Mods I have done and some questions because of bitter bark

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Original poster
Feb 10, 2014
Thanks to everyone on posting their mods, I have done a lot of them and added some of my own.  They are:

1) Put the gasket around the door

2) Bought a 12" cast iron skillet and filled it with ceramic briquettes

3) Filled the water pan with Ceramic briquettes also 

4) replaced the chip pan with the basket (I still put the cast iron skillet on top)

5) Added the masterforge chimney

6) Add a air damper on the bottom

7) Use 18" amps tube  for smoke ( I use pecan)

8) Bought a 4' x 6' welders blanket and draped it over the smoker

After making mods 1, 2, 3, and 8 the temperatures really stabilized.  It can go for hours without having to tweak the temperature knob. When I used the water pan and the water started to evaporate, the temp would spike

So here is my question to you guys, the reason why I did mods 5 -7 was because after I would smoke ribs or boston butt for 3 hours or or longer the bark would taste bitter (not a good smoke taste).  Of course I did a Google search and it told me it was the air flow, etc.  I first changed to the AMPS and was looking for thin blue smoke (my smoke from the chunks in the skillet was thick white).  The AMPS did produce less smoke and it looked lighter maybe blue, but I still had the bitter taste.

I then added the chimney and still had bitter taste.  I did notice better looking smoke after I added the damper on the bottom but I am still getting bitter bark.  I changed rubs and even made my own.  Do you guys have any suggestions? 
Not sure which smoker you have but I too have a propane smoker, the masterbuilt duel fuel pro, which required some mods. What I learned from these forums and trial and error is that too much wood might cause that thick white smoke and in turn the bitter taste. I too put my wood in a cast iron skillet over the burner but I usually put only one large chunk at a time (about the size of a baseball) and it gives me almost two hours of thin blue smoke. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the information, I have a masterbuilt XL smoker. I did use the wood chunks but moved to the AMPS pellet tube to get a better smoke. I did use the single chunk but still got thick white smoke.
I'm still pretty new at this but did discover something in my trials.  Are you using any water in the smoker?  I went to a single chunk in my Smoke Vault and thought I was still getting too much white smoke, but it was really steam coming from the water inside.  I still use the water but can now see what the difference is, plus the smell of the wood is subtle and pleasant, doesn't smell like the house is burning down when you get near it.
I stopped using water once I started using the ceramic briquettes (Which helped a lot on constant temperature). I might go back to the single chunk of wood instead of the pellets since now a I added an air damper.

Reduce the heat to the chip box by raising the box a half inch or so, if the wood catches fire and/or turns to ash, raise the chip pan 1/4" higher, keep doing this until you find the best burn.

Masterbuilt XL is propane, correct?

Take a picture of your # 4 mod

do not use the pellet smoker if you plan on using the chunks
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Yes, I have a masterbuilt XL, I I will send a picture of #4 when the snow stops in NC 
Here is a picture (I used the picture from the MOD thread).  The only difference is my skillet is 12" and I am using chunks of Pecan (when I use this config, I do not use the tube).  Thanks for the idea.

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