I've tried everything. White smoke!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rybro, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    Hey guys,

    I haven't posted in a while, been busy with my 1 year old. I've been smoking for about a year and half now...love every minute of it. But I've run into a problem, I'm getting a lot of white smoke and having trouble achieving good blue smoke. I never had the issue on my Weber Kettle w/ Slow-n-Sear.

    Recently, I bought a 22.5" WSM. Now, I've searched through these forums as well as others and have tried many of the different tips and tricks...without any good results.

    I use Kingsford Professional Briquettes. I've tried Western World Wood & Weber Wood. I always place the wood away from my initial lit coals to let them warm up. I let my initial briquettes completely ash over before dumping into the WSM. I've tried different variations of the minion method. Lot's of money being spent on dry runs lately. The top vent is always open. The bottom three I've tried many different setups. Generally, I just leave them wide open until it starts to approach temp then adjust. I've had to pull wood out during a smoke...because they are basically on fire and smoking like crazy. Doesn't matter where I place the wood, buried or not, every time lit coals start to get to them white smoke starts rolling. I am basically having white smoke for 75% of the cook. I've been pretty frustrated lately. Sorry if I missed anything, I will try and answer any other questions. Please help me! 
  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do you have a picture of the white smoke?  I've seen ok smoke confused with white because of the "clean, clear, blue" we often refer too.

    Chunks buried in coals WILL be white smoke at first but usually clears up after a couple of minutes.  

    One other question, does the WSM have vents at the bottom and exhaust ports at the top?  If so, what is the vent position at the bottom and is your exhaust wide open?
  3. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    I will do a dry run tonight and get a few pictures. It appears too white to me, I can't even see through it most of the time. But, a second opinion is always welcomed! 

    My exhaust is ALWAYS wide open. The three intake vents at the bottom vary. But usally, I leave them wide open until I almost get to temp then adjust. Usually closing one, the 2nd about half open, and the third all the way open. That usually holds around 240 for me, which is the target temp I like to smoke at.
  4. What are you using to start charcoal?  wood - how much, what kind, where from?  I have found that 3 chunks works well.  I have also found that I have to wait about an hour to let everything get to the right temp.  I use a coffee can in the middle, put unlit charcoal around it, put coals in middle, pull can and wait.
  5. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    I use a chimney to get my charcoal started - Two newspaper pages under the chimney. About half a chimney. I use 3-4 chunks. I've tried Weber Cherry/Apple and Western World Hickory/Apple. I purchase these online (Amazon) and sometimes at the store (True Value, Lowes, Wal-Mart)...just depends who's cheaper. They all seem to give me the same results. 

    I have tried the method you speak of a few weeks ago and I still had A LOT of white smoke.
  6. are you soaking the wood or leaving dry?  Have you cleaned and burnt out?
  7. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    I do not soak my wood. Most seasoned BBQ guys tell me soaking the wood is worthless, so I've followed their advice up to this point. Not sure what you mean by cleaned/burnt out? If you mean clean the smoker...then yes I have. It's brand new, about 2 weeks old.
  8. I wash my smoker with mild detergent, rinse well, then start hot charcoal fire in it without water to burn out any residue.  I was thinking that maybe it is something left over from manufacturing on the inside that is giving the white smoke.
  9. have you tried with no wood at all?

    does everything fit tightly together?

    only time my chunks catch fire is if there is a leak like i didnt close the door properly or put the pieces together properly

    my 2 cents - start a ring of charcoal and close all bottom vents -see if it get keeps going 
  10. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    I will try tonight, but I always close off all vents after I'm done using it. There is always unlit charcoal left the next morning, meaning the lit coals were starved of oxygen.
  11. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    Also, whenever I take the wood out during a smoke...the white smoke stops.
  12. i think you've got the answer 

    too much wood?

    green wood?


    1 chunk goes a long way for me 

    good luck 
  13. birdman080

    birdman080 Smoke Blower

    One thing I have started doing is taking my wood chunks and putting them in my oven and "pre-heating" them at about 300 degrees while lighting the smoker and bringing it up to tempt.  It seems to help reduce my white smoke time to about 20 - 30 minutes
  14. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The wood chunks will "catch fire" and it will smoke white for a while.  But then once the wood chunk is fully lit and starting to carbonize and become a glowing coal, the smoke will turn bluish.  Give it a little more time.
  15. rybro

    rybro Newbie

    It's not green wood. No bark. I've tried just one before and 4....they all smoke almost the entire smoke regardless of the amount. I am absolutely baffled right now.
    I have always done that. Does't seem to make a difference in my WSM.
    My white smoke lasts the majority of the smoke. I have been pulling the carbonized wood chunks out and they are always just billowing with white smoke. They shouldn't be, but they are.

    Sorry guys, but so far everything suggested I've done. I'm literally just confused on how it can produce white smoke for almost an entire smoke. By the time it's done, It will only hold temp for about 2 hours and all of my unlit charcoal are almost gone. I'm starting to wonder if it is the airflow. Not really sure.
  16. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Check your thermometers, you may be at a higher temp than you think.
  17. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    Rybro, I have the WSM 22 and normally run with two of the three bottom vents closed. I adjust the airflow with the third vent. If there is any wind blowing I use the vent that's opposite of the wind. I also place two or three chunks away from the open vent trying to reduce flareups. Hope this helps. Top vent is always open and water pan is foiled and empty.

  18. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So stupid question. Most vertical smokers that style have a water pan. Is yours full of water? If so, maybe the white smoke you are seeing is steam. I know there are some great suggestions on here and I agree with pretty much all of them, but if you are preheating the cook chamber to anything over 212°F you are running a chance of boiling the water. Actually the higher the temp, the more likely you are. I had a friend discribe the same thing to me a while back and we went through basically the same steps described by most here to solve. Then we realized it was steam when we saw all the water build up under the roof we were under.

    Just throwing another theory out there..... I could be way off base on this situation, but worth a thought for a minute.
  19. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is what I was thinking.  Interesting that you can accomplish blue smoke with your weber grill via a Slow N Sear, which is what I have, yet can't get blue smoke with the WSM.  Maybe its the vent positions as what gmc2003 is suggesting.
  20. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    I am also guessing the problem lies with the vent positions.....

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