Wood chunks catching on fire

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by race_ready, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. race_ready

    race_ready Newbie

    I've had a GOSM since last spring and have used it quite a bit with no problems. I live in Ohio and its been pretty cold so I haven't used it much this winter. The other day I decided to smoke a pork loin and my wood chunks kept catching on fire instead of just smoking. I thought maybe it was the chunks I was using so I tried some chips and they did the same thing. I never had this happen before and other than the 25 degree outside temp I didn't do anything different than usual. Anyone have any ideas
  2. sumosmoke

    sumosmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The flames are due to the wood being placed directly on the coals. This can be solved a couple different ways from spending money to doing it on the cheap!

    1. Wrap your wood chunks in foil and poke holes throughout the foil "baggie" to allow the smoke to seep out. Place the foil package on the coals.

    2. Purchase a stainless steel wood chip box (can get them at Home Depot or Lowes for under $10). Place the chunks in there and place the box on the coals.

    3. Get an old metal coffee can (without the lid) and poke holes throughout the top of it and the bottom. Throw your chunks in there and place the coffee can in the corner of the pan, or on the coals.

    Good luck!
  3. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    what Sumo said and maybe cause to keep the smoker temp up to where you want it in 25 degree temps it's a hotter/ larger flame so it ignites the wood easier?
  4. crockadale

    crockadale Smoking Fanatic

    Guys, he's got a GOSM no coals.

    Cover your wood box with foil and poke a few holes in the foil...No fire but plenty of smoke.
  5. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I own a GOSM big block, and a flare up can usually be controlled by choking off some of the air intake such as closing the bottom vents, and/or covering the wood container with foil ot something like that. I always can add wood chunks to hot coals without them igniting, but I always keep the top vent wide open. Wrapping the cunks does the same thing, you're choking off some of the air. leaving a wood box with the top open can still create flare ups, just cover the box with a bit of foil.
  6. race_ready

    race_ready Newbie

    I had the bottom vents closed as far as they would go and even tried the foil and they still caught fire. I did have to run the burner at a higher setting to maintain temps so I guess that's whats making the difference.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Try leaving some of the old charred wood chunks in the smoke box, then, put your fresh wood on top. It may take a while longer until the first smoke starts, but it slows things down quite a bit. I've made this a habit in the last 6 months or so. It seems to work pretty reliably with my small GOSM. I also have switched to using mostly small/medium sized chunks instead of chips.

    My rig has no lower vents, just the burner housing intake, which is non-adjustable, and the upper vent, which I do at times need to pinch down to a near closed position to cut the draft way back in extreme circumstances (cold/windy). I try to run it just far enough open to keep the burner running quite. If I open too far, the burner will start to rumble from too much draft. The higher burner flame will definately effect the amount of heat absorbed into the smoke box. That's just the nature of the beast.

    You have to compensate for the additional BTU output needed for wind/cold somehow, and there are several ways...some are mentioned in other replys...this is just how I do it...I try whatever comes to mind at the time, and stay with it if it works.

    The tabs/stoppers on the vent control can be bent out and flattened so that the vent will close farther...learned that trick the first month I used mine.

    Oh, and don't forget to block the wind as best you can...wind kills outdoor cooking appliances, they have to run with so much hotter fires to maintain temps.

    Hope that helps...good luck, and happy smokin'!!!

  8. dacfan

    dacfan Smoke Blower

    Try soaking them a bit.
  9. nomorecoop

    nomorecoop Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    What he said. I use a 9x9 cake pan & cover it with a grill accessory that I bought at Lowes. It's for grilling small items (to keep them from falling through) & is a piece of aluminum with small holes all around it. Haven't had a flareup since I started using it.
  10. race_ready

    race_ready Newbie

    Thought my problem was running the burner hotter to maintain temp due to cold outside temp. Last 2 smokes went off without a flare up. This weekend I decided to do a chuck roast, outside temp was about the same as my last 2 smokes, 60-65° but I had a flare up with my chunks. I switched to chips and had the same thing. I'm using a 9x9 cake pan covered in foil with a few holes. I have a GOSM with bottom vents closed as far as possible without bending the tabs. I have my burner set between medium and low which is where it usually is in warmer temps. I'm at a loss of what else to try, I did a dozen or more smokes last summer without a single flare up.
  11. smokingscooby

    smokingscooby Smoking Fanatic

    I had the same problem a couple of times. I got two firebricks, laid them on the woodbox support rack then put the wood box wrapped in foil on that. So far so good. I think since the woodbox doesn't come in direct contact with the flame there are no flare ups. Good luck.
  12. grothe

    grothe Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree....raise the woodbox higher. Ya need to keep the same distance between the box and the tip of the flame.
  13. race_ready

    race_ready Newbie

    I tried turning my wood box rack upside down, which spaces it up an inch to an inch and a half further from the flame and it still ignited the chips. Like I said I'm at a loss as to why its doing this all of a sudden.
  14. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    did you say you tried soaking the chips?

    I've read that there is such a thing as too dry when it comes to wood for smoking.
    If this is the same wood as last summer, it could become too dry depending on where it was stored.

    Try putting a handful of chips in a plastic baggie with just enough water to wet them, let sit an hour or more, then dump the works in your chip pan.
  15. race_ready

    race_ready Newbie

    I soaked my chips on my first couple of smokes but quit doing it after I found this site because the common consensus was that it just delayed the smoking because the chips had to dry out first. I just bought the wood but who knows how long they've been on the shelf. I guess I'll try soaking again. I used to feel safe about running into town for an hour or so to run errands during a long smoke, but with the flare ups I'm afraid of ruining a good piece of meat. Thanks to everyone for your input.
  16. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had the same problem with my Masterbuilt Gas Smoker. I tried everything recommended to me. All the above. I had no luck. My wood caught on fire. There is no room in the design to get the wood further from the flame and nothing kept my smoking wood from catching on fire. I put it in foil, I soaked it in water, I bought a stainless steel tray, I bought a cast iron tray, I put wood in foil in the cast iron tray..... it all caught fire.

    I installed a smoke daddy on the unit and I haven't looked back. I added hardware to the MES so I could use the smoke daddy on it too and it works great once you get use to how it operates.

    The thing I like about it the most is being able to fill it and let it smoke away for 4 hours without messing with it. I have loaded the MES up with meat, pellets, and a water tray.... set the temp and gone to bed.

    That's how I solved my wood catchin on fire problem.

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