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Wood caught on fire during smoking..

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I have a newbie question for y’all…. I have a Master Forge with a Maverick ET-732 thermometer. On Sat I was attempting my 4th time smoking and never had a problem like this before. I was using soaked Hickory(which I noticed the wood chunks seemed to be bigger than I usually buy) and Apple and I had the wood box stocked full. I was smoking beer-can chick and a rack of spareribs. On Saturday I had the wood in the box catch fire twice on me, during two different times during the smoking session.

I had opened the gas full throttle as I did the burner to preheat the smoker, got it to about 270. I realize that when I add the food my temp will drop. I was trying to get a temp between 225-240. When I added my food I didn’t turn down the gas at all or the burner(kept the gas and burner full open). The first few hrs were fine…I was running about 250ish…so I didn’t worry about it to much. I live in Texas(so it was hot no surprise there) and LITTLE to NO wind at all that day, so I kept the bottom dampers at half open(like I usually do)

About 3 hrs in I had to hel p the wife with something and when I returned I noticed ALOT of smoke, I went outside and noticed some flames from the damper. Yeah I got nervous at this point(again 4th time smoking). So I opened the bottom door and poured some water to kill the fire in the wood box. I still had big charred chucks, so I poked them around and got a smoke again in a little bit..I added only a few more pieces in and sure enough got another fire..not as bad as first time, because I keep looking outside for flames near the damper. I was left wondering what I was doing wrong for this to happen twice to me during this one session and never happen to me before and a little shaken up to be honest.

I’m wondering going forward AFTER I preheat the smoker should I:

1) Keep gas open full and turn the burner down to half( I realize that this will drop my temp to about 190-216) at first but hopefully climb back up to 230-240…I know the name of the game is “low and slow”
2) If I have LITTLE to NO wind, keep the dampers “open” with a the gas and burner both on high.( I’m afraid if I keep the dampers open and turn the burner down to half I will never climb back up to at least 240)

I really enjoy this new hobby of mine, but this last experience left me a little uneasy/shaken on Saturday. I don’t want to be worried about jumping right back in, but I’m not sure what I need to do to prevent this from happening again. I realize all situations are unique, but I’m looking for suggestions as to MAY have happened and what I can do to prevent this again and tailor it to my situation(smoker, weather conditions, etc).
This site is just amazing when it comes to asking questions of the veterans and the new people alike. I just want to jump right back in, but looking for some education/feedback on as to why the wood may caught fire and when I need/can do to prevent in future.

Thanks as always

post #2 of 2
Hi rob. Welcome go SMF! Here is a thread of some mods I have done to mine. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/122273/master-forge-propane-mods#post_1205167
I was having the same issue till I did this. I very rarely use the side vents, there is plenty of air coming up through the bottom. The more they are open the more heat you are losing it seems, which makes you have to turn up the heat which burns the chips or chunks. If you have any questions about the unit give me a shout. I've been using mine for a few years now.
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