View Full Version : Pellets & quality of smoke????


bbq-n-pizza
07-03-2012, 04:58 AM
First post... Hi to all other's who luv good Q

I've been smoking for a few years on Masterbuilt Electric Smoke house. I have been using a AMNPS for a few months, and so far I am not convinced that the smoke is burning properly to give the correct flavors. Using mostly Hickory chips over the years, when I get TBS (thin blue smoke) the smell is clean and sweet. Since smoke is seasoning, that sweet smoke kisses the meat and people love the flavor. Since using pellets, I keep smelling the smoke and it is NOT sweet, in fact the flavors added to the meat are mostly muddled. Understand that I have probably smoked a 200+ racks of ribs and maybe 50 pork butts with hickory chips so I feel pretty dialed in on smoking with chips. I have only done about 15 racks of ribs and 4 pork butts with pellet so that is about 5 different smokes.

I am wondering if the pellets have any kind of binder that might affect the quality of smoke (though I believe I read somewhere there is no binder). So far I have used for pellets, pitmaster blend, and hickory. I'm trying not to stray to far from what has worked for me in the past before the AMNPS.

Anyway, I am looking for tips on how to get TBS with my AMNPS.

TJohnson
07-03-2012, 07:59 AM
First post... Hi to all other's who luv good Q

I've been smoking for a few years on Masterbuilt Electric Smoke house. I have been using a AMNPS for a few months, and so far I am not convinced that the smoke is burning properly to give the correct flavors. Using mostly Hickory chips over the years, when I get TBS (thin blue smoke) the smell is clean and sweet. Since smoke is seasoning, that sweet smoke kisses the meat and people love the flavor. Since using pellets, I keep smelling the smoke and it is NOT sweet, in fact the flavors added to the meat are mostly muddled. Understand that I have probably smoked a 200+ racks of ribs and maybe 50 pork butts with hickory chips so I feel pretty dialed in on smoking with chips. I have only done about 15 racks of ribs and 4 pork butts with pellet so that is about 5 different smokes.

I am wondering if the pellets have any kind of binder that might affect the quality of smoke (though I believe I read somewhere there is no binder). So far I have used for pellets, pitmaster blend, and hickory. I'm trying not to stray to far from what has worked for me in the past before the AMNPS.

Anyway, I am looking for tips on how to get TBS with my AMNPS.


bbq-n-pizza

There's lots going on in your post, so I'll do my best....
First off, BBQ Pellets are wood that's been ground to a size, that can be pelletized. If you break a pellet apart, or add water, so it will swell, you'll end up with sawdust. Pellets tend to burn more like wood, because they're compressed. That said, pellets still have some of the properties of sawdust, while burning. You'll notice more smoke production and at the same time, more heat from pellets.

Combustion air is just as important in your MES as any other smoker. If you look at the end of the chip loader, there are only (3) 1/4" holes for intake air. What happens, is wood chips in the pan, or pellets in the AMNPS are starved for oxygen, and you have a very inefficient burn. By adding a little oxygen, you create a better fire, and therefore create less creosote and other icky chemicals. Too much air, and you get fire. There's a happy medium when adjusting the intake air. In your MES, pull the chip pan out 1 1/2" and the chip loader out 2" max. Push in the chip loader to decrease the amount of combustion air. This should give you some better quality smoke.


TJ

barkonbutts
07-03-2012, 08:07 AM
Well said Todd!! As always you rock!!

Oh yeah welcome from Dayton!! Now go smoke some meat!!

bbq-n-pizza
07-04-2012, 04:10 AM
I have followed the instruction per the instruction sheet and read a few of your helpful posts. However I am NOT talking about the amount of smoke, I'm referring to the quality of smoke. I have yet to get that sweet smelling smoke from the AMNPS like I can get using hickory chips in the MES chip tray.

I'm trying again tonight with 11 racks of ribs for a 4th BBQ. I'm not sure if I will go chips or pellets.

I appreciate the info about pellets, however on one of this years Pitmasters the comment was made about pellet smokers, that they don't produce the right kind of smoke, that comment accurate or not seemed to confirm what I was experiencing. I know it's hard to communicate about a smell, but when I have achieved it time after time using chips in the chips tray, I know what to look for, and so far haven't achieved it with the AMNPS. However I don't like adding chips every 20-30 minutes so I am going to keep experimenting to get that right burn which produces that quality sweet smoke using the AMNPS. About the combustion that is the key and I think I have the solution but am not going to say until I put it into action.

ExhaustedSpark
08-19-2012, 09:31 PM
You might try the Smoke daddy for the chips and pcs of wood and use the pellet burner for pellets when you want a heavier flavor.
I have had great success with both my baskets for pellets and with the Smoke daddy. for the chips, chunks.
Karl

rikerz
08-19-2012, 09:45 PM
Correct me if I am wrong but how could dried up pellets offer you the "quality" of smoke that a fresh piece of wood could? Newbie here so I am really asking this question.

ExhaustedSpark
08-20-2012, 09:49 AM
Correct me if I am wrong but how could dried up pellets offer you the "quality" of smoke that a fresh piece of wood could? Newbie here so I am really asking this question.

The pellets are still wood just ground up a pressured to size. I would not use fresh wood only aged wood. Much nicer taste.

rikerz
08-20-2012, 07:54 PM
The pellets are still wood just ground up a pressured to size. I would not use fresh wood only aged wood. Much nicer taste.

I am learning about woods also so here is my question please: I bought some wood from Fruita Wood Chunks and from what I read, their wood is freshly cut. Please correct me is I am wrong. They say the moisture in the wood requires no soaking and it better that way. Comments please. Thanks.!

ExhaustedSpark
08-20-2012, 08:21 PM
I am learning about woods also so here is my question please: I bought some wood from Fruita Wood Chunks and from what I read, their wood is freshly cut. Please correct me is I am wrong. They say the moisture in the wood requires no soaking and it better that way. Comments please. Thanks.!

I will have to ck with that brand and see what they call fresh wood. When i cut apple branches i let it dry out for at least a season before i use it as i do not want sap burning in my smoker. I do know a guy that loved salmon smoked in pine trees. Yuk. He said he liked the bite it gave the meat.
Thick chunks of wood really do not soak up any water. There is a video on this site somewhere that show a test regarding that. Any way. even the pellets have a certain amount of moisture.
You will just have to experiment with the different types and find out what you like. Truthfully i like it all pellets to use in a home converted copy cat of amazyn and i use a cast iron pan with whole in it for using for hotter smoke and temp plus i use a new model Smoke daddy for hardwood chips. All give different results and i like them all.
I'm easy to please i guess.:noidea:
Happy smoken:thumb:

Wingman
08-20-2012, 08:25 PM
1st off you have to understand there is a big difference in pellets burning in a pellet cooker vs. pellets burning in a cold smoke generator. In a pellet cooker the pellets do not smolder. The pellets have fan forced air moving over the burn pot causing a flame. @ 225 they produce decent smoke but its moved through and out of the chamber at a faster rate then a conventional cooker like an offset. For this reason a pellet cooker does not lay a robust wood smoke flavor. That said most prefer the flavor and quality due to the convection cooking.

The pellet burning cold smoker or cold smokers in general do not burn with a flame. If they did we would melt our cheese like our good friend Rich did. :whistle: They burn by smoldering. This in general is not an efficient burn. The smoke will be some what gray to white in color. We are talking about two diferent types of burning. That said even the smolder burn can be starved of air and burn even less efficient. What we can do is make sure there is ample air flow in our pits. I prop my door open with a plastic knife.

TBS comes from an efficient burn and that will always be with a flame and appropriate airflow. Just my opinion... :thumb:

ExhaustedSpark
08-20-2012, 08:42 PM
I checked their web site and they mentioned that they have their wood in a climate building. My guess is they wait foar a certain percentage of moisture is reached before selling. They also want you to keep the Fruit wood in the refridge.
Never heard of that before Dont know if it is a marketing gimmick or if it realy does make a difference.

rikerz
08-20-2012, 08:45 PM
I checked their web site and they mentioned that they have their wood in a climate building. My guess is they wait foar a certain percentage of moisture is reached before selling. They also want you to keep the Fruit wood in the refridge.
Never heard of that before Dont know if it is a marketing gimmick or if it realy does make a difference.

I hope it works because I have a small frig filled with their wood. I used a piece of cherry and pecan last week and "smoked" a few burgers on the grill and they were awesome! I know you could smell the cherry and pecan in the air.

ExhaustedSpark
08-20-2012, 08:50 PM
And then to really confuse the issue there is a comp. that says the amazn is not a cold smoke generator and there product runs through some kind of ice bath or something. I am happy with moving my pellet smoker of to the side and let it travel up a pipe to the smoke house.. Kind of the variation of the fire pit of to the side only i use a small Keg a que with a muffler pipe connected to the Drum smoker on the bottom.
and would put todds toys in that. (Or a ccopy of same.)

Otis857
08-21-2012, 06:32 AM
I hope it works because I have a small frig filled with their wood. I used a piece of cherry and pecan last week and "smoked" a few burgers on the grill and they were awesome! I know you could smell the cherry and pecan in the air.


I saw an episode of BBQ Pitmasters where Myron Mixon picked up some fresh cut peach wood for a competition. He may come off as an arrogant bastard (act or not? u decide), but obviously knows his chit. Perhaps fruit wood works better fresh than woods like Hickory, Oak & Mesquite.

But defending pellet grills, the smoke ring I get on my Yoder is much more pronounced than the Masterbuilt gasser or the offset stick burner I had before. The smoke flavor is a little less pronounced, but more consistent. I only have about a dozen smokes on it, but that is what I noticed fairly quick. And the WAF (wife acceptance factor) is higher too.

Just my 0.02

Bearcarver
08-21-2012, 07:03 AM
1st off you have to understand there is a big difference in pellets burning in a pellet cooker vs. pellets burning in a cold smoke generator. In a pellet cooker the pellets do not smolder. The pellets have fan forced air moving over the burn pot causing a flame. @ 225 they produce decent smoke but its moved through and out of the chamber at a faster rate then a conventional cooker like an offset. For this reason a pellet cooker does not lay a robust wood smoke flavor. That said most prefer the flavor and quality due to the convection cooking.

The pellet burning cold smoker or cold smokers in general do not burn with a flame. If they did we would melt our cheese like our good friend Rich did. :whistle: They burn by smoldering. This in general is not an efficient burn. The smoke will be some what gray to white in color. We are talking about two diferent types of burning. That said even the smolder burn can be starved of air and burn even less efficient. What we can do is make sure there is ample air flow in our pits. I prop my door open with a plastic knife.

TBS comes from an efficient burn and that will always be with a flame and appropriate airflow. Just my opinion... :thumb:


What He Said!!

I use an MES 40, with a built in chip dumper/burner, and if it wasn't for my AMNS and my AMNPS, I would have given up on my MES a long time ago!!! I use sawdust in my AMNS up to about 190˚, and pellets in my AMNPS from 190˚ up.

Bear

ExhaustedSpark
08-21-2012, 09:52 AM
Also in the many archives there is info espanen how the "Smoke ring" is really not a smoke ring. I don't understand it all but i am really happy in my ignorance:noidea:

ExhaustedSpark
08-21-2012, 10:18 AM
I hope it works because I have a small frig filled with their wood. I used a piece of cherry and pecan last week and "smoked" a few burgers on the grill and they were awesome! I know you could smell the cherry and pecan in the air.

As i thought they do age the wood.
Here is there answer which i thought was pretty fast. Sounds like a good comp.

That all depends on the variety of wood. We specifically control the conditions for each wood separately. Some we age longer than others before selling. It is part of our success knowing how long let the wood age and how long it can be kept before it no longer produces a quality flavor.

If I tell you any more I will have to kill ya.

Thank you for the inquiry,

Bert

http://www.fruitawoodchunks.com/

I am curious if you find out any difference between their wood and others that do not say to put in fridge.:noidea:
Good luck and happy smoken
Karl

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