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Saw dust won't stay alight

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:39 pm
by frog
Can anyone give me some advice please.
I've just started cold smoking using a Pro Q cold smoke generator.
I'm using a Nordic Kettle smoker as a chamber for the time being.
I had 4 8oz lumps of cheddar in there and 4 garlic bulbs.
My problem is that the sawdust (as supplied) won't stay alight. Now granted it was outside and the ambient temp was around zero.
It was OK for an hour or so then I had to relight it.
Any ideas?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:39 pm
by tommix
Check out this link, it should help. ... hlight=pro


PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:56 pm
by frog
Thanks Tim, at least I am not alone. I'll have a read through this and persevere

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:46 pm
by DanMcG
Microwaving the dust for a couple minutes to remove the moisture helps to keep them going, and also the smoker will need a fair supply of air to keep it burning.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:12 am
by frog
Thanks Dan,
I tried the microwave trick with what hadn't burnt, there was some steam. I'll open the vents wider next time. Cheers

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:22 pm
by Ruralidle
Depending upon which species of wood you are using the "grain" size varies so you may need to press it down a little in the CSG whereas with others a more open approach works better - but you don't need much air. No more in than out and the CSG only generates a trickle of smoke so you don't want much coming out. Just enough to prevent the accumulation of stale smoke.

I dry the dust out in the plate warming oven of my Aga for as many hours as I can (I usually smoke stuff overnight except in the type of weather we have now so I put it in mid-morning and remove it around 6pm).

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:00 am
by frog
Thanks Ruralidle,
I've got the dust spread out in the airing cupboard so that should dry it out nicely. I'm not sure about the species as I have tried dust from a couple of suppliers so it's a bit mongrelified now. Trial and error I guess. Smoked Salmon goes in this afternoon. At least the ambient temp is up a bit from Sunday. That may not make a scrap of difference but at least I won't freeze every time I pop outside to see if the bugger has gone out! Thanks for the help.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:36 am
by Ruralidle
Sorry if I caused any confusion mentioning species - what I meant was is the dust oak, cherry, apple or what? Certainly problems have sometimes stemmed from not using dust from Probbq because of size but that can be resolved with a coffee grinder and some trial and error :D . Having said that, I can't get the cherry wood dust from Probbq to stay alight :(

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:33 pm
by frog
Hi Ruralidle,
No confusion over the species thing, I bought some dust on you know who bay and I've mixed some of each in an attempt to get it to stay alight. Apart from the stuff which came with the csg I'm using fine sawdust from whiskey barrels, oak I think.
I've now made it finer with the coffee grinder (should have cleaned the spices out first, curried smoke!!!!!!)
Still have to relight every hour or so. Hey ho at least it's not snowing.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:36 pm
by Ruralidle
Good luck with it. I have stuck with the Probbq dust and - with the notable exception of the cherrywood - the others do quite well (oak and apple being the best in my experience). I think that buying cheaper dust can be a false economy but once you get it going the results are really delicious. I can thoroughly recommend the "Suffolk" black ham recipe posted by BriCan ... highlight=

PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:17 pm
by frog
I spoke to Ian from Macsbbq last night. He reckons it could have been down to a shortage of O2. Note the use of the past tense because based on his advice I went to Bee and Coo and bought a 94L plastic container and lid and this seems to have done the trick.

Thanks to every one for their time and advice. In particular Ian from Macsbbq for some really good customer service.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:32 pm
by saucisson
Good News :)

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:52 am
by SumpRat
Hello Frog.

Airing cupboad? :o I hope Mrs Frog doesn't mind.

I had this problem with the CSG as well. I read in Dick Strawbridge's smoking book that a small computer fan in the bottom of the smoker helps. It sure does. Always get a consistent burn, but it is a bit quicker. Probably knocks of a couple of hours of the burn time. The quicker combustion does appear to make more smoke though.

When I asked Ian he did say that the sawdust needs to be fairly compact.

Now getting great consistent results.


PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:49 am
by frog
Hi Sum prat,

Thanks for the suggestion.
However using the airing cupboard to smoke anything is gonna fail on 2 counts.
1. It will stink the house out and in all probability set off every smoke detector in the street.
2. It's far too warm in there to cold smoke anything safely.

I'm getting a good 10 to 12 hour burn in my home made smoker now but thanks again for the suggestion.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:10 pm
by SteveW
I keep my smoking dust in the airing cupboard... I guess that's what sump rat is refering too as well. Now I've done this I've not had any problems keeping my CSG alight. To light mine I use a small butane soldering lighter from ebay rather than a candle and it's away and burning in 10 seconds. I don't clean mine out as often as I should but it keeps burning and I get 14hrs on a single run. If I want a heavier smoke I just light it in the middle and reduce the burn time by half but double the smoke. Great little gadjet.