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First cold smoke - Smoker tube and Creosote

Fizzled

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Joined Jul 17, 2020
Long time lurker first time poster.

I tried cold smoking some Pepper Jack in my Weber kettle. I used a smoker tube with Traeger Signature blend pellets. I lit the tube vertically, and it burned itself down to a smolder in about 5 minutes. Laid it down horizontal, closed lid, vents full open. I placed a disposable frozen chill pack and Tupperware with ice cubes on the grates to keep temps down.

It definitely succeeded in producing continuous smoke. However, the inside of my grill has got a nasty tar/Creosote coating on it, and the end product... Doesn't smell so good. It looks great and I'll give it some time in the fridge, but this doesn't feel like a normal result.

I've never seen this much build up hot smoking wood chunks and lump charcoal.

Is this par or is it me?

Attached pictures so my grill lid interior, super shiny thick, oily coating.

The ash in the bottom was from yesterday's cook, shown so you can see the yellow residue deposited on the ash.
 

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bregent

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First of all, welcome.

There are a few things at play here. First of all, hot smoking on a weber is different than cold smoking - and a lot of that has to do with draft. When hot smoking, you have plenty of heat creating draft moving the smoke up and out of the grill. When cold smoking, there is not much heat so much less draft. That is exacerbated by the fact that the weber kettle is not very tall, and that the heat source (the smoke tube) was placed on the top level. Also, that smoke tube is producing too much smoke for the size of the smoke chamber. Finally, it's a great idea to use an ice pack to keep things cool when it's warm outside, but you need to have good draft to begin with. If you don't, then the cooling effect of the ice will cancel out any draft you might have had.

I've had similar experiences with the kettle cold smoking which is why I don't use it for that. I get much better results using a vertical smoker, or even a cardboard box smoker, and locating the smoke generator far away and piping the smoke to it through a corrugated metal dryer vent - that creates more draft and gives it time for nasty stuff to collect in the tube and not make it to the smoker.

Luckily, it looks like you didn't use that much cheese so not much loss if it's not eatable in a few weeks.
 

daveomak

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Try making dust from pellets... It burns slower and cooler... for cold smoking, it's awesome...

 

Fizzled

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First of all, welcome.

There are a few things at play here. First of all, hot smoking on a weber is different than cold smoking - and a lot of that has to do with draft. When hot smoking, you have plenty of heat creating draft moving the smoke up and out of the grill. When cold smoking, there is not much heat so much less draft. That is exacerbated by the fact that the weber kettle is not very tall, and that the heat source (the smoke tube) was placed on the top level. Also, that smoke tube is producing too much smoke for the size of the smoke chamber. Finally, it's a great idea to use an ice pack to keep things cool when it's warm outside, but you need to have good draft to begin with. If you don't, then the cooling effect of the ice will cancel out any draft you might have had.

I've had similar experiences with the kettle cold smoking which is why I don't use it for that. I get much better results using a vertical smoker, or even a cardboard box smoker, and locating the smoke generator far away and piping the smoke to it through a corrugated metal dryer vent - that creates more draft and gives it time for nasty stuff to collect in the tube and not make it to the smoker.

Luckily, it looks like you didn't use that much cheese so not much loss if it's not eatable in a few weeks.
Awesome, thanks for the guidance. I might try to find a way to perhaps pump some more air in. Might dilute the smoke and make it burn more completely.

My Weber's an old one, so the bottom opening might be a good candidate for ducting in from an external smoke source.
 

gmc2003

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Welcome aboard, Judging by your pics it looks like you've got a ton of white smoke flowing out of that tube. White smoke isn't good smoke. That and I think a tube puts out way to much smoke for a kettle. Tubes work fine in a gas grill because of all the openings in the lid, but a kettle only has the one vent on top. Also you maybe should have put ice and tube on the charcoal grate instead of the cooking grate. As Dave mentioned dust will burn cleaner and cooler then pellets, but I'm not sure if dust works in a tube smoker. Next go around maybe try using a half of tubes worth of pellets spread out along the length of the tube. Give the cheese a month or so to mellow and see how it tastes before tossing it.

Chris
 
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mike243

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I think its the oil based pellets, try another brand before you do anything else imo
 

zwiller

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Good points made already... Dust is the clear winner over pellets on cheese here. I suggest getting the proper tray, dust, and qmatz from Todd at Amazen and you might have a shot on the kettle but admit bregent bregent is probably right about the draft. I have MES and tray works perfectly. Try and score a used MES on FB marketplace or CL. Tons near me cheap.
 

Fizzled

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Try making dust from pellets... It burns slower and cooler... for cold smoking, it's awesome...

Curious. How does dust burn cooler? My laymen expectation is that dust would expose more fuel to air, and have larger surface area. I'd expect that burn rate to increase?
 

daveomak

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Try it.... You don't have to reinvent the wheel....
 

Lonzinomaker

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I second trying some different pellets. Get some 100% apple wood pellets from AMAZN. I also used a MES w/mailbox mod for cheese smoking using pellets.
Look on Craig's list for a front loading Big Chief Smoker, drill a 2 in hole in bottom and put that on your kettle for a convenient larger smoke chamber.
 

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