Since my post about the wood not burning or smoking properly ( link and photo is here: http://forum.cookshack.com/eve...1028883/m/3652976427 )

I took the advice of the forums and made sure the element is slightly above where the smoke box sits. That is to say when I slide in the smoke box, the elements must be pushed down slightly so the smoke box can slide in. The element is touching the bottom of the smoke box, and you can see the discoloration on the bottom of the smoker box...red, green, blue, purple etc.

I decided to try a "dry run" again today. 2 oz of hickory at 225 for 4 hours. Almost no smoke from the exhaust, no huge plume of smoke when the door was opened and as in the original post photo, the wood barely charred. This is very discouraging.

This purchase has been a huge disappointment from day one for various reasons. I did my due diligence and determined that paying the extra premium for a Cookshack was the right decision because of their supposed quality and attention to detail. At this point, I'm not so sure.

If anyone can provide some insight, I sure could use it....
Original Post
I don't have a unit like yours.

But have you called Cookshack to ask these questions. I have had nothing but great help when I needed to call them.


RandyE
Like he said, call CS. On my 25, the element does not touch the wood box. I'm sure it's disappointing to start out with problems Frowner. but I use mine at least weekly since Christmas and it will be worth figuring out the issue. Smiler
Not trying to smart.

But I think more can be accomplished with that one on one contact. In my dealings with Cookshack, I have seen them as a group of people who care about thier customers.

RandyE
quote:
Originally posted by Randy E:
Not trying to smart.

But I think more can be accomplished with that one on one contact. In my dealings with Cookshack, I have seen them as a group of people who care about thier customers.

RandyE


I agree, but it's after hours. Which is why I sent an e-mail since there was no one to talk to. At least when they come back in to work, they'll hopefully see the e-mail first thing.
Dude,I kinda had the same problem,but all is well now.http://forum.cookshack.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4091028883/m/1052927517?r=1052927517#1052927517

After all this time since my problem,I've decided I really don't need wood anyway,but I still use it in VERY small amounts.Don't get discouraged.May I suggest you try smoking something anyway and see how it comes out?Just toss in some ribs,sit back and see what happens. I bet you'll be satisfied with the results.
RRocket,
I had major frustration with my smoker and I couldn't believe that anyone could be happy with theirs. It took several trys but Tony @ Cookshack couldn't have been more helpful. Working through the process I got to learn all about my somker and its components. Once fixed, I never looked back. 19 hour Brisket smoke last Saturday! Hang in there and make that call!
I just looked at your pictures of the wood you were burning,and mine looked the same at first.There is nothing wrong with your smoker.Try cooking something and see how it comes out.I bet you will like it.
quote:
Originally posted by Big Dan:
I just looked at your pictures of the wood you were burning,and mine looked the same at first.There is nothing wrong with your smoker.Try cooking something and see how it comes out.I bet you will like it.


Totally agree with you Big Dan, same thing happen with my sm020 when I was seasoning it with no load. These smokers are so well insulated that if you don't have a load/meat in them they will not keep the element on long enough to start burning some kinds of wood.

After I put a decent load of meat in mine it worked well.

Placement of wood in the smoker will make a difference also.I place mine in the middle of the box.I found that if you place the wood with the cut edge down it works better than laying on its side.

RandyE is correct thou, CS customer service will work with the owner one on one to make sure everything is working to their satisfaction.
quote:
Originally posted by Big Dan:
I just looked at your pictures of the wood you were burning,and mine looked the same at first.There is nothing wrong with your smoker.Try cooking something and see how it comes out.I bet you will like it.


I did some bacon to test and some prime rib, everyone who tried it (myself included) said "there's no smoke taste". Not too surprising given the minimal amount of charring on the wood itself.

After 4 hours and 225 degree test, I would assume there would be ample smoke coming from the exhaust or when I opened the door, and the wood would be more properly charred. None of that happened. I have smoked on lesser/cheaper smokers (some brands which have been labelled as "junk" by members here) and there was much, much more smoke and smoke flavor.

And while I agree that the smoker still cooks the food, I did not buy the Cookshack to just cook my food. I bought it to smoke my food. I already have an oven for just cooking things.

I am hopeful that Cookshack can help resolve the issue and I'm eager to see how they help me deal with it. I will certainly keep everyone posted. I already had an issue (no sample wood came with my smoker) and Cookshack didn't resolve it to my satisfaction. Hopefully they do better this time around.
quote:
Originally posted by RRocket:
I already had an issue (no sample wood came with my smoker) and Cookshack didn't resolve it to my satisfaction.


Since you brought up the subject, maybe you can tell all us how they handled this problem?
quote:
Originally posted by cal:
quote:
Originally posted by RRocket:
I already had an issue (no sample wood came with my smoker) and Cookshack didn't resolve it to my satisfaction.


Since you brought up the subject, maybe you can tell all us how they handled this problem?


Sure. They apologized and said they would send out the wood ASAP. And they did with a couple extra kinds of wood and a sample pack of rubs. I was pleased. But they sent it UPS. Sadly, UPS has brokerage fees (I'm in Canada). So I had to pay $42 out of pocket.

So I ultimately had to pay for the wood that should have come with the smoker. Now I'm not holding this against them, as I don't think this was done purposely. But paying roughly 5% of the total cost of my smoker for wood that should have come with my smoker left me a bit disappointed.

As I said, I'm going to give them a chance to help me with this issue, and I'm not confusing one issue with the other. The wood issue has nothing to do with the current issue, so all that matters now is how they deal with the current problem.
Mine charred very little in the beginning but smoked much better as the smoker seasoned. Use it a few times while working with Cookshack to see if it improves.

Make sure you're cooking something like a pork butt to act as a cold sync allowing the element to be on more often. See how it works this way.

You mention you cooked something, and it had very little smoke flavoring. What did you cook? Was it a short run item? If so, I had little smoke flavor on quick smoke until the smoker seasoned. Now it smokes like a son of a gun.

It is also possible that the wood isn't cooperating. Are you willing to spend $6 to buy another bag of hickory to see the result?

Try testing your smoker's thermometer. Ice water...32*. Boiling water...212. Cookshack will probably want to know this when they talk to you. Actually, testing it is kind of fun. Makes you feel like a scientist.

I'm sure Cookshack wasn't aware of the shipping broker's fee. Otherwise, it would have been better for everyone if they sent you a check for the wood.
Last edited by pags
quote:
Originally posted by Pags:


You mention you cooked something, and it had very little smoke flavoring. What did you cook?


I posted that I cooked prime rib and bacon. We were looking for smoke particularly in the bacon. Was on there for 3.5 hours. Should have been able to taste the smoke. We did 2 different ones...one with applewood and another with hickory. Neither wood produced smoke/smoke flavor, so I can't blame the wood.
Sorry. Didn't recall the smokes. Try testing the therm and talk to Cookshack. Like I mentioned, my smoker definitely improved with useage.
After how many times did it start making reasonable smoke? 10? 20? 30 times?

I used it about 7 times already and I'm still not seeing reasonable smoke.
When your smoker walls start looking like a coal mine.

I think you've been reasonable RR. One way or the other, Cookshack will make you happy.
My wood looked like that until I bent my element up. The wood box wasn't getting hot enough to make the wood smolder.

You say you bent the heating element up a bit. Are you placing the wood on top of where the element is touching the wood box? Place the wood front right and front left over the U of the coil. That's the hottest spot in the wood box.
Last edited by andyj
quote:
Originally posted by AndyJ:
My wood looked like that until I bent my element up. The wood box wasn't getting hot enough to make the wood smolder.

You say you bent the heating element up a bit. Are you placing the wood on top of where the element is touching the wood box? Place the wood front right and front left over the U of the coil. That's the hottest spot in the wood box.


I went outside and measured to see how close the element is to the bottom of the box. By using a level on the lower guard, I could see that the element was just barely touching...and by barely I mean within .01" (.25mm). That's roughly the thickness of about 5 human hairs. So very very close indeed.

I've included pics of the smoke box. You can clearly see the discoloration on the top side and on the back side the heat marks left by the element are very visible.

I don't believe my problem is proximity of the elements.



Did you happen to notice how often the heating element was on? I think it's the lower right corner of the display, there should be a little red led that goes on when the heating element is on. It should cycle on & off to keep the temperature, just wondering if it was mostly on of mostly off.
Strange indeed! My first smoke was a prime rib and wood was mostly ash when finished. Can the wood itself be the problem? Or maybe lack of oxygen? If you foil the bottom, did you punch a hole through it where the grease outlet is?
I already said I tried 2 different woods from 2 different boxes. Hickory and Apple. Have a hard time believing somehow the wood could be corrupted...
One thing you can also try is to put one or two or three charcoal briquets in your wood box.You can do this with or without wood. See if those smolder for you.If those burn up,I would think it is your wood.You could try using wood chips too and see what happens.
quote:
And while I agree that the smoker still cooks the food, I did not buy the Cookshack to just cook my food. I bought it to smoke my food. I already have an oven for just cooking things.



Something just isn’t adding up here
Your wood box looks like it is getting hot enough to smolder the wood chunks
You’ve done 6 or 7 cooks including prime rib and bacon and they were indeed done enough to eat in roughly 3.5 hours so we can assume the element is working correctly
There’s just not much left
You should be able to way over smoke anything you put in your smoker

Is your smoke hole and grease drain hole open and unobstructed?
If you leave the door cracked open will it smoke the wood chunks?

Personally I would call Cookshack and not only talk to them about the lack of smoke, I’d let them know about the surcharge you had to pay for the wood they sent

I understand your frustration, but please keep trying and let us know how you resolve it. If nothing else I’m sure Cookshack will refund your purchase price if they are unable to make you happy
quote:
Originally posted by Chef-Boy-Arnie:



Is your smoke hole and grease drain hole open and unobstructed?


Personally I would call Cookshack and not only talk to them about the lack of smoke, I’d let them know about the surcharge you had to pay for the wood they sent
happy



Grease hole is wide open...not sure what you mean by the smoke hole?? Please elaborate.

And yes, although frustrated I do intend to see how Cookshack responds. I'm just checking with the people here because of the wealth of experience and knowledge.
Smoke hole is on top, where it should be pouring out during the early part of a cook. Your problem is beyond my limited knowledge Confused
Like iSmoke said the smoke hole is on the top of the smoker

It's roughly a 1/2" hole in the center of the top

What does the wood do if you run the smoker with the door cracked open?
i'd try a couple of things in troubleshooting

1) beg, borrow, or steal a dual channel remote thermometer (like a maverick et-73 or et-732) to verify temperature

2) bend up the heating element to touch the bottom of the smokehouse.

3) foil the bottom (and punch a hole of the grease drain)

4) foil the top of the smokehouse and load the smokehouse w/ a single piece of DRY wood

5) load a large aluminum foil pan w/ ice (to provide a load for the smoker to work against)
and insert into smoker

6) insert probes thru upper vent hole and mount one below the ice pan and one above

fire up the smoker for 225F and observe.

note the ambient temperature.

the smoker should ramp up to a high temperature for at least twenty minutes (to get the wood smoldering). the ice should force the controller to keep the heating element going.

let us know what you find
quote:
Originally posted by lcubed:
i'd try a couple of things in troubleshooting

1) beg, borrow, or steal a dual channel remote thermometer (like a maverick et-73 or et-732) to verify temperature

2) bend up the heating element to touch the bottom of the smokehouse.

3) foil the bottom (and punch a hole of the grease drain)

4) foil the top of the smokehouse and load the smokehouse w/ a single piece of DRY wood

5) load a large aluminum foil pan w/ ice (to provide a load for the smoker to work against)
and insert into smoker

6) insert probes thru upper vent hole and mount one below the ice pan and one above

fire up the smoker for 225F and observe.

note the ambient temperature.

the smoker should ramp up to a high temperature for at least twenty minutes (to get the wood smoldering). the ice should force the controller to keep the heating element going.

let us know what you find


I've done 2-6 already. But I don't have the 1) I'll look into it. Thanks for the advice!!
RR. You could just test your Cookshack therm in ice water(32*) and boiling water(212*). Then you'll be prepared for Cookshack tomorrow.
I have spareribs in the Cookshack now. 250 degrees for ~3.5-4 hours. Will post pictures of the wood when dinner is done.

Should it be completely ashed?
Take a pic of the wood when it is done. I would say if they are small pieces they will probably be almost completely ash. Do you get a bunch of smoke coming out while it's cooking?
quote:
Originally posted by RRocket:
Should it be completely ashed?


I put three golf ball size pieces in mine when doing ribs. No, mine wouldn't be completely ashed, but about half burnt.
Is it not ashed, and is still in one piece. It just looks as if someone spray painted it black. Even the bark is still visible...but just black.

250 degrees for 4 hours.
Sounds like something is definitely wrong. Give cookshack a call in the morning. The wood should have burned up much more than you described.
Cory, did u get a lot of smoke coming out while cooking? Did the ribs taste smokey? If the answers to both questions r yes maybe the problem is starting to resolve itself like others have mentioned. I wish I can say I had any problems, but I have not. I hope Cookshack can put your mind at ease and solve your problem right away. You must be seeing red and ready to burst right now. I am sorry you are having such.a.terrible time with what all of us here find to be such a.wonderful thing. Good luck tomorrow morn.

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