So your Old Smokey looks more like this?
This is the predecessor to the Old Smokey. Analog smoker, 7 speeds ( I think yours has 3), non-vented, with 2 grates, a drip pan, a chip plate, and an element ?
Its is not built to be a dry smoker, but you are realizing that. Its not built to use more than one charge of chips. Its not built to have the lid opened. Its not built so that you can use an aux. smoke generator with out modifying the smoker as there is no air draft possible to allow the chips or pellets to smolder.
Although it is an excellent smoker once mastered, its not going to give you a bark anymore than it will give you a smoke ring.
As to the smoke, you start the unit on high for 15 to 45 mins. Depending upon your smoke type (I use pecan shells), Then you turn the controller back to your choice of settings. You're done. No more chips, no more opening, no basing no mopping no spritzing, completely no lifting the lid. The smoke is captured within the smoker and will continue to allow the meat to absorb it while cooking. The magic smoke meat temp is 100 to 140 IT. if you are cooking to a 165 then foiling to the oven its plenty. If you leave it for the whole ride, your still fine. You don't need 20 hours of smoke for a butt, only maybe 3 hours or four tops! I don't know this but I assume this is the reason for the soaking of the chips. It retards the smolder a bit longer to start, remember the magic IT for smoke is 100 to 140 IT. There are other possible reasons but it makes the most sense to me. Don't get carried away with the chips thinking you'll get longer smoke, you'll only get too much smoke which will make your meat bitter. This is the easiest smoker I ever used for over smoking.
Here is a digital copy of the manual if you don't have one. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0261/0379/t/2/assets/OSEScurrent.pdf?9958
I have a couple of the Redi Smok manuals around here somewhere...... I'll look but I am not sure where to even start.
Hope it helps.
You have got to realize this type electric predates nearly any other electric smoker discussed here on the boards. They are excellent for what they were intended, a small apartment type unit. I got my first one, someone left at my camp long ago on 'Possum Kingdom. I came to the camp and they had tried to build a charcoal fire on the chip tray.....LOL I have worn two more out since them.
You have to realize, its not a fire breather and it wasn't made to compete with them. Its a completely different animal.
Edited by Foamheart - 6/26/14 at 10:48pm