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smoker not smoking

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So i got a birthday present, an electric smoker. I would like to use it for smoked salmon, which should be smoked between 150 and 180 degrees for several hours. I unpacked the unit, burned it in with wood chips at about 350 degrees for two hours, the thing seem to do great and made smoke very fast. I then turned it off and prepared some salmon in a brine.

I soaked some alder chips for only about 30 mins and then let them drip dry for a few mins then put them in the smoker and got it up to about 165 degrees. I didnt see any smoke for the first 30 minutes but figured they were still cool from being wet and humid. So i put the fish in and checked it every half hour turning it up to get the smoke going. After 3 tries it was up to 225 and it started smoking. i backed it down to 185 and it stopped producing smoke. So i basicaly over cooked the fish with little smoke flavor after 4 hours.

any ideas what could be going wrong?

The unit is a Royal Oak electric smoker, about 30" high 18"/18" inside, with a 750 watt coil, a thermometer (not a thermostat) and a low-high rheostat of somesort without any degree markings.

I also moved the wood chip tray to directly on the heating coil, also slightly opened the door all to try to get more heat to the wood, and not to the meat, it will not make smoke under 200 degrees.
post #2 of 8
try again without soaking the woodchips. in order to get smoke your smoker has to dry them back out...
post #3 of 8
erain gave an excellent suggestion; if you still have problems try adding a hot briquette to the chip pan, this should produce smoke for you and may add a little smoke ring to your finished product.

ANother thought I had was drilling a small home in the pan to provide direct oxeygen with the electric heat to the wood.....?
post #4 of 8
I agree completely.

That is a start.
post #5 of 8
Also, you have to build up a little debris in your pan from previous smokes too... some partially burned cinders and ash start right back up easier than whole chunks, aiding the chunks to get going too. Every time I 'clean out' my pan it takes for-EVER to get a smoke going again. I don't soak anything, just fire it up with a few new pieces added to what was left from the last smoke.
post #6 of 8
I got rid of my chip pan and use a tin can from tuna fish, set this directly on the heating element. Also use dry chips
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
When you say hot briquette, do you mean a plain charcoal briquette or and heated rock or a smoke briquette disk thing?
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas.

After reading them i thought about the tuna can thing. so what i did was cut the top off of a coffee can and left the bottom two inches to make a chip pan. I also "insulated" it by folding a piece of large tin foil a few times so it was 3" tal and wrapped it around the sices of the can. I then put the old square chip lid over to partially cover the can.

Also the heating element is quite large. So i know that the heat from the element is only partially going to the chip pan. So i "insulated" the sides of the element not in contact with the pan with the same tin foil deal.

i turned it on to a low setting, and 5 minutes later, its pouring out smoke, and only at 175 degrees. so i THINK problem solved. The original chip pan is like a baked enamel, which must not conduct heat well. that and the large heating element heats up the housing as much as the chip pan.

Nest i will crank her up to 250, then lower it back to 160 or so to make sure it will continue making smoke.

Thanks, and I wish you all good eats!
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