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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
Gasket
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Default Can't get thin blue

I have a 22.5 WSM. It's been 2 hours since I started the fire and it's still billowing thick white smoke. This happens every time. Is there something I'm not doing right? I'm using RO lump and a couple of fist size chunks of oak buried in the coals. It's a sunny day, 66* and breezy. Any tips, tricks, or advice? Is this normal for WSM's?
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:03 PM   #2
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How soon after dropping the hot stuff are you closing it up? I suggest you take the lid off and open the intakes WFO until it stabilizes.
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:04 PM   #3
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what is your temp at? Are you using a water pan? If so, is it filled with anything?

It shouldn't take that long to get up to temp, but if you overshot too much and are trying to bring the temp down you will be smothering the fire and creating a lot of heavy white smoke.

Was the RO Lump wet/moist from being left outside?
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:05 PM   #4
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How are you starting your fire? What's your process?
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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Thick white smoke means it is starving for air and just smoldering. Open the top and the vents for a few minutes until everything gets lit. Your smoke should clear up.
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:21 PM   #6
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To answer every body, after I drop my coals in I leave the middle section off for a bout 10 minutes to let everything get going. I leave all my vents wide open till I start getting close to my target temp (275*), I then start shutting down 2 vents to about a 1/4 open. Top vent is always wide open. No water in the pan, just foiled. The temp on my digital which is at grate level, is reading 305*. My digital is accurate within +/- 2*.
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:34 PM   #7
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Wood chunks maybe too large...try a cook without extra wood and see what happens...it will burn clean...then try adding smaller chunks or chips and go from there...
I don't own a WSM...but you need to establish a base line...My .02
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:36 PM   #8
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When I light up the UDS I leave the top off and all the intakes wide open until my thermo reads 250 before I put the lid on about 20 min and I'm at 300 Pushing sweet blue within 30 min ready to cook. Is it a humid day it may be steam?
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasket View Post
To answer every body, after I drop my coals in I leave the middle section off for a bout 10 minutes to let everything get going. I leave all my vents wide open till I start getting close to my target temp (275*), I then start shutting down 2 vents to about a 1/4 open. Top vent is always wide open. No water in the pan, just foiled. The temp on my digital which is at grate level, is reading 305*. My digital is accurate within +/- 2*.
Sounds like everything is right. I agree about maybe too much wood.
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasket View Post
To answer every body, after I drop my coals in I leave the middle section off for a bout 10 minutes to let everything get going. I leave all my vents wide open till I start getting close to my target temp (275*), I then start shutting down 2 vents to about a 1/4 open. Top vent is always wide open. No water in the pan, just foiled. The temp on my digital which is at grate level, is reading 305*. My digital is accurate within +/- 2*.

Looks like your are over shooting your target temp then trying to lower it by choking down the fire, causing smoldering heavy white smoke.

I suggest you change your startup process. I would only light about 10-12 coals and then put them in your full unlit basket. Close all the doors and keep the lid on. Open all of the vents, both intake and exhaust and let it sit. It should take less than an hour to get up to temp and TBS. Start restricting in the intake air around 225*-230* little by little till you get to your target temp.

Good luck.

For now you are stuck with choking your current fire, causing heavy white smoke until it gets down to your target temp. Once it is there and can get enough air to maintain itself you should be able to get that TBS you are looking for.
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:55 PM   #11
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Like the poster above me stated, it sounds like you're letting your fire get too close to your target temperature before regulating air flow. By doing this, you're squelching the oxygen flow to your fire, thus producing a lot of white smoke.

I used to smoke on a Kamado style grill. Yes, it's different from a WSM, but the minion method worked like a champ for me. I know a lot of other WSM owners who swear by that method, too. Simply put, you start a small fire in a different pit or chimney starter, move that small fire to the center of a huge coal and wood bed in your pit, then let the small fire slowly go to work, igniting the huge coal bed a little bit at a time. For more details, google "minion method."
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Unread 09-24-2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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I have white smoke a lot first few hrs of a cook but it'll be lighter than startup - some charcoals/ wood just put out whitish smoke and water pan putting off steam can add to it -- I use water pans.

during cooks:


http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=c...&v=ZyfwRTlzwYY



Last edited by SmittyJonz; 09-24-2013 at 02:20 PM..
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Unread 09-24-2013, 02:17 PM   #13
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http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=c...&v=ybUQ82mNhOY




And here is heavy startup smoke- not ready yet

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Unread 09-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sliding_billy View Post
Sounds like everything is right. I agree about maybe too much wood.
not sure that's the problem...I use large chunks (more like small splits) all the time, and easily get TBS. I dump in my lit, and leave the body off for ~15 mins or so, then put it on, and leave all the vents open until I'm ~25° shy of target, then start closing them down (top always wide open).
Is your wood seasoned? Maybe your charcoal got wet?
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Unread 09-24-2013, 02:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funugy View Post
Looks like your are over shooting your target temp then trying to lower it by choking down the fire, causing smoldering heavy white smoke.

I suggest you change your startup process. I would only light about 10-12 coals and then put them in your full unlit basket. Close all the doors and keep the lid on. Open all of the vents, both intake and exhaust and let it sit. It should take less than an hour to get up to temp and TBS. Start restricting in the intake air around 225*-230* little by little till you get to your target temp.

Good luck.

For now you are stuck with choking your current fire, causing heavy white smoke until it gets down to your target temp. Once it is there and can get enough air to maintain itself you should be able to get that TBS you are looking for.
This is exactly what I do. I use the coffee can Minion method. About a 1/4 chimney full of lit lump in the center of the coffee can. I let all the vents wide open till I'm within about 25* of target temp (275*). Then choke back on 2 till about 1/4 open with one all the way open. Top vent is always wide open. I don't usually worry about the temp to much at first, since it always drops when I put the cold meat on. I always wait till it's blowing thin blue or invisible till I put the meat on. It always take 2 or more hours to do this.
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