Royal Oak Electric Smoker - No Smoke Flavor

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mikeserve, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. I had some great pulled pork sandwiches at my friends house the other weekend, and it finally got me thinking about getting my own smoker. He uses a charcoal smoker, but I'm just too lazy to mess with that so I did some looking at electric smokers. I ended up going with a Royal Oak electric smoker from Walmart. It seemed to be pretty sturdy and had a thermometer as well as an adjustable power dial.

    So I got the smoker home and "seasoned" it by turning it to high and adding a few handfulls of hickory (soaked in water for 30 minutes) and let it go for 60 minutes. After that, I added about 4 bone-in chicken breasts as well as a whole 3.5 lb chicken. I inserted a probe thermometer and pulled the chicken when the breast registered 165 degrees.

    The chicken was very moist and juicy, but there wasn't any smoke flavor. The hickory chips I used were smoking a little bit, but not nearly as much as I thought they would.

    Here's a link a smoking page I've added to my website: http://www.mikeserve.com/smoking/smo...09_chicken.htm

    I did some searching online about people using my smoker and only find a couple posts. These posts also mentioned people not getting any smoke flavor but no one posted a response. After searching a few forums, I found that some people who use electric smokers are adding a couple charcoal briquettes to their wood tray to get some extra smoke. I'm thinking about giving this a try the next time I smoke something.

    Any ideas on how to get a better smoke flavor in my electric smoker? Should I not soak the chips prior to adding them to the smoke pan? I'm pretty much clueless as far as smoking food goes, so any help you could give me would be great.
     
  2. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome to smf, Mike. Let me see if I can help you out a bit. I'm not quite familiar with your smoker, but I think it's pretty close to the Char-Broils that I have. First, ignore the therm that came with the unit. They're notorious for being inaccurate. I would get a digital therm w/a probe, insert the probe thru a block of wood and place it on the cooking grate. The thermostat is a good thing, just max it out. Chips won't last as long as chunks, so I'd go with the chunks unsoaked. Just place a decent sized chunk between the element making sure that it doesn't touch the element and let er rip. Maybe you could post some pics of your smoker. Any other questions, just ask.
     
  3. Thanks for the quick response Mikey! I actually took out the thermostat that came with the smoker and tested it in boiling water and it was right on. I'd heard that some of the temperature probes that came with the smokers were inaccurate so I wanted to test mine out before smoking for the first time. For actually testing the meat, I used my new meat probe thermometer with a wireless remote. That came in really handy. I just sat inside and watched the temperature go up.

    I've posted some more pictures at the following link: http://www.mikeserve.com/smoking/smokerpics.htm Here's a close-up picture of my heating element, wood pan, and water tray:

    [​IMG]

    The wood pan is on the left and the water tray is on the right. The wood pan is about 1.25" above the heating element. Is that too far away? Could this be the reason I wasn't getting a lot of smoke?

    Mikey, you mentioned that I should put a piece of chunk wood close to the heating element. Do you see a better place to put the wood based on the picture above? Do I need to fabricate something different to get a better smoke?
     
  4. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not sure if you will/have experienced the same thing that I have on my electric smoker but I have found that in order to get a good smoke I need to add one or two lit briquets to my pan of wood. Otherwise it will just not produce the smoke that I have come to enjoy. Try it may help.
     
  5. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    The pan that's 1 1/4" above the element is the culprit. I would layout some grill bricks under the element, then set your wood chunk(s) on the grill bricks. Not sure of the distance from the element to the bottom, but the grill bricks should do the trick. On mine, the char-broils & the brinkmann the distance is 1" above the bottom. I would guess that the other pan is for water. Any other questions, you can just pm me. On edit: When I mentioned the therm that came with the smoker, I was refering to the one in the door, not the one (thermostat) that plugs into the element.

    Cheech: The briquettes give you a smoke ring & will help with keeping the temps up. The smoke ring is neither here nor there for me, so it's no biggy. I substituted the charcoal for playbox sand in the pan. Does a much better job in keeping the temps up.
     
  6. Cheech: how do you light the charcoal before adding it to the wood pan? I know people use the chimney thing when starting a bunch of charcoal, but what do you use for only a couple briquettes?

    I've started reading through the thread about how to produce a smoke ring in electric smokers, and I think I might try adding some charcoal to my wood pan next time as well as using chunk wood instead of chips. I was thinking about smoking some meat for my birthday party on Saturday, but I don't think my smoking skills are up to par yet. I did take Friday off, so maybe I'll have to try something out then. If everything goes well, I might try something on Saturday as well.
     
  7. I posted this on another thread, but here's the summed up version: I'm going to start putting a pie pan directly on the element and putting a couple chips or chunks in there. I tested it out yesterday, and I had smoke in a few minutes. The only problem I can see is that the pan will get too hot. I think in the long run, I will just modify or build a different tray to hold my wood pan, but for now this works. I'll be testing it out this weekend with a couple chickens.
     
  8. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    Thats what I do, except I use a stainless steel "dog food" dish, no mess, no fuss, no worries about durability or heat. (No, not the same one the dog uses, [​IMG])
     
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah... look for a stainless dog food dish at your local pet store, or go to your local Salvation Army and find a stainless fry pan (might have to cut the handle off).
     
  10. littlechief

    littlechief Fire Starter

    It's hard to tell from the pictures, is their a drip pan between the food and the wood chips? My electric smoker has a drip pan, I don't know if the all do. I don't think I'd get much smoke if the drippings were keeping the wood wet.
    Just a thought... Hope it helps.
     
  11. aztintpimp

    aztintpimp Newbie

    I had the same problem with this little smoker. Not enough smoke. I flipped the racks upside down. Doing this you lose one of the rack placements; but if it works it will be worth it. This brought the smoker pan to within 1/4 inch of the heating element. Testing today will let you know.
     
  12. stoker toker

    stoker toker Newbie

    I want to thank everyone for this forum. I think I may be like a lot of you...I am a non professional BBQ smoker. By that I mean I have not competed. I consider myself ''not too bad'', though. One thing is for sure, the meat I smoke or steaks I cook are well enjoyed. I am considering an electric smoker because of how convenient they sound, and if it is an easier method...then it means I will be smoking more. I just don't have the time it takes to do it the ''other ways'' every single time. The constant tending the fire takes me out of any other surrounding fun and activities...and I like to play.
    While I have been searching for my first electric, this thread about the problem making smoke caught my attention.
    Basically, from what I have seen..these electrics come 2 ways...either controlled by a thermostat...or not.
    That may be the problem here.
    I personally have decided to pursue getting one that has the thermostat because from what I have read the other do a good job...but they are too hot for all uses. I would bet that the non-thermostat ones do not have the ''no-smoke'' problem becasue the electric element is ''always'' on and hot. This made me think that the thermostat ones, while better for obvious reasons, do have the problem of the wood chips not being exposed to non-stop heat. That is because the heating element has to shut off and on in order to maintain the smoker temperature. Since many smokers like to cook with lower heat for a longer period of time...then that would make the problem of keeping the woods chips/chunks smoking from the heating element, worse. I am not sure how to solve this, but I thought I would throw this thought in so maybe some of you can comment on a solution taking this fact I have mentioned. I will think on it. I already have some ideas, but I do think that this is the key to the problem. Hmmm...a separate, smaller, heating element for just the chips??? I dunno. Talk ta me.
     
  13. stoker toker

    stoker toker Newbie

    I want to thank everyone for this forum. I think I may be like a lot of you...I am a non professional BBQ smoker. By that I mean I have not competed. I consider myself ''not too bad'', though. One thing is for sure, the meat I smoke or steaks I cook are well enjoyed. I am considering an electric smoker because of how convenient they sound, and if it is an easier method...then it means I will be smoking more. I just don't have the time it takes to do it the ''other ways'' every single time. The constant tending the fire takes me out of any other surrounding fun and activities...and I like to play.
    While I have been searching for my first electric, this thread about the problem making smoke caught my attention.
    Basically, from what I have seen..these electrics come 2 ways...either controlled by a thermostat...or not.
    That may be the problem here.
    I personally have decided to pursue getting one that has the thermostat because from what I have read the other do a good job...but they are too hot for all uses. I would bet that the non-thermostat ones do not have the ''no-smoke'' problem becasue the electric element is ''always'' on and hot. This made me think that the thermostat ones, while better for obvious reasons, do have the problem of the wood chips not being exposed to non-stop heat. That is because the heating element has to shut off and on in order to maintain the smoker temperature. Since many smokers like to cook with lower heat for a longer period of time...then that would make the problem of keeping the woods chips/chunks smoking from the heating element, worse. I am not sure how to solve this, but I thought I would throw this thought in so maybe some of you can comment on a solution taking this fact I have mentioned. I will think on it. I already have some ideas, but I do think that this is the key to the problem. Hmmm...a separate, smaller, heating element for just the chips??? I dunno. Talk ta me.
     
  14. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     
  15. Great advice. Got lots more smoke by flipping the rack holders. I'm now experimenting with wood chip sizes. Smaller seems to make more smoke.
     
  16. i have an electric mes....(masterchef electric smoker) and one thing i see, compared to mine. is yea your wood chips are to high. on the mes the chips get dumped from a side loader ontop of the element burning them. so the pie pan on the element is a good start. and a it will take care of your smoke issue, i personally soak my chips for my mes, but not the others.  you may want to measure from side to side of your smoker and check on a water pan from mes. or fabricate one that can hang on the rails above your chips pan and heating element beautiful smoke however
     
  17. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    up till now my only experience with an electric smoker is a big chief and on my big chief the pan with the smoke chips in it goes directly on the heating element.  don't know for sure but can't see how the wood chips would really burn that far from the heating element.

    dalton
     
  18. mr mac

    mr mac Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    When I had mine I went back to Wal-Mart and bought a small SS dog bowl and set it right on the coil and that got the wood smoking like it should.
     
  19. Got my rose a few days ago. First smoke got no smoke,,, or very little. Experimenting right now with the chip pan directly on the element. Also got a 13x9 or so aluminum pan for water. Just set it on the rack that previously held the water and chip pans. Getting smoke now so the test now is for how long.

    I have looked at the A-Maze-n smoke generator but not sure where I would put it. Only having 3 racks, dont want to sacrifice one.

    Also looking at the smoke daddy big kahuna. Biggest drawback with that is it cost more than the smoker! ($100 for smoker, $125 for Kahuna). However, I know that with either of these choices I would have the option of cold smoking.

    randy
     
  20. papagreer

    papagreer Meat Mopper

    Hey Randy,

    You dont need to sacrifice a rack with the A-Maze-N Smoker. You can put it wherever there is room for it. I have a MES 40 and I throw it on the bottom under the water pan. If there is a possibility of the meat dripping on it, just tent some foil over it and you are set. AMSN is the best man and you dont need to drill a hole for it and its about 40 bucks. Todd is a member here and has always given great support for his products. Just my 2 cents. 

    Chris
     
     

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