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Old 04-17-2014, 08:24 PM   #1
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
Join Date: 03-26-13
Location: denver, co
Default clean smoke in a keg/egg?

hey guys!

got my big steel keg maybe 6 months ago? i have been using it probably 3 times a week, maybe more since then. cooking everything from pizzas to abts, and everything in between.

i am getting better at temp control, and can hold 275-325 fairly easily, and that is fine for me, i much prefer hot and fast cooking. my issue is that my smoke is usually lots of white and billowing and sometimes it is effecting my taste. i know i need to get to the thin blue smoke. i am better at getting this on my old offset, or on my UDS, but trying to figure out how to achieve this on my steel keg.

any ideas or suggestions?
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

I assume you're using lump and not much smoking wood? Are you lighting a small section of charcoal?
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:59 PM   #3
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
Join Date: 03-26-13
Location: denver, co

Originally Posted by Fwismoker View Post
I assume you're using lump and not much smoking wood? Are you lighting a small section of charcoal?
yep, using royal oak lump, mixed with a couple of hickory or pecan chunks.

i take two of those weber wax cubes, start a fire in a middle, get a good flame going with the keg opened up. when the cubes burn off about 10 minutes later i close it up with the bottom vent open and top vent open. when i get to about 250 dome top i close it down. i then dial it in to 300*ish. bottom is barely open as in can't fit the tip of my pinky in there. top is around setting 2 or 3.

i know from my offset and UDS that it is important to have the exhaust full open. i have tried that with the keg, but no luck.
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:41 AM   #4
Take a breath!
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Join Date: 12-09-12
Location: Clarkston Michigan

I use royal oak lump also, started out with same issue but got it under control by starting the lump in the webber stand up charcoal thingy, let em get going and then dump them in.
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:45 AM   #5
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Join Date: 03-05-10
Location: Kansas City, MO

It takes time. With a load of new lump, I wait a minimum of 30 min before thinking of cooking... Usually it is more like 40-50 min. With used lump, there is practically no wait. Used lump is fine for long cooks but won't easily reach the extreme temps (700°+) some people like for searing steaks. Other than that, I'd much prefer a load of lump that has been used for a short cook (like burgers). Starts cleaner and easier to keep temps from running away due to a few minutes inattention (like a nap). My experience is with a large Egg but you might PM "Dreggs"... The Keg is his favorite cooker (and he has a small Egg and a MAK).
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:09 AM   #6
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Join Date: 03-30-10
Location: Thibodaux, LA

I have a KEG and never had an issue with white smoke. I use either lump or stubbs only and I light either with a weed torch or charcoal chimney. I use wood chunks and have always had a clean burning fire.
is your wood damp? is the inside of your keg damp from maybe being in the rain?
As for the vents the tops stays open on 4 and the bottom is closed to just barely open. I can keep a steady temp of 250+ which is where I usually run the KEG. I can get it lower but only by lighting a little charcoal and placing on top of unlit.
If you have a weed burner I would clean the inside of the keg completly, especially the dome and also switch to stubbs and see how it works.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:16 AM   #7
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Join Date: 09-02-12
Location: Kentucky

When I was learning on my BGE a few months ago, I had some issues too. So I started out not using any smoking wood. The smoke is a product of incomplete combustion due to the lack of air. I was quite surprised by the amount of nice blue smoke I get using only lump charcoal with no smoking wood. I don't use much smoking wood anymore in my egg, my lump puts out enough and produces thin smoke easily. Try using less smoking wood. Or bury it deeper so that it doesn't ignite so fast, until you have a good fire going.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:02 AM   #8
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Location: Rome, Italy

In my experience with 22.5 WSM using tin can minion method w/ briqs only, I can tell you that for the most part of the first hour i get only whie and billowing smoke. When it has set, it desappears and become the thin blue smoke we all want and love! Therefore I just start before in advance.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:04 AM   #9
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Join Date: 09-09-13
Location: South FL

I have the same problem. It usually takes around an hour for the white smoke to stop. By that time I think the chunk as just burned out.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:35 AM   #10
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Join Date: 09-17-13
Location: MPLS, MN

I know for me on the mini akorn what works best is to get the lump started and get the grill completely up to temp and stabilized where I want to cook. Usually around 275 or so. Once the grill is hot and the fire is stabil and burning good thats when I add my wood chunks. I usually get a initial plume of white smoke but find it settles down pretty good into a nice thin stream after about 10-15 minutes.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #11
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Join Date: 07-08-10
Location: Boyertown, PA

I pile in the lump, light 2 starter cubes, in 15 min when those 2 spots are going pretty good I jam a chunk in both, put in the plate setter, grate and maverick probe, leave the top off and bottom vent open until I'm about 25* from my target, close up the vents and wait about 30 min for thin blue smoke.

I get plenty of smoke from just those 2 chunks. Smoke ring too.

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Old 04-18-2014, 01:19 PM   #12
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Join Date: 12-06-13
Location: Cambridge, MA

I'll tell you my Keg secrets! Once the temp goes too high, you're done. It's real hard to get it back down.

I put my wood chunks, maybe 2 or 3 good sized ones, on the bottom. Then I pile hardwood lump around it to make a cone shaped volcano looking thing.

I blow torch only the top center of this volcano. The goal is to have a small hot fire started. Vents top and bottom set to 3.

When the thermometer is at about 200, I drop the vents down to where I'm cooking. Bottom 1. Top 1.5-2.

That's all there is to it. Any part of the fire burning should burn clean AND you won't go over temp.
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