Wood Chunks On Fire

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by danbono, May 27, 2013.

  1. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All I have this Vertical Eletrical  Smoker for over  a year, lately when I add wood chunks they catch on fire and raise the smoker temps real high .

    I am NOT doing any thing different then I did before?? I use Pecan and Apple today 1 chunk at time and both caught on  fire, so it's NOT the type of wood.

    What I did from the start one year ago was to place the wood chunks on the lava  rock and away from the element.

    Any one have any thoughts/idea's any why the wood is catching on fire, instead of just smoldering like before.

    There aren't any vents to adjust.

    Thanks Dan

    Here is my smoker: http://www.lowes.com/pd_332739-42600-EBC1102L_4294703217__?productId=3294736&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  2. R you using the chip pans it comes with? I use a small cast iron pan instead and add chips and chunks all day long without a single flame up. I also just run water over half the chips and chunks and the others just go in dry. maybe getting too much air inside from somewhere???
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  3. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Mine smoker didn't come with a chip pan, plus I only have been using chunks.  Worked good for my 1st year, don't know what is going on now?

    Thanks Dan
     
  4. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All Just a bump.

    Thanks Dan

    PS I was thinking about putting a mesh screen over the lava rocks, and place the wood chunks on it?
     
  5. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dan, I take it that your smoker is propane fired?  If there is any chance of the flames coming up through the lava rocks, the wood chunks are going to ignite. Go to your local thrift store and buy a small cast iron fry pan that will fit in the chamber and put your chunks in the pan. The pan will get hot and transfer heat to the wood chunks and cause them to smolder. The only chance for a flare up is when you open the side door and the chunks get an influx of oxygen.
     
  6. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Dan i don't smoke with an electric but i'll tell you what you can do.

    Wood chips and chunks won't catch on fire if oxygen is limited to it... Just find a can that fits your smoker (removable lid)  and drill some holes in the lid, the wood will smolder but won't catch on fire. 
     
  7. Use some foil on the chunks. Just an idea. Or run some water over them..dont soak them just enough to wet the surface and wrap em in foil...
     
  8. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dan-I was going by the picture you posted. The electrical cord looks like a LP gas line in the picture.  That why I figured you had a propane burner.

    An other tip to do with the bean can to open the top of the can half way and pry the opened part of the lid up. Empty out the beans and wash and dry the can. Fill the can half way with wood chips or chunks and push the lid back down. Place the can in the smoker on its side with the open side of the can up. This will allow the smoke to exit while reducing the amount of oxygen to the chips.  This was a good work around for those of us that have the GOSM propane smoker and dealt with constant flair ups.
     
  9. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Dan i don't smoke with an electric but i'll tell you what you can do.

    Wood chips and chunks won't catch on fire if oxygen is limited to it... Just find a can that fits your smoker (removable lid) and drill some holes in the lid, the wood will smolder but won't catch on fire.

     Hi All I used to have alum. foil around the lid, to stop the air leaks. Lately I've see lots of smoke coming from the lid. Maybe I should go back to that.Might just be way too much air cirulating?

    My smoker is electric, element surrounded by lava rocks.

    Thanks Dan      

     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  10. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I'm assuming the wood is even catching fire when you have the lid closed...if that's the case you should work to seal up those leaks that are allowing the excess oxygen in.  Usually wood will catch on fire only when you open the lid and will go out when the lid is closed. 

    I'm sure you don't want to dump alot of dollars into it but you could try stove gasket around the lid....but regardless some type of can for the chips and chunks along with a cast iron pan to cover your element couldn't hurt. 
     
  11. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All I will seal the lid with High Temp Silicone and also try the bean can way.

    Thanks Guys Dan

    PS The smoke food still comes out tasting great.[​IMG]
     
  12. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All Stupid question, if I seal the gaps on lid, How does the smoke get out?:wife:
    THanks Dan
     
  13. ive only sealed off a portion of the gaps. and when i did seal all them off i made sure i drilled two holes on each side of the lid...but you should be fine with just sealing off some of the gaps. i normally push some foil in the gap. lol. my only real use for foil..haha
     
  14. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I can't give hints on your paticular Smoker, however , do what has been a working method for you... keep a diary (LOG) of your smokes and how, and why you did what you did and tweek it next time if needed.

    This one of the best ideas I have ever ran across...it helps your skills quickly, making your experience more fun...[​IMG].

    Set it up any way you want, but include,your Meat/Food - Heat (Grate haet and IMT).- fuel - weather and so on...with the problems you have , included .

    Have fun and. . .
     
  15. assy mcgee

    assy mcgee Newbie

    DanBono, I recommend ...........1. DO NOT seal the lid on this smoker. Smoke is supposed to escape, not all of it of course. Air moves in and out through bottom area, door area, and around the lid. DO NOT seal up those areas. 

    2. Soak/immerse your wood chunks for 12 hours minimum. 

    3. Have enough lava rocks/ceramic rocks in bottom pan so that NO part of the heat coil is visible.

    4. My secret for quick and immediate smoke : SHELLS !! Pistachio shells are easy to accumulate. Here in Florida I have been able to get pecan shells at pecan stands. Any nut shells work very well. Tell your family and friends to save their nut shells during the holidays. One minute before putting meat on rack, toss a handful of dry shells over the rocks.......INSTANT SMOKE !  That smoke will tend to keep flare ups down because it displaces the oxygen causing the flare ups. Toss in shells whenever you want more smoke.
     
  16. 12 hour soak time?? Huh???...??? Most chip/chunk bags tell you to soak for at least 30minutes...12hours is overboard.
     
  17. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All OK I will go back to using the aluminum foil to seal the lid gaps and see what happens. Also give the wood/chunks in a can a try.
    I don't think I should put any thing on the element, might damage the element??
    Thanks Dan
     
  18. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  19. assy mcgee

    assy mcgee Newbie

    TurnBurn.......I served in the MILITARY/ARMY/Helicopter PILOT, which means I was an OFFICER [​IMG].........soak that wood and NEVER trust the directions !!!!!!

    But THANK YOU for your service.......I know you were just as proud as I was to wear that uniform.[​IMG]  
     
  20. Early on I had problems with wood chunks catching fire in my Smokin-It #2. Part of it turned out to be the super-dry bags of wood (some even kiln-dried) I was getting from Home Depot or Lowe's. Once I started buying fresher, quality woods from one of the online suppliers, problem solved. I was still able to use some of the hardware store woods by wrapping the chunks in foil, as TurnandBurn suggested. I just poke a half-dozen small holes in the foil with a paper clip. The limited oxygen supply prevents flames, and a small chunk smolders for hours.
     

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