Vent Hole stain on my smoked almonds/product?

Found a gray/black stain on my smoked almonds today. Stain was located right in the center of the racks. I used two racks and had two stains (one on each rack). The stains were exactly above the vent hole.

It was dark, cold, and I was too lazy to take out a flashlight and stick my head in the smoker to look at the vent hole from the inside. It was not raining or snowing.

Does anyone have experience with these stains?
Does anyone clean the vent hole on a regular basis?
I know how to use the find feature but the word stain was useless...

Background –
I have done about 25 smokes in my Smokette SM009. This was the first time smoking in cold weather (32 degrees tonight).
2 pounds almonds (with Cook Shack Spicy Chicken Rub)
1 pound on each rack
200 degrees (starting with a cold smoker)
2 hrs
2 oz hickory
Did not open smoker till the end of the two hours.

I took a picture with my cell phone. Look in the middle of the rack for a stain.




Photos (1)
Original Post
I have read some threads about this. I cann't remember where they were, but you can use a small brush, some use gun cleanig brush. I would think a little vinager on a clothe run up and down would work.
Hot moist air exiting into the cold exterior will sometimes allow moisture to condense around the hole. Mixed with the smoke "seasoning" from the inside of the hole causes the little black drips. Give the inner roof a wipe around the hole after long smokes, should do the trick.
This problem is not uncommon. I found this info on the web. Check out the link,

Grey spot remover Mod

Stainless steel coffee scoop from grocery store or Wal-Mart.
Unscrew vent pipe, cut and bend handle on the scoop ( I left enough so there would be a 1/4" gap
between the top lip of the scoop to the bottom of the vent). Does not affect smoke exiting in any way.
The finished product. No more wiping the grey/black spots off my meat and it slips out easily so it can be cleaned. I just twist it a bit to slide the temperature probes in and twist it back.
No modifications made to the Cookshack that could void warranty.
No mods needs. You just need to clean your smoker occassionally.

Just clean the hole occassionally. The problem is gunk is getting in the hole, and usually during cold weather cooks, the condensation builds up and drops back down.

The easiest thing is to find a pipe cleaning tool (plumbers section) and it's made to clean out pipes. But a good rag will do fine.

It doesn't happen to everyone, seems to be certain temps and it's very localized.

eyebuster. Nice looking attachment, but I don't think it's needed for everyone. With your set-up you're having a lot of condensation (because of the vent and enclosed space) so that's the cause. If it works for you, that's great, but the solution is just a cleaning one.
We are fortunate not to have a lot of cold weather,to create the condensation problem.

Seems to me,I had a spot on a pork shoulder,10-12 yrs ago.

Don't think it was on any of my Cookshacks.

Just wiped it with the corner of a terry washchoth.
I smoked over 50 pounds of almonds this year for holiday gifts (Garlic...Spicy...Maple Brown Sugar) and ran into the same problem. As previous posters mentioned, black drops form at the inside bottom end of the vent pipe. When I noticed it, I just stopped putting almonds below the pipe...loaded the smoker up and "eyeballed" the spot through the vent pipe. That worked fine.

But I soon realized that all the vent needed was a quick cleaning. I found that a toothbrush fits perfectly in the vent. I dip it in vinegar and then give the vent pipe a little scrub...wipe the bottom end with a cloth and I was "black spot free".

By the almonds were a smashing success! People want they must have been good!
Wow, I thought cal was suggesting using a gun cleaning brush on the almonds, not the vent hole! That would be some serious devotion to the product.
I find this to be a very common problem. I always place some foil on a unused rack below the vent hole and let the crud fall on that instead of my food.
In previous threads some have suggested putting a soup can, opened at both ends, over the vent hole. This allows the condensation to collect on the walls of the can and not on the vent hole.
IMO probably all the extra moisure from almonds was what cause drippings, and if you would clean vent like Pags said should not have black spots.
Thank you everyone. I will clean the vent hole with a brush.

One more question…

Two people suggested using a little vinegar when I clean the vent hole.

Why vinegar?

I realize plain water and a little elbow grease will work fine. However, does vinegar do a better job? I assume it will not cause any issues with the product.

Thank you again everyone. It is unbelievable how much this forums helps people like me who have limited to no smoking experience before they got the CS bug/addiction.
Vinegar will help cut through the grease. People use vinegar and water to clean windows. Clean the hole then wipe it dry. You'll be fine.

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