Hi, I know that this subject has been beaten to death, but.......is there a definitive answer to why the wood in the fire box will only char over and not fully ash? While seasoning my new Smokette Elite @ 200 degrees per the manual, after 5 hours the wood was kinda black on one side and the interior of the smoker looked as new. I cranked it up to 250 and all hell broke loose, including what sounded like a small explosion inside the smoker. I decided that I'd best start over. New wood @ 225 this time.(I also gently nudged the burner closer to the fire box) It started out OK and began to smoke but again after 4+ hours, the wood is still intact for the most part. I am using 2 chunks of the wood that was shipped with the smoker. Any ideas I am having guests today and I really want to avoid using my Weber bullet.

Thanks in advance for your help
Original Post
How did your first "seasoning" turn out? You did toss in butt, couple of oz wood, and let that baby run, yes?

Some of my smokes, wood is turned to ash, other times, wood is charred chunk.

If smoking Chicken for a few hours, wood never turns to ash, if butts for 20+ hours, wood almost always does.

Get some meat in that bad boy, worry about the wood, later, if at all.
Boogio,
I know that you are looking for a definitive answer and I may or may not help, as my experiences came from several years of using a 008. I did find differences in the way wood would appear after use, I sort of attributed them to:
Moisture content of the wood
Time in the smoker
Amount of product in the smoker
Temperature setting
I was NEVER disappointed with the overall outcome of the smoke and as I and my smoker became more seasoned I began to use less wood.

quote:
I cranked it up to 250 and all hell broke loose, including what sounded like a small explosion inside the smoker.


While I never experienced this it clearly is not uncommon (try some searches on boom whoosh or explosion)and I wouldn't get overly excited about it.

As jcohen1005 said
quote:
Get some meat in that bad boy, worry about the wood, later, if at all.
Just for grins Big Grin I'd like to hear if anyone has tried to season one of the new units with wood not coming from Cookshack. Just wondering if they might have a huge supply of green, unseasoned wood. Confused

Too much of this "wood not burning/smoking" stuff. If the unit is getting up to temp, seasoned wood in the box ought to smoke, ya think?

And on the boom -- Consider yourself initiated & welcome to the club. No biggie! Wink
I had the same problem with my Elite. I followed the directions with the unit and got very little smoke/seasoning with just slight blackening of the wood. I even put the wood at the front of the wood box and gently lifted the heating element up as was suggested by others on the site. I did not put any meat in the unit for the seasoning. Once I started smoking with meat in the unit, the amount of smoke increased and I am getting good smoke on the meat. The wood is also turning to ash or at least it is very charred.
something is wrong on a larger scale, or at very least things are less than ideal. could it have something to do with the new models that came out recently? is there something different about the way the firebox sits relative to the element? why should you buy a brand new product and have to bend the heating element? why should you have to put the wood in the front of the wood box only? did the older models have the same issues?
Wow! Thanks for all the quick replies. I am about to load my rib rack & take this thing for a spin. Hopefully, all will go well. I will let you know my results.
Someone will probably chime in and say that if 1000 folks buy something and it works exactly like they hoped,NO ONE will post and rave "man,this works like I thought".

If one person has a problem,which CS solves completely,and occasionally is "operator error",we get a long thread.

Just a thought. Roll Eyes

No,98% of smokers do not work like a precision shop instrument-EVER!

The scary part is,we expect CS to do so.

Yes,a CS costs more than a $50 weber,so it should be perfect??

After all these years,after the first discussion,it is always raves.

There are NO COOKERS that make it as easy as a CS,but it ain't a ballpoint pen.

Yes,we were all anxious for the first week,and then we were "the man of the neighborhood".

Yes, CS has a full return policy,so try to find some folks that used it.

Maybe,if we tossed some wood chunks in,set the cooker at max,loaded up two 8 lb butts,inserted a cheap therm,cooket it to 200* internal,wrapped in foil for two hrs,pulled it ,and ate-forget studying the burnt wood.

Then, walk around and enjoy the backslapping.

Think how envious any other cooker in the world would be.

Just my $0.02-so everyone that sticks with it for 30 days,post and let me know how bad your cooking is. Big Grin
For me, the "this ain't working like I thought it would" was in part due to the directions and expectations in the manual that CS sends with it. For myself I am talking about the Smokette Essential.

Imagine, if you can, the angst created when the directions say "Place 4oz of wood..."Set temp to 200*F. Let the Smokette smoke"

And you do... and nothing happens. No smoke - not a whisp.

Ask me how I know

Here's what I suggest to CS. Amend the directions that come with the smoker. By now they should know that more than a few folks don't get smoke at 200* when they first try. If the manual (on the same page as the seasoning directions)shared some info on 'what to do if it doesn't smoke as described" I would think that would eliminate most of the new buyer jitters concerning making smoke.

Even a "Seasoning a Smokette 020/025 101" on the forum with CS tech suggestions/tips for seasoning and creating smoke for the first time might go a long way to improving expectations/experience amongst first time users

I'm just saying... cause the 020 smoker can produce smokey miracle meals .. ask me how I know

But there's things it doesn't do - that I assumed it would - and later came to view as not a big deal.

So.. maybe rework the seasoning directions just a bit to help a new user get off to a better start... before he thinks he has a problem... and maybe he'll begin to understand that Tom has a point... I think Big Grin
Last edited by redoaknc
Another thing that would help is a mention in the manual that after the first 30 minutes or so, the smoke will be clear and nearly invisible. I believe a lot of people are thinking there will be great billowing clouds of smoke blanketing their neighborhood.

Plus, in my time on this board, I have realized that there are a lot of people in this world that just plain think too much. Many of them buy CS products. Smiler I've never seen so many people that find it so hard NOT to do something. Don't open the door. Don't go looking for exotic wood when hickory or oak will do just fine. Don't go rub crazy. Etc.

To paraphrase Tom, stick in a butt or two with some hickory, set it to 225-250*, close the door and don't open it until your therm reads 190-200*. You'll be happy and won't have to un-learn all the other crap you read on other BBQ sites that apply, if at all, to other cookers.
All,

As I always do, if you have a suggestion, email it direct to CS or call them up. Customer service doesn't read every thread, so when you have something you consider, just take it to them direct.

They DO prefer to hear from you direct, and a call is toll free.

Moderator
I'm not disagreeing that a perfect manual could help some of the anxiety that many of us feel with a new major purchase.

We also wish to do things correctly.

Typically smokers don't come with much in the way of instructions,and ceratinly don't have forums.

Cookshack sponsors the forum ,as a more comprehensive starter, and a method to help all of us grow with the cookers.

They have found,and most cooks agree, that it seems to work much better than the couple typed pages that most companies include.

Hopefully,all of us grow thru the starting angst so quickly,it works out well.

I have no connection to the company,just an observation from over the years. Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Hopefully,all of us grow thru the starting angst so quickly,it works out well.


I wish I could work "angst" into my conversation more often, very impressed Tom.
There will never be a perfect manual, but I do wish CS or somebody would include some tips about etiquette in their manual. Last weekend I was at a cookout and I had a couple or dozen margaritas. Then this woman that had looked pretty good earlier now looked pretty awesome and we ended up sharing a lawn chair. Her husband and I aren't friends, and nobody was forcing her to sit with me, so my question is, "Was I wrong?". Did I breach some unwritten BBQ etiquette? Because if somebody had told me I shouldn't be sharing a lawn chair with a hot woman, I would have listened, really.
As long as you didn't "poke" her to see if she was done, I believe that you are within the barbecue code of ethics. BTW the smoker is fine and the ribs were fabulous.
Yep,it is terrible how being a Cookshack bbq cook draws groupies.

You should know everything prolific has it's hazards. Wink
OK, so everyone that has the same problem of little smoke at first, has talked about how it has come to pass, No one here has said how to fix this.
I've smoked 4 times including a butt for 8 hours on 225 until it hit an internal temp of 183*f. I put in 2 chunks of the wood that they included, no idea what kind because they never marked it (smells like hickory?). And after 8 hours the two chunks never burnt much less browned more than the bottoms.
How can I fix this? The chunks were in the front of the box.
quote:
Originally posted by winetogo:
OK, so everyone that has the same problem of little smoke at first, has talked about how it has come to pass, No one here has said how to fix this.
I've smoked 4 times including a butt for 8 hours on 225 until it hit an internal temp of 183*f. I put in 2 chunks of the wood that they included, no idea what kind because they never marked it (smells like hickory?). And after 8 hours the two chunks never burnt much less browned more than the bottoms.
How can I fix this? The chunks were in the front of the box.


having the same problem here. i did the same as winetogo - wood in front - bent the element up - just a little char on the bottom of the wood on my 020. did CS change something recently in the design or element? any ideas how to fix? Q was OK, but not too much smoke flavor. certainly NOT the 'too much' smoke that other threads have commented on.
Make sure that you are loading the wood with the endgrain touching the bottom. On my cs020, I seem to have better luck putting the wood in the middle of the box. When I bent the element up it caused the box not to come in contact with parts of the element, might check that.

I did notice that the wood that I got with my smoker needed a little more drying out.
thanks for the tip cal. i had put the wood bark down. i'll try the end grain down next time. gee, too bad. i gotta' eat Q again to test this. boy, this testing is gonna' be hard on the ole' waist line!!
quote:
Originally posted by redoakNC:
For me, the "this ain't working like I thought it would" was in part due to the directions and expectations in the manual that CS sends with it. For myself I am talking about the Smokette Essential.


Do me a favor, either email or call CS Customer Service. You're comment is fine in the forum, but they won't see it buried in a thread amongst 1,000's.

Good, valid suggestions for improvement will be heard if you just contact them direct. I can tell them but they don't always listen to me Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by SmokinOkie:.. I can tell them but they don't always listen to me Big Grin
Umm.. I sent suggestion to T.Marlar. Told him you sent me. He asks "who is SmokinOkie"? I think I see your problem Big Grin
Here's an interesting document that shows charring and ignition temperatures for various woods over specific periods of time. At 250 degrees, ignition is accomplished in a relatively short period of time. While at 180 degrees, ignition takes a bit longer, dependent on the type of wood. Be sure to scroll down until you see the chart at the bottom.

What's even more interesting is that in their tests, the heat source was above the wood samples. In our case with the CS smokers our heat source is below the wood, and in some cases touching the wood, or at least touching the surface that the wood is sitting on.

While our smoking wood might not exactly catch fire, it should definitely be charring at temperatures as low as 180 degrees.
Sorry, Bododio, but if you found that document interesting, I would suggest you devote your considerable prowess at research to answering Todd G.'s dilemma. While your report lost me somewhere after ignition temperature, Todd's report grabbed me somewhere between 'dozen margaritas' and the pretty good looking woman.
You may be wasting your talent, is all I'm saying. Wink
Well, lucky for us that someone at Cookshack did the research to come up with the design that allows us to kick back with our margaritas while our food is deliciously smoking.

Research is good, is all I'm saying. Wink
All information is good. Kinda technically confirms what we generally know. Wood starts at a lower temperature and burns hotter at higher temps.

Also, explains why I don't see much smoke if any at 150*. Wished the survey would have covered more of the woods we use. Don't think fir or redwood would be kind to that brisket. Eeker
I looked for any information related to the woods we use for smoking, but most of the stuff I found was in regards to fire prevention, safety, etc. That said, the red oak samples in the testing perhaps come closest.

What I got out of the document is that many, if not most, woods will begin to burn at much lower temperatures than we might think. If it's like many other heating elements, like in hot plates, electric stoves, etc., the heating element in the CS basically is either on or off. And when on, heats up to somewhere around 1000 degrees F, more or less, in a short period of time, probably 30 seconds to 1 minute. Just about any wood will combust when exposed to that kind of temperature. The internal temperature of the CS is controlled by the cycling on-off of the heating element. And if we bend the heating element up to touch the bottom of the smoke box, and put the wood directly on top of that spot, there's no way it's not going to start to burn, regardless of whether we set the temperature to 150 or 250. Of course, the wood will burn at a higher rate the higher we set the temperature because the heating element will be on more.

And this answers the OP's questions: Have faith in the CS research and engineering, break out the margaritas, don't open the door prematurely, and don't worry about it Wink

quote:
Originally posted by Pags:
All information is good. Kinda technically confirms what we generally know. Wood starts at a lower temperature and burns hotter at higher temps.

Also, explains why I don't see much smoke if any at 150*. Wished the survey would have covered more of the woods we use. Don't think fir or redwood would be kind to that brisket. Eeker
quote:
Originally posted by Pags:..Also, explains why I don't see much smoke if any at 150*..
Like Bododio writes, the surface temp of the element when it's 'lit'(and any metal surfaces in close proximity, ie bottom of woodbox)should ignite/smoke wood at any oven setting. The quick arrival time to 150* setpoint probably prevents copious smoke at that setting. A smaller wattage element(still has same high surface temp) would work harder/longer to reach 150* and might produce more smoke - but maybe not best for maintaining 300* when cooking large loads. Until they sell a dual element oven, cold smoking will just have to be an adaptive art.

I'm thrilled just to push button and go sit down. Come back when done... enjoy great smoked food and pats on back. I guess it's working Cool
quote:
Originally posted by smokinMN:
thanks for the tip cal. i had put the wood bark down. i'll try the end grain down next time. gee, too bad. i gotta' eat Q again to test this. boy, this testing is gonna' be hard on the ole' waist line!!


an update

thanks again for the tip!! works great now!! i wish the instructions were a little more specific. i will contact CS and suggest that as i have read other concerns about their skimpy instruction booklet.
CS should consider keeping the instruction book to a minimum and providing a link to the forum. I know this is not an "official" CS forum -- though it is about as close as you can get. The help owners get here is awesome.

Been trying to find a nice way to say this for a while. It always irks me when I see the statement "CS does not monitor this forum". I can understand they don't want it to be their primary support portal, but they should be monitoring it every day -- and I imagine for the most part they do. The reason I say this, is there seems to be a couple of issues that have been discussed recently -- one is the wood burning issues on newer models and the other, to a lesser extent smokers being shipped that are damaged or not working properly.

OK, I finally said it. At the same time, I am very happy with the smoker I bought two years ago. It just keeps getting better every time. Also continue to learn by reading this forum and others. Thanks very much to CS and the core contributors on the forum!

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