I'm sure we all remember our first time.......... For me, it;s quite vivid, as I still smell of hickory.
This afternoon, I fired up my new Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24 for the first time (other than seasoning). It's quite a different experience than smoking on a Weber grill, and I apparently have a lot to learn.
First, the flame. I'd read lots of posts about getting a nice blue flame with yellow tips, but to reach the temperature I wanted, my flame looked like this...
This was with the dial just before the M in MED. Not optimal, apparently- but that seemed to be the only flame at which I could hold steady right around 225 on a 60 degree day (with light winds kicking up every now and again). Not worried as much about what the flame looks like as I am about the temperature, but it feels like I'm doing something wrong.
Other reasons I felt I was doing something wrong:
The wood chips: My hickory chips seemed to produce LOTS of smoke, but did not last long at all. On one addition, I think the smoke appeared gone in about 20 minutes. (Much to the relief of my neighbors, who may have thought I was trying to elect a new Pope. I doubt they'd trust a good Unitarian Universalist like me to pick a Pope. Granted, the new Pope Shecky better like chicken. The product of the first run was tasty!)
The water: This also appeared to disappear (so to speak) rather quickly. I only added water once in two and a half hours- but at least initially, the level seemed to drop fast.
The vents: I tried a number of different positions- closed, all the way open, etc. Nothing seemed to have much of any impact on temperatures beyond a few degrees fluctuation. I may have the wrong understanding of their role in the context of a propane smoker.
So that's where I stand in this new found experiment. I'm sure some of my elders are now shaking their heads at my ineptitude! I do hope you can look past my noobiness enough to help me with a few pointers! Thanks for any help you can offer!