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Nefarious

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
884
551
Joined Oct 10, 2021
As you can all tell, I am fairly new here and most of what I cook I would call by the seat of my pants. The results have been good, more then good mostly because of advise that members here on SMF have given me.

I am a scientist/engineer kind of person so self reflection is what I do. The intention of this post is to figure out some things I am doing in my cooks with the smoker that I have to get to the point where I understand more.

PXL_20211206_070324978.jpg

Here is the result of the last cook I did. The meat was delicious and I really have nothing to complain about. There are some aspects of the cook that I can understand better and make it more repeatable.

Some facts about the cook:
Seasoned with salt(small amount), pepper, and garlic.
Sat overnight, 24 hrs in refrigerator uncovered..
Smoked in the dark cold night, to be done at 7:30 pm for 8:30 dinner
Smoke took 3 hrs to IT of 131°
Temperature swing in smoker was 205° to 227°
I am still using chips because people.are eating what I cook and I'm too uncomfortable with changing as I don't want to dissapoint.

Lets start with the temperature. This is probably the biggest wrong aspect of my smoking process. I have played with the vents some, but I think there is a direct relationship between both the smoke quantity and smoke quality with the temperature of the smoker. I have a gas smoke vault 18 and the fire is focused on a heave steel plate that the wood sits on, when I turn the heat up, the wood burns more and there is more smoke. This causes me to try to smoke at lower temperatures to try to get the TBS.

I think the most important improvement I can make is somehow removing this relationship between smoke and temperature. As.I said I have played with the vents to attempt to solve this, maybe I need to work at it harder.

Any advice would be welcomed.
 

uncle eddie

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,030
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Joined May 14, 2016
Monitor your smoker? It's a good idea. However, if you are getting good results, and they look good from this side of the screen (Is that prime rib?), then don't sweat it.

FWIW - My MES40 has about 15F - 20F temperature swings from cycling on/off.
Chips are always good to use. I use them exclusively for short smokes as I think they taste a little bit better than A-Maze-N pellets.
I absolutely use my AMNPS for long smokes and overnight smokes.
 

timberjet

Master of the Pit
3,548
163
Joined Jan 29, 2010
I hate to send you off site but meathead at amazingribs.com has super scientific explanations of just about everything smoked or grilled. He really gets into the specific reasons why and how things work. he takes a scientist like approach to all of his articles. Hope this helps. It would be good if you would let us know what you are cooking on as well. edit, I see smoke vault 18. I have no experience with that smoker. I use wood and charcoal exclusively.
 

Nefarious

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Thread starter
884
551
Joined Oct 10, 2021
Monitor your smoker? It's a good idea. However, if you are getting good results, and they look good from this side of the screen (Is that prime rib?), then don't sweat it.
It is whole PRIME beef loin top, what New York strip steaks are cut from.
 

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,952
4,011
Joined Jan 18, 2020
As you can all tell, I am fairly new here and most of what I cook I would call by the seat of my pants. The results have been good, more then good mostly because of advise that members here on SMF have given me.

I am a scientist/engineer kind of person so self reflection is what I do. The intention of this post is to figure out some things I am doing in my cooks with the smoker that I have to get to the point where I understand more.

View attachment 518385
Here is the result of the last cook I did. The meat was delicious and I really have nothing to complain about. There are some aspects of the cook that I can understand better and make it more repeatable.

Some facts about the cook:
Seasoned with salt(small amount), pepper, and garlic.
Sat overnight, 24 hrs in refrigerator uncovered..
Smoked in the dark cold night, to be done at 7:30 pm for 8:30 dinner
Smoke took 3 hrs to IT of 131°
Temperature swing in smoker was 205° to 227°
I am still using chips because people.are eating what I cook and I'm too uncomfortable with changing as I don't want to dissapoint.

Lets start with the temperature. This is probably the biggest wrong aspect of my smoking process. I have played with the vents some, but I think there is a direct relationship between both the smoke quantity and smoke quality with the temperature of the smoker. I have a gas smoke vault 18 and the fire is focused on a heave steel plate that the wood sits on, when I turn the heat up, the wood burns more and there is more smoke. This causes me to try to smoke at lower temperatures to try to get the TBS.

I think the most important improvement I can make is somehow removing this relationship between smoke and temperature. As.I said I have played with the vents to attempt to solve this, maybe I need to work at it harder.

Any advice would be welcomed.
One thing you can try is putting your chips in a small foil pan then tightly cover with foil and puncture a few holes to allow smoke out. Turn up the heat and add holes in the foil until you get the correct volume of smoke.
 

zwiller

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,256
1,846
Joined Nov 16, 2016
+1 Beat me. Get a small cast iron pan top sit on that burner. Should help. I am a little like you and somewhat scientific/ocd and a gas smoker did not cut it for me. That said, you temp swings were WAY better than I ever got in my gasser.
 

OldSmoke

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
573
888
Joined Sep 5, 2020
I think there is a direct relationship between both the smoke quantity and smoke quality with the temperature of the smoker

That looks like a nice smoker.

I have a Masterbuilt propane cabinet, and came to the same conclusion. If you smoke at low temps for fish and jerky, the pan does not get hot enough to smoke. Especially with hardwoods like hickory. When you get the temp up high enough to smoke, the wood then adds more heat to the cabinet making it difficult to control.

To break the relationship between burner temp and the amount of smoke generated, you might consider trying a smoking tube. Tubes seem to work better in propane units than trays. Following advice on this forum, I use a mix of pellets and chips. The chips give a nice quality smoke.

To remove the temperature increase due to the wood burning, do some research on smoke generators like the "mailbox" mod. There are also some commercial units available. This moves the smoking wood and temp increase caused by the wood burning, outside of the cabinet giving you better control of your cabinet temp. This also allows you to cold smoke foods like cheese.

These two projects can really help improve your consistency. Remember that every change you make, takes time for you to learn how to operate it.
 

Nefarious

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Thread starter
884
551
Joined Oct 10, 2021
That looks like a nice smoker.

I have a Masterbuilt propane cabinet, and came to the same conclusion. If you smoke at low temps for fish and jerky, the pan does not get hot enough to smoke. Especially with hardwoods like hickory. When you get the temp up high enough to smoke, the wood then adds more heat to the cabinet making it difficult to control.

To break the relationship between burner temp and the amount of smoke generated, you might consider trying a smoking tube. Tubes seem to work better in propane units than trays. Following advice on this forum, I use a mix of pellets and chips. The chips give a nice quality smoke.

To remove the temperature increase due to the wood burning, do some research on smoke generators like the "mailbox" mod. There are also some commercial units available. This moves the smoking wood and temp increase caused by the wood burning, outside of the cabinet giving you better control of your cabinet temp. This also allows you to cold smoke foods like cheese.

These two projects can really help improve your consistency. Remember that every change you make, takes time for you to learn how to operate it.
I will look at.the mailbox mod, I love making things. I'm already in the process.of building my own PID controller from a small microcontroller, maybe I can do both this winter.

I will look into the smoke tube in the short term.
 

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