Author Topic: Starting the Smoker  (Read 8339 times)

swthorpe

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Starting the Smoker
« on: February 25, 2013, 06:06:48 PM »
I assume this is normal, but wanted to check with others.  When the temperature starts to warm up in the smoker, I am getting a lot of smoke, and it appears to be a dark gray.  After about 15 minutes, the smoke comes out in puffs, and then it seems like the unit exhales deeply and the smoke comes out from all around the door.  After that, all is well and the smoking process works fine.  Is this normal to have a kind of implosion that blows smoke all around the door seal?
Steve from Delaware
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old sarge

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 06:51:24 PM »
The best advice I can give is to contact Steve at Smokin-it.

David from Arizona
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Grimm5577

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 10:29:06 AM »
I had a similar problem, I opened it up and noticed my wood caught fire instead of smoldering.

old sarge

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 02:15:46 PM »
Wood will flame if it gets enough oxygen; sort of unexpected excitement.
David from Arizona
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Grimm5577

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 09:14:13 AM »
I talked to Steve about it, and he leaned towards very dry wood. Which is very well possible in my case, I was using big box store brand name hickory chunks, they certainly were dry, more than likely kiln dried to some commercial standard. I also think the chunk I used had some splits in it allowing for easier combustion like kindling.

I'll have to be more particular in my chunk selection.

viticulture

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 01:16:54 PM »
I've had the very same experience with my #2 as well. There I was last night doing a second seasoning with some store bought pecan and showing it off to my DW and convincing her what a great purchase it was/ will be when all of a sudden the unit made a great bellowing/ inhaling/ exhaling replete with smoke being forcefully pushed out of the top & bottom vents and all around the door seal. Scared the wife right back into the house. Spent the rest of the night telling her what I thought had happened. It seemed to come within a couple of mins of opening door. I agree that the rush of O2 coupled w/ extremely dry wood caused combustion of the wood resulting in exactly what you and I have described. Might end up being a great party trick. 

bordercollie

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 01:17:04 PM »
My unit doesn't smoke at all around the door. How tight is the fit? If it isn't snug , it may be allowing air in.... If it happens again, I would try  using a wedge of some sort to make the door latch more snug against the opening...  You may want to consider trying a selection of the larger lump charcoal chunks??  bc

swthorpe

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 02:40:11 PM »
I don't have smoke coming out from around the door, except just before and when the "bulch" occurs.    It only happens once early on in the cook, and then afterwards, the unit seems fine.   I am using cherry wood that was cut two years ago, so perhaps it is very dry and causing a brief flare up.   I guess I could try soaking the wood chunks first.   Thanks all.
Steve from Delaware
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old sarge

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 11:26:24 PM »
Mine "leaks" around around the top door corners, and door center. (different brand).  I was told as the residue builds up from smoking, the leaking will diminish. It has to some degree.  I bought it used and did not realistically expect it to perform as new (maybe I did a little).

3M makes a high temperature stainless steel tape that I suppose could be used to "tighten up the seal" somewhat on the door. I would look at the staining around the interior door perimeter and if minimal, ignore it. But you could always give it a try, concentrating only on the stained area.  The clean area would indicate no leak. This might work, might not.  Just be sure to cut it no wider than the clean border area where the door meets the cabinet, and no longer than the stained ares.

Have you contacted Steve? I would do that first.
David from Arizona
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Grimm5577

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 12:11:11 PM »
Sarge, I did contact steve and talk about it. He lead me to believe it's dry wood. Mine does this without opening the door. It's related to the wood. The chuck i used had some splits. It wasn't a solid chunk, which is why it was able to reach a combustion point. Mine only leaks out of the door when there is fire going on inside. During normal operation it only smokes out of the top as designed.

to the OP, I would soak the wood and see if it still happens, and or tr different wood and see what happens. I wouldn't continue allowing it to reach combustion and smother it's self as that will produce an unpleasant/bitter smoke flavor.

steamawayinc

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 07:08:19 PM »
I have heard the "burp" is completely normal with electric smokers, all models. I don't recall the science behind it but it is normal. I would not put any additional seal around the door, who cares if it leaks a little. I've had my model #2 for over a year and it doesn't leak around the door at all now. Give it time and don't worry about the burp.

Grimm5577

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 12:13:23 PM »
I've noticed that my one bag of hickory wood from homedepot catches flame. I even after soaking a chuck for 20 minutes prior. If i use a chunk of the pecan I have, no flame. looks like I'll be getting my wood from somewhere else.

personally I don't want my meat to be smoked by a fire that is smothered every few minutes that's not good smoke. regardless of the safety factor of having a flame inside an electric smoker.

swthorpe

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Re: Starting the Smoker - Update
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 02:50:05 PM »
Two smokes this weekend with cherry wood chunks that I soaked for over an hour.   Seems to have worked, no "burps" or dark colored smoke.  Wings and ribs delicious!
Steve from Delaware
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MJM

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2013, 04:08:29 PM »
Dry wood is the cause.  I had the same problem when I seasoned and with my first boston butt smoke.  I now soak the chips or chunks at least overnight.  You should notice an increase in the weight of the wood due to water absorption.
It was quite a belch and I think it also caused some sooting on the butt when it happened, which resulted in some bitter flavor.

kujobie

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Re: Starting the Smoker
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2013, 06:43:27 PM »
I just got my model 2 yesterday and seasoned it today with a couple of the sample Hickory pegs and had the same result.  About 1/2 half hour in, it started the inhale/exhale/belching.  I didn't open it to see if it was flaring up, but I did cover the top vent for a minute or so with a towel and it seemed to stop after that.