Help! RF creosote dripping!

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by sniltz, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. sniltz

    sniltz Meat Mopper

    I have a RF smoker and I was doing about 350 chicken quarters on it last weekend for a Civil War reenactment. I could only fit about 125 quarter on the two shelves at a time. So I cooked them in 3 stages. The 1st stage came out beautiful but, then the next 2 stages it started dripping heavy creosote oil on the chicken. I have 2 smoke stacks,1 on the main chamber and another one on the warmer box. I closed of main chamber stack and then opened warming box flu and used the stack in my warming box. Same thing happened. Creosote oil came out heavy. I used lump charcoal and good seasoned hickory and cherry wood. I was also wandering if the humidity and condensation was a factor. Because I do notice it builds up condensation when it gets hot. Here is a pick of chicken on the grill (yes I did clean table after I shut door) and with door closed. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Sniltz
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It appears that the chicken was marinated. The marinade can drip off and even become water vapor during cooking. It could have been the marinade causing excessive humidity in the smoke chamber by the time the first batch was done. Then, as you added more chicken the humidity could be elevated enough to cause condensation to drip onto the cooking grates. I wouldn't consider this normally, but you had a pretty good crowd on the grates, with not a lot of space between the attendees. That can cause draft problems with some smokers...maybe not yours, but some. Combine that with hotter weather and high humidity, causing you to burn a bit cooler fire for heat control, which in turn causes less ventilation of the smoke chamber...lots of variables there, but I think you can see where this may have all stacked up against you.

  3. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    What temp was you cooking at? I think if I was cooking a lot of chicken I would have run my main stack wide open.
    I have a big offset and have smoked a lot of chicken without creosote. When I smoking a big load of chicken usually running @ 325
  4. sniltz

    sniltz Meat Mopper

    Thank y'all for the replies, I was running my temp around 250 degrees. Some spikes made it close to 300. But for the most part 250 degrees with heat outside around 90 with very high humidity.
  5. sniltz

    sniltz Meat Mopper

    Also I had my stacks wide open also.
  6. pcjack

    pcjack Smoke Blower

    While I agree that high humidity is a challenge, I live in Florida and high humidity is a daily fact of life.
    Every time I cook, I am dealing with high humidity. :eek:) By any chance, are you running a boiler pan in
    your setup? I usually do, unless doing a full load of meats (grates stocked full of meats).

    I may not be the most knowledgeable person in the large smoker arena, but my gut tells me that your
    issue is caused by some sort of lack in air flow. I have cooked many a day on friends RF units for our boy
    scout fundraiser cookouts (up until I finished my personal 120G RF this past weekend). I have yet to have
    soot drippings coming back into the cook chamber. I also do not marinade my chickens when I cook them.
    I would think that under a heavy meat load, I would run higher temps to ensure the heat would effectively
    "drag out the humidity" in the drafting process. When I built my 120G RF unit, I kept my stack offset from
    my cooking grates, just in case. Based on this post, I am really glad I made that decision, even though
    welding on the inside of the bubble of a curved tank was a fat pain in the neck for me. lol

    Creosote is the formation of flaky soot on the exhaust plenum. The main reason is due to insufficient
    burn of the fuel or lack of air flow somewhere. I would check your measurements to ensure you are
    within the proper specs. I cannot see how low profile meats like two racks of chicken can cause this
    issue, done this many times on several RF stick burner smokers, never had this issue. If you were
    cooking huge turkeys, hams or butts, I could see how air flow would be diminished and be a factor,
    but leg quarters? (scratching head on this one)

    I am waiting to see how others chime in with their opinions. I am doing a cook similar to your for my daughters wedding in
    February and am interested in hearing the opinions of others.

    Good luck with this!
  7. danquixote

    danquixote Newbie SMF Premier Member

    I've seen this happen when the wood is "soaked" prior to adding it to the fire. Have also seen it as a result of trying to "Heavy Smoke" with draft vents closed to far. I tend to agree with PC....incomplete combustion/improper air flow.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    May I suggest adding an upper air inlet, to the FB, in the top portion of the door across from the FB/CC opening....   similar to the upper inlet in the picture below...


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