Sounds normal to me.
I have tendancy to use too much smoke wood in the drums and have received Judges comments like "creoste or liquid smoke taste".
I use the weed burner to burn off the crusties on the grate before i cook and wire brush or use a wad of foil to clean it off.
Are you using lump?
Try cutting back on the smoke wood or bury it in the charcoal basket.
Brian - Left Hand Smoke BBQ PNWBA 2010 Team of the Year
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