Ladies 'n' Gents.

I'm not new to smoking and barbecue, nor to electric heat, having started with a cheap off-brand hardware-store electric UDS and using a cast iron skillet as a wood box. That was a long time ago. I learned to get good grub from it and better when I graduated to a Pit Barrel Cooker and helped other folks with their stick burner. Furthermore, I'm scientifically trained, so should understand the physics involved. 025 as instructed in the YouTube videoI, used the recommended two wood chunks and saw a blue-gray smoke exhaust for about three to four of the six hours. Which is why I find myself confused and puzzled:

I next did an 18-hour beef brisket, loading with three chunks of hickory from the included supply. The heating element and its controller appeared to perform their jobs perfectly, taking about 90 minutes to come to my preset 225degF and then holding steady with only a trivial oscillation of three to five degrees around the set-point. (I couldn't do any better with any wood/charcoal burner I've used.) I got a nice stream of blue-gray smoke for about three hours' time, certainly enough to season the initially cold meat, which I learned from Meathead Goldwyn on Amazing Ribs. A trickle of smoke and the smoky odor continued, dying out around ten.

The product was excellent--as good a brisket as I've ever done--but there was little to no smoke ring. So what, I guess, if the food was otherwise good. But surprise: When I cleaned out the cooled cooker, the wood box had what appeared to be intact wood pieces with no or little sign of char and no ash.

What am I missing? As shown in the video, I'm putting the box directly atop the heating element's enclosure. The wood was dry, as received. Huh!?

Cheers and salaams,

dk

Original Post

Absence of a smoke ring in electric smokers is well known. The nitrogen compounds that produce the effect just aren't there in enough quantity with so little wood. Some of us using electrics (mine is a sm-066) have learned not to miss it, since you can't taste it anyway . Some folks add a bit of charcoal to the wood chunks. Likewise, the smoke density is very low after the initial start-up phase, after the cooker reaches temp and begins to cycle. I rarely see smoke after that point. 

Welcome to the forum!

Jay1924.

Thank you for your quick reply. Nice thing about most forums on most subjects is that everyone there wants to help out and improve the discipline. Certainly no exception here.

Okay...this is more or less what I thought. It's been so long since I used my little electric gizzie that I'd forgotten about the chemistry of smoke ring formation. I'm not competing, so really, I don't care about that. 

I am still puzzled, though: Why wasn't the wood more consumed? With the three chunks I have still in the cooled box, I have enough for several more cooks at the apparent rate of combustion. If this is an idiosyncrasy of the device, it's not a troubling one. The flavor profile was dead nuts on, making me happy and my family ecstatic.

Thanks again. Glad to be here.

dk

Glad to help. On wood consumption, I can't speak to the Sm-025, although I think it is similar in operation to (just smaller than) my sm-066, which is very, very efficient on wood. I've found that if I want a good amount of smoke in a short-time cook (like smoked salmon) I do better with smaller pieces, maybe  1 oz a piece, rather than a couple of large chunks. That way, most of the wood burns in the start-up phase, and then the salmon is just about done anyway. Glad you're enjoying your cooker!

Just for interest, I have noted that KCBS does not allow "smoke ring" as a factor in BBQ judging on their sponsored circuit.

On wood not burning completely, verify that the heating element is touching the wood box.  If it isn't bend heating element so it does.

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