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Unread 01-01-2013, 11:39 PM   #1
Fatalis
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Default Having problems with my Big Chief (Thick white smoke)

Hey guys Im pretty new and I been smoking allot in 2012, I have a grill that I use and I used it as a smoker as well. Getting blue smoke was pretty easy but now for Christmas I got a Big Chief smoker.

For some reason this big chief is only producing white smoke. The wood chips should last a hour but the really thin chips burnt black in 25 minutes. I used thicker wood chips that lasted 30 minutes until black, wetted them to see if I could get any difference, I used thick wood chunks, I used one wetted large wood chunk which lasted awhile but produced thick white smoke. The smell is gagging when I am changing the wood when usually the smell of blue smoke is sweet and pleasing.

Any tips on getting that blue smoke out of the big chief?


Also, I read somewhere that getting the heat hot enough helps for blue smoke, but if it is too hot doesn't that just produce white smoke since it is burning too fast?
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Unread 01-02-2013, 12:07 AM   #2
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Best advice I've ever been given about the white smoke is this.....Don't over think it!!

Don't worry about what the smoke smells like. Cook something on it and see how it is. If it is over smoked and bitter, then we have a different animal to tame. Until then, don't sweat bullets over the white stuff.

Electric smokers are also a strange breed in that the wood chips will only burn when the coil heats up. Once that coil shuts off after it hits temp, the chips are going to stop burning and thus stop smoking. Wetting them isn't really gonna do anything because the heat will just burn off the steam first, then burn the wood. This is the sole reason I never decided to get an electric "fueled" rig.
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Unread 01-02-2013, 12:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
Best advice I've ever been given about the white smoke is this.....Don't over think it!!

Don't worry about what the smoke smells like. Cook something on it and see how it is. If it is over smoked and bitter, then we have a different animal to tame. Until then, don't sweat bullets over the white stuff.

Electric smokers are also a strange breed in that the wood chips will only burn when the coil heats up. Once that coil shuts off after it hits temp, the chips are going to stop burning and thus stop smoking. Wetting them isn't really gonna do anything because the heat will just burn off the steam first, then burn the wood. This is the sole reason I never decided to get an electric "fueled" rig.

Well my main concern is creosote. I made jerky yesterday which I stopped after 3 hours, the jerky was incredibly strong. And it was either the marinade or the smoke. I was thinking maybe I could elevate the pan a little bit to help it not be so hot? There is also like no ventilation but I don't really want to be poking holes through it yet.
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Unread 01-02-2013, 12:24 AM   #4
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Well creosote really only comes into play when you have poor air flow. It looks like the Big Chief doesn't have good flow at all since it has no exhaust or intake. This could also be leading to your problem with the white smoke. The wood chips are trying to burn, but don't have sufficient oxygen to do so. The blue smoke every one talks about is from a clean burning fire. To have that, you need a good flow of oxygen to the fire, or in this case, wood chips. In most pits, as long as you keep good air flow through the smoker, creosote shouldn't be an issue. Maybe look around on the web for mods to add at least an exhaust to your Chief.
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Unread 01-02-2013, 12:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
Well creosote really only comes into play when you have poor air flow. It looks like the Big Chief doesn't have good flow at all since it has no exhaust or intake. This could also be leading to your problem with the white smoke. The wood chips are trying to burn, but don't have sufficient oxygen to do so. The blue smoke every one talks about is from a clean burning fire. To have that, you need a good flow of oxygen to the fire, or in this case, wood chips. In most pits, as long as you keep good air flow through the smoker, creosote shouldn't be an issue. Maybe look around on the web for mods to add at least an exhaust to your Chief.

Good idea, Ill look around and see what I can do to mod my big chief, maybe I can make my own big chief door with some holes where the wood is going to be for better airflow, if it ends up still being white smoke...more holes! Should be pretty simple.

Thanks guys.
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Unread 01-02-2013, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatalis View Post
Hey guys Im pretty new and I been smoking allot in 2012, I have a grill that I use and I used it as a smoker as well. Getting blue smoke was pretty easy but now for Christmas I got a Big Chief smoker.

For some reason this big chief is only producing white smoke. The wood chips should last a hour but the really thin chips burnt black in 25 minutes. I used thicker wood chips that lasted 30 minutes until black, wetted them to see if I could get any difference, I used thick wood chunks, I used one wetted large wood chunk which lasted awhile but produced thick white smoke. The smell is gagging when I am changing the wood when usually the smell of blue smoke is sweet and pleasing.

Any tips on getting that blue smoke out of the big chief?


Also, I read somewhere that getting the heat hot enough helps for blue smoke, but if it is too hot doesn't that just produce white smoke since it is burning too fast?

The "Big Chief" smoker will not produce large amounts of the thin blue you speak of because of it's limited size. The only combustible materials are your wood chips which burn from your heating element. When wood chips first ignite they will give off white smoke (normal for electric smokers) until they turn to black charcoal. At that point you will have your invisible thin blue smoke until they turn to nothing but gray/white ashes.

The other thing to look at is your wood chip container... Is it too close to the element that causes them to burn too quickly, or can it be adjusted just a little further away so that the wood chips slowly burn over a longer period of time. Try foiling the chip tray to slow down the rate of combustion.

Although the "Big Chief" can hot smoke and cook some items, it was mainly designed as a cold smoker (top vent open - slightly down) so that it does have a good airflow to reduce heat and cold smoke foods.

Keep in mind that jerky is a dried meat product and it can be cold smoked in the drying process to add flavor. But smoking the whole time may yield an over powering smoke flavor especially if you keep adding wood chips.

Never wet your wood chips, they will produce poor combustion in that small smoker.

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Last edited by IamMadMan; 01-02-2013 at 01:07 PM..
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