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Bad smoke from a smoke generator

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone.  I have a vertical plywood smoker that I have been using for years.  I put a propane bq unit in it and have always smoked from 140-175 degrees. I recently killed some hogs and cured the pork according to the direction.  First mistake, way to salty.  Wanting to cold smoke I took a three inch steel pipe and welded a 1 inch horizontal tube about an inch from the top.  I then made a very tight fitting swinging door on the top to allow the ease for adding more wood chips.  In the bottom I took a piece of drywall wire and rolled it into a pyramid to allow for more air flow for smoldering in the bottom of the pipe.  I use pretty much only hickory  and light the fire by a propane torch.


Here is my problem  On my test run for the generator I set it up outside the smoker in the correct operating position.  Once started I noticed my smoke was a very heavy bitter smelling, almost sludgy in appearance.  Not the the sweet smell when burning wood at higher temps.  I put the pork in the smoker and smoked with this heavy smoke for 2 hours and outside temps.


I still notice the odd smelling smoke and my bacon tastes just as bad as the smoke smelled and as I mentioned the salt was way to high.  Trying to save my 20 lbs of bacon I soaked the slabs in water for a day and a half in my 10x16 walk in cooler.  After this I used the same wood but cranked my heat up to about 160 and watch the heat so it never went over.  I saved it.  I removed some of the salt and most of the bitterness but some is still their.


Any suggestions on why the cold smoke smells and tastes so thick and bitter?  I use bagged hickory chips and have used this same bag on hot smokes with great results

post #2 of 5

I would venture a guess for several situations occurring:


1) Not enough air flow, using up the available oxygen


2) Not enough heat to combust fully.


3) Too much salt.  Dry cured?  Did you do a fry test first?


I am sure Todd will be along and he's the authority on cold smoking equipment and can nail it down for you.

post #3 of 5

Yes Todd will probably be able to help you.


He also sells the most popular smoke generator.


His company is A-MAZE-N Products.

post #4 of 5

Hey oden010,


A pic would be cool, but I think I have a good idea of what you're doing.


Bagged Chips are not necessarily "Dry".  They are "Air Dried" to about 18% moisture.  When you use chips or chunks in a hot smoker, they become dry.  When you use chips or chunks in a Cold Smoke Generator, like the one you made, the excess moisture can cause creosote.


Did you add a fan or air pump to your smoke generator?

This can make a bad situation even worse!


Did the 3" pipe or the 1" intake tube clog up with tar?

Good sign that you're generating creosote and other nasty chemicals.











No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

post #5 of 5



Cure your smoking problems easily & cheaply:


"A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER"----Truly a Miracle!


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