Very disappointed

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by jsteel478, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. This was my second run on my masterbuilt smokehouse propane vertical smoker and i don't know what went wrong. The first smoke was great a tenderloin ribs and a butt all turned out great. This second smoke today was ribs sausage and chicken wings. All the food had a thick black soot on it and wasn't good at all. Ruined a lot of meat and I'll have to say I'll be returning to charcoal from now on. Any suggestions ?
  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Probably going to need a little more info to figure out what happened. Here are a few questions which will help others to figure it out for you:

    What temp were you smoking at?
    What were your vent positions?
    What kind and how much wood did you use?
    Was it the same wood you used on your first smoke?
    What did the smoke look like coming out?

    I really don't think it was the propane, I have been using a vertical propane smoker for 2 years and never had that problem. It sounds more to me like a problem of too much wood and/or not enough airflow through the smoker.
  3. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    If you get spider webs in the venturi, it changes the flame. It gets real yellow and sooty. I have a Smoke Hollow vertical propane smoker and had to clean the venturi yesterday. I've learned to check the flame about a half hour before I'm planning to light the smoker. It takes about 5 or 10 minutes to clean the venturi. You can either buy a spider brush OR, what I did was took a piece of 12 gauge stranded wire, stripped about 1/2 inch at one end, frayed the wire, and I twist it into the venturi. It gathers up the spider webs like spinnin' spaghetti on a fork! :)

    And spiders do their work really fast. The day BEFORE I was going to smoke some ribs I checked and it was fine. Next day.... spider in venturi.
  4. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would almost bet it was spiders.
  5. Yup id say it was spiders. I'm new to propane smoking. I like the easy control of the temp but that really turned me off on it. Don't think I'm ready to give up on it just yet. Any other tips or secrets
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You wouldn't give up on grilling if there was a problem . Correct?
    You have to learn how to use a grill Correct?
    Give the smoker the same chance you would a grill.
    There's a learning curve to everything, but the curve is significantly lessened with the good 'old folks of SMF
  7. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    I have a little time today so I'm going to go out and clean my burner. This involves pulling the control panel same as if I was doing a venturi clean, but I also probe all the burner jet orifices on top and then blow compressed air into them. Kinda like back-flushing the pool filter. I'm trying to make sure I don't have debris in the venturi that my home made "spider brush" missed.

    As it gets cooler and fall deepens, the spiders are lookin for a good place to settle in and apparently propane smells attractive to them.
  8. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    And yet another reason ALL SPIDERS must DIE!!!!!!!

    Don't give up. As already stated there is a learning curve to everything. Every smoker has its own little qwerks that need to be figured out.
  9. I'm gonna keep trying this propane smoker. Just frustrating when you have a house full of hungry people and nothing to feed them. I know now to always check my flames first. I didn't take it all the way apart but I am before I cook on it again. I blew the burner out and the lines and ran it for awhile and it seemed to work right again. I have been smoking for years on a barrel grill with a side box and am pretty good on it.
  10. Any suggestions on top vent positions? Trying to keep the temp around 250
  11. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    To stay low temp on mine I open the top vent all the way OR you can try turning your burner control towards OFF if that gives you a lower flame than LOW. The problem with a really low flame is that it's very susceptible to wind. You need a good wind break to keep a really low flame. Actually, a good wind screen helps any time there's a bit of a breeze. I built an enclosure for mine.
  12. Ok so I would need to enclose the bottom part of the smoker right?
  13. And do you recommend sand or water in the pan? I have been using water
  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have been using a dry smoke chamber in my gas smoker for well over 8 years now and I feel that it is the only way to go. My water pan is filled with sand and foiled. I smoke year round no matter what the weather is so trying to maintain temps is important to me. I also have installed a needle valve to get better low temp control. I never had a problem with high temps. I can get well over 500º. But the low end was a problem until I installed the needle valve. On a non-windy day I can get the the temps down to 120 if I baby sit it, 130-140 without having to watch it. I smoke with the top vent always 100% open, using the lower vents (my gosm has two) when needed. I've found though that unless it absolutely clam no wind controlling the temp with the vents is futile, so I use the needle vavle.
  15. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper


    I have 2 bricks wrapped in foil on either side of my water pan which hasn't had water in it for over a year now. And sand in the water pan (also wrapped in foil). I'm one of those that does poultry at high temps. Like.... 350 is fine and if it gets to 375 I let it go. I don't recall seeing it at 400 but I may have gotten there on occasion. Still gets smoke flavor and it's juicy and yummy, BUT I get crispy skin without having to roll it around on the grill after it comes off the smoker. I'm thinking of adding a couple more bricks. The thermal mass helps keep temps stable.
  16. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Could have been spiders because that is very likely for this time of year, but I think it was the water in the pan. I know this because it happened to me. With a full water pan, the humidity in my GOSM two-drawer got too high and it condensed the smoke into the dreaded creosote. I have been using the pea gravel ever since (about 10 months) and like the results much better.

    One other tip, you don't have to fill the pan all the way up with pea gravel (that would add way too much weight for my liking). I filled my pan a little past half way then plunked a fist-sized rock in the middle. That way when I covered the pea gravel in foil, it created a natural slope so any grease drippings would roll off. I get 2-3 uses before having to change out the foil. Just my 2 cents.

    Also, this thread offers some tips on cleaning for a better burn.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  17. Thanks guys I think I am gonna try the sand and bricks method. I haven't cooked anything at temps over 250 on it yet well haven't done but two cooks so lol. I am also gonna check on a needle valve. I mainly smoke beef or pork and try to stay around the 250 225 mark.
  18. It was just so disappointing to me because I always get compliments in my smoking at all the cookouts we have and this time it wasn't even edible
  19. Dirtsailor2003,

    Where is the needle valve used and what does it do?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  20. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The needle valve goes between the propane tank and the unit. It allows you to control the temps better than the stock control knob. I leave the unit control knob set at high and use the needle valve to control the heat.

    Here's a good thread showing some options:

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