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Moisture leaking on food?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have been smoking for a little over a year and decided to build an ugly drum smoker. I tested it out on some ribs and a whole chicken. I got the temp to hold steady but after a couple hours I noticed this black slime on all the food. I think it is coming from moisture from the lid dropping down on to the food. I do not know why is it black though. I read about the wood might be wet, which it possibly is, but don't people also soak their wood anyways? I have two exhaust tips on the lid. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Hoping to get this thing fixed before Thanksgiving. Thanks.

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliot Clasen View Post
 

I have been smoking for a little over a year and decided to build an ugly drum smoker. I tested it out on some ribs and a whole chicken. I got the temp to hold steady but after a couple hours I noticed this black slime on all the food. I think it is coming from moisture from the lid dropping down on to the food. I do not know why is it black though. I read about the wood might be wet, which it possibly is, but don't people also soak their wood anyways? I have two exhaust tips on the lid. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Hoping to get this thing fixed before Thanksgiving. Thanks.

Could you post a pic of your UDS. No you don't need to soak your wood. That makes steam not smoke, It will start smoking after it dries. That is going to be part of your problem. What are you using for fuel?

Happy smoken.

David

post #3 of 13

Looks like you already posted this in another forum. You should delete one or the other.

post #4 of 13

Hello Eliot!  I just had one of these in the U. K. Group.  This is REALLY tough with minimum info!  Maybe someone with a UDS may have better advice.  Soaking chips is a personal preference.  I don't soak.  The black drippings are not a good thing obviously.  Do you have flat lid or a domed lid??  The silly thing is that there are many folks with flat lids who do not have this problem.  Short explanation is flat lid drips everywhere and domed lid the drip runs down the side.  I don't think that is the answer.  Just the only explanation I can come up with for flat verses domed.  The only other answer that makes sense is that you don't have proper air flow.  You are getting air coming into the bottom of the UDS which is creating heat and smoke but that smoke is not properly flowing out of the top of the UDS.  Smoke is collecting on the lid along with moisture and is dripping back down.  Instead of smoking your meat is steaming.  Do you close your exhaust vents to control temp?  If you do then there may be a major problem.  Unlike many folks here I do "adjust" my exhaust vents but if you are experiencing this problem you need to seriously re evaluate your process.  We need to start at the beginning.  COMPLETELY clean your smoker and start again.  Yeah I know it's a PITA but start all over.  Do the pressure wash thing or take it to the car wash.  Use engine cleaner on it and rinse it 4 - 5 times.  Build a good fire in it and burn it out again.  Then re season.  With your first smoke write down EVERYTHING you do!  Either you have an air flow problem or your process is flawed.  PLEASE! UNDERSTAND! I mean no disrespect.  You asked for help.  The UDS is one of the cheapest smokers out there to build/obtain but also one of the best/easiest to use.  EVERY (  repeat EVERY ) piece of info you can provide us with will help you get your UDS running smoothly.  These folks have experience out the wing wang.  Just give them some info and that UDS will be working better than your kitchen oven!

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Here we go. I bought a 55 gallon drum and had it sandblasted. The lid is flat. Painted the outside with high heat paint after I did a burn out. I used JB Weld glue to hold the exhaust tips in place. I thought it was the glue that was melting but the temp is not that high. It can withstand 550 degree temps and I painted the glue and inside lid with super high heat paint (something like 1200 degree). All the nuts, screws, charcoal basket, everything is stainless steel except for drum itself. There may be some air leaks around the 4 ball valves that are 3/4 inch in diameter. There are ridges at the bottom where the ball valves are. I do have washers over everything though. I was doing more research and thought maybe the wood I was using was too big for the coals and was creating the condensation. I really don't know though. Thanks for the reply. I can provide pics if need be. The smoke was super white and there was no condensation when I removed the wood and only had coals lit. Thanks again.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I do control the temp with the ball valves. I usually have 2-3 closed all the way and the other 1-2 open slightly. I also live in Florida so it is not cold with a hot smoker. 

post #7 of 13

Eliot, I don't understand exhaust tips. You should have not less than a 2" exhaust opening, and when cooking it should always be wide open. white smoke is not good. You want to see thin blue smoke or very little smoke at all. White smoke means moisture. Don't soak wood, it can't burn until its dry.  Still don't know what kind of wood you were using. or if it was green or aged wood. CF

post #8 of 13

Hello.  I am with chilefarmer to a degree.  White smoke is usually a bad thing  NOW!  if you are just using it to smoke a grilled ribeye for 6-10 minutes, WONDERFUL!!.  If a long smoke and you are getting white smoke there is a problem.  To be honest we are guessing here.  We need detailed process and pictures.  If you provide the pictures and the detailed process we should be able to help you out after the first smoke.  There is a lot of experience on this site.  EVERYTHING!!!  EVERYTHING you do from prepping the meat to firiing up the smoker and slapping the meat on.  Write it ALL down and let us know.  Sometimes it's how you build your fire in the smoker.  It is just probably something really simple you have over looked.  Common mistake, we have all done it!  Give us the details and I am sure the members can help you out.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Here are the pics. I did not know about the 2" exhaust tip thing. I saw pics of this type of configuration and went with it. I hope the pics help. I use oak and it does feel damp in that it feels heavy and does not chip away. Not wet but does not feel dry. Thanks for the reply.

 

 

 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

I use a fire chimney to start the coals. I placed coals about 1/4 up the chimney. I placed the lit coals on top of the unlit coals in the charcoal basket. I placed the wood on the coals almost immediately. The white smoke began and never quit. I noticed the moisture and the black slime about 2-3 hours into a smoke. Today I noticed the moisture within an hour. The smoke probably isn't great being white but the black slime/moisture is pretty awful. Thanks.

post #11 of 13

I am thinking your wood needs to be seasoned a lot more.

This is good smoke.

this is good smoke

This is the basket setup with wood. It is almost to much wood.

Good smoke.

good smoke.

A basket mixed with wood. It doesn't take near as much wood as people think.

Very bad smoke. Nothing good would be smoke with this heavy of smoke,

Do a test burn or smoke some chicken with just charcoal and see what happens. If all goes well then you know it is your wood. Probably to green or could be to much wood. 

Happy smoken.

David

post #12 of 13
Eliot, morning..... This is the 3rd thread you have started on this same subject....
post #13 of 13

Also, be sure you aren't getting any combustion of the wood, which is highly unlikely, but that makes quite a bit of creosote. Since you could have a lot of airflow with both chimneys you never know. But I would guess your wood is too green and wet. 

 

I am with the mule, try charcoal only to eliminate the wood variable. 

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