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Creosote problem?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My homemade smoker is basically a huge steel cabinet that I set a turkey fryer in. I put a cast iron skillet over the burner and set a coffee can in the skillet to burn wood chunks or chips.
The flame I get is orange and comes up clear around the skillet, and the skillet gets black stuff all over the bottom, which I would describe as soot. I have to scrape it off after every smoke. Is this creosote? My food tastes OK, but I wouldn't say it had a smoke flavor. Also, shouldn't the flame be blue? It has an adjustment damper on the burner, but it doesn't seem to make a difference in the flame. I thought maybe it wasn't getting enough air, but the flame is the same even with the door open.
Any advice?
post #2 of 20
Yeah, the flame should be blue. And it is soot because the flame is too rich, not enough air I suspect which would be a problem with the regulator.
post #3 of 20
Ok, I think I have at least one of your questions covered. The black substance on the bottom of the pan is most likly carbon. The flame not being blue??? don't know.
No Smoke flavor...... Gassers often tend to have a lighter smoke taste than a wood burner. What type of wood are you using?
Also do you see TBS when you are cooking???
Little more info might help
post #4 of 20

Soot = Carbon

From Wiki, maybe this can help.

Soot (IPA: /ˈsʊt/), also called lampblack or carbon black, is a dark powdery deposit of unburned fuel residues, usually composed mainly of amorphous carbon. It is a major component of smoke from the combustion of carbon-rich organic fuels in the lack of sufficient oxygen. Soot is generally "sticky", and accumulates in chimneys, automobile mufflers insides of smoke saunas and other surfaces exposed to smoke.
Soot is used in the chemical industry. It has been used for many years as a common pigment used in paints and inks, and remains in use today in toners for xerography and laser printers. The black color of rubber tires is due to the use of lampblack as an ingredient in their vulcanisation; this use accounts for around 85% of the market use of carbon black.
Lampblack is sometimes used only to refer to carbon deposited from incomplete burning of liquid hydrocarbons, while carbon black may be used to refer to carbon deposited from incomplete burning or pyrolysis of gaseous hydrocarbons such as natural gas. In other examples the two terms are considered interchangeable.
In India it is used for a different purpose. The closest definition found is as follows. "Collyrium or lampblack [or Katuka as called in Telugu], a paste made of lampblack and oil and applied to the eyes to increase their brilliancy. It is also supposed to assist in conjuring and giving second sight. anjanamu. katuka is listre or dark brown"
post #5 of 20
My fryer burner has an air mixture adjustment on the inlet tube (where the gas line connects). That's where you should adjust your air/fuel mix.

Also, take the burner apart... should be one screw through the middle... and make sure all of its components are clean and free of dirt and spider webs. I have to do this to mine every season.

Hope this helps!
post #6 of 20
Ahh....... so because it is on the bottom of the pan being exposed to the direct combustion of gas, he has the situation of "incomplete burning or pyrolysis of gaseous hydrocarbons such as natural gas." it would then be "carbon black " he is seeing.
And that would make sense since his flame is "Orange not Blue." indicating an incomplete combustion of the gaseous hydrocarbons.
Very Good FlaGriller, Very Good PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #7 of 20
Am I understanding that you are burning a gas burner inside an enclosed cabinet? If so, please don't , it's extremely dangerous and could cause an explosion.

The soot is from what's known as a "lazy flame" which is the result of not enough oxygen to totally burn the carbon phase of the gas.

The actual flame needs to be outside of the cabinet or else you need to cut a very large opening in one side of the base of the cabinet to allow for air flow.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
So the reason my mixture adjuster doesn't change the flame, nor does opening the door change it, is because the burner is now too sooty?
Makes sense I guess.
I will put the burner on the outside somehow, clean everything as best I can and start over.
THANKS everyone!!!!
post #9 of 20
Are you by any chance trying to use natural gas through a propane or high pressure burner?
post #10 of 20
PDT_Armataz_01_12.gificon_eek.gif Glad to have helped.biggrin.gif
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
SmokyOkie, I don't have access to natural gas, and all the literature says it is a propane burner. It was just a turkey fryer kit I bought at Wal-Mart.
post #12 of 20
I just asked because I once got an education trying to burn mat. gas through a propane burner. Sounds to me like lack of oxygen is your problem.
post #13 of 20
Just an interesting note, lampblack is also used in place of charcoal to make stars for pyrotechnic shells. Lampblack stars have a very long "tail" as they fall through the air and the effect is spectacular.
post #14 of 20
I knew that! Thanks to Jim for nudging me to read!
post #15 of 20
I've been playing with an idea for a gas burner based on a scaled down one I made for my blacksmithing forge. If you look at the pic below, you can see a T reducing pipe at the top of the burner with one side open. That allows the LP rushing past the opening pull outside air along with it to provide the oxygen the fire needs. It burns a pretty blue 'til the inside heats up, then it's still burning blue, but the glowing walls of the forge make it hard to see.

I'm thinking that lower pressure, and a cap with a lot of small holes drilled in it might do the trick. The forge burner doesn't stick into the inside (it would burn off if it did), so that's a detail I need to figure out. BTW, I'm very much an amature, so If anyone decides to build a burner, you might want to read up on it, and not trust my ramblings.

post #16 of 20
Nice, Q. Same theory i'm using on my stick lighter for the Beast. .75 black iron with saw cuts at 240 & 120 off TDC, and .125 holes at the inlet side till I see blue.
post #17 of 20
Very cool Richtee! If you get one made, I'd love to see pics. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #18 of 20
It's made. You can glimpse it in the Beast thread. But I'll have a better shot soon. Damm thing's worse than a kid, I swear! ;{)
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

Found the problem!

In an effort to be safer, I had screwed an elbow into the end of the burner and ran a 12 inch piece of pipe out the bottom of the smoker. I then screwed on another elbow and hooked the line that came with the burner on there. I was trying to keep the original rubber line out of the smoker. Yesterday I dismantled the whole thing and screwed the original hose back into the burner and PRESTO, the magic blue flame was back!
Being ignorant sucks.
I left the rubber line on and welded in a shield so nothing can get on the hose. I then smoked some ribs, a fatty, and a corned beef I found for 99 cents a pound.
Who knew smoked meat wasn't supposed to be black??? (Everyone but me I am guessing!!)
This was the best stuff I've made, I feel renewed!!
Thanks for all the help, it has been a tough learning process with lots of mistakes, and more to come. No matter how much we read, experience always teaches us more.
Happy Smoking!!
post #20 of 20
Glad it worked out for ya.
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