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Just got a replacement controller (mine was DOA) and now my 045 heats up! Temp set to 200 and is holding at 195. I'm doing the seasoning phase now (first time used).

Question: How long will it take for the wood to start smoking? I put 2 pieces in (about 4oz). It's been about 20+ minutes and no smoke yet.

Any comments?
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You should start seeing smoke in approximately 20 minutes normally. A few things you can do to improve smoke:

1 Raise the heating element so that it just touches the smoke box

2 Place wood towards the front of the smoke box where it is hotter. Also, right next to the smoke box holes where hot air would naturally flow.

3 Crank up the smoker to 225* or 250* while seasoning it.

4 Make sure you're not opening the door often as this will reduce temperature inside.

If these don't help, and I think they may, call Cookshack and talk to them. Hope this helps.
I ran the cooker on it's "burn-in" phase for a little over 5 hours. I had 3 chunks of wood forward in the box. It never did get any noticeable smoke although you could smell a smokey flavor in the air. I used the hickory that came with the Cookshack unit.

So, if the wood aroma is evident I expect the food will pick it up whether or not there is any degree of visible smoke.
Well, the experienced folks will tell you that the heavy smoke is caused by impurities in the wood, and your goal is a light blue smoke, almost clear. Since you smelled smoke and the smoker wasn't seasoned, you're probably OK. Smoke a couple items and see how it goes. You might turn out to be a happy camper, err, smoker. Good luck to you.
After you have broke in the smoker, there should be a nice, caramel brown coating over everything. The door will almost look black since the smoke is heavier there.

I did notice my door leaked smoke. When I caulked it with some wet paper towels, the smoke coming out the top hole was much denser. Maybe you have smoke, but it's leaking around so it's not all coming out the top, making it seem that there isn't a good smoke taking place. As long as the inside gets a good brown color, it's broke in.
Battledad, when I first started using my 020, I had the same problem as you. Throughout the seasoning and after my first couple cooks, I didn't notice much smoke. When I checked the wood, the entire chunk was still there and just looked charred on the surface. To solve this problem, I bent my heating element and made sure it was touching the wood box. Ever since then I've notice more smoke and the wood is burning completely.
How do you bend the heating element up without damaging it? I took a look and it seems the bracket around the element that the pan sits on moves at the same time. Obviously I don't want to damage the unit.

I'll also put a container of water inside. I think I saw some discussion about putting apple juice or apple juice concentrate in the water as well. I'll play around to see what works best.
I set the temp to 275 to jump start it and I'm now getting smoke (since raising the element). I just put 3 5lb chickens in (too out the middle shelf and put 2 on top and 1 on the bottom. I'll check it in about 4 hours.

Anyone use the temp probe? I got one with mine. I may try it after a couple of hours.

I put 3 different rubs on so we'll see how they turn out.
Originally posted by Battledad:
Ok..I went out and think I was able to make the element touch the base of the wood pan. Lets see if that helps.

Mine is a Model 45 and I'm looking for someplace to put a pan of water. Not really any room down at the bottom. Should I use part of a self?

Don't mess with the water pan. The CS is humid enough you don't need one. There are some posts about using it when you season, but that's not mandatory either.

The major of the reason water smokers have water is to serve as a heat sink and even out the temp spikes, and some add flavor.

Don't need either in a CS, especially if you're just starting out. Go with the basic set up first, build up some knowledge of the cooker then start experimenting.
Originally posted by doogster:
An interesting aside, the instructions for my Masterbuilt say to use the water pan even if you don't put anything in it. This is to prevent fat and such from falling on the smoke box and causing flare-ups, this may be related to the design of the smoke box as compared to the CS.

No, you're mixing designs as grease will drip on the smoker box in a CS and vaporize and add flavor.

I some parts of the Q world, grease dripping on an open fire is the ONLY definition of Q. My definition isn't that narrow

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