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Super Noob's first time....

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

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!

 

Be well

-UF

post #2 of 7

I have a Smoke Vault too. It's a great smoker. Keep all the vents open unless you have a wind blowing from the side, then close the vent to prevent the wind from blowing into the smoker. ALWAYS leave the top vent open. The setting on the burner sounds just about right. A little less than medium for 225. Use wood chunks instead of wood chips. I put chnks in with a few chips at first just to get the smoke rolling, then 1 or 2 chunks every hour or so will keep it going. Also I have lava rocks in the water pan with the water. It seems to steam better &  keep the meat more moist. Here's a pic of the setup.

 

  

 

Hope this helps.

 

Al

post #3 of 7

The flame should not be "soft" and yellow as yours is.  You should send the picture to Brett at Camp Chef and he will explain the fix to you or send replacement parts if necessary. 

brettb@campchef.com  
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for passing along Brett's info.  I just e-mailed him.  The end result of the smoke was very pleasing- but if the burner is not working right, I obviously do want to get it fixed before I get too deep into this new smoking habit.

 

Be well

-UF

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:

The setting on the burner sounds just about right. A little less than medium for 225. Use wood chunks instead of wood chips.

 

Well, it was just BEFORE medium, not just after it.  That's part of what aroused concern.  It just seemed between M and H would produce greater heat.  (Not that I'm planning on doing lots of high-heat stuff.)

 

Chips are what I've been able to find most- but I haven't done extensive looking just yet.  I think the Field & Stream store across from my regular Costco has smoking supplies- so I may have to stop in.  (Wow.....my Ohio-native father, who was a forensic psychologist & an opera geek, would be amused at me shopping in a Field & Stream in the heart of Alabama.....)

 

Be well

-UF

post #6 of 7

The Vault can run at 400 degrees or higher. You can make bread in there if you want. It's a smoker & an oven in one.

 

Al

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinAl View Post
 

The Vault can run at 400 degrees or higher. You can make bread in there if you want. It's a smoker & an oven in one.

 

I got that concept in theory.  Just seemed with the size of the flame I had- and being between M and H- and only holding just under 250- hitting 450 wasn't terribly plausible.  Granted, that's over-simplifying a few factors.  Sometimes the math doesn't quite match up with reality.  :)

 

Be well

-UF

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