I'm smoking fish at 200 degrees in my Smokette. I get smoke for about the second 30 minutes until the smoker temp reaches 200F, then it just stops.

I am using 1 oz of alder and 1 oz of apple. Both pieces of wood are set to the front of the wood tray, and the element is touching the underside of the tray.

I had this same problem last week. The wood slightly charred, but not completely blackened or ash. I seem to be having the same trouble tonight.

Are there any tricks to keeping the smoke going at this temperature? A dish of ice water, maybe?

Thanks.
Original Post
I've actually seen more comments about this recently than I can ever remember.

As the model has been changed, I will now recommend, besides trying the things we mention, to call CS. If it's really an issue, they can help.

Could be how the wood is (very new, green and hard to smoke)
Could be heat/airflow

Keep in mind wood needs heat to combust. The larger the chunk, the more it tends to smolder.

It could be the wood needs to be aged more.

I'd advise smaller chunks, not chips/pellets or sawdust unless you're cold smoking. If you go with too small of wood, it will just ignite at the higher temps with little, very little smoke.

Go with smaller chunks.
Last edited by Former Member
I agree that we seem to have a bit of conversation about wood burning. Maybe wider models somehow change the draft conditions, but I doubt it.

I'm suspecting wood. More smokers. More wood burning. Maybe the wood isn't getting as seasoned as it should be as suppliers try to keep up with demand. Once I let my wood dry in the sun for over a week, I got significantly better burn. Smaller chunks help.
i too have had this problem a few times with my elite. even on overnighters with pork butt. sometimes the chunks will be completely ash in the morning when i check, but sometimes the wood chunks are still whole, but all black.

i put the chunks at the front too. though i put them where they arent covering one of the holes in the wood box.

im betting its the wood though because it does turn to ash more often than not. im using cookshack wood chunks. thinking i should leave the rest outside in the hot summer sun for a day or two.
I wished I had that nifty saw you've got. But I don't think I could justify it to the Mrs., what with all the smoke stuff I've already bought this year. Any other easy way to split the chunks of wood?
I called cook shack about this issue...
1. You don't want to completely burn the wood in most cases because the result would be that the food would taste like the inside of your smoker after you seasoned it, Black and acrid.
2. Since the wood is burned by the heating element only when it is on, things that keep it on longer like: colder start up temp, larger loads and, and higher cooking temps will burn more wood. Once the interior reaches the set temp, the heating element is only on for short periods of time.
Thanks for all of the input. I think it was the wood.

I took all my wood chunks out and laid them out out in the sun for 24 hours. It's 100+ degrees here in North Texas. I also took a small camp hatchet and split some of my wood so I ended up with pieces of all sizes.

Then I put my chunks of wood directly on top of the holes in the front of the wood tray. There are other holes for air flow and I want as much of the wood in contact with the heat from the elements as possible. My wood was completely ashed this time, and the smoke flavor was excellent.

Here's some other things I learned. One of the ideas suggested was to use smaller chunks for lower temps or shorter cooks. That's a great idea. I think that if your wood is really dry, however, that you can get away with larger chunks for long, low temp smokes. I tried a pork butt at 225F with 3.5 oz (6 chunks) of small hickory chunks, and I got smoke for about an hour out of the chimney. Then I tried 3.5 oz of hickory in bigger chunks (2 pieces) on another butt and I got smoke for almost 2 hours. Both sets of wood ashed completely (because it was dry) and the second butt had much more smoke flavor.

So I plan on using smaller pieces for shorter smokes and larger pieces for longer smokes. And if the dried wood still isn't smoking well as low temps, I might add a dish of cold water, beer, or juice to act as a heat sink to keep the element burning longer. Just a thought.

Thanks again.
I have also had trouble trying to create smoke while keeping the temperature low. What I've started doing is putting a pan of ice cubes near the temperature sensor of the smoker. It keeps the heating element on longer, thus allowing the wood to smoke. Because of the ice, the cooking temp near the top stays in the 200 degrees range. It works pretty well.
A lot has to be said for the ingenuity amongst the group, however; when it comes to putting a pan of ice cubes in an electric smoker of such great quality one might question the design characteristics of the smoker if it ain't smokin.
quote:
Originally posted by Mattmilw:
I guess it is a question one could ask. I chose to ask, "What can I do to make more smoke at a lower cooking temp?"


You'll have to experiment, but first question is what are you cooking at lower temps.

If it's cold smoker, do a search on that.

you'll need to use sawdust, pellets or chips at VERY low settings to get smoke
quote:
Originally posted by Iroqois:
A lot has to be said for the ingenuity amongst the group, however; when it comes to putting a pan of ice cubes in an electric smoker of such great quality one might question the design characteristics of the smoker if it ain't smokin.


I think you're missing the issue. The smoker will smoke just fine, it's the wood that's not smoking. Big difference.

As one person made that suggestion, I don't think it's ever been recommended. I for one don't agree with a "try to trick the smoker concept" as that really just isn't how it's designed.

We've discussed many a time how to solve this. Most times, it's not been the smoker but the wood.
Using ice cubes solved my issue, and I thought it might help others. Sorry if it is considered too "out there". I was simply trying to help.
quote:
Originally posted by Mattmilw:
Using ice cubes solved my issue, and I thought it might help others. Sorry if it is considered too "out there". I was simply trying to help.


Matt, I started this thread, and I'm glad you offered up your advice. For me, I found that drying out my wood chunks in the sun and gently bending the element upwards to touch the wood tray solved my problem of smoking at lower temps. However, if I don't have time to dry the wood (for instance, if I just bought a new batch) I would definitely try your method out. It's a similar trick to what CookShack recommends doing when you break in your smoker, so I see nothing wrong with it. Thanks for your input.
I just wanted to add that I smoked some baby back ribs again this weekend. I set out some larger chunks of wood in the sun the day before. I placed 3 chunks of wood (total wt of 5.3 oz) in the tray, near the front, and completely covered a hole with each piece. Starting with a cold Smokette Essential and the temp set to 250, I had smoke in ten minutes and it lasted for about 2.5 hours. The wood was almost completely ashed.

So dry your wood chunks as best as you can, and save the bigger chunks for longer smokes and the smaller chunks or pieces for your shorter smokes.
I had trouble generating smoke when breaking in my new AQ. The first go-round it burned the chunk on the left to ash and barely singed the one on the right (after 8 hours finishing at 250*) The wood was a new batch from Cookshack that came with my smoker. So I experimented - next time I put two chunks on the left and they both burned to ash (still an empty smoker). After looking more closely at my heating element, it was tilted with the left side significantly higher than the right. I took the advice of others in the forum and gently bent my element up and leveled it out. The next run (albeit with meat) ashed everything. The element bends very easily and seems quite pliable, but I wouldn't mess with it too many times. Mine might be a special case - all of the innards collapsed during shipment which bent up two of my racks and left the smoke box holding up the weight of the casters and wood box which probably bent the element the wrong way. Still - I think this tip fixed my problem. Someday if I'm really bored I will season again with a chunk on the right.

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