I need some suggestions on my smoke production.

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by rbranstner, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am using a propane turkey fryer burner with a Cast Iron plate/lid on the top to hold my smoking wood. I am using hickory chunks and it seems that they smoke for about an hour (if that) then they turn all black and quit producing smoke. The last stuff I smoked didn't have a very smoky flavor. I have around 12 holes drilled in the lit of the pot do I need more? The holes are pretty small. It just seems like they should smoke a lot longer than they are and they should turn to ash not just black pieces of wood. I may try lifting the lid off or just move it to the side a bit to give it more air. What do you guys thing?
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    When they turn black is it easy to break apart if you push on it, if so then it has burned most of the way through.
    Don't know much about the cast iron way of doing it but I know some folks who have trouble getting the right amount of smoke flavor into their food will burn chunks of charcoal along with their wood.
    I suppose you could give that a shot and see how it works out.
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I maybe have the pan to close to the heat and it is burning the wood up right away.
  4. smokingohiobutcher

    smokingohiobutcher Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I also tried a pot for the wood chips/chunks with 3/8" holes in the lid and didn't seem to get smoke for very long. I might be wrong but i think the process of making charcoal involves putting wood in a steel container with the lid closed and heating it to a high temp with little or no air in it to char the wood. i think that is what you are (and myself was) doing. I have since switched to a (personal pan sized) pizza pan that is open and it smokes much better. I have found that a mix of chips and chunks works quite well...the chips start smoking quickly then the chunks start later to finish out the smoke.
    Hope this helps!
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just went out and spritzed the butts. The wood chips are definately getting burned all the way through. I poked them with a screw driver they broke apart. I think my pan it too close to the flame. I will have to some up with something to get my pan higher off the flame.
  6. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Aside from getting more air to the chunks, are you experiencing a lot of ash, that couls choke off a burn also. Good luck and don't give up on it.
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nope I am not getting any ash at all. The wood just looks like lump wood. When I took them out and threw them on the ground they started on fire as soon as they received all of the oxygen. I put new chunks in and I just went out and checked the smoke and after 5 minutes there is tons of smoke coming out of the smoker again. So it goes from lots of smoke to nothing then with I put new chips in I get lots of smoke again. I think the pan it too close to the flame and it is getting to hot so the chips burn too fast. I will just have to keep adding small amounts of chips when I spritz until I can get to the store tomorrow and figure out something to get my chip pan up higher.
    Am I way off base here??? I would love to hear you guys thoughts. I hope my meat doesn't taste like a burned piece of wood from to much creosote.
  8. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm not sure of your smoker setup, but i use a coffee can drilled with holes for air, and I put lump and a few chunks per can load. I also get visible smoke for awhile, then nothing visible. You don't always have to see a lot of smoke, as long as you can smell it, it's ok. In the end, you should see those chunks turn to ash. Kepp trying different ways, you'll get it.
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's my couple of pennies worth. I yhink that if you take the lid off completely you should more than enough air to the chunks and they should burn completely. I f I remember my Gosm and my smoke vault the wood tray doesn't have a lid on it so mamy be thats your problem. Let us know I can come up with a bunch of ideas.
  10. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When I used a cast iron pan for the wood chunks, I did not use a lid. Also, I had to use presoaked chips and chunks for them to smolder; with dry they would just ignite over the flame of propane. For me, I got the smoke results I was looking for and the wood chips/chunks would leave nothing but gray ash.

    On another thought, can you maintain smoker temp but adjust the flame lower with a regulator?
  11. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I put in some smaller wood chips and they burned up right away but they turned into a bit of ash like I want. I took the lid half way off and am going to see what happens.
  12. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just sprayed the butts again after another hour and now my wood is down to ash. I guess it just needed more oxygen to burn all the way down. It is still burning to fast but I will address that issue tomorrow by moving the pan higher. Thanks for the help guys. Hopefully I can get this new smoker all tuned up soon. I need to seal the door much better most of the smoke is coming out the door and not the vents in the top back like it should. Do you see a problem with the air intakes coming in the bottom left or right of the smoker and then the exit being in the top back of the smoker? I know idealy the intake should be say the bottom right and then exit out the top left but I couldn't do that because of where my brackets were for my shelfs so I just put the exit out the back.
  13. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you're on the right track - Lack of oxygen was the problem.
    If your wood turns black like lump charcoal but you don't get smoke, its because you're not giving it enough air.
    Dialing in the right amount of air and heat is a challenge, but I'd start with no lid on the pan and then adjust the distance from the flame to get it smoking but not flaming, adding a few briquettes to the pan along with the wood usually helps for several reasons.
    Kingsford Competition briquettes work real well for me.
    If adjusting the pan-to-flame distance is hard, you can also try stacking your wood, leaving a little ash in the bottom of the pan, or using hot and cold spots in the pan to get the adjustments you need.

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