You have to let the smoke change itself often or you get stale smoke and that is what is giving you the ash flavour. It is like the air in your house. If it doesn't change itself in becomes stale. Most folks smoke at either 3/4 's open or wide open for poultry. The thing is with the Bradleys is that the smoke is so intense and concentrated compared to other smokers that it is ok too lose lots with the vent wide open. You will never be lacking for smoke. So give what the guys say a try and hope it fixes you up.