Originally Posted by AndoOKC
So I'm slowly starting to get the hang of this smoking business but the devil is in the details and so I have some questions. I hope someone has the time to answer. Thanks in advance.
I have a PS PK 50 PP Electric Smoker.
1. The manual says to close the dampers for brisket to cook at 225F. Now ive noticed that i think i get creosote forming. Ive noticed this when ive used a full water pan. When I open the smoker, theres water dripping from the top of the smoker. On occasion after ive foiled a brisket, theres been this dark nasty black liquid on top of the foil (Thankfully not on the meat). Is that creosote or just water and smoke or is that the same thing?
2. Ive read all I could on vent positions. Having an electric smoker, there's only adjustable top vents. The manual only recommends wide open for making beef jerky. Normally I keep them closed the whole time but now I worry about creosote. Keeping them open keeps my surface temperature from getting much over 215F (with full water pan) even when I set the thermostat up to 250F. When I close the vents the temps go up to 235-240F when set to 250F. My question is, how should I adjust my vents and should i use a water pan or not since im getting alot of condensation and possible creosote.
3. With my electric smoker, should I preheat the smoker, put the meat in, then immeadiately place a pan of wood chunks on the coils or should i put the meat, turn the smoker up to the right temperature then immeadiately place a pan of wood chunks on the coils. Ive been having trouble getting thin blue smoke. It always starts out white and thick.
Sorry for the rambling and I hope my thoughts were coherent enough for you all to follow.
I've never used an electric smoker before, and I'm not familiar with what you are using, so I will give it my best shot....
1) With the dampers fully closed, more than likely you will get creosote forming because the smoke has nowhere to go and becomes stagnant. I would think that it is possible for it to be forming on your food, but if its not very bad, you might not notice it when you eat it. I would try opening the damper some to see if it eliminates this problem.
2) Adjusting the dampers is one of those things you jsut have to play with. Every smoker is different, so there is no real guide to how much they should be opened or closed.The use of a water pan (in most cases) is optional. You may want to try (if you havent) filling the pan with hot water. Cold water will drop the temp in in your smoker, and can take a while to heat up.
3) I always pre-heat my smoker. I don't want my meat sitting in there while its heating up, if something were to go wrong, (i.e, you forgot to plug it in [it happens]) you could get sick by the germs that build up on the food. I like to have TBS when I put my meat on, so as soon as i start preheating the smoker, I put my wood chunks on as well.
As far as the white thick smoke, this is what we need to know..
What kind of wood are you using?
Do you do anything to it before placing it in the smoker? (like soaking it in water)
Are your chips actually catching fire? (thats bad)
Anyway, like I said, I don't have any experience with the equipment you are using, but I hope I have helped in some way. There are a lot of helpful people on here, i'm sure someone is smoking with the same equipment you're using.
Good luck, if theres anything else I might be able to help you with, just let me know.