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SmokinTex 1400 owners out there?? Help me get TBS.

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by snorkelinggirl, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi all,

    I have a SmokinTex 1400 which I received a couple of weeks ago. I seasoned it per instructions. Last week I tried a rack of pork spare ribs following the 3-2-1 rule using about 5 oz of hickory wood chunks at 225 deg F. They turned out terrible...bitter, black, and dry. So today I am trying brined boneless pork chops. I just put in a single 1 1/2 oz chunk of apple wood at 225 deg F.  The wood chunk is dry as the instructions say to use. I am monitoring the chamber temp and the IT using a Maverick ET-732. Chamber temp seems pretty good...it is holding 225 deg +/- 25 deg or so. However, my smoke is billowing white clouds. Not thin blue smoke. Nothing like my AMNS dust smoker creates. Any suggestions on how to get TBS with the ST1400?  As far as I can tell, there is no way to adjust air vents (I guess it is just the drain hole at the bottom and the circular vent at the top). 

    I'd greatly appreciate any help or suggestions, especially from ST owners that may have encountered/solved this same problem.

    Thank you so much.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Clarissa, morning....  I looked at the pictures in their ads..... I don't see any vents....  When smoking, moisture is released from the meat.... With no vents, it accumulates and mixes with the smoke and creates "acid rain" so to speak.... that covers the meat and forms an ugly brown crust type thing....   I've seen it in my smoker, at times, when I did not thoroughly dry the meat at 120 ish with vents wide open....  Also with no vents, the meat will steam like in a professional steam box restaurants use.....  If you decide to drill holes in the smoker, make sure, where you drill, no wiring is buried in the cabinet.... Use a sharp drill, slow turning speed and a good amount of pressure.... once you start, do not stop.... SS will work harden.... the slow speed keeps the drill bit from overheating and getting dull quickly....  I recommend 3 ea 1/2" hole around the bottom of the side walls....   The bottom holes can be plugged if it is necessary to reduce the air flow.... but I think that will be very good...   How large is the opening at the top vent ??? 

  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If I remember, chunks work better in the SmokinTex than chips

    How big are your chunks?

    How about a pic?

  4. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good morning, Dave.  Thanks so much for looking into this.

    There only appears to be 2 holes in the ST chamber, a drain hole centered at the bottom of approximately 3/8" diameter, and a vent hole at the top of approximately 7/8" diameter. The woodbox sits right on top of the heating element, which is located above the drain hole.  Being new to this, I don't know if white billowing smoke is from having too much air or not enough air.  I have used the A-Maze-N 6x6 sawdust smoker inside this chamber a couple of times to smoke cheese (removing the woodbox) and have gotten what looks to my uneducated eye as Thin Blue Smoke.

    The SmokinTex forum is stressing to err on the side of less wood vs. more wood. Rather than a wood chunk I thought I might try a very small amount of wood chips placed on top of aluminum foil and try smoking a whole chicken today.  At least I can throw away the skin to get rid of the worst of the smokiness.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Dave!  Let me know what you think!
  5. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Todd,  Thanks for your reply.  I am using wood chunks that I bought from SmokinTex.  The smallest of the chunks are about 1 1/2 oz and they seem to range up to 4 or 5 oz.  I used a single 1 1/2 oz apple wood chunk yesterday.  There was no bark on the piece I used. I got concerned when I saw the billowing white smoke, so I opened up the chamber.  I heard a "whomp" sound when I opened the door and saw orange flames coming from the woodbox, so I think I set the chunk into open flame when I opened the door and gave it more oxygen.  I don't know if it was already with open flame before I opened the door.  I was thinking maybe I could line the wood box with heavy duty aluminum foil to diffuse the heat a little?

    Here is a picture of the smoke I was getting early on.  The smoke got more profuse after I took this picture, which is when I opened the door and dumped the flaming chunk out of the wood box.  I finished the pork chops in a skillet.

    Thanks for your help and thoughts!

  6. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have a Cookshack (similar construction) and on a couple of occasions had the white billowing smoke much more severe than what is shown in the photo.  In fact, the smoke in the picture is pretty close to what I get after a slight learning curve. I cut back on the wood and use a single 2  to 3 oz piece (depending upon how accurate I am with the axe).  I am also storing the chunks inside the house where I know it stays dry. In fact, I have actually dried my chunks after splitting in the oven on low heat for a half hour or so.  Problem solved. If  you decide to add vent holes as mentioned above at the bottom of the side walls, I would sleeve the opening because of the fiberglass insulation inside the smoker walls. ST has a decent warranty and I think a 30 day return policy. Drilling might negate the warranty so think it over. Your smoker is not inexpensive! That might be a good option as well.  Good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  7. Snorkellinggirl,

    From what you are writing, your ST is functioning properly. The only issue I see is that you are likely using too much wood.

    I use an ounce, maybe a little more. You can use chips or chunks. I do use the shredded type applewood, which you can find at most sporting goods stores, as well as Kroger (imagine that!).

    When I smoke my ribs, I smoke the baby backs for 6 hours at 225. I've even left extra racks in the smoker to hold them, as I serve the first rack or two.

    As for drilling holes in your ST, I've never seen this, nor have I ever seen this as a solution. Above this breaking all common sense, it would void any warranty or support from the great people at ST.

    Which leads to a question: have you asked for support or help on the SmokinTex site?

    I'm here to assist. I've cooked with a 1400 for 8 years, and now a 1500 for 3 years.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    oldbbqdude, Good morning and welcome to the forum.....  Since this is your first post, please stop into "roll call" (click here, Roll Call  )  so our members can give you a proper welcome .....   Also, in your profile, would you please take the time to fill in your location.... It will come in handy in the future when you have questions that may relate to altitude, humidity, temperature etc.....  Enjoy the forum......  Dave
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  9. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Welcome oldbbqdude!  Glad to see you here. I had the same problem with "too much wood yielding too much smoke" and cutting back works very well.  Again, welcome.
  10. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi there....I'm interested in how this turns out for you as I am on the bubble of ordering the Smokin it #3...a clone of this one I believe. The smoke coming out does not appear to be excessive to me (IMHO) but then again I'm not in front of the unit. I'm tending to agree with other posters as I've been reading every post obtainable on this style...cut back on the amount of wood used. With these ultra tight units a small amount seems to go a long way. I've read of others having success with the AMNS even with the restricted airflow using the back left corner, if that's a help to you. Meat moisture is also trapped in the chamber...moisture and heat creates steam ? which, to me, could be the white billowing smoke. BTW, I currently am using a upright gasser which sometimes smokes a lot at first. We're neighbors.....I'm in Albany, welcome to the fray 
  11. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Chef Willie,

    Great to know that there is another smoking enthusiast nearby!  You are close enough that you could possibly have smelt the smoke from my latest mis-adventure!  Thank you for your info and suggestions.

    I have sent an email to customer service at SmokinTex to ask about this problem. I'll let you know their response when I hear back from them.  I may have overreacted to the smoke yesterday and not given enough time for the smoke to settle down, but I've lost all credibility with my husband after trashing some spare ribs last week, and I was anxious not to ruin another dinner.

    I noticed from your profile that you are intending to try sausage making in the future. I've just started doing this too, and as of today have now made bratwurst, chaurice, beef pub bangers, and pork/apple/leek link sausage using hog casings, and breakfast sausage links using sheep casings. LBCC occasionally offers a really excellent sausage making class, and Portland Culinary Workshop is doing a 2-day class on sausages & smoking on Feb 23rd and 24th that I'll be taking. Because I feel like the village idiot with smoking, I'm posting a picture of my breakfast sausage  that I made today, just to reassure myself that I'm not a complete culinary failure.

      Thank you again for your reassurance and advice, and Happy New Year!
  12. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you very much for your reply, Old Sarge.  I'm going to check with customer service at ST and see what my options are.  I'll try drying my wood chunk before smoking next time and see if that helps my problem.  Thanks again and Happy New Year!
  13. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi oldbbqdude,

    Thank you very much for your reply. It is really nice to know that there are other ST owners here on the forum. I have sent an email to ST customer service to request assistance and see what my options are. I'll definitely try using even less wood next time (maybe only 1/2 ounce?).  Thank you again for your reassurance and advice, and Happy New Year!
  14. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    You are welcome. Less wood is better in these type smokers; the smoke seems to linger longer on the inside due to a lack of a strong draw or draft so it is pretty easy to over smoke.  You might want to experiment without any meat and vary the amount of wood you use till you see smoke that you like.  Then go from there. And good luck. 
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  15. SnorkelingGirl,

    Any more results you can relay?

    Thanks, and have a great day!  [​IMG]
  16. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi oldbbqdude,

    Thanks for checking in with me!  Yes, the consensus on this forum, the SmokinTex forum, and SmokinTex customer service is that I have just been using way too much wood. As a confidence-builder, I have smoked a couple of batches of almonds this week (using Scarbelly's fantastic recipe on this forum - RIP) using only 1/4 oz of hickory chips with each batch. Both batches came out great with a nice smoke flavor, even at only 1/4 oz of wood.  The smoke produced by the ST1400 is white and somewhat heavy to start with, but the SmokinTex forum users assure me that their smoke is white also, and it is nothing to worry about.

    So! Now that I can successfully hot smoke almonds, I'm going to try a pork butt or ribs again on Sunday. Will post my successful results or next sob story then.

    Thanks for your help and kind thoughts. Have a great day and weekend!
  17. Way to stick with it!

    I love my SmokinTex, as do my friends and family.  Enjoy your weekend!
  18. pcallison

    pcallison Fire Starter

    Hi Snorkling girl, I too had problms w/ST1400 until I read Scarbelly's post on modifying the ST to use an AMNPS. Basicly all you need to do is enlarge the drip hole to 7/8" in. and drill a second 7/8' in. hole about an in. or two toward the rear of the smoker. I had been getting WAY too much smoke and creosote no matter how much wood chunks I used.       Now I get TBS all th way to the end of the smoking session, NO creosote. You can vary the amount of pellets for longer or shorter times by just filling the rows for the approx. time you need, 1 row,2 hrs. 2 rows 4hrs. Don't even turn the element on for a cold smoke. These are very good smokers, so don't give up. Good luck. 
  19. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did you do anything for the top vent?
  20. pcallison

    pcallison Fire Starter

    Woocutter, sorry for delay in answering, got busy. No I didn't do anything to top vent. The only problem I've had with top vent being so small is gettig sausages to dry properly before applying smoke, not really a big deal, just crack the door a hair and turn up the heat a bit, to about 150 or so till dry, put in the AMNPS, latch the door and go from there. Phillip