Trouble with Smoke

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by powderxp, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Just converted my rig to electric...and I have a smoke issue. If I set the chip pan (cast iron) right on the elements, I get heavy white smoke. If I set it off the elements (about 1"), I don't get any smoke. Seems to be no happy meduim. By the way, I use dry chips. The other issue is that I pre-heat the smoker, where the elements burn red hot early on...then to maintain, they cycle on and off and don't ever really glow again. When the elements are red hot and the chip box is on them, I get nasty smoke. Then the chips continue to smoke pretty heavy and white and eventually go out. No TBS. If I don't put the box in until the elements are done glowing red hot, I don't get much, if any smoke...and only when the elements are turned on for a longer time (not very often, since I use a proportional controller).

    I'm wondering if any of you have any recommendations for a distance from the elements that works for you and how to balance the early excessive smoke with the chips going out later in the process. Also, is using a cast iron box with electric not a good thing, should I be using a SS bowl? Here are pictures of my setup.

  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You might try using a chip pan that is thinner than the cast iron or even adding a couple lit charcoal briquettes to the chip pan and see if that works...
  3. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The cast iron box is going to take alot longer to heat up because it is thicker. I would try a thinner metal box or pan. Try a coffee can. You should be able to set the pan or can right on the element or almost on it. When I was using little cheifs their pans sat right on the element. You might be using to much wood chips. You might also want to check your air flow. You might be getting to much air or not enough air flow. Hope that helps you out, keep us posted.
  4. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I agree, I think your heavy cast pan is robbing too much of the heat. It is absorbing heat that should be going to the wood chips. A thinner pan will solve your problem. A nice stainless pan would be good as it wont rust. If you don't have a pan for it, check our your local good will. You would be surprised what you find there. I went there yesterday and scored big time on some high dollar camping items and tools, but thats another story all together [​IMG].
  5. mr mac

    mr mac Smoking Fanatic

    One of those cheap (under $2 at most grocery stores) stainless steel dog bowls is what I bought for my Royal Oak smoker and it workes great!
  6. Thanks to all for the advice...I'll try a SS pan. I have one ready to go, we'll see what happens. Leave it open on the top or foil it with a few holes? I'm usually using chips...also have some chunks, just haven't had good luck with them yet. Thanks!
  7. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Believe until convinced otherwise I would vote for cover with foil and poking a few good sized holes in it. I notice the little chip box I got with my new RO Elec. come with a vented lid. Would suspect that is the way some dumb injuneer attempted to keep them at a smolder and not burn up quite so quick. Just guessing of course:)

  8. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    +1. Went to a similar vessel for my freezer conversion and it is working very well. I don't cover mine, just dampen, and usually try to leave a hole or depression (think chimney) in the center of the chips, all the way down to the bottom.
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good question---I've been watching for any answer that would help me too.

    My MES is so well insulated that once it gets to the set temp, it cycles on and off in such short spurts that it doesn't smoke very often. That's why if I want to go to 180*, I go there in 5* or 10* bumps. If I set it at 160* (or any other temp under 230*), it comes on around 158*---then off at 161*---on 158*----off 161*. The element doesn't come on long enough to make the chips smoke. Sawdust helps, but not much. All that without even wetting the chips & sawdust.
    I've actually been opening the door for a little while to drop the smoker temp low enough to make the element stay hot long enough to get the smoke going good.

    Any more suggestions?

  10. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    I toss in a few briquettes and a wood chunk. Keeps the wood smoldering, and the briquettes make me feel better about using an electric [​IMG]
  11. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with everyone here too. Use a thinner chip pan I have found that the pan for a green egg works really well. It is thin but not too thin. I have one I'm using now with my Gosm. the pans holds up very well and holds the heat very well I don't know why but it does get the job done.
  12. Good news[​IMG]...tried dry sawdust, uncovered in a thin SS dog dish. I let the smoker get up to temp, then opened the door, put the pan in and within 5 minutes I had a good smoke going. It did get a bit out of hand, so I think I'll be wetting the sawdust the next time. Seems like it's going to work, thanks for all the advice!

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