Smoke not Lasting?

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Original poster
Dec 20, 2013
Hello all,

I have done a few test runs on some strip steaks in my smoker,

I am running a smoke hollow 44",

Western Wood Chips,  Outdoor Temperature is 30* +/- Slight breeze each day

I have been warming my smoker to 210, with the water tray in at the start.  After Temp has stabilized i place my chips in

(soaking my chips for 30 minutes and placing a handful and a half in each box,)

Air vents on each side of unit are opened 1/4" 

Chips seem to take about 15 to 20 minutes to start producing smoke,, then they only last for about 20 minutes.

After reviewing the boxes I am seeing that they are burning the center of the piles to Ash Outside edges are a crisp charred remains.

20 Minutes seems lite to me for the amount of smoke time?   Should i be laying the chips in heavier?? or not mounding them?

Any suggestions would be appreciated


Try small chunks. They last longer and have better smoke flavor. It also sounds like you're not getting a complete burn. Open the vents.
Thanks Geerock, I will try both things

Funny thing about being a fireman,,, I never could get anything to burn right...........
I agree with opening the vents a bit. But sometimes you are still getting the smoke flavor and will not see much if any smoke when you get TBS. Depending on how much chips are in the pan will depend on how long they will generate smoke as well. A normal load for a MES30 will only last about 30 min and you put about 1 cup in a load.

I personally am not a fan of water in the pan and soaking the wood chips. I like a dry chamber to get a better crust or bark on the meats. Soaking the wood chips IMO give off too much white smoke, we age the wood to get it dry then soake it in water, does not click for me.

I would also kick up the heat a bit to over 230. At 210 it will make your cooks take a very long time.
Soaking the wood chips seemed counter productive to me as well,,,,I will make some runs with out the soaking..

I will also try bumping up to 230,,,

I figure i should be able to put 3 1/2 handfulls of chips in my trays,,, would this be too much wood at once?
You could try the dry chips at the higher temp and the same amount to see how it reacts.

You are wanting to find the sweet spot where you have good enough air flow that the smoke does not get stale, but you also don't provide too much O2 that the wood chips catch fire. A trick I have used before was to cover the cop pan with foil and poke a few holes to allow a little O2 in and the smoke out.

Also if you choose to go no water in the pan. It will change how things run, so be ready to adjust as needed.
Luckily i got lots of meat to cook so i can try each change 1 step at a time and see what i like is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.