smolder and turn white. Soaking longer? More air, less air. All the time I have been packing things in there pretty tight, should I try a thin layer and just replace every 20 minutes? Any tips or tricks especially from gosm users would be appreciated.
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok you have a GOSM and so do I the first thing I would is replace the chip pan with a larger one I used a chip pan out of a egg smoker. I also use chunks and chips dry in mine and I haven't ever caught fire. How high are you running this thing??? at what temp??? I run mine about 230*to 250* and I get good smoke but it stays thin, it mite run heavy in the begining but not very long and it has never started thin then gone to really heavy and stayed heavy. I think you might be running your smoker alittle too hot and use chips not dust too.
  3. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    I am running at 225-250, I tested my thermometer, and ran it parallel with my digital which was also tested, both are spot on 32 in ice water and spot on 210 in boiling, so my temps are correct. Thats my burner on low or just a bit above low to hold those temps, and I have adjusted my flame to get a nice blue tone with yellow tips.

    As I stated, I have used both the chip pan and a cast iron skillet, both covered and uncovered, and get flameups in all of them if left dry. These chips have been in an open bag for over a year in the shed, is it possible that they have dried too much? I use the dust in my electric and get a great smoke.

    I haven't really tried with a soaked chip or wet sawdust. I dampened the dust just a tiny bit and that didn't seem to help. It seems like the burning going on at the bottom causes the whole thing to smolder and then catch fire. I am hoping wetting the whole mess down will allow me to get a good smoke that doesn't smolder and catch. Does everyone pack their box or skillet full to the top or sometimes do you need to us ea thin layer and just replentish more often?

    I am with you, it seems to hot, but my temps are runing perfect and I can't really move the box farther away from the burner without heavy mods, so messing with the chips, their moisture, and the box is my only variable. I will keep trying and post up what I find. I am also planning doing the needle valve mod for this summer because I think low will go over 250 on a hot summer day here in kansas, but now in the winter cold I need the burner that high to maintain my box temps.

    Any other suggestions are also greatly appreciated.
  4. b8h8r

    b8h8r Smoke Blower

    Ya...take the chip box it comes with and throw it as far as you can.. I use a small cast iron, foiled tight with about 2 pin holes in it. I use soaked wood in the GOSM.
  5. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    I wonder if running fewer chips and then chunks might be my ticket....I will maybe run to the store and get some hickory chunks to try it out.
  6. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with others, get rid of the chip pan it came with.

    I replaced mine with the biggest cast iron skillet that would fit in there. I used lump, and wood chunks uncovered and got the TBS and long smoke intervals.

    good luck.
  7. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    How long do you soak? I'll try it your way with fewer holes in my tin foil with soaked chips.
  8. b8h8r

    b8h8r Smoke Blower

    Depends on if I'm planning on smoking, or if it's a spur of the moment I try for about 8 hours, and I do use chunks btw.
  9. gregzee

    gregzee Smoke Blower

    I would definetly use chunks or small splits in the GOSM. Ive found that the standard cast pan in the GOSM absorbs too much heat for sawdust and makes it disintegrate too fast, creating white puffy smoke. I would also get a temp reading from the rack and not the door. The rack temp doesnt seem to move up and down on mine as much as the door temp.

    I took notes the last couple of times when setting mine up and found a process that works for me and i use the orginal cast pan still.

    I set mine up by turning it on high with Hot water in the water pan and 1 fairly small chunk of hickory about an inch thick and all vents closed. When it hits 300 i can typically just start to smell the wood but not see the smoke. I then add 3 more large chunks of cherry to the pan, and open the 2 vents at the bottom all the way and back the heat down to medium. 30 minutes later, its usually about 265 in the smoker and time to add the food. By this time, you can definetly smell the smoke and see a little but not much smoke. After the door closes, i open the top vent fully and watch the smoker rebound back up to about 245. For the next 20 minutes ill have to watch it to slowly adjust back it down from medium to get it to sit at 230ish.

    I can usually maintain TBS for 2 hours from when i first start to see it. After that 2 hours if you walk up to the smoker you can still smell the smoke, but its a lot harder to see. I usually wait another hour before adding more wood. Some times i pre burn and i dont soak my wood anymore.

    Hope that helps.
  10. ecodork

    ecodork Fire Starter

    I have had a similar issue getting accustomed to propane versus electric.

    Though from what I can tell on SMF--compared to the stock GOSM the King Kooker has a pretty beefy cast iron woodbox, but still, if I load "too much" wood it catches fire. So I finally tried smaller amounts of wood (couple chunks and a handful or two of chips - unsoaked) that I added to more frequently instead of jamming the box with as much as possible and hoping it'd last longer. Kinda similar to GregZee's method. The chicken wings and breast cooked with this method came out with a very nice smokey flavor--distinctive and present but not overwhelming. Maybe try going with the less (at least initially) is more idea?
  11. rio_grande

    rio_grande Smoking Fanatic

    I use a 10" cast iron skillet in mine and I PILE the chips in it.. Now if you are a erson that ANY white smoke is bad you won't like this. You will get about 4-7 min of white smoke when you first toss it on. if that ofends you then use chunks. I have never found it to be bitter or anything but great..

    Oh and dont get uset but Dont soak your chips,,,, you want them to burn not smolder,,,, Now you you want them to burn slow,, but burn none the less....

  12. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    Just an update on what I am finding.


    Sawdust....more water and I get a good thin blue smoke. I don't have to soak, but I have to saturate. It sustains if everything is wet, if I don't get enough water, the whole thing starts to smolder with white smoke and then I get fire.

    Chips.......If I soak for awhile I can pile em on and get a great smoke, and no flare ups, otherwise i have to add a few at a time, good smoke and it comes faster, but have to reload more often.

    Chunks...can go on dry great smoke no problems with flare ups so far.

    This is all on a skillet

    Now with Oak...I can pile dry chips in there and I don't get fire, and I get a great smoke. I am going to try some of the fruit woods next. Its trial and error, but if I am using dust or chips looks like soaking is the best option for me, and chunks or oak I can do pretty much whatever I want.

    Thanks guys for the suggestions. Posting up my findings to try to help others maybe with the same issues.

    I think possibly the difference between my smoldering and flare up problems with my gosm is because its a drawered version, seems to get more air movement down there, more oxygen and I think it causes the flare ups. Could by why I am having a different experience than others with the single door gosm.
  13. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    Just another update......messing around some more and from here on out I will be doing pretty much all beautifully and is completely hassel free (no soaking) and gives me some good smoke. I have been tossing in some of my dust just to get rid of it, and already came across a pear and apple tree that needed pruning and have some branches seasoning for next year.
  14. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Just to toss in some more observations. I've been using my GOSM for over 8 years and use chunks, small limb logs (never watered) almost exclusively. Chips (dampened, in aluminum pouch), I use on the Grill for indirect smoking. Thanks to this site, I'll expand my GOSM smoke efforts to lump. Now, I also use some pellets, mainly for wood brands (Pecan, specifically) I can't get up here any other way. Now that's a beast of another stripe. So far, my experiments say, 2 tablespoons into the skillet, piled in a heap. Good for about 1/2 hour smoke. Still working out that technique. Next will be a mix of a few chunks of alder or apple mix, more pellets to see if I can extend the pecan smoke. Might even cut the front door, to create a door for the bottom section, so I don't dump all the heat in the upper chamber while reloading the skillet. My efforts with pellets were successful in last Monday's "undocumented/no QView due to Photobucket problem" Stuffed Pork Loin came out just fine, pretty much on time.
    I'm even wondering if I can generate enough heat with a few neutral briquettes with some wood chunks and pellets on top and no Gas to get temps say in the 160 range for /jerky/sausage in a steady manner for the hours required. Course, I'd have to watch how much smoke I use on the Jerky, otherwise it could be overwhelming. The only way to find out is to do it.

    It's great experimenting to see what's feasible, effort-wise and time-wise.

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