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Thread: I'm charcoal "challenged", so I converted my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

  1. #11
    TVWBB Pro Lynn Dollar's Avatar
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    I'll play the contrarian here. I don't like the idea of smoldering wood on a hot plate. That's gonna create a lot of dirty smoke.

    Wood on charcoal chunks will do the same, unless at some point the wood bursts into flame. At the start of a smoke with wood chunks on charcoal on a WSM, there will be a lot of white dirty smoke at the start, but it goes away fairly quickly. Its a problem with any charcoal/chunk smoker. I try to avoid this on the WSM by no longer cooking at lower temps, I think Harry Soo and others using charcoal/chunk smokers cook at 275 and above, the higher heat improves air flow, which improves combustion of the wood.

    That's my theory and I'm stickin to it

    It seems to me, this smoldering wood on a hot plate is producing the wrong kind of smoke for the duration of the cook.

    But if ya watch older versions of Steven Raichlen's PBS show, he uses soaked wood chips on WSM smokes, and I gotta wonder what that food really tastes like. That's the worst kind of smoke, its like burning very green wood in an offset stick burner.

    Also, the people who use a smoke generator on a pellet grill, I forget what they're called, but its some type of tube placed on the cooking grate that increases smoke, but the smoke is dirty smoke. I question that.

    And just because ya can't see the smoke generated by a pellet pooper, doesn't mean there's not smoke. On my offset stick burner, there's a lot of time that I can't see smoke coming out the stack, but if I hold my hand over the stack, I can smell smoke on my hand.

    I'd be very interested in what kind of smoke this propane burner creates.
    2002 18" WSM , 1999 22 Kettle , 1983 Smokey Joe , 2019 26" Kettle , 2016 Spirit 3 Gasser , Old Country Brazos offset smoker

  2. #12
    TVWBB Member EdP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Dollar View Post
    I'll play the contrarian here. I don't like the idea of smoldering wood on a hot plate. That's gonna create a lot of dirty smoke.

    Wood on charcoal chunks will do the same, unless at some point the wood bursts into flame. At the start of a smoke with wood chunks on charcoal on a WSM, there will be a lot of white dirty smoke at the start, but it goes away fairly quickly. Its a problem with any charcoal/chunk smoker. I try to avoid this on the WSM by no longer cooking at lower temps, I think Harry Soo and others using charcoal/chunk smokers cook at 275 and above, the higher heat improves air flow, which improves combustion of the wood.

    That's my theory and I'm stickin to it

    It seems to me, this smoldering wood on a hot plate is producing the wrong kind of smoke for the duration of the cook.

    But if ya watch older versions of Steven Raichlen's PBS show, he uses soaked wood chips on WSM smokes, and I gotta wonder what that food really tastes like. That's the worst kind of smoke, its like burning very green wood in an offset stick burner.

    Also, the people who use a smoke generator on a pellet grill, I forget what they're called, but its some type of tube placed on the cooking grate that increases smoke, but the smoke is dirty smoke. I question that.

    And just because ya can't see the smoke generated by a pellet pooper, doesn't mean there's not smoke. On my offset stick burner, there's a lot of time that I can't see smoke coming out the stack, but if I hold my hand over the stack, I can smell smoke on my hand.

    I'd be very interested in what kind of smoke this propane burner creates.



    I'm new to all this, but I assume this runs like any other propane smoker.

    When I start the burner and put half a log on I do get white smoke initially during the 20-30 minutes it takes to warm up, but the wood does ignite. Sometimes opening the door puts it out and it reignites after it's closed. I move the box for pics, but leave it directly over the burner.

    You really can't see the smoke once it gets to 225-250. It's pretty much down to ash after about 4 hours.

  3. #13
    TVWBB Pro Lynn Dollar's Avatar
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    I would think it to be just the opposite, open the door increases air flow and wood combusts into flame, closing shuts off air flow ?
    2002 18" WSM , 1999 22 Kettle , 1983 Smokey Joe , 2019 26" Kettle , 2016 Spirit 3 Gasser , Old Country Brazos offset smoker

  4. #14
    TVWBB Member EdP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Dollar View Post
    I would think it to be just the opposite, open the door increases air flow and wood combusts into flame, closing shuts off air flow ?

    It usually blows it out, removing the lid's done that too. And the burner flame can go out removing the lid quickly.

    I drilled holes on the bottom for more airflow, but maybe need to add more.

  5. #15
    TVWBB Gold Member Larry D.'s Avatar
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    "If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?"
    18.5 WSM | 22.5 OTG (green) | 22.5 Kettle (OTS, black)

  6. #16
    TVWBB Member EdP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry D. View Post





  7. #17
    TVWBB Guru Rusty James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Dollar View Post
    I'll play the contrarian here. I don't like the idea of smoldering wood on a hot plate. That's gonna create a lot of dirty smoke.

    Wood on charcoal chunks will do the same, unless at some point the wood bursts into flame. At the start of a smoke with wood chunks on charcoal on a WSM, there will be a lot of white dirty smoke at the start, but it goes away fairly quickly. Its a problem with any charcoal/chunk smoker. I try to avoid this on the WSM by no longer cooking at lower temps, I think Harry Soo and others using charcoal/chunk smokers cook at 275 and above, the higher heat improves air flow, which improves combustion of the wood.

    That's my theory and I'm stickin to it

    It seems to me, this smoldering wood on a hot plate is producing the wrong kind of smoke for the duration of the cook.

    But if ya watch older versions of Steven Raichlen's PBS show, he uses soaked wood chips on WSM smokes, and I gotta wonder what that food really tastes like. That's the worst kind of smoke, its like burning very green wood in an offset stick burner.

    Also, the people who use a smoke generator on a pellet grill, I forget what they're called, but its some type of tube placed on the cooking grate that increases smoke, but the smoke is dirty smoke. I question that.

    And just because ya can't see the smoke generated by a pellet pooper, doesn't mean there's not smoke. On my offset stick burner, there's a lot of time that I can't see smoke coming out the stack, but if I hold my hand over the stack, I can smell smoke on my hand.

    I'd be very interested in what kind of smoke this propane burner creates.

    I have had little luck with placing wood chunks / chips directly on the fire without introducing creosote smoke. My only exception is with propane and wood chips (haven't tried wood chunks with propane yet).

    For what it's worth, I fold a sheet of heavy-duty foil into a double-layer pocket, open one side of the pocket and fill with dry chips, seal, and poke a single round hole in the middle of the packet with a pencil or Phillips screwdriver. I've had no issues with creosote this way when using gas.

    I don't use chips on charcoal, but I do place chunks directly on the (WSM) grate before adding charcoal. Some creosote smoke is inevitable, but usually burns off after everything comes up to temp, and I believe the higher the better (250 ~ 275 compared to 225 or less).
    18.5", 18.5", 14.5", Royal Oak Lump / Royal Oak All Natural Briquettes, Blue Genesis Silver C, Q1000

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Dollar View Post
    I'll play the contrarian here. I don't like the idea of smoldering wood on a hot plate. That's gonna create a lot of dirty smoke.

    Wood on charcoal chunks will do the same, unless at some point the wood bursts into flame. At the start of a smoke with wood chunks on charcoal on a WSM, there will be a lot of white dirty smoke at the start, but it goes away fairly quickly. Its a problem with any charcoal/chunk smoker. I try to avoid this on the WSM by no longer cooking at lower temps, I think Harry Soo and others using charcoal/chunk smokers cook at 275 and above, the higher heat improves air flow, which improves combustion of the wood.

    That's my theory and I'm stickin to it

    It seems to me, this smoldering wood on a hot plate is producing the wrong kind of smoke for the duration of the cook.

    But if ya watch older versions of Steven Raichlen's PBS show, he uses soaked wood chips on WSM smokes, and I gotta wonder what that food really tastes like. That's the worst kind of smoke, its like burning very green wood in an offset stick burner.

    Also, the people who use a smoke generator on a pellet grill, I forget what they're called, but its some type of tube placed on the cooking grate that increases smoke, but the smoke is dirty smoke. I question that.

    And just because ya can't see the smoke generated by a pellet pooper, doesn't mean there's not smoke. On my offset stick burner, there's a lot of time that I can't see smoke coming out the stack, but if I hold my hand over the stack, I can smell smoke on my hand.

    I'd be very interested in what kind of smoke this propane burner creates.
    How's the tank life for the conversion? For what it's worth, one of the reasons I ended up getting a WSM is because I wasn't getting the smoke results I wanted on the gas grill I was using as an intro to smoking. I love the idea of propane, but so far in my experience you have to have a mostly full tank to be sure you can get through a rack of ribs, even with the ease of holding it between 225-235. I even thought about getting one of those Camp Chef smoke boxes that come well reviewed, but I was concerned about how much propane I'd have to go through for that too. I dunno if having a different kind of burner helps with efficiency?

    HOWEVER, right before I found my smoker on craigslist, I bought one of those A-Maze-N tube smokers that uses pellets, and the work on the grill was so much better than any of the wood chunks I tried to position on the flame tamers. Once you get it rolling it only produces a little white smoke for a minute or two and then it settles in nicely. It's so good that even though I have a smoker now, I'm going to keep using it as an auxiliary for stuff I don't necessarily want to fire up 4-5 hours of charcoal for (and for fish, it made some great salmon but I don't think i want to put that gunk in the WSM).

  9. #19
    TVWBB Member EdP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Haack View Post
    How's the tank life for the conversion? For what it's worth, one of the reasons I ended up getting a WSM is because I wasn't getting the smoke results I wanted on the gas grill I was using as an intro to smoking. I love the idea of propane, but so far in my experience you have to have a mostly full tank to be sure you can get through a rack of ribs, even with the ease of holding it between 225-235. I even thought about getting one of those Camp Chef smoke boxes that come well reviewed, but I was concerned about how much propane I'd have to go through for that too. I dunno if having a different kind of burner helps with efficiency?


    I kept track of a 20lb tank last year and it ran for about 30 hours. I was running it between 225-250. Here's a pic of it running at 275 the other day https://tvwbb.com/showthread.php?778...igh-heat-smoke




  10. #20
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    On a larger scale...I know a guy who caters large events. He has a trailer towed pit that is about 8-10 feet long. I was looking at it one day and noticed a pipe running in to the back of the pit. I asked him about it and he told me that he runs propane with the wood to maintain the temperature throughout the day. He said it frees him up to attend to other things at the event. He doesn't actually burn the wood with the propane. He just runs it to supplement the wood burning. I guess the same could be said for our Webers if set up properly.

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