How to stop the dreaded white smoke when rolling on a new log

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rog

Newbie
Original poster
Jun 29, 2021
2
2
Hi there, I'm very new to smoking and have read and watched lots about how to use an offset smoker.
Before I roll on a new split I heat the split up on top of the fire box (my fire box is too small to heat it up inside the fire box without it smouldering), I keep the firebox completely open for it to catch and start burning but as soon as I close the fire box door my smoker just immediately starts billowing white / grey smoke.
What am I doing wrong?
 
Welcome to SMF! I am not stick burner but I have see a few guys say they leave the door open awhile to mitigate that. Hopefully others chime in.
 
I'm new to smoking to so I'm sure there will be better answers.i use a offset stick burner to. Is your wood completely seasoned? Is your air intake open? Also I split alot of my wood into really small pieces. For me anyway that helps it not chuff smoke as bad when I first set one in.
 
Use smaller splits and add them more often, your idea of pre-heating them on the firebox is a good one. I do that too. No matter how hard you try you will get white smoke from time to time when you put a new split in the coal bed. It’s better to add splits to a fire that is burning well, don’t wait until all you have is coals left. And don’t sweat about the temp spikes, any temp between 225 -300 will give you the same results. Just faster at higher temps. I let my smoker settle in at whatever temp it decides to run at & just let it run there. There is a bit of a learning curve with an offset, but the more you use it the easier it will get.
Al
 
welcome to smf, as mentioned keep your stack wide open, try and use the fire box vent to control temp. when are you adding wood this is takes a little time to master, ya don't want to add the wood when your fire is almost out or when your fire is burning hot but somewhere in between. if your wood is dry and seasoned well i think the timing of adding will help with your white smoke, i think your going to get some no matter what ya do but it should clear up. just try not making to many adjustments to quickly, fire control takes time and patients but hang in there before you know it you'll be a fire master.
 
Use smaller splits and add them more often, your idea of pre-heating them on the firebox is a good one. I do that too. No matter how hard you try you will get white smoke from time to time when you put a new split in the coal bed. It’s better to add splits to a fire that is burning well, don’t wait until all you have is coals left. And don’t sweat about the temp spikes, any temp between 225 -300 will give you the same results. Just faster at higher temps. I let my smoker settle in at whatever temp it decides to run at & just let it run there. There is a bit of a learning curve with an offset, but the more you use it the easier it will get.
Al
sorry al i think we posted at the same time. didn't mean to echo you.
 
Hi there, I'm very new to smoking and have read and watched lots about how to use an offset smoker.
Before I roll on a new split I heat the split up on top of the fire box (my fire box is too small to heat it up inside the fire box without it smouldering), I keep the firebox completely open for it to catch and start burning but as soon as I close the fire box door my smoker just immediately starts billowing white / grey smoke.
What am I doing wrong?
You got some great advice from SmokinAl SmokinAl and smokerjim smokerjim . By the way, WELCOME from South Carolina....
 
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Not enough air reaching the fire, period.
In addition you want to lean the new stick at an angle so only the base of it is in the coals and the rest exposed to the air.
The flames should begin to lick up the stick and the smoke will be cleaner every time.
If you look at Franklins videos of him tending fire, he does not use a fire grate so the coal base sits right on the bottom of the firebox and when he adds a stick he stands it on end leaning on the side or the opening to the cook chamber.
Also you can see the guys that run old time cinder block made long rectangular cookers with tilting lids and the fire outside the end of the cooker, the sticks are always leaning up in air rather than piled in stacks or just randomly placed at the opening.
 
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Wow! Thanks so much for all the advice, this is all extremely helpful!!

Hoosier1989 Hoosier1989 & SmokinAl SmokinAl I did end up using smaller splits and that certainly helped. Out of interest, how often do you find yourself adding splits then? I seemed to have to be adding them every 15/20 mins or so which is way off the ~45 mins I've read about and watched on Youtube. Also thanks for the advice on just keeping it between 225 - 300, I was getting kinda panicked when the temperature started climbing into the late 200s, but that's great to know.

Thanks smokerjim smokerjim and C Chasdev for the advice, I only saw your advice about standing the split on end after I had finished my cook but will certainly try that next time.

I live in Dublin, Ireland and smoking really isn't that popular here so it's a) difficult to find local people with knowledge about smoking, b) hard to find good smokers, I ended up buying a cheap ~$150 knock off Oklahoma Joe smoker just to get started, c) difficult to find properly seasoned wood that's reasonably priced. For example I want to try smoking with apple wood but it's just so difficult to get here for some reason.

What ended up working for me yesterday was, when adding a new split I would open the vent and firebox door completely, add the split, when it was completely caught I would close the firebox door then slowly close the vent more and more until I just started getting that nice thin smoke. This seemed to work OK but is far from the 'make small adjustments to the vent' advice that I've gotten here and elsewhere. Does this approach sound reasonable?
In the end the results were actually pretty good, I smoked a lovely rack of st. Louis style ribs and 3 beef short ribs :)

Ther ribs after ~2.5 hrs just before I wrapped them for another ~2.5 hrs :emoji_arrow_down:

20210629_145625.jpg
 

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Those ribs look great nice job , you dont need expensive equipment to make good smoked meats just some time with using your smoker to learn what works and what doesn't. Try keeping notes on what you did so you can make adjustments next time if need be.
 
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