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Smoke Vault with poor combustion?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Camp Chef 18" Smoke Vault.


New smoker here so not sure what to expect.  My first smoke was apple wood and a rack of ribs.  They turned out awesome with the 2-2-1 method.  After the session I noticed that not all the chips / chunks were turned to ash.  Many of them were black and basically "charcoal" in appearance.  I started with a full tray of chunks.  TBS only seemed to last about an hour or so.


My second smoke was chicken breasts.  Set up same way, a few chips to get the chunks going at first.  Kick the burner up to high to get the smoke rollin'.  After 10 - 15 mins of smoke, turned down the heat to 230-250* then placed meat inside smoker.  Again, TBS was good but only lasted about an hour.  The chicken only took 1.5 hrs so wasn't worried about adding more wood.


Both times I played with the air intake vents along the bottom on each side.  Didn't seem to make much difference in smoke.  I even kicked the heat up a little to about 300* for about 15 mins and still, not any increase in visible smoke.


Seems to me that the chips / chunks should smolder long enough to reduce to white ash.  During the smoldering process, thats when I should have good TBS.  This is not happening for the majority of the wood and again, TBS only lasts for an hour or so.


I have tried more/less air, covering the wood tray with aluminum foil, more/less heat ...   Are my expectations wrong?  Do I need to remove the charcoal I made and add more new wood to keep the smoke?  Maybe raise/lower the chip tray?  Maybe only an hours worth of smoke is to be expected?


I am at a loss for thoughts.  I bet the experts here will have my answer.  Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 5
I'm fairly new to this but I have found that I have to add chips about every hour. I have the 24" vault. My last smoke I added some chunks to the mix and had a better result. As for the complete combustion, I have noticed that there clear hot spots on my chip tray. 2 things I have tried that have helped.
1.It could seem counter intuitive but don't add so many chips/ chunks at a time. They seem to burn better this way.
2. When I open up to add chips I move what's left into the hot zones with tongs to get them to completely burn.
post #3 of 5
I use an A-Maze-N tube 12" in my smoke vault. It achieves 6 hours of steady, consistent smoke. Like you, I was a little confused with using the chip pan when I first got the smoker. The tube was my solution.
post #4 of 5
The black chips are a result of "lack of oxygen".... Also, the gas flame "can" consume the smoke and oxygen... More air in and more air out.... Probably time to drill holes......
post #5 of 5
I used it this weekend with hickory chips and all vents fully open. No billowing smoke by the light color and constant smoke for 45 minutes. I had the same issues with not all of the chips burning but using the 2-2-1 method this is what I got out of it.
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