Yet another newbie post!

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by uncleflip, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Howdy, folks!  I just wound up with my very first smoker- a Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24, and I have a few questions, mostly about heat.  (My previous smoking was done on a Weber grill, which seemed a little less complicated!)

    I understand that the vents play a critical role in adjusting the heat level.  I also understand that adjusting the burner flame can have a similar effect.  (More on the burner later.)

    In your smoking experience, how do you master the balance of temperature adjustment between the vents and the burner?  I have heard just set the flame so it's blue with yellow tips, and adjust temperature using the vents.  Is this the right approach?

    Regarding flame levels and smoke:  when doing seasoning on the grill today, I played around with flame levels, and found with a higher flame, I got more smoke.  This seems to go against some reading I had done saying higher heat would produce less smoke.

    THAT SAID.....let;s say I want more smoke, but a lower temperature...what's the best way to balance the two factors?

    Apologies for so many questions all at once....but I *am* that green-behind-the-ears noob with a gas smoker.  I kind of wish I had one of my smoking elders here to give me guidance as I go forward.  I thank you all for sharing your experience with a fledgling, just learning to fly.

    Be well

  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Your vent on this particular smoker should always be fully open when in's a smaller vent on a fairly large cabinet, so it's going to need all the venting you can give it. Adjust temp with flame only. The burner control valve has a keep warm function, if you push the knob in and then turn towards the off position...this will allow you to dial temps down below the normal low setting. For smoke atg low temps, use chips...the smaller the chips the lower the heat required to make them smoke. In a pinch, you can lower the cast-iron smoke tray closer to the burner so it gets more heat to the smoke wood. For longer smokes, you can use a combination of very small to normal sized chips (faster onset of smoke, doesn't last very long), and add small and medium sized chunks (takes longer to start smoking and lasts longer).

    You can use pea-gravel or play sand in the water pan as a thermal mass...line the water pan with foil after adding thermal can add smaller amounts of water to the foil liner, if you wish. Water will limit your high temp output due to the cooling effect of water vapor.

    I fitted my Smoke Vault 24 with a 4" x 24" vent stack (light-weight metal pipe, just resting on top over the vent with a screened weather cap), and then I bent the tabs on the lower side intake dampers so I could fully close doesn't seem to need them. This reduced grate temp variances by increasing the draft and may have had an effect on improving the smoke production due to not allowing as much fresh air into the smoke wood. Too much air and the smoke wood can flare-up and burn with higher chamber temps (high flame in colder weather, especially).

    You will rarely find a smoker that works great in all conditions right out of the box...the Vault is among them. Once you use it for a variety of applications and get a feel for what you really want it to do, you can begin to understand what improvements can be made to enhance it's overall performance.

    Be sure to level the unit very well before you fire it up or the door will leak like a sieve. Once leveled and running, you will find some leakage from the door, but it shouldn't have smoke rolling out of every nook and cranny of the cabinet door flange...if leveled and it has lots of leakage, the door can be tweeked for a better fit to the cabinet.

    Flame should be blue on lower temp settings, and may have yellow tips on high flame...that's normal. They should not be completely yellow on high flame...if so, the gas mixture is too rich, caused by dirty burner or venturi inlet screen.

    Shout back if anything else comes up, or I if I failed to answer all your questions. The SV-24 is a formidable rig. I've smoked a lot of good eats with mine over the years, then passed it on to my son who is learning the ropes with it. I'd still be using it myself if I hadn't decided to convert to the dark side (charcoal).


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