How to Troubleshoot Common Outdoor Smoker Issues?

18 minutes read

When troubleshooting common outdoor smoker issues, start by checking the fuel source. Make sure the smoker is properly connected to a power source or has enough fuel, whether it be charcoal or wood pellets. Check for any blockages in the fuel line or air vents that could be inhibiting proper airflow.


Next, inspect the temperature controls to ensure they are set correctly and functioning properly. If the temperature is not reaching the desired level, adjust the settings and monitor the smoker to see if the issue persists.


It is also important to check the seals and gaskets on the smoker to make sure they are intact and creating a tight seal. Leaks in the smoker can cause fluctuations in temperature and affect the overall cooking process.


If you are experiencing uneven cooking or hot spots in the smoker, try rearranging the food placement or using a heat diffuser to distribute the heat more evenly.


Lastly, if you are still experiencing issues, consult the manufacturer's instructions or contact customer support for further troubleshooting tips or assistance.

Best Outdoor Smokers of July 2024

1
Masterbuilt® 30-inch Digital Electric Vertical BBQ Smoker with Leg Kit, Side Wood Chip Loader and 710 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20070421

Rating is 5 out of 5

Masterbuilt® 30-inch Digital Electric Vertical BBQ Smoker with Leg Kit, Side Wood Chip Loader and 710 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20070421

  • Vertical digital electric smoker with 710 square inches of cooking space
  • Digital controls to easily set cooking time and temperature up to 275°F
  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks
  • Removable water bowl to add moisture and catch food drippings
2
EAST OAK 30" Digital Electric Smoker, Outdoor Smoker with Glass Door and Meat Thermometer, 725 Sq Inches of Cooking with Remote, 4 Detachable Racks Smoker Grill for Party, Home BBQ, Night Blue

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

EAST OAK 30" Digital Electric Smoker, Outdoor Smoker with Glass Door and Meat Thermometer, 725 Sq Inches of Cooking with Remote, 4 Detachable Racks Smoker Grill for Party, Home BBQ, Night Blue

  • 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗺𝗼𝗸𝗲𝗿 𝗙𝗹𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿: The smoker features a side wood chip loader for continuous smoking for 2-3 hours without opening the door and adding chips, preserving the internal heat, and locking in the smoked flavors
  • 𝗧𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗝𝘂𝗶𝗰𝘆 𝗧𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲: The 800W power heating tube in the electric smoker creates consistent smoke from wood chips, guaranteeing tender, juicy meats through low and slow cooking. Follow EAST OAK's website for more delectable recipes
  • 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗢𝗯𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱: The visual glass door allows you to directly observe the food in the smoker, and the internal light also aids in illumination. The meat probe detects food temperature and keeps track of smoking progress and heat in real-time
  • 𝗘𝘅𝗰𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆: The digital smoker features a casing made of three layers of high-quality materials. Additionally, aluminum plating along the edges reduces deformation and damage, ensuring long-lasting durability for outdoor use
3
Ninja OG951 Woodfire Pro Connect Premium XL Outdoor Grill & Smoker, Bluetooth, App Enabled, 7-in-1 Master Grill, BBQ Smoker, Outdoor Air Fryer, Woodfire Technology, 2 Built-In Thermometers, Black

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

Ninja OG951 Woodfire Pro Connect Premium XL Outdoor Grill & Smoker, Bluetooth, App Enabled, 7-in-1 Master Grill, BBQ Smoker, Outdoor Air Fryer, Woodfire Technology, 2 Built-In Thermometers, Black

  • 7-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Grill, BBQ smoke, Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Broil, and Dehydrate with 100% real woodfire flavors​ all in one place.
  • WOODFIRE TECHNOLOGY: Powered by electricity, flavored by real wood burning pellets for all the flavor and none of the flame. Add woodfire flavor you can see and taste. ​
  • FOOLPROOF BBQ SMOKER: Authentic BBQ bark and flavor—fast and easy with just ½ cup of pellets.
  • DUAL THERMOMETER COOKING: Includes 2 built-in thermometers so you can cook 2 different protein types to 2 different doneness settings from rare to well.
4
Ninja OG701 7-in-1 Outdoor Electric Grill & Smoker - Grill, BBQ, Air Fry, Bake, Roast, Dehydrate & Broil - Uses Woodfire Pellets - Portable & Weather Resistant

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Ninja OG701 7-in-1 Outdoor Electric Grill & Smoker - Grill, BBQ, Air Fry, Bake, Roast, Dehydrate & Broil - Uses Woodfire Pellets - Portable & Weather Resistant

  • MASTER GRILL, BBQ SMOKER, & AIR FRYER: All in one with 100% real smoky flavor..Voltage: ‎120 volts
  • MASTER GRILL: Get all the performance of a full-size propane grill with the same char and searing.
  • FOOLPROOF BBQ SMOKER: Create authentic BBQ bark and flavor fast and easy with just 1/2 cup of pellets.
  • OUTDOOR AIR FRYER: Add smoky flavor to your air fried favorites and cook all your side dishes outdoors.
  • WEATHER-RESISTANT: Cook and store outdoors year-round.
  • 1760-WATT ELECTRIC POWER: No charcoal, propane, or flareups. Balcony & apartment friendly.
5
Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker with Temperature & Smoke Control, Four Removable Shelves, 36", Black

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker with Temperature & Smoke Control, Four Removable Shelves, 36", Black

  • Product Dimensions: 19.3" L x 18.1" W x 38.6" H | Weight: 69.5 lb
  • FOUR 14 X 14-INCH REMOVABLE STAINLESS STEEL SHELVES: Four stainless steel racks can be easily removed for smoking whole birds or large cuts of meat. Racks are dishwasher safe, making cleanup easy.
  • BUILT-IN THERMOMETER: Features easy-to-read thermometer on the front door for accessible monitoring of the internal temperature.
  • SEAL-TIGHT TWIST-LOCK DOOR AND HANDLE: The door stays tightly sealed with a twist of the handle.
6
Masterbuilt® 40-inch ThermoTemp Propane Gas Vertical BBQ Smoker with Analog Temperature Control and 960 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20051316

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

Masterbuilt® 40-inch ThermoTemp Propane Gas Vertical BBQ Smoker with Analog Temperature Control and 960 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20051316

  • Vertical propane smoker with 960 square inches of cooking space
  • Ignition button to easily light fuel with the push of a button
  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks
  • Woodchip tray to add delicious smoky-flavor to food
  • Adjustable air damper for smoke control
7
Royal Gourmet SE2805 28-Inch Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Cooking Grates, 454 sq inches Cooking Area in Total, 1350W Output, Outdoor BBQ Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control, Black

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

Royal Gourmet SE2805 28-Inch Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Cooking Grates, 454 sq inches Cooking Area in Total, 1350W Output, Outdoor BBQ Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control, Black

  • Better Smoked Flavor: The bottom heating tube works with a removable stainless steel water pan and a chip box to add smoked flavor and make it more tender.
  • Outstanding Heating Performance: 1350-watt heating power and an insulated chamber provide an even and consistent heating experience.
8
Vertical Propane Smoker with Temperature Control, BBQ Smoker Grill Outdoor Heavy Duty Three Removable Smoking Shelves, Black

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

Vertical Propane Smoker with Temperature Control, BBQ Smoker Grill Outdoor Heavy Duty Three Removable Smoking Shelves, Black

  • With its simple design and a large smoking chamber, this vertical gas Smoker is the perfect choice for any enthusiast of smoked food, its compact design fits nicely on most patios or decks.
  • Incredibly solid and well-built, this sturdy smoker’s door seals in the smoke. The extra wide racks allow for ample airflow around the meat. Both the water bowl and wood chip tray are easy to access.
  • Smokers with wider racks to allow for larger-format smoking or big cuts of meat. The door of the cooking chamber can seal tightly shut, to trap smoke inside with minimal leaks.
9
Masterbuilt® 30-inch Electric Vertical BBQ Smoker with Analog Temperature Control, Chrome Smoking Racks and 535 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20070210

Rating is 4.2 out of 5

Masterbuilt® 30-inch Electric Vertical BBQ Smoker with Analog Temperature Control, Chrome Smoking Racks and 535 Cooking Square Inches in Black, Model MB20070210

  • SPACIOUS VERTICLE DESIGN with 535 cooking square inches that fits up to 3 chickens, 2 turkeys or 3 racks of ribs
  • REMOVABLE WOOD CHIP TRAY – Add rich smoky flavor to your food and experiment with different wood chip types.
  • THREE chrome coated smoking racks included


How to troubleshoot a smoker that has a damaged seal?

  1. Inspect the seal: Start by examining the seal around the door or lid of the smoker to determine the extent of the damage. Look for any visible cracks, tears, or gaps in the seal that may be allowing smoke to escape.
  2. Clean the seal: Before making any repairs, clean the seal thoroughly with warm, soapy water to remove any residue or buildup that may be affecting its ability to seal properly.
  3. Replace the seal: If the seal is severely damaged or torn, it may need to be replaced. Purchase a replacement seal that is compatible with your smoker model, and carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation.
  4. Adjust the seal: If the seal is only slightly damaged or misaligned, try adjusting it to improve its sealing ability. Use a screwdriver to tighten or loosen any screws or fasteners holding the seal in place, and make sure it is properly aligned with the door or lid of the smoker.
  5. Test the seal: Once you have repaired or adjusted the seal, test the smoker to ensure that it is sealing properly. Light a small amount of wood chips or pellets in the smoker and check for any smoke leaks around the door or lid. If you still notice smoke escaping, repeat the repair process until the seal is fully sealed.
  6. Maintain the seal: To prevent future damage to the seal, make sure to clean and inspect it regularly, especially after each use of the smoker. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could damage the seal, and store the smoker in a dry, protected area when not in use.


What is the proper way to add wood chips to a smoker?

  1. Soak the wood chips: If you are using wood chips for smoking, it is best to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the smoker. This will help prevent them from burning too quickly and will create more smoke for a longer period of time.
  2. Prepare the smoker: Make sure your smoker is preheated to the desired temperature before adding the wood chips. This will ensure that the chips start smoking right away and do not burn up too quickly.
  3. Add the wood chips: Once the smoker is at the desired temperature, carefully add the soaked wood chips to the smoker. You can do this by simply sprinkling them over the coals or placing them in a smoker box if your smoker has one.
  4. Monitor the smoke: Keep an eye on the smoke level throughout the smoking process. If you notice that the smoke is getting too thin or dissipating, you may need to add more wood chips to keep the smoke going.
  5. Replace the wood chips: Depending on the type of smoker you are using and the length of your smoking session, you may need to periodically add more wood chips to keep the smoke going. Make sure to add them in small amounts to avoid smothering the fire.
  6. Experiment with different types of wood: Different types of wood chips will impart different flavors to your food, so feel free to experiment with different varieties to find the ones you like best. Some popular options include hickory, mesquite, applewood, and cherry.
  7. Enjoy your smoked food: Once the wood chips are producing a steady stream of smoke, you can add your food to the smoker and let it cook low and slow to perfection. Keep an eye on the temperature and the smoke level throughout the cooking process to ensure delicious results.


What is the proper way to adjust airflow in a smoker?

  1. Start by finding the intake and exhaust vents on your smoker. The intake vent is usually located at the bottom of the smoker, while the exhaust vent is typically at the top.
  2. To increase airflow in your smoker, open the intake vent wider. This will allow more oxygen to enter the smoker and help fuel the fire, resulting in higher temperatures.
  3. To decrease airflow in your smoker, partially close the intake vent. This will restrict the amount of oxygen entering the smoker, which can help lower the temperature and control the amount of smoke produced.
  4. Similarly, you can adjust the exhaust vent to control the amount of airflow exiting the smoker. Opening the exhaust vent wider will allow more smoke and heat to escape, while closing it partially will retain more heat and smoke inside the smoker.
  5. It's important to monitor the temperature inside your smoker and make small adjustments to the vents as needed to maintain the desired cooking temperature.
  6. Remember that airflow plays a crucial role in controlling the temperature and smoke production in your smoker, so experiment with different vent settings to find the right balance for your cooking needs.


What is the best way to season a new smoker?

Seasoning a new smoker is an important step to remove any manufacturing residues and seal the metal to prevent rusting. Here are the steps to season a new smoker properly:

  1. Clean the inside of the smoker using warm soapy water and a scrub brush to remove any debris or residues.
  2. Rinse the inside thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely.
  3. Coat the inside of the smoker with a thin layer of cooking oil or a high-heat cooking spray. Make sure to cover all surfaces, including the grates and walls of the smoker.
  4. Preheat the smoker to a high temperature, around 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it run for 2-3 hours.
  5. Make sure to add wood chips or chunks during the seasoning process to infuse the smoker with a smoky flavor.
  6. After the seasoning process is complete, let the smoker cool down completely before using it for cooking.


By following these steps, you will properly season your new smoker and ensure that it is ready for use.


How to troubleshoot a smoker that is not heating up?

  1. Check the power source: Make sure the smoker is properly plugged in and receiving power. If it is plugged into an extension cord, try plugging it directly into a power outlet to rule out any issues with the cord.
  2. Inspect the heating element: The heating element may be damaged or defective. Check for any visible signs of damage or wear and tear. If the heating element is faulty, it may need to be replaced.
  3. Clean the smoker: A build-up of grease, food residue, or ash can inhibit the smoker's ability to heat up properly. Make sure to clean the smoker thoroughly, including the heating element, vents, and other components.
  4. Check the temperature settings: Make sure the temperature settings on the smoker are set correctly. If the smoker has a thermostat, check to see if it is functioning properly.
  5. Inspect the smoker for any obstructions: Make sure there are no obstructions blocking the heat flow in the smoker, such as food debris or ash.
  6. Test the smoker with a different outlet: If possible, try plugging the smoker into a different power outlet to see if the issue is with the outlet rather than the smoker itself.
  7. Contact customer support: If none of the above steps solve the issue, it may be a more serious problem that requires professional assistance. Contact the manufacturer or a professional appliance repair service for further troubleshooting and repair options.
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