Need help to figure out cause of excessive dust or ash

hookmanlsu

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Military Veteran
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11
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  1. Stampede
Hi. I've had my RT-590 for a few months now. I just started seeing a large amount of ash or dust residue on the grill after some cooks. This turkey cooked for 4+ hours, and I think the ash or dust is a lot more than should be. I vacuumed out the grill 2 weeks ago, and have done a few cooks since then. I'm using weber smokefire hickory pellets. Any ideas?
 

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boogermeister

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37
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St. Louis,Mo.
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  1. Stampede
That amount of ash looks a bit more than normal. I doubt if it is your cooker. Maybe a bad batch of pellets? I just bought some Smoke Ring pellets, my dealer said they have less ash than most brands, but I have not tried them yet. Smoking some beef ribs this weekend I will find out.
 

padlin00

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Southwick, Ma
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  1. Trailblazer
I'd vac the grill, at least the fire pot, each time for a bit and see what happens. If nothing else it'll help narrow down the cause.
 

KatyTxSmoke

Member
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23
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  1. Stampede
This is my 1st pellet grill and I see ash after each cook everywhere as well. Not sure what’s considered excessive or not, but I’ve seen about the same as you have pictured. Some cultures eat small amounts of ash as it claimed good for digestive system or something like that. Don’t know.

It’s hard not to think about it as you get reminded after each cook... My first pellets were the same Weber and the smell plus taste were great. I ran out, so next batch is B&B post oak. Same amount of ash. So, I figured I’d try different pellets for taste and monitor the ash from each to find what will be ideal for me.

Ive only scooped out the ash from the igniter area because I thought RT stated that the ash on the sides helps with insulation for the heat. I figured I’d try it out and after either a year or many long serious cooks, then maybe clean out the entire grill during before the summer here in Houston. I watch where I cook and where the fat drips to try to avoid grease fires if possible.
 

padlin00

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378
Location
Southwick, Ma
Grill(s) owned
  1. Trailblazer
I've never noticed dust on the meat, but I only use the unit for low and slow. I pretty much vacuum it after every cook.

Come to think of it, I don't know that I'd see it on something like ribs or a butt.
 

Mastertech59

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2,105
Location
Burlington CT
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  1. Bull
I recommend not cleaning the ash out of the bottom of the grill just clean out the fire pot and throw that in the barrel. It seems like the people having this fly ash on food issue are the ones cleaning the grill to much.
 

Smoker4

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127
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  1. Bull
I recommend not cleaning the ash out of the bottom of the grill just clean out the fire pot and throw that in the barrel. It seems like the people having this fly ash on food issue are the ones cleaning the grill to much.
@Mastertech59, you saying that you never vacuum out the bottom of your barrel? Only inside the fire pot? How thick do you estimate the ash is in the bottom of your barrel? Does it hardened up?

I might be wrong in how I think about it, but unless you get some grease on the loose ash in the bottom, there's just more to fly around when the fan blows. I have been vacuuming out the ash every handful of cooks. By design, there is little to no grease down below the drip pan in mine. I use Lumberjack pellets.

I can't imagine how to eliminate the ash without separating the burn chamber from the cooking chamber. I'm sure there are other smoker types besides the pellet smokers that do this. I love the convenience of the pellet smoker, but ash and the cost of pellets is the downside from what I see. Still love the results from my Bull!
 

Mastertech59

Well-known member
Messages
2,105
Location
Burlington CT
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
@Mastertech59, you saying that you never vacuum out the bottom of your barrel? Only inside the fire pot? How thick do you estimate the ash is in the bottom of your barrel? Does it hardened up?

I might be wrong in how I think about it, but unless you get some grease on the loose ash in the bottom, there's just more to fly around when the fan blows. I have been vacuuming out the ash every handful of cooks. By design, there is little to no grease down below the drip pan in mine. I use Lumberjack pellets.

I can't imagine how to eliminate the ash without separating the burn chamber from the cooking chamber. I'm sure there are other smoker types besides the pellet smokers that do this. I love the convenience of the pellet smoker, but ash and the cost of pellets is the downside from what I see. Still love the results from my Bull!
Like most I found some ash on the first couple of my cooks then it slowly stopped. I cleaned the grill almost back to new, like most do and the ash on the food issue returned so I stopped cleaning the ash out of the barrel and found the ash on food issue was pretty much gone. The ash build up in my bull after a 1 1/2 years usage is around minus the one cleaning is about 3/4 to 1 inch deep it's still fluffy, no grease on it, easily moved around but some what compacted and caked thus in my opinion it causes the new fly ash to stick to it instead of sliding around on a clean slick barrel plus think it provides a little insulation to the barrel for the cold weather cooks. If I move the ash so I can see the bottom of the cooking barrel its shiny stainless steel and looks like new. When the ash gets almost up to the level of the burn pot I will take some of it out but never clean it to empty. I remember quite awhile back Ray Carnes talked about how he cleans his grill and this was similar to his method. I'm kind of a stickler for maintenance for things but have found letting these grill just cook food and not go crazy on the cleanings they just work better and the cooks come out tastier. I don't use foil on the drip pan, but scrape the burnt drippings usually every cook depending on what was cooked and remove the drip pan to check what's happening below every so often and to clean the fire pot with my fingers. My grates get cleaned just about as often scraped, brushed and then put into the dish washer as needed when the wife is not around and generally only use one of the grates for my cooks because it's just the 2 of us for most of the cooks. All said and done a little wood pellet ash on the food isn't going to harm anyone, some of the rubs and sauces people use might cause more harm than the wood pellet fly ash.
As far as cost for pellets I pretty much have found the cheap Lowes/Walmart under $15 for 40 pounds work and taste just as good one the food as the pricier ones, just don't use heating pellets.
 
Last edited:

Smoker4

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Messages
127
Grill(s) owned
  1. Bull
Thanks for the detailed reply @Mastertech59! I'll have to give this a try. Since we're hitting winter full swing, it's a great time to spend less time vacuuming out my grill. 😉 Let's see if it works for me as well as it seems to work for you.
 

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