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Newb from Northern Cal

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by steelheadmike, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. steelheadmike

    steelheadmike Newbie

    Howdy all,

    I have been getting a ton of info from this site. I have been smoking for a couple years, starting with a weber kettle, then using my Genesis 320 as a indirect grill/smoker, and finally to my 1 week old Smokevault 24 (which I got based on reviews and recommendations from this site). I make reliable rubs and sauces that I make which seems to be pretty similar to what most people are using around here. 

    My smokes in the last week:

    1. Steelhead and salmon, turned out great. ~4 hrs at 160-180.

    2. Spares, not too shabby but I think I should have foiled the racks individually. They were a little fry when I put them in pan and covered tightly.

    3. 2 8lb pork shoulders. 15hrs at 225-250. Simply perfect. Pulled it out of the cooler and it just fell in a heap. Threw on my sauce and slapped it on a CWB with homemade slaw.

    4. In between all this, I made close to a hundred ABTs. Big hit at the Halloween party.

    Next, probably baby backs this weekend, but with improved methods.

    My one question is: on the Smokevault, I am having a tough time generating smoke much below 230-240 deg. I was able to bump up the burner, get the smoke going, and back it off. I have been playing with different damper settings. I can fine tune the temp with the damper but I haven't been able to manipulate the smoke with it though.

     One thing I did hor the fish was to put the wood pan right over the burner which worked great for the low temps, but it gets too hot when I'm trying to cook at 225-240. Is there some trick to get good smoke at 225. Chips vs chunks? More air? Less air? Get the cast iron pan hot then back off the heat?


  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Howdy Mike,

    Welcome to SMF!!!

    Sorry that i can't help w/ your smoke problem as i don't use gas.

     But hang tight , I'm sure someone will be along shortly that will answer you question .
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    First off welcome Mike to SMF. Now for your smoker I have a vault 24" myself and I have used a different chip pan insteed one the cast iron one I got with mine. I figured you have the smae one I do. Now I just got a old deep dish out of the pots and pans draw (don't tell my wife) and it fit it there right nicely and it just has thin bottom to it. Another thing that you could do is go to Walgreen's and get their single hot plate and use one of those and just don't light your vault. I can get smoke with the thinnner pan at about 110° but with the hot plate I can get smoke at 80° by just putting the wood chunks right on the element. Now you will like this place for there are alot of really good folks here that would do just about anything to do with smoking meat.
  4. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Welcome to SMF from NorCal also. I dont have the smoke vault but have a GOSM. Try using a metal coffee can for you wood or a cast iron skillet. That should help out.
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Hey Mike welcome to SMF. Cant help with the smoke issue but looks like some good advice from Mark and Brian
  6. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member


    Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us.

    This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

    For those of you new to Smoking, be sure to check out Jeff's 5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse.

    Click Here it's "FREE" ... 5 Day eCourseE
  7. Welcome. These guys and gals will set you in the right direction.
  8. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    Welcome aboard, Mike.  When you're finished are your wood chunks or chips ashes?  Thin Blue Smoke is what we like so as long as your smelling it, it's burning.  I know what you mean though, with my Big Block GOSM, unless I crank the temp up to >240* I don't get a lot of billowing smoke or evidence of white smoke...although I get the whispers of thin smoke and at the completion of my smoke the chunks are normally ashes.  I'm guessing you have a thick wood box like the GOSM and if I were doing any lower (<225) temp smokes I'd have to go with something thinner like the others have suggested.

    Now charge up those camera batteries and post up some Qview!  

    Happy Smokin'
  9. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks, great recipes and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview. [​IMG]
  10. jjmrascal

    jjmrascal Smoke Blower

  11. richoso1

    richoso1 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the introduction, and welcome to the SMF. I'm not a vault owner, but I know you'll get some good advise from our members. It's all good my friend.
  12. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome from a fellow N-Cal resident!  How about those Giants?!!!!!!!!

    I use a small cast iron skillet with wood chunks right over the burner when I use propane.  Works fine.  Like someone else said, if you can smell the smoke, everything's working fine.  those wood chunks turn completely into ash, so they have to be burning and generating smoke.  Don't worry about seeing the smoke -- sniff for it instead.

  13. steelheadmike

    steelheadmike Newbie

    Thanks for the hints. When I try to get below about 240, I'm not getting any smoke. My chips aren't going to ash and I can't smell smoke (I put my face right over the top vent [​IMG]).

    For those of you using a thin pan, are you placing it directly on the burner hole or are you putting it on the racks where the CI pan goes?

    Also, when I would put the stock CI pan directly over the burner, the chips seemed to burn very quick and I ended up with a fair amount of white ash, not the nice black charcoal. Should I try this with some chunks to see if it slows the burn?

    It's great to talk with a bunch of kindred spirits.

    Thanks again,

  14. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome aboard [​IMG]
  15. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I use chunks in mine. Burns nicer. I have also added 1 piece of charcoal to it before to help the burn.
  16. Welcome to SMF Mike. Lots of great info here. You can find a lot of good advice and technical information about some very specific problems or challenges. I found using the search feature to be most helpful.