HELP!! please

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by smokin4fun, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. I have a Masterbuilt XL propane somker.  I seasoned it and thought everything was good to go. Today, I put a whole chicken in there, I am getting thin blue smoke. However, I cannot get the temperature above 250.  The weather conditions here today is 52 with 13 mph winds.  When i seasoned it, I even covered the burner with aluminum foil while I sprayed with PAM to ensure I wouldnt get a clogged burner.  When I was seasoning it, it was colder than this outside, wind was about the same, and I had no problems reaching 300-350.  I have a full tank of propane, there are no major door leaks, the flame is blue with orange tips.  The regulator seems to be working.  The problem is though, no matter if I have it on high or medium, the temp is staying at 250 or below. Any suggestions?  thanks in advance

    oh yeah final note.  Since It is only cooking at 250, how long is it going to take for a 4lb chicken that is butterflied?  Should I smoke it for an hour or two and finish it in the oven? Thanks again
  2. big andy a

    big andy a Smoking Fanatic

    Strange.  Have you verified the internal temp is 250 with another thermometer?  The door thermometers can be wildly off what they show vs. what temp it really is.  Are you getting flame completely around the burner, no "dead" spots?  How long have you been cooking the chicken?

    If you cannot get the temp above 250 - for whatever reason - then finishing the bird off in the oven may be a good choice.  Otherwise the skin will not get crisp and tasty.

  3. Thanks for the promps reply. No i have not verified the internal temp. However, even if this thermometer is off, it got way higher during seasoning. There are no dead spots on the burner anywhere.  I even put a wind block around the thing to see if maybe this was causing my problems. Still nothing.  Weird.  I dont have another thermometer to chec the internal temp, but will be purchasing one. I am just trying to figure why such a drastic difference between seasoning and the first smoke.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If the burner is on high & your getting good smoke all is well. You may not get crispy skin at 250 but the chicken will cook just fine. 
  5. tatonka3a2

    tatonka3a2 Meat Mopper

    One thing that could be possible is that you may have a vapor lock.... these are usually created by shutting the propane tank off first then your smoker or grill.

    The way to fix this is - turn everything off and disconnect your propane hose from the tank.  Reconnect the hose to the tank, turn the tank on and then your smoker.
  6. Thanks Al. I will go ahead and finish this cook and hopefully be more prepared for the next. LOL  I have no idea what I am missing here.  Tatonka, I tried the vapor lock suggestion you had and nothing changed.  I have no idea what this issue could be unless it is the door. I did notice after further investigation. There is a gap big enough at the bottom of the door that is letting water run out of it and almost as much smoke as the damper.  I have no idea how to go about getting this fixed. The smoker is brand new, and I definitely dont want to disassemble and return.  This might not even be my problem though.  Who knows. I will let you kow how the chicken turns out regardless. It might take three hours longer to cook than expected, but hopefully the flavor wil be there.  Thanks again guys.
  7. big andy a

    big andy a Smoking Fanatic

    Water run out of it??  Where is the water coming from?

    If the seal between the door and the main body is not tight, you may be able to fix with gasketing material made for wood stoves.  Obviously not for this smoke but later on.  You buy it in a rope for with an adhesive and glue it onto the door to help seal things up.

  8. I am assuming that the water is coming out of it from condensation from the water pan. It is collecting on the door, dripping down, and running on the front left leg, then onto the ground.  I am going to try another smoke. Next time, I am going to get the rope gasket you are talking about and see if that helps. I know this isnt a top of the line smoker, but it is a shame that you have to "fix" a brand new item. Should I contact Masterbuilt about this or give it another shot?
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If there is a vent on top of the smoker, you might have it closed... that could starve the burner for air.... open the top vent and see what happens... also that would not let the steam escape and moisture would condense and drip down the door.... Dave     Just trying to think what would cause this to happen...
  10. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One thing comes to my mind here, your water pan. You said this is your first smoke since you seasoned it.  Did you have the water pan in when you did that? If water pan was in did you have water in it?  I can get my MF LPG unit well over 300 with no water pan. If I use the water pan with no water I also get higher temps. I have started using the water pan filled 3/4 with sand and covered with HD foil. This leaves me a small area to catch drippings. I place a disposable pan on a rack just above the sand filled water pan and put water in that. I get higher temps this way. this may be your problem. 
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  11. Thanks Dave.  I had the vent at the top opened, closed, halfway, etc.  I was playing with it the whole time trying to see a temperature increase, but was unsuccessful.  I will say, right before I pulled them, it did reach 300 degrees. It only took it an hour and a half to get there.  I did notice the water pan was empty when I opened the door. Would the water pan possibly have anything to do with it?  I wouldnt think so, but I am at a loss. I still think the gap at the bottom of the door needs to be addressed though.  I think I am going to call masterbuilt and see what they say.  I am not real thrilled about having a brand new smoker and having to rig it with rope gasket in order to make the bottom of the door shut.   Thanks again guys for all your replies.  Hopefully I can get this figured out. 
  12. Sparky, funny thing is I was just typing a reply asking a question about what you are saying.  When I seasoned it, I did not have water in the pan.  This time I did.  I would still think I should be getting a higher temp than 250 with the water pan 3/4 full shouldnt I?  I mean this water pan is small.  I am not trying to sear in there or anything, but a day in mid 50's 13 mph wind I think 250 is pretty low for the burner wide open.  Maybe I am jsut misunderstood. I am not sure, that is why I am here .....trying to learn.   I appreciate everyones input.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smokin4fun... No matter how much heat you put to water, in an open environment, (no lid) you can't get the water above 212deg F...... Try the pan with sand or empty next time.... Dave
  14. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You answered your own question.... " I will say, right before I pulled them, it did reach 300 degrees. It only took it an hour and a half to get there. I did notice the water pan was empty when I opened the door"

    When your water pan got empty your temp went up to 300`

    Run it empty again (no water, no food) and see If you can get 300`. If you can get it up to 300` then put the water (pre-boiling) in the pan and close the door and see what the temps do then. If they don't go up until all the water steams out (like you said about your smoke). Then you'll know your answer.
  15. Well, my questions were being posted while I was cooking.  I would go check, come in and ask, go back out, come in and ask. LOL  I will try what you guys suggested with no water next time and see if I can get that temp over 250.  Hopefully I will chalk this up as a rookie mistake and lack of knowledge.  Is it normal for a smoker to only be able to heat to 250 with a full  water pan though? That is my main question I guess. Thanks for the advice Jck and Dave
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It is NOT a rookie mistake.... it is a valuable learning experience in figuring out your new smoker.... If you do the same thing again, then it could be classified as a mistake... Dave

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