Smoke Vault with poor combustion?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by rcher, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Camp Chef 18" Smoke Vault.

    New smoker here so not sure what to expect.  My first smoke was apple wood and a rack of ribs.  They turned out awesome with the 2-2-1 method.  After the session I noticed that not all the chips / chunks were turned to ash.  Many of them were black and basically "charcoal" in appearance.  I started with a full tray of chunks.  TBS only seemed to last about an hour or so.

    My second smoke was chicken breasts.  Set up same way, a few chips to get the chunks going at first.  Kick the burner up to high to get the smoke rollin'.  After 10 - 15 mins of smoke, turned down the heat to 230-250* then placed meat inside smoker.  Again, TBS was good but only lasted about an hour.  The chicken only took 1.5 hrs so wasn't worried about adding more wood.

    Both times I played with the air intake vents along the bottom on each side.  Didn't seem to make much difference in smoke.  I even kicked the heat up a little to about 300* for about 15 mins and still, not any increase in visible smoke.

    Seems to me that the chips / chunks should smolder long enough to reduce to white ash.  During the smoldering process, thats when I should have good TBS.  This is not happening for the majority of the wood and again, TBS only lasts for an hour or so.

    I have tried more/less air, covering the wood tray with aluminum foil, more/less heat ...   Are my expectations wrong?  Do I need to remove the charcoal I made and add more new wood to keep the smoke?  Maybe raise/lower the chip tray?  Maybe only an hours worth of smoke is to be expected?

    I am at a loss for thoughts.  I bet the experts here will have my answer.  Thanks in advance.
  2. domerskee

    domerskee Smoke Blower

    I'm fairly new to this but I have found that I have to add chips about every hour. I have the 24" vault. My last smoke I added some chunks to the mix and had a better result. As for the complete combustion, I have noticed that there clear hot spots on my chip tray. 2 things I have tried that have helped.
    1.It could seem counter intuitive but don't add so many chips/ chunks at a time. They seem to burn better this way.
    2. When I open up to add chips I move what's left into the hot zones with tongs to get them to completely burn.
  3. cyclonefan

    cyclonefan Fire Starter

    I use an A-Maze-N tube 12" in my smoke vault. It achieves 6 hours of steady, consistent smoke. Like you, I was a little confused with using the chip pan when I first got the smoker. The tube was my solution.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The black chips are a result of "lack of oxygen".... Also, the gas flame "can" consume the smoke and oxygen... More air in and more air out.... Probably time to drill holes......
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  5. I used it this weekend with hickory chips and all vents fully open. No billowing smoke by the light color and constant smoke for 45 minutes. I had the same issues with not all of the chips burning but using the 2-2-1 method this is what I got out of it.

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