So, I recently acquired a Char-Broil Electric Smoker for free. Not knowing anything about them, I brought it home, thinking I made off like a bandit. Little did I know what a hot mess these things are. This may be a long post, so bear with me.
The original owner told me what he didn't like about it - the door wouldn't stay closed and it never kept consistent smoke using the standard chip tray that it came with. I thought no-problem - a couple over-center snaps and one of those sweet pellet smokers I saw on the internet would fix that for sure. So, last weekend, I gave it a test burn. Thank god I was smart enough to do a dry run without food in it. I ended up with a smoker full of eye-watering, acrid white smoke. I'm kinda stubborn, so I came here and did a lot of reading and ended up putting the Mailbox Mod on the darn thing, along with a 1.5" black steel pipe for exhaust. I couldn't come up with anything better on short notice, so I put a tractor exhaust cap on it for a make-shift damper.
Fast forward to this weekend - last night I did a second test-burn and the smoke, while better, was still a bit on the heavy side. This morning, I tried baking the pellets in the oven at 250 for an hour to drive out any excess moisture. Again, a little better, but not by a lot. For round 3, I went ahead and drilled 5 1/2" holes in the bottom of the mailbox door (in addition to the 8 or so 3/8" holes that were pre-drilled in the bottom for mounting), to see if that helped it get a little more air. Again, a little better, but still on the heavy side.
For reference, this has all been done with an AMNTS, Hickory Pellets, and the heat turned off. I have the heat on now, and it seems to have cleaned up the smoke a little bit - so maybe the heat is helping the pellet tube get a better draft, but its hard to tell - there's some leftover crud in there that's burning off the element. I'll be able to get a better assessment of smoke quality as soon as that's gone.
If anyone has any input for me that might help me get a little better smoke quality out of my setup, I'd be much obliged. The summer holidays are coming up, and I hope to be able to produce some top quality smoked meats for the family to enjoy. I will attach some photos of my setup for reference below:
While smoking, I set the mailbox on the ground - its 2' below the deck level, so the pipe is at a roughly 45 degree angle. Thanks again for reading and thanks in advance for any advice you might have for me!