Author Topic: *$%&~@Combustion!  (Read 1427 times)

PuffDaddy

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*$%&~@Combustion!
« on: February 24, 2018, 11:35:36 PM »
BBQ Bros and Sisters,
Did my first smoke on the new 2D tonight.
Went with boneless, skinless chicken breasts since they would cause the least heartache if I failed.
Brined,rubbed and smoked with cherry at 270 F to an internal temp of 165F. One 2 ounce chunk of cherry, non-soaked.
Came out very nice except for a problem with wood combustion as the smoker was coming up to temp (caught fire below 230F). Luckily, I was almost literally sitting on the smoker and could smell the burning wood. Pulled the box out, dumped the burning wood and replaced with mildly soaked wood for the remainder.
Wood was purchased from a grill/smoker/BBQ supply store locally. 5 lb bag of very large chunks I cut down on band saw. Sold in mesh bags.
Any guesses as to why wood began to burn at such a low temp? Just too dry?
I'm thinking of cutting all the wood (I bought cherry, apple, oak and hickory  :o) into SI appropriate chunks, storing in sealed plastic containers with boveda packs or similar humidification device. Is there an ideal humidification for wood ( ala cigars?)
How do you experts keep your wood at an appropriate humidification and avoid combustion?
I'd really hate to waste a smoker full of ribs!
Thanks!

« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 11:38:51 PM by PuffDaddy »
Mark from OKC

barelfly

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 12:11:38 AM »
You will probably be told not to use big box wood chunks by everyone that replies. Like you mentioned, they are just to dry. Smokinlicious is what most use on this site for our smokers. The double fillets are perfect size for the smoker boxes and have the perfect humidity.

Do you have any of the chunks that came with your smoker? Those may work better for you. Also, creating a boat or shield for the wood can help prevent combustion. Iíve learned the hot spots in my 3D are towards the back. Iíll still place chunks in the back but I lay them lengthwise so they are not over the wholes. This has helped with my smokes, also closer to the door is less hot, so you can try and see where your hot spots are as well.

Thatís what I can offer, Iím sure others will provide some assistance
Jeremy in Rio Rancho, NM
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PuffDaddy

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 09:09:11 AM »
Thanks barelfly,
I was hoping wood from a vendor that specializes in smoking and grilling supplies would have better wood than Loweís or HD but I guess itís just too dry. Unfortunate because I bought 4 bags of various woods!
Iím going to cut it into correct size for SI and place it into plastic tubs w a little moisture to attempt to humidify.
I did put the wood toward the front of the box, having read here that combustion might be less likely there. I will BOLO for hot spot locations.
The wood supplied with the smoker was completely white ash after the seasoning process. Just for whatever itís worth.
Do you think running the chip insert would help? May try that.
Will also look at boating w foil and maybe soaking (although soaking doesnít seem to be regularly recommended)
Iíll try one thing at a time to see whatís effective.
Mark from OKC

SuperDave

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 09:35:18 AM »
I've been a user of dry wood since I bought my smoker and found ways to eliminate combustion without buying over priced wood.  Yes, I'm in the minority here but there are other options.  I cover most of the bottom holes in the wood box with foil, use the chip screen and place my wood in the box where it doesn't combust. 
Model 4, Harrisville, Utah

Limey

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 11:56:12 AM »
I do exactly what Dave does except that I do not foil the bottom of the wood box. The chip screen seems to do the job for me although since I live in the Florida Keys the humidity is always fairly high and this may be a factor.
Roger from the Florida Keys.
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TX Gent

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 12:35:17 PM »
I use the chip screen for almost all smokes even with chunks and I even sometimes wrap some in foil or add a layer of foil on top of wood. I've found different woods have higher and lower smoke combustion points and they do vary if it's a fruit wood vs. a hardwood plus moisture levels.

Everyone's experiences vary and you'll find what works for you with enough smokes under your belt.
 
John ... Smokin #2  South of "Hells' Half Acre" and along ol' Deer Creek

DivotMaker

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 05:42:56 PM »
Mark, I've hit the big box wood with a moisture meter, and could barely register 1%!  As a reference, smokinlicious wood comes in at 20-30%.  Makes a huge difference!  You can store your big box wood in a plastic container with a moisture source in it (like a wet wash cloth or sponge), and it will slowly reabsorb the moisture.  It can take a few weeks of adding more as the sponge dries, but it's doable.
Tony from NW Arkansas
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LarryD

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 11:01:54 PM »
I'm with SuperDave...  I bought four different bags of wood from Home Depot when I got my smoker (~15 mo ago) and I'm just now getting to the end of a couple of bags.  I think I've only had combustion once.  I foil the bottom of the smoke box and only open a few of the holes.  I also spread the wood out in the box and not put it right above any holes.  Smells great and tastes great.

I'm just not sure that a higher moisture wood is going to end up doing anything extra for me.  Sometimes I will briefly soak the wood before hand.  I think this mostly just delays the smoke a little and is one more step to help ensure it doesn't combust as it comes up to temperature.
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es1025

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2018, 07:44:15 AM »
I bring the final temperature in two stages. The first setting is 170 for 30 minutes, and then the final temp. It eliminates the combustion that you have seen.
Ed from Northern NJ
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old sarge

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2018, 10:59:23 AM »
I noticed a long time ago with my first smoker that the discoloration in the wood box from heat varied from end to end and side to side.  So when I got my SI I looked for the same heat discoloration.  And I place my wood on the cooler section, most of the time. I doubt that there is much heat difference but that is what I do to avoid any actual or perceived problems. I haven't had to foil boat yet may do so at some time just so I can join the crowd who do.
David from Arizona
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Hawkeye

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2018, 08:33:40 PM »
Foil boat worked wonders for me! I went out and bought a lot of different woods from the big box stores, and realized after looking through the forums that may not have been the best choice since they are dry.  Especially since the hickory that came with my smoker have all been turning to ash no matter where I have placed them.  I smoked today with the dry store bought wood in a foil boat and it turned to coal!  Thanks for the help!
Dave from Iowa

ChuckP

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 01:31:26 PM »
Ive been using big box wood too.  I foil boat and generally put the wood on rolled tin foil "snakes" to raise them about 1/4" above the floor of the smoker box.  I dont have combustion anymore, though occasionally the smoke has a stronger taste, maybe its on the verge of combustion.  i recently bought the chip screen and am going to try that on my next smoke.

Does anyone preheat / smoke their smokers before putting the food in?  I know it says not to, but it seems like you're missing out on smoke time with the food when it should be at it's best time to absord the smoke flavor.
Chuck
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LarryD

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2018, 10:50:17 AM »
Does anyone preheat / smoke their smokers before putting the food in?  I know it says not to, but it seems like you're missing out on smoke time with the food when it should be at it's best time to absord the smoke flavor.

I do for salmon... I have a buddy with a #1 (possibly an original #1) who makes killer salmon, so I follow his recipe which calls for pre-heating.
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Jimeo

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 04:11:39 PM »
Great timing Larry D!  Iím doing some salmon tonight and will try the preheat to get some smoke rolling before putting the fish in. Thanks!
Jim in Marietta Georgia
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LarryD

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Re: *$%&~@Combustion!
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2018, 04:31:55 PM »
You're welcome...  here are his full instructions he sent me:

"It's easy. A big 3lb slab of salmon.  Put the chip in and turn on the smoker BEFORE YOU PUT THE SALMON IN.  Let it come up to temp (250) and start to smoke.  Then put the salmon in on the top rack.  35-40 min and you are done!  Thinner pieces or individual steaks only need 30-35 min.  Do NOT over cook. Even an extra 5 min can dry the salmon out.  Smoke with fruit wood and you don't need much.  A handful is plenty."

I also asked him some clarifying questions and got this additional info:

"Leave the smoker on at 250.  No need for the cold plate.  I like my salmon moist and tender.  You will know it's done when your timer hits 35 min . You can't use a temp probe.  Ya just gotta believe!"

"No curing.  I just put lemon, a little salt or sometimes brown sugar on it and that's it.  Any fruit wood will do but I like apple the best."

I avoid sugar, so I've made it with just salt and also a blend of salt, pepper, and lemon.  It has come out great every time!
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