Seasoning smoker, ammonia odor?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by sjturbo, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. sjturbo

    sjturbo Fire Starter

    Here is a strange one. I have an OK Joe Longhorn combo and did the initial seasoning today. Sprayed the interior with canola oil and brought the temp to 250 for about four hours using Kingsford "regular" brics. As the heat died down I opened the cook chamber and got the odor of ammonia. Not impressed! Did I do something wrong? Has anyone heard of this before? Do I need to re-season? Please help!
  2. That does sound like a strange one.  My only thought would be to fire it up again, bring it up to temp, and then let it cool down.  This time have someone else there to get a second opinion, when it cools off.  If you still smell ammonia, then I'd try contacting the manufacture.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Can't think of any reason or ingredient in Canola Oil or Kingsford to cause that. Your neighbor Hoarding Cats?[​IMG]  Burn it out again with briquettes from the same batch and no oil and see what happens...JJ
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    And run the temp up to 450.....    AND an interesting read......

    Common Complaints About Kingsford

    I talked with Bob and Kelly about the three most common complaints I hear about Kingsford.

    Some people find the smell of burning Kingsford to be objectionable, especially during the early stages of lighting. The word "ammonia" is often used to describe the smell.

    Bob said there’s no ammonia in the product and nothing that would produce ammonia during lighting or burning. Charcoal briquettes give off all sorts of compounds when burned, including sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrous oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and gases that have no taste or odor like carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Bob suggested that perhaps it was the SOx and some of the VOCs coming off the fire in the early stages of lighting that people find objectionable. However, as the fire intensifies, the heat of the fire consumes some of these compounds, which explains why the smell diminishes once the fire gets going.

    My reading on the Internet about SOx indicates that it has a strong, pungent, stinging odor, so perhaps it is the major culprit. I’ve also read that burning raw wood releases all of the compounds listed above plus more. Lump charcoal has many of these compounds burned away during the charring process, which explains why it has less smell when burned than a charcoal briquette that contains sawdust and other heat-producing ingredients like Kingsford.

    As a follow-up, I asked if there is a coating or a layer on the outside of a Kingsford briquette that smells funny at first, but then burns away with time. The answer is no. The product is continuous through and through.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  5. sjturbo

    sjturbo Fire Starter

    Thank you very much Dave and Jimmy for taking the time to research and respond to my "odor" issue. I believe that I have found the origin. I did not mention (as I should have), that I used Permatex 81160 Red gasket sealer to seal the two halves of the smoke chamber as well as between the smoke chamber and cook chamber.Checking the manufacture's specs. it indicates this sealer is food safe to approx. 600 degrees. I waited 24 hrs. for the sealer to cure and then started the curing process. I seems as though 24 hrs. was not enough. Since the smoker has completely cooled the odor has dissipated. I will start another burn and this time stoke it til it reaches around 450 and see if the odor persists. That may be tomorrow morning as it is 109' outside currently and I burn easily.

    Thanks again, and sorry I did not include information regarding the sealer in my original post.
  6. mrgtiguy

    mrgtiguy Newbie

    Use lump. Sure it doesn't burn as long, but it's pure wood. That can't be said about kingsford.
  7. sjturbo

    sjturbo Fire Starter

    Pure wood sounds good!
  8. Aren't Kingsford briquettes made with a petroleum based binder, as opposed to Stubbs briquettes which use a vegetable binder? I stopped using Kingsford for that reason, and also a chimney starter with paper rather than petroleum fluid. I would eliminate all the petroleum products.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    To the best of my knowledge, Original Kingsford, including the updated 2015 formula, has never contained Petroleum anything. The Binder is Starch. There is lots of info on the history and various changes to Kingsford Briquettes. Kingsford Match Light, however, does contain a petrolium lighter fluid that is supposed to burn off. I was able to still smell it well into the burning process and only used it once many years ago...JJ
  10. lovethemeats

    lovethemeats Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I used to use a gas grill. Then switched to kingsford years back going with traditional style charcoal grill. I use the chimney starter with paper to. Can't stand using the lighter fluid and can taste it in the food even when the Briquettes have burned down and almost burnt up. Nasty taste. Lump coal briquettes are a safer way as its all pure wood. It burns up quicker but you can add it to the grill while cooking your food with no chemical taste getting into the food. While watching tv one day I came across the show How's It Made. Kingsford was the one they were showing. They showed the process of making the briquettes. It was interesting and they even stated what they used in making them as for the binding agent. After seeing that one later on I caught another one showing how lump coal is done. No chemicals in the process at all. All pure wood. I still use the kingsford briquettes in my grill but only for long grilling times. Lump coal is still my first choice. Cleaner burn. I have nothing bad to say about a propane system. I changed over due to the kids getting in my backyard and turning on the grill and running the gas out on me. Then when I went to use the grill. Container was always empty. At 20 bucks a pop to get it refilled. It was getting expensive for me. Plus the kids did not realize how dangerous it was with what they were doing. Back then I had no garage to store it in and I wasn't going to bring it in my home to store until needed. Here is something that I believe. Don't trust big companies. They won't tell you everything. They are in it for one thing. Profits. Everything seems to be going to other countries to be made cheaper. At one point. When will we see the ever famous statement on the bag. Made In China. As with Permatex 81160 Red gasket sealer. You trust what they state? What chemicals are leaching out of it while your cooking.
  11. sjturbo

    sjturbo Fire Starter

    Good responses. I know that others have used similar sealers and have not reported any ill effects but then asbestos was used in clothing too. So I do intend to season the smoker at a reasonably high temp for some time to insure that the sealant is well cured but one never knows.

    Regarding the use of lump vs brics since the CB OK Joe is a COS the use of brics should help maintain the temp better, at least based on various posts I have read.

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