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Wrecked my first smoked chuck roast

EaOutlaw1969

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Well cooler weather has came in but it was only down to about the mid to lower 60s so I decided to try my hand at smoking a chuck roast.
Humidity wasn't too bad around 67 percent so I set my smoker to 225 and preheated the main chamber and water pan which took a while because of the cooler temperatures.
everything was going good 3 hours in when my Wife noticed the grease drip pan was nearly full !! ( never happened before )
I swapped out the drip pan and while cleaning it it dawned on me the grease pan was full of blackened water not grease.
So I opted to open up the main chamber to find the entire smoke chamber dripping wet with condensation, I did not think much about it I just dried the bottom and walls plus door off with paper towels and went to close the door when I thought maybe I should look at the chuck roast.
Sure enough it was covered in black spots from condensation dripping all over it.
Not wanting to risk it we decided to toss the meat and just write it off to a lesson learned ( no water pan in cooler temperatures )
I am guessing the water pan caused the excessive condensation along with the cooler than normal temperatures.
We sure are glad this happened with a cheap piece of meat and not a 100 dollar brisket LOL.
I did not think since Lived in Florida that I would need to insulate my smoker but I guess I may have to look into it.
Any other ideas as to what went wrong ? I am all ears.
I do clean out our smoker after each use , I wipe it down with olive oil soaked towels and do a final wipe with clean towels leaving a slight film of oil to prevent rust
so I am not sure what else I could have done to prevent this from happening?
I wonder at what ambient temperature - humidity cut off should I consider not using a water pan ?
 

chilerelleno

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Never heard of or seen anything to that degree with condensation.

I would've rinsed the chuckie off and started over.

I always get the smoker or grill up and running and at temp before adding the meat.
 

EaOutlaw1969

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Never heard of or seen anything to that degree with condensation.

I would've rinsed the chuckie off and started over.

I always get the smoker or grill up and running and at temp before adding the meat.
The smoker main chamber was up to 225 with a nice light blue smoke for at least 20 minutes before adding the meat.
I thought about rinsing the meat off and just finishing it in the oven but we needle tenderized it and I was not sure how much of this condensation dripping went in the meat.
It may have been OK but I was not willing to risk it over such a inexpensive cut of meat plus it was only just over 2 pounds.
 

mike243

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What kind of smoker? Sound like not enuf airflow
 

EaOutlaw1969

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What kind of smoker? Sound like not enuf airflow
It is a Dyna Glo Vertical offset with propane conversion
I had the stack about 1/4 way open and a steady 225 but because it was cooler out I had the regulator and my main LP adjustment valve wide open to get it at 225 with a nice blue flame.
 

EaOutlaw1969

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It is a dyna glo vertical offset smoker with propane conversion, The stack was opened like normal about 1/4 way. When I was trying to get it up to temperature I had it closed off more for about 10 minutes then decided to just open the stack back to a 1/4 and crank the propane regulator and main valve wide open while still having a nice blue flame.
My wife was thinking we put the meat in too cold ( she had just got back from the store when we decided to stick it in the smoker )
 

EdP

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It is a dyna glo vertical offset smoker with propane conversion, The stack was opened like normal about 1/4 way. When I was trying to get it up to temperature I had it closed off more for about 10 minutes then decided to just open the stack back to a 1/4 and crank the propane regulator and main valve wide open while still having a nice blue flame.
My wife was thinking we put the meat in too cold ( she had just got back from the store when we decided to stick it in the smoker )

I noticed your propane conversion in your other thread, and I've done one too (WSM18).

The nice folks who helped told me a couple things for my conversion:

1. Propane likes a lot of air, so I drilled extra holes in the bottom of my wsm
2. Crank it up full blast to warm it up and get the wood burning, then dial it down to the temp you want

I haven't had any condensation problems, and usually take meat from the fridge and onto the smoker, but I put a terracotta pot and plate in my water pan.
 

eddiememphis

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... and crank the propane regulator and main valve wide open...
I bet this is the problem. When propane doesn't get enough oxygen, excess water is created which would account for your condensation problem.

General rule is 1 gallon of water per 100k btu's of propane burned, so a lot of circulation is needed to evacuate the water vapor.

But, I'm a cook, not a chemist and probably completely off base.
 

EaOutlaw1969

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I bet this is the problem. When propane doesn't get enough oxygen, excess water is created which would account for your condensation problem.

General rule is 1 gallon of water per 100k btu's of propane burned, so a lot of circulation is needed to evacuate the water vapor.

But, I'm a cook, not a chemist and probably completely off base.
If I did not have enough air the flame would have had yellow in it, the flame on my burner was a nice blue with only hints of orange tips.
I learned that low oxygen causes poor combustion with yellow flames and black soot I had none of that.
 

EdP

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If I did not have enough air the flame would have had yellow in it, the flame on my burner was a nice blue with only hints of orange tips.
I learned that low oxygen causes poor combustion with yellow flames and black soot I had none of that.
It may appear that way when you have the door open, but when it's closed and wood is burning too, the flame may be struggling.
 

EaOutlaw1969

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It may appear that way when you have the door open, but when it's closed and wood is burning too, the flame may be struggling.
I can see the flame through the side cut out opening using a mirror when the lid is closed, which is how I watch the flame when I normally have to adjust it. the temperature of the smoker was not the issue here. it stayed a steady 225 the entire time I had the meat in the smoker. It only dropped slightly when I added the meat. I setup my smoker to run at 250 max during the summer during this cooler time it is showing me that 225 is now the new max temperature but is still ideal for my smoking needs. ( insulated I am sure it will perform better )
The only unknown is if my wife , cat or one of our dogs bumped the smoker when I was not looking causing the water pan to spill some adding to the humidity inside the smoker.
 

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forktender

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It's because you had the stack closed down so far, don't try adjusting temp with the stack always adjust temp at the heat source, flame or damper.
 

chef jimmyj

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The amount of air mixing with the propane in the venturi has NOTHING to do with cabinet air. By adjusting the opening in the venturi, you can have a perfect blue flame but little to no air flow in the chamber. Propane generates moisture, as does cooking meat. There is no need for a water pan in a gasser. Add choking the exhaust down to 1/4 open and you made a damn fine SAUNA! The cool outside temp and no insulation caused the excessive condensation and the Black Rain because nothing was moving and existing the exhaust.
There are guys all over this country that use Gas, Propane, Electric and Stick burner smokers with temperatures below Zero and don't have any condensation issues.
Ditch the water pan and leave the exhaust open all the way. Adjust the venturi for a blue flame, you can see it in your picture, and short of a bug taking residency in the tube, you should not have to touch it again. High flame or low the flame will be blue. As stated above, temp is controlled with a Needle Valve or a Fresh Air Damper, furthest distance from the exhaust. Message Xray. He can give more info on Needle Valves. Or Searcch Needle Valve Mod and read about what others have tried. Good Luck...JJ
 

forktender

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1574060276841.png

This all you need to control the fuel to the flame, with LP gas.
Bayou Classic Brass Control Valve

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chef jimmyj

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Looks like a Propane Hard Line proving fuel. Installation will be different from LP Tanks and may by Code, require a Plummer...JJ
 

danmcg

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It's because you had the stack closed down so far, don't try adjusting temp with the stack always adjust temp at the heat source, flame or damper.
Yeap Forktender nailed it.
Your exhaust damper needs to be fully open, especially with propane since the byproduct of burning propane is water.
 

EaOutlaw1969

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thanks guys for all the help, it would seem that I would need to go back to the drawing board and figure out the max temperature I can get with the stack wide open and no water in the pan. from there I may have to replace the regulator and add a needle valve. I had a higher flow regulator in place but I was getting some yellowing in the flame and fine tuning adjustment was next to impossible without a needle valve.
I forgot to mention during the testing before and after I did the LP conversion I found that with the upper stack completely open the added air flow would cause the heat to come out of the fire box and straight up and out of the main chamber ( most of the heat would bypass the water pan ) I would have high temperatures on the left side of the main chamber and much cooler temperature at the main gauge on the chamber door. also my temperature probes at the center of the cooking grates would not match any of the gauges. So I blocked off the air flow with aluminum foil at the water pan support grate just at the left side so the heat and air would have to travel around the water pan. this gave me pretty good even temperatures during the summer. With the stack opened completely I found the wood I used for smoke would catch fire and just burn up and effect the overall temperature during these test. All of the above is why I found the sweet spot that I had yet is no good for cooler months of the year. My instinct is telling me to try insulating the main chamber even if just with a welding blanket for a test open the stack and try moving the cast iron pan further away from the flame to prevent the wood from just igniting. I also think just running with no water in the pan will help big time with the condensation, yet I have to wonder about not needing a water pan because all the propane Smokers I have owned in the past have had water pans. The best one I had from members mark was insulated with a water pan and I never had a condensation problem like this.
 
Last edited:

Cabo

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I use water in the pan of my propane smoker and have never had a problem with condensation. I usually have the vent 1/2 way open once up to temp.
 

forktender

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I have used a water pan in my LP smoker but I live out west where the air is dry as can be. If I lived in FL I wouldn't worry about a water pan in the smoker, I'd fill it full of sand and cover it with foil and use it as a heat sink. Once again always run the smoke damper W.F.O. and only close it to shut down your smoker after each smoke, work on your flame or heat source control to regulator smoker temperature and you will never have another humidity/ condensation issue ever again.

Dan
 

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