I had it happen during one of my first smokes, never again (that I know of).
The big bang may never happen again, I've only had it happen 3 times when my smoker was new. After I used my smoker 6 times, hasn't happened again.
But I also got nothing but ash, and the smoke was always a thick white smoke. So I tried some foil boats and got more blue smoke and charcoal. Then I made some trays out of aluminum flashing that fit the wood box and have been very happy with the smoke since. The only time I don't use the trays is when I'm drying jerky.
The patina or hard creosote is fine. Call it seasoning. I only clean it off when it stars flaking on its own and then use a soft brush to remove to loose stuff; especially in the ceiling. Otherwise I leave it alone.
It looks like CS has experimented with different amount and size of holes in their wood box design. Mine has large and many holes on the bottom and sides. Others not so much. Anyone know what they are trying to achieve with more and larger holes?
Now in the 3rd hour I have little smoke, looks more like a whisper of steam than smoke. I lowered temp to 220 from 225, just because it felt like temp was going up just a bit too quick. My goal is to reach the 205 point at about 5 hours. Not planning to wrap either.
The smoke will peter out after a couple of hours and go wispy. That is ok; resist the urge to add more wood. As for the holes, I cannot answer. I do know that they redesigned the 066 wood box and heating element; why is a mystery. I have never lowered the smoke temp and always left alone. It will hit a stall around 170 degrees and take a couple of hours before the temp starts rising again.
Almost at 5 hours, stalled in the 177 range for a while now. I haven't even opened to take a peek. I guess these may take a full 6 hours at 225 then.
Fedex dropped off the correct cart bolts so I put those on. One less issue to deal with.
I am really torn between wrapping these like I usually do and just letting them run the course as is. As my first cook I'll let them be. Getting my sides ready, baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad.
I got the end of the Bama A&M game on rerun, repeat.
I own a tree farm, basically pines and pecan trees.
Just re-registered here, could not find my name or password in my records, I sold a business, retired, bought a farm, moved, etc, etc. I bought my original Cookshack smoker, a 5 rack custom Smokette, in about 1990 from Bob, the CS marketing manager, while I was at the Atlanta Shot Show. I have rebuilt my Cookshack smoker three times over the last 30 or so years after storms, lightning, etc. Today it works just fine and the old stainless steel box is in real good shape, they last a long time.
I do have a BGE and a gas grill also. I have cooked a good bit with the Cookshack smoker over the years.
7+ hours and temp still about 188 and climbing slowly. I was concerned so opened and checked temp with my pen thermometer and it was right on. Taking much longer than I was expecting. Meat has a very dark coating but the probe went in like butter, so I know they are tender. I raised temp to 250 to finish it off as folks are getting hungry!
Not a lot of liquid is dripping out in the pan either.
These are either going to be amazing ribs or a major fail.
Guys, I'll post some photos tomorrow. The ribs were amazing, especially the spare ribs. Tender, juicy, tasty, with a deep smoke flavor unlike my Masterbuilt. I never reached 205, only about 190. The herd was hungry!
Learned a few pointers along the way. The bang shifted my aluminum foil which blocked the drain hole thus little liquid draining, but it was inside.
No shortage of smoke flavor so I'll cut back a bit on the wood chunks. I very nice bark.
The temp probe was reading accurate so you can trust it.
Can't explain why it took longer than I expected, 7+ hours. Meat was tender but not exactly "falling off the bones" but pulled off very easily, a nice "chew" shall we say.
I predict they're good, but with ribs I always cook to the toothpick test, not to temp, since they are so thin it is hard to accurately measure IT. I agree with oldsarge - my 066 has the old style solid firebox and it works great, don't understand why they modified it. I have no problem with white smoke, it starts out strong and tapers off as the wood burns down, most of the time to small chunks of charcoal, but on long smokes to just ash.
Well, your post beat me by 5 minutes, but I can still say I predicted success for you! I have found ribs (I cook mostly loin backs) take 6 - 6 1/2 hours at 225 to my preferred "bite-off," not "fall-off", the bone. Like I said, cook to toothpick test, not temp. On such a thin piece of meat with lots of bones, the probe is guaranteed to be inaccurate. I find 185 - 190 is "bite-off." If it ever really got to 205 on ribs, they'd fall apart being taken out. Congratulations!
So as a final follow up on my first cook, I'll cut back a bit on amount of wood, although two out of three of us were happy with the amount of smoke flavor. It wasn't bashful. For ribs I'll add a bit less salt and add a bit of sugar (sweetness). I'll use my remote probes in addition to the one provided by CS, just to "trust but verify".
Clean up was rather easy with the aluminum foil. Removed wood box and while discolored all of the wood was ash, so 100% burn. Wiped down with moist paper towel. Soaked racks in soapy water, easy clean up. Covered and ready for the next smoke.
During the cook I noted the controller was doing a few weird things, turning on/off in rather short successions. I know I read here where others reported a similar thing. There is a small red light on the control panel that illuminates when the element is on. It would flicker a bit but in general the unit stayed within a few degrees of set point.
Very happy with results and this purchase.