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Getting more smoke from a cheap electric.


Fire Starter
Joined Nov 14, 2009
Royal Oak and I am jury rigging an old water heater.

What is the reasoning for soaking chips ? Any science to it ? I guess it would create a longer smoke ... I guess. I currently set the included chip box directly on element. It also is my theory to just put enough chips in to layer the bottom of the chip box and dump and add during the smoke although I am separated from my Royal Oak at this time to test this out. I have to admit I have been pretty much loading the box up. I ended up with a lot of half charred chips.Any suggestions for my build ?

I also could see just going to the Amaz N pellet smoker. It costs almost as much as my RO but oh well. Looks like a good and long smoke and good for cold smoking too. I do like my RO as far as build quality and especially at a cost of $53 (open box Walmart end of summer) about 6 years ago. So I guess I can look at the money I saved can be put to good use buying the Amaz N. For the sake of my almighty dollars, any suggestions for decent pellets because theirs seem way high ? I like hickory for pork, oak for brisket and Apple for fish but I'm open to combos for right prices.

Water pan, is that for the benefit of heat disbursement ? Any better medium ? Grease and drippings I could see as a problem.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Nov 12, 2010
Soaking chips just delays the smoke....  Not much use in doing that....    Black chips or chunks indicates lack of air... you end up making charcoal...    AMNPS is a great choice for good clean smoke....   The pellets may seen expensive but when I smoke meats, it's generally for 2-4 hours...  about 1/4 # of pellets...  We like the smoke to be something you can notice but not overpower the flavor of the meat...  Todd has 100% flavor wood pellets available....  few other do....  if you buy 20# or more and wait for a sale, 1/4# and 4 hours of smoke cost you 50¢...  If you are smoking 2 butts, about 15#'s, that's only 4¢ per pound.... a very inexpensive price for quality pellets...

So, increase the air inlets and exhaust....  add an AMNPS with the flavors of wood you like and make great smoked food.....


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 25, 2007
IMHO, Charred is good. Can you Smell smoke? You don't need to see it.

If you arent getting the chips to burn to where they are completely black and you are placing the chip box directly on the element, then it may not be hot enough to smoke your chips, you may need to use a thinner metal chip box.

Agree with Dave on soaking, however there may be a reason to delay smoke, like on charcoal smokers, although I have never needed to do so.

On my gasser I like using one large chuck and once it has been completely spent, I like to add a new piece, some folks let it go to ash.

I don't care for chips, especially if they are small, if your chips burn up too quickly, wrap in foil and poke a few times with a fork. Below are a few pics on how I use wood .

Snippet from my Website...
  • This was another attempt at the much sought after TBS. But I really wanted to achieve this for the seasoning of the BB. This time I tried big chunks and stacking. I started with few logs of cherry and ran them through my band saw.

  • Stacked them like so.

  • Placed them in the pan and added a few smaller chunks for insurance.

I absolutely never soak the wood, I feel that the water only delays the inevitable and doesn't keep the wood from igniting, only limiting the amount of oxygen will do this, others may disagree but that is what I do.

OK everything is looking good, getting just a wee bit of smoke and here is what I got.


  • The piece on the right is completely used up and the piece on the left has a wee bit of smoke left in it, notice the Reddish brown on the piece to the left.

  • This picture shows what a spent piece of wood looks like before it ashes up.

  •  Another closeup of a used up piece of wood.

  • This pic below is even too much smoke for me, this is why I like using one or two chunks stacked. Stacking will give you a longer smoke but with less volume of (immediate) smoke. Laying out smaller pieces like below will give you more smoke but less time.
  • If you take a piece of wood from the first picture in this post and stand it tall, you will get a longer smoke but with less immediate smoke.

Last edited:


Fire Starter
Joined Nov 14, 2009
Pretty sure my Royal Oak is a 1500 watt element so should be plenty strong considering that one that everyone speaks highly of is only 800 watt. I see what your saying about area exposed directly and something I will try on the RO. What I thought was going on with mine was that after the bottom chips were used up, the the chips resting above them were getting the heat blocked from the element by those used up chips.

What about the water pan ? Just adds moisture as a wet heat ? I guess it keeps the burnt grease taste down. Charcoal smoker no worries about that.

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