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SmokeGen Overview

SmokeGen is a compact venturi air flow smoke generator, great for cold smoking or just adding more smoke flavour to a low and slow or hot cook. It can operate with wood pellets and/or wood chips and be placed inside the smoker, or mounted on the outside (using supplied mounting hardware).

SmokeGen in 700E-XL grill smoking

Features

  • 2 – 4 hours of smoke production
  • Use wood pellets and/or wood chips
  • Adjustable air flow (smoke output)
  • Sit directly on grill rack or mount on outside of smoker drum
  • Easy to fill, empty and clean
  • Heavy duty aluminium alloy and stainless steel construction
  • Compatible with Z Grills 450, 7002B, 700E, 700E-XL models
  • Can be externally mounted on other BBQ drums and boxes

SmokeGen Kit Components

The SmokeGen Kit includes the following items:

  • Smoke pot, ash grate & lid
  • Adjustable flow air pump (AC 240V – 5W)
  • Stainless steel support brackets and hardware (for mounting externally)
  • Step drill bit (for mounting externally)
  • Metal wire cleaning brush
  • Silicone rubber tubing
  • Tube spring clip
  • Air pump and tubing storage bag
  • Air flow clamp (not introduced in the video above)

How it Works

Where to Position

The smoke pot can be placed inside the smoker on the grill rack (no mounting required), or mounted on the side of the grill.

Place Inside Smoker Grill

SmokeGen sitting on grill rack inside Z Grills wood pellet smoker
  • Run the rubber tube through the food probe cable hole (if have one) or the grease tray drain spout.
  • The large diameter rubber hose is made from silicone and high temperature rated.
  • Sit the smoke pot directly on the grill rack towards the left with the outlet pointing to the rear.
  • When inside the grill the fuel may take longer to burn, or not burn out quite as completely leaving some black wood chunks. This is simply due to the lower oxygen levels in the drum compared to if mounted outside with fresh air supply.
  • The SmokeGen can be used at all Z Grills smoker operating temperatures, so it is possible to do a higher temperature roast but with smokey flavour also provided (not possible when using just the Z Grills fire).

Mount Externally

SmokeGen externally mounted on Z Grills smoker
  • Mounting on the outside of the drum requires drilling a large 20mm hole for the smoke outlet pipe and three mounting bolts. A stencil is provide as a guide for the hole locations.
  • The best location is low on the drum so the smoke is fed in below the grease tray where it can mix with the air flow from the fire-pot.
  • The bracket is designed in two pieces so when not in use the support shelf and smoke pot can be taken off.
  • The grease bucket fits beside the SmokeGen.

How to Light

WARNING

The SmokeGen can reach temperature of over 200℃ while operating and stay hot for a long time after use, so must be used with caution. Use high temperature gloves when moving around!

Filling with wood fuel

  • At least half fill the smoke pot with wood pellets and/or small wood chips (5-20mm long), or a mixture of the two. Do not put in fine wood dust as it will fall through the bottom grate and will not allow sufficient air flow.
  • Wood pellets and smaller side wood chips will provide a much longer smoke time than larger wood chips due to their density (can fit more grams of fuel in the smoke pot) and less space between the material. Mixing pellets and chips is a great method.
  • Do not fill above the level of the bottom of the smoke outlet pipe.
  • Place on the lid.
  • Connect the air feed tube (if not already), plug in the air pump and set to the highest air speed setting (rotate clockwise).
  • Make sure the wood fuel is not blocking the lighting hole, as there needs to be space for air to flow in. If blocked, just push the fuel in with the end of the cleaning brush or a screw driver.

Lighting the fire

  • Light the fuel with flame lighter, ideally a butane gas torch (more powerful). Keep lighting until strong and steady smoke is being released.
  • Leave on maximum air flow for around 30 to 60 seconds. If the smoke dies down, light for another 15-20 seconds and let run for another minute.
  • Once smoke is consistently being produced the air flow can be reduce to the lowest air speed.

Adjusting smoke output

  • The lowest air speed is sufficient air flow for even the smallest (5-6mm) wood chips or wood pellets.
  • For the longest smoke production time (up to 4 hours), use the air flow clamp to compress the rubber tube. Watch the lighting hole as the the air flow is restricted. If any smoke is released from the hole the air flow is TOO LOW. Sufficient air flow will also be indicated by red glowing embers visible through the lighting hole.
  • The clamp is not high temperature resistant, so should be located down close to the air pump, not inside the grill.
Air flow regulator clamp

Adding fuel during use

  • It is not normally necessary to add more fuel, but can be if required.
  • The SmokeGen chamber will be very hot after a period of use, enough to cause instant skin burns. Wear heat proof gloves if handling SmokeGen while still hot.
  • To add fuel, remove the lid with a pair of pliers (or similar) and carefully add fuel in. Immediately replace the lid to ensure continued suction of air from below to feed the embers.
  • If the original fuel has almost burnt out the new fuel may smother the embers and so may need to be relit.
  • Don’t add fuel more than once as too much ash may accumulate and block air flow from below.

Troubleshooting

Still smoking once air pump has been turned off

  • Even with the air pump turned off, there may be enough convective air flow to keep the wood slowly smouldering for many hours, and so some smoke will continue to be produced.
  • Using a pair of pliers lift of the lid, and with heat proof gloves pour the ashes out onto a safe location and spray with water to put out the embers.
  • If required to quickly put out the embers, water may be gentl sprayed into the smoke pot to put the fire out. Do NOT directly pour water into a hot smoke pot, as it can cause the aluminium to rapidly cool and warp. It will also result in ashy water existing the air holes.

Smoke reduces before fuel is all burnt out

  • Some wood varieties can produce more tar which can stick to the wall of the smoke pot and clump the wood together, preventing it from falling down to the bottom to burn completely.
  • If this occurs, lift of the lid with a pair of pliers and break up the wood so it falls down to the bottom of the fire pot. Quickly return the lid to it can continue smoking.

Wood won’t stay alight

  • The wood may be too moist.
  • Try a different wood type/size or mix with wood pellets or small wood chips.
  • Use a higher air pump speed.
  • Make sure the end of the metal air pipe is not blocked, and when inserted is pointing directly at the centre of the smoke outlet pipe.
  • Make sure the lighting hole and two air inlet holes are not blocked.
  • Make sure the bottom of the smoke pot is clean ash, so fresh air can feed in freely.

Smoke is yellow and nasty smelling

  • The fire is burning too fast/rich due too much air flow.
  • Turn the air pump to the lowest speed.
  • Use the rubber tube flow regulator to further restrict air flow.
  • Make sure the lid is on properly.
  • If the wood is very large or loosely packed, try smaller wood chips or mixture of sizes.

Cleaning

  • Empty ash out after each use.
  • Use a pair of pliers through the ring on the lid to lift off as the lid can become stuck in place from the wood smoke tar that builds up.
  • Pull out the metal air feed tube (ideally while still warm) and clean with rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits or BBQ wipes.
  • Lift out the ash grate and loosen up any accumulated ash in the bottom of the smoke pot and tip out.
  • Depending on the type of wood used, tar and soot will accumulate on the underside of the lid, in the smoke outlet pipe and inside the smoke pot. It can be scraped off flat screwdriver and the supplied wire brush.
  • Once tar is baked on it may not be possible to get the surface back to the original silver colour.
  • The photo below is after 4 hours of smoking with wood pellets.
SmokeGen tar after use