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Too Much Smoke in the Vault!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
When I'm using my hickory chunks in the SMV I get a lot of billowing white smoke. When I use the mesquite I get the controlled TBS. Even though I think I'm one of the weird one's that like creosote, I want to control the hickory. Any Ideas? How much difference do the vent settings make on a gas smoker.
post #2 of 12
Hmmm...I always get some white smoke when the chunk first starts smoking, then it thins out a few minutes afterwards. I never noticed any difference between species of smoke woods.

I keep the top vent wide open, and I have my tabs bent on the lower intake vents so that I can close them up completely. That may be where I'm having better success with the smoke.

You'll need to unscrew the louver/vent disc from the inside to get it off the cabinet, bend the tabs flat and put back together. If the lower vents are open it allows more fresh air to enter the chamber and this may be where your smoke wood is trying to burn up.

post #3 of 12
I have found that I simply have to soak my chips, otherwise somtimes the chips burn too fast. I would try soaking them...it cant hurt. Also the bottom vents will make a pretty signifigant difference, I would start by shutting the bottom vents tight (or as closed as you can get them) the idea is that the more o2 the fire gets the more the chips will wanna burn, hence producing more smoke. The other thing you could try is by further cutting the 02 to your chips by covering the chip box with some aluminum and poking just a couple holes in the top. Same idea as the vents....less o2. The top vent should never be fully closed, the smoke has to escape, otherwise it doesn't matter how thin and blue you have your smoke it will creat some creosote on your meat. I have a GOSM but our smokers are very similar in how they operate.
post #4 of 12
Is it white smoke, or water vapor? Sometimes when the wood is too wet I notice water vapor billowing out of the smoker until the wood drys out enough.
post #5 of 12
Usually water vapor wont "billow" just steam a bit. Most of the time when the chips are at the end of thier burn you will get a heavy white smoke.
post #6 of 12
Is the smoke a constant billowing white smoke the whole timeor is it alot at the beginning and then lets up. You say it's only when you use hickory and no other woods if it is I won't worry to much about it. Maybe try some other brand if you buy it and try that kind maybe for some reason you have a really smokey brand. PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif
post #7 of 12
There IS a difference.

I use a bunch of different woods. Most produce blue smoke, but the maple from my own tree starts billowy white for a couple minutes before settling down to blue. It's as seasoned as my cherry, but it just doesn't smoke/burn the same. Which is fine, as I've had no problems whatsoever with the finished product - no creosote, just deliciousness.

I've never had white smoke with hickory chunks. But from what I understand, hickory that hasn't quite finished seasoning will indeed billow white - and some pros WANT that! Check out Buzz, from his Throwdown with Bobby Flay. He uses wet, unseasoned hickory... and his product gets rave reviews.
post #8 of 12
I have a GOSM big block with the vent system much as you described. You gave some good advise on heat/smoke control. Points to you my friend.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Definitely white smoke not vapor. Smoked heavy until almost gone. It's store bought chunks - could be wood is not seasoned enough.
post #10 of 12
I use the store bought chunks/chips myself...it's all I can get for now...let's take a closer look at what's happening in your smoker...

What do the chunks look like when the white smoke stops? Are they completely burned-up into grey ashes, or does it look like a chunk of lump charcoal?

If burned-up, you have to reduce the amount of air getting to the smoke wood to slow it down to a smolder.

If it's like a lump of charcoal, and you put higher heat to it, it should start smoking again...this is what I try to get, even if I use fine chips instead of chunks...blackened smoke wood, if you will.

If this is the case, try a cut-down metal can(short enough to fit between the smoke pan & water pan) to put the smoke wood into, and if you have the top of the can you could lay that in over the smoke wood as well. Be sure to burn-out the can really well and clean it up before putting it into the smoker with heat. Coffee can or large vegetable/beans can works. I've done that alot on my SNP sfb when I still had the propane gas burner in it...worked like majic.

Hope this gets you headed in the right direction...icon_wink.gif

post #11 of 12
I have the same problem with a lot of white smoke using storebought apple chips. I'm going to try putting some ceramic lava rocks in the bottom of the smoke tray to act as a heatsink (I hope).

And soak the chips. Speaking of soaking the chips, does anybody use the soak water as your water tray water? Sorry, don't mean to hijack this thread.
post #12 of 12
Of course! It would be a waste to soak all that flavor out, and then not return it to the process. On my last smoke, I put the soak water in a jar that had contained sliced jalapenos; that peppery aroma went into the water/grease/baffle pan. You can taste the barest hint of it in the ribs and chicken.

Turns out I didn't use much of the soaked mesquite chips though; I used a few chunks of hickory in the basket, and then added splits of maple and cherry as the smoke progressed. I only added a few sprinklings of the mesquite.

(I don't soak chunks or sticks.)
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