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Hi guys,

I'm from London, UK and have recently upgraded our backyard bbq setup to a catered kitchen unit. We used to run a British made offset (BMS-5) but due to the regulation requirements for internal kitchens had to switch our setup to an electric smoker.

The Cookshack made sense as we could run it indoors under the extraction hood and it's easy enough to use so that it can be operated by other staff members if I am away (this is a side gig as my day job is a medical doc/intensivist).

We managed to pick up a 2016 used SM160 with the IQ5 board for £2800.

Doing some trial runs I noticed that with a handful of pellets / wood chips (approx 30g) running the smoker at 225F left the chamber to be overwhelmed with thick, white, acrid smoke. On retrieving the smoke box I noted that the entire pack of pellets (and wood chips on our second attempt) was scorched within 30 mins and would have likely ruined any meat in the chamber.

What are we doing wrong? We also do have hickory wood chunks (approx 120g/4 oz) and managed to get our hands on some US post oak chunks as well, so maybe I will try and use that next time?

Any advice is appreciated.


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Nice looking Cookshack!  I don't use pellets in the 066/ just wood chunks and or the odd branch from a tree.  Love the flavor.  Not sure what you mean by dirty smoke. I get a little heavy smoke, whiteish/grey at the outset but 10 to 20 minutes in it thins out.  I suspect it has as much to do with the wood variety, whether it is the denser heart wood from the center or less dense wood from the outer portion of the branch.  My chunks weigh 2 - 3 ounces each.

Last edited by oldsarge

I generally get nothing but ash after a smoke; once in a while a lump of charcoal. White smoke for me is typical for a little while.  But it thins out.  I am sending a link that explains smoke.  From your photos, it looks like you did not let the smoker run its course till there was no smoke.  I suggest doing so with an empty smoker or with a dummy load of damp sand in a loaf pan to simulate a load of meat.  See how long you get smoke  and see if it changes over time.  Will also attach photos of what I get about 10 minutes into a smoke and the results on a butt and a brisket (smoked separately).


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Just to clarify 1 photo: I trim the excess fat on briskets, smoke fat side down and the trimmings are laid across the lean side.  As for smoke, you can try raising your wood up off the bottom of the wood box just a little and that reduces the wood temp a tad. Also, wrapping the wood in foil and leaving the top open has been tried by folks on another site who claim it works to produce a lighter smoke. Keep at it and enjoy.

The instructions say to use wood chunks and suggest up to 6 oz. (170.097 grams).  The CooShack SM160 owners manual can be found here:  Cookshack Smoker Manual .  From my reading of this manual, there is a door switch on your unit, and this switch should turn your unit off when the door is open.  This is a safety feature, so leaving the door open will not help.  That being said, I do use pellets and wood chips in my SMO66 when I want to get a good smoke on meat that I am not going to have in the smoker very long.  I do tri-tip with a reverse sear, so it is only in the smoker long enough to get to 110F degrees internal temp.  Something tells me that there might be a disruption in the air flow.  Did you line the bottom of the smoker with aluminum foil?  There is a drain/vent hole in the bottom of your smoker.  You need to make sure that the foil is opened up over this drain/vent hole, and that this hole is approximately the size of the drain/vent hole.  How long are you letting your smoker run?  The heat in the smoker will have an effect on how the smoker draws.  Remember hot air rises, and opening and closing the door has a big impact on the temperature in your smoker.  I would read the section in the owners manual about seasoning your smoker.  put 2 oz. of wood chunks in the box, close the door and set the temp for 225F degrees.  Let the smoker run like this for 4 hours.  Take some notes on how long it takes for the smoker to come up to temp, how long it takes for the white smoke to clear and go to a thin bluish color.  You can contact Cookshack without having to call them.  Go to this page, and fill out the form.  They will email you back:  Cookshack, Inc.: Contact Us .   

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