I've have my CS smoker for just a month and so far, I have smoked a Pork Butt, spare ribs, and a roaster chicken, all with great success. The pulled pork was to die for, the chicken was out of sight, and the ribs were excellent, but I could have pulled the ribs out a little earlier.

I don't believe that there is anything wrong was my smoker, but I want to ask some of the more "seasoned veterans" a couple of questions.

At a setting of 225 degrees, I start seeing smoke in about 15 to 20 minutes. The smoke comes out of the vent and top of door and is heavy for about two hours, after that I can smell smoke but it is not visible. Is that what others are experiencing?

I have read this forum quite extensively and check it daily. On multiple occasions, some have stated that their "wood has turned to ash". I don't understand the wood turning to ash unless it actually burns instead of smoldering. My wood chucks are charred/black but never turned in ash and I wouldn't think that they should, should they?

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Yep,if the cooker is workin' right,ya should have to run your hand across your exhaust vent -to see if it is runnin'.

A good tip,over time,is if you don't pay attention to the cooker,and go get the meat out-when it is done,it will be good,you'll have no ulcers,and you'll enjoy the process.

Now,I could be wrong-because we get folks by the thousands, log in with their nervous breakdowns,in the first couple months.

After that,we never hear from them,because it works just like turnin' the city water on and off at the house.

Funny,Cookshack has been doing that for a half century,and the story has never changed. Smiler

WHATEVER it does,if the meat is done-when you cook it enough-it is ok.

The LESS you study the cooker,the less embarrassed you will be ,telling folks how much you used to study it.

We all been there,done that.

Go cook a few things.

Worst case,it will be edible.
More often than not my wood looks like yours in my SM025. But sometimes it will smolder to ash. I did bend the heating element up like has been mentioned here and it did seem to help.

My experience is that if you have a short smoke of 10 hours or less you will be taking charred wood chunks out and no ash. For the longer smokes of over 10 hours you may or may not have ash. General rule is the longer the time the more likelihood of ash. Also in mine it seems that I need to be at 225 or higher to get good visible smoke. And it really smokes good for the 1st two hours or so and then tapers off.
I couldn't even get a good char on my wood. I did all the suggestions like--bend the element, move the wood towards the front, wood at the edge of the holes, start the smoker hotter until wood starts then bring it down to smoking temp, etc, etc. All this helped, but I still wasn't happy.

Talked to Tony at Cookshack. Ultimately, my wood was just too moist(or green). For a week, I let it set in bins out in the sun vs in the garage in the plastic bags the wood came in. After a week, my wood chunks get, at least, a significant char, but mostly turned to ash.

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