Residue in my WSM

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by tom in nc, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. tom in nc

    tom in nc Smoke Blower

    So the day before New Year's Eve I smoked a chuckie. I was cleaning out the WSM the next day and noticed this brown residue on the inside of the top cover and on the inside walls of the center section. Does anyone know what this is or what causes it?

    Residue in cover...

    Residue in center section...

    I've noticed this a number of times. The coating will come right off when wiped with a dry paper towel. Usually I just wipe down the inside of the smoker before doing my next smoke, but I wanted to see if any of you experience the same thing.

    After the smoke is complete, I've been closing the intakes to kill the fire and save whatever charcoal (lump or briquettes) I can. Should I leave the intakes wide open and just burn off the left over coals?

    Thanks for looking and for your replies.
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks to me like maybe the inside had way too much moisture and that breakdown is not quite rust but the beginning stages of rust development.
    Now I'm not saying that is exactly what it is but that's what it appears to be to me.
    One thing that does not mix is any moisture and any ash, the combo of those two is a recipe for rusting.

    If you are closing the vents hot and letting it cool that way then that is probably the cause, allow your smoker to cool and the coals to burn down with your vents open before shutting it down for the night.
  3. 2007flstc

    2007flstc Newbie

    My WSM is doing the exact same thing.

    When I cook with an empty water pan I don't see that buildup. It's almost like some mixture of condensated water and ash.

    When you are done cooking do you close all the vents or do you leave the top vent open?

    When I am done I close all the vents including the top and it seems to be making things worse when I close the top vent.
  4. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Mine does the same. The only time I noticed it is when I used Kroger charcoal. It could have been there but I never noticed it. I"m going to try sand next time and see how it goes.
  5. tom in nc

    tom in nc Smoke Blower

    I leave the top vent open all of the time, even after I'm done smoking. I thought closing the top vent would make it worse and in your case I guess it did.

    I cooked some chicken with no water in the pan awhile ago and come to think of it, I didn't have this problem then.
  6. tom in nc

    tom in nc Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the replies guys. I was thinking of letting the coals die down with the vents open next time to see if it make things better.

    For those guys that have experienced the same thing, do you clean it out before your next smoke and if so, what do you clean it with? I've just wiped it out as best as possible with paper towels before I smoke again.
  7. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Dried liquid smoke. Could also have creosote in it.

    Generally forms on metal barrel smokers when outside air temps are way below the condensation point of the inside air. Happens to all smokers to some degree, but happens to barrels because of the cold wall that eventually allows the condensation to stick and dry in place. If it does not tasty tart, it is just smoke (good temp control) if it does taste tart you need to change your draft and damper methods.
  8. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I went out and scraped a bit of the residue off and tasted it. It tastes like smoke, not bitter like creosote, just a smoke taste.
  9. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good temp control then..... and if you can collect that condensate you will have a nice soup additive... people poo poo liquid smoke but it is a gift from the gods. Particularly if you want smoke and live in a metro high rise..[​IMG]
  10. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is common in WSM.I take door off and burn out coals and empty after a smoke.Mine will do this even then a little...If i leave it under the cover they make for them the condesation can get worse,so i try to air it out if not using for a week or so...I clean my grills and keep them in the garage as well...
  11. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's a good idea. I might do the same.
  12. tom in nc

    tom in nc Smoke Blower

    I scraped a bit off and tasted it. It does not tast tart at all - tastes lke smoke so I guess my draft and damper method was ok.

    Thanks ALX. I'll try taking the door off next time and let the coals burn out. I clean my smoker and keep it in my garage too.
  13. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have been using same WSM at least ten years so my fuel loads are spot on and not a heck of alot of coals leftover....I also take lid off when i open door and the heat from coals makes an excellent time to scrape down the grills....I grill/smoke alot so those higher heat 325 degree plus also reduce the buildup in smoker a bit...

    I also coal off my wood a tad bit to reduce any initial white smoke which can dirty up the smoker...

    More work after the cook,but ready to go next time....
  14. tom in nc

    tom in nc Smoke Blower

    Alex - what do you mean you coal off the wood a bit to reduce any initial white smoke? I've noticed the white smoke at the start of my cooks and I try to wait for it to burn off and become thin blue smoke. Sometimes it burns off fairly quickly and other times it takes a lot longer. I'd like to learn how I can reduce that white smoke. Thanks.
  15. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You blacken the exterior of wood a bit.I put my wood chunks on the top of my 3/4 lit funnel for maybe 5 minutes and turn to blacken all sides.....You do not do it very long,but after doing it a few times it is simple......You dont want to coal it off/burn the chunk to half original size or anything....

    You will still have some darker smoke as the WSM is getting up to temp....It takes me average 15-20 minutes before i add meat....and i always wait for TBS.

    Lots of stick burners do this as well.
  16. tom in nc

    tom in nc Smoke Blower

    Thanks Alex. I'll give that a try on my next smoke. Thanks for the help!

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