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Soot on fish

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've smoked fish several times now, and very time I have the two top racks of my master built xl full. The final product is delicious but they end up with a thin layer of gray/black soot. It wipes off, but its unsightly and I'd rather not have to do so... Any pointers to keep soot down?

Foiled pack of apple chips
Master built xl at 215
Salmon wet brined and pellicle formed.
Vent fully open
post #2 of 5

This is usually caused by soot falling from the top of the smoker as you knock/vibrate it as you open and close the door. There are a few ways that I avoid this when I cold smoke.


First you should give the inside of your smoker a good brush out with a stiff brush and a damp cloth before starting the smoke. This will minimise any loose soot on the top of the smoker becoming loose and dropping onto the fish.


You can smoke the fish skin side up. That way any soot that does fall will only mark the skin side. This may not be an option though if you are hot smoking


The third option is to place a piece of foil above the fish - maybe resting on the shelf above or on a rack. This will catch any of the falling soot before it can fall onto the fish itself.

post #3 of 5

I'm not sure what you have there, but I have had what Wade is talking about (one time).


However mine was black chips that looked like black paint chips. 


Ever since that time, I brush any loose peel-looking black stuff off the ceiling & sides & back before preheating my MES 40.




post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thinking it was from basically choking the propane flame for oxygen by using the chip pan with blocked vents in it and then using somewhat damp apple chips in a foil pack. Between those two things, I think it produced some heavy smoke and was drawing it down as the flame was searching for oxygen. The bottom of the chip pan was absolutely caked with soot. Just smoked 7 racks of baby backs with the chip pan opened back up and raised 1/2 inch without issue.... As my wife said... These are the best ribs she's ever had. Success. Next batch I'll try again to see if it was a fluke. Tried using my amnps, but as I thought I would need to give it its own vent... Just not enough O2 to share with it and the propane..
post #5 of 5
Yeah to me it sounds like bad smoke. If it was thick and white you will get that grey soot on whatever you smoke. A better bet for lowering the temp in your gas smoker is to put a needle valve on for your gas control. Leave all your air vents wide open. If wind is an issue prop something up as a makeshift wind break. Open your temp control on the smoker to full. Use the needle valve to control the heat at the burner. I can get my GOSM propane smoker as low as 130, but it takes some baby sitting. Hope that helps.
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