is a lot of grease smoke bad?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mikeythai, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    Well I finally got my electric smoker built. The camera isn't behaving so pics can wait. My smoker uses a 2100 watt stovetop element, and I use a regular oven thermostat with it. 

    Question is: The smoker is doing a lot of sizzling, and it looks like all the grease hitting the bottom of the smoker is burning up. There is a lot of grease smoke. Is this bad... will the chicken taste funny?

    The element is 4" off the bottom, and has a chip tray on top of it.

    I know pics are helpful, but I can't take them today.
  2. A 2100 watt element seems kind of high in my opinion. The element may be getting too hot when it cylces on. My MES40 has only a 1200 watt element, which is  more than sufficient. I do not get any sizzle and I would not want to have any. Better if the drippings sit in the drip pan, IMO.

    Provide the dimensions of  your smoker and whether it is insulated, and you will get more informed opinions. Your first batch of chicken should tell you if this is actually a problem for you though..
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  3. The electric smokers i have "rebuilt" the electric element is covered so that the drippings , grease ,  and what ever else will NOT get on the element , from what i have read and seen , if you do let it drip on the element it will shorten the life of the element , not real sure how long but i dont want to chance it .

    As far as taste i am not sure if the burnt grease affects the taste of the food but as with any burnt food i would think it would. IMO .
  4. Is it the bottom of the smoker that is getting so hot that it is sizzling? I expect that the element would not be sizzling as it is covered with the chip tray.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  5. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    That was one of those, "oh crap" middle-of smoking posts.  I will have to improve my smoker a little bit. I need to put a tray under the burner, between it and the bottom of the smoker. And I have a burner control switch I will have to wire up. That'll run the element at 60-70%. Probably closer to where it needs to be.

    Smoker is about 20" x 20" x 50" and it is insulated. The element is covered, but the bottom of the smoker was hot and burning the grease. The grease smoke did affect the meat IMO. The family loved the BBQ, but I have resolved to improve with lots of practice.[​IMG]

    Thanks for the input, guys.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Burning Fat can catch Fire real easily...Bad Business!...JJ
    mikeythai likes this.
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    X2 - really bad news 
    mikeythai likes this.
  8. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think your DIY smoker is telling you what the other who replied are telling you, too much heat/btus/wattage.  If you are using an oven control, the element is FULL ON when the oven thermostat calls for heat, so you are getting the maximum btus, once there is grease in the bottom of you smoker, you are going to have issues.  You need a rheostat, that is sort of like a dimmer switch, make sure you get one rated for the amperage you are using, it will control the amperage to the element keeping them from operating full on.

    There are other considerations, actually you have too much BTUs for the space your heating.  Approx 11.5 cuft, to raise the temp to 300º you only need between 300-400 watts.  Even in the old 40" MES which is roughly about the same size used a 800 watt element, now it has a 1200 watt.  Your setup with the 2100 watt element is a safety issue.  You start a smoke on pork shoulder that has a lot of fat, and fall asleep, if your element is left full on you will have a fire, the grease will get that hot.

    You need both a thermostatic control to cut the power to the element and a rheostat to control the wattage.
    mikeythai likes this.
  9. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    Thanks Deltadude and others. I have a 'burner control' switch, the kind every electric range uses. I need to wire it up and will probably set it at about 50%.

    Thanks for keeping me safe!

    That rheostat will  be wired up before I use it again, and I'll get some pictures up, too.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012

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