AMNPS & Smoke Daddy Myths?

Discussion in 'Curing' started by mr t 59874, May 10, 2013.

  1. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Are the following statements facts or myth's?

     AMNPS produces no creosote.

     Smoke Daddy creates excessive amounts of smoke and creosote making products taste bitter.

    The following are the results discovered while cold smoking three country cured hams, but first, the ham that was smoked in February, was smoked for 128 hours with a AMNPS using Hickory pellets from Amazin. The AMNPS was placed inside my 22 cf.  cold smoker, below the ham and was smoked to my desired color.  When removed from the smoker it was noticed that the surface was tacky, this took one week at room temperature to dry. It was my opinion that this was normal due to the long smoke. The smoker temperature was an average of 25° above ambient temperature with a high of 75°.

    Ham drying.   

    Note:  Being a proponent of using different colors and densities of smoke, I wanted to try using the Smoke Daddy Magnum (SDM) to see if the smoke time could be cut down.   It would have taken several AMNPS'S to duplicate the amount of smoke that was being produced by the SDM.

    Smoke generators left to right, Smoking Gun, AMNPS, Smoke Daddy Big Kahuna and Smoke Daddy Magnum.

    Hams prior to smoking.

    The next hams were smoked with my (SDM) using Hickory chunks for 32 hours and the Hickory pellets for 18 hours. They were smoked again to my desired color, but in this case the surface was completely dry. The maximum smoker temp was 2° below ambient temperature with a  maximum smoker temperature being 83°.

    Hams after smoking

    This was exactly the opposite of what was expected. Now to try and figure why the smoke generator that was to be expected to produce all the creosote on the product didn't, but the one that supposedly doesn't produce creosote did.  So it was decided to run a couple test.

    First, the ones who have used a AMNPS know, the unit itself is relatively clean after use.  The ones who have used the Smoke Daddy generators know that unless a very hot fire is produced, creosote will buildup on the inside which is totally undesirable to many. 

    When using pellets, they are smoldering in both units yet one produces visible creosote and the other doesn't seem to,  yet one leaves a tacky surface on the product and interior of the smoker and the other one doesn't. The area  where the pellets are burning in each unit is burned clean. It appears to be that the heavier gasses, once coming in contact with something leave behind a deposit.

    The first test was made using the AMNPS inside the 22 cf. cold smoker using a quart zip bag half filled with water.   Using Amazin pellets, the unit was burned for 10 hours. The second test was putting the AMNPS inside the heat sink stove with a external fan blowing enough air to move the smoke into the collector holding another water filled zip bag for 7 hours. AMNPS and fan set up.  Fan is needed to push smoke into smoker.

    AMNPS inside stove

    Fan being used to push smoke into smoker

    Smoke from AMNPS entering smoker.

    Smoke exiting Smoker

     The results were, the bag that was in the smoke for 10 hours With the AMNPS in the smoker was turning a amber color and the surface was very tacky.  The second bag that had been smoked for 7 hours with the AMNPS in the stove was still  clear and only slightly tacky.  I would have liked to have smoked the second bag for an additional three hours, but ran out of pellets, and felt it would not have made much of a difference.

    Test bags, Left bag tested with AMNPS in stove, right bag with AMNPS in smoker.

    If using an AMNPS causes a creosote buildup on the inside of my smoker, wouldn't it do the same when using it in a grill or smaller smoker when smoking products such as cheese? 

    Like many when smoking cheese, the cheese is allowed to mellow for  a month or more before consumption while the bitter taste diminishes , this is done automatically.  In this case while using the SDM I placed some four year old Pepper Jack cheese in with the hams for four hours.  My wife wanted some of  it for a dish she was  making , so I had to try some after smoking just to see how it had aged.  It was quite sharp as expected, but to my surprise, there was absolutely no bitter taste.  Could it have been because the heavy creosote was left behind in the SDM cylinder, heat sink stove and pipe leading to the smoker while leaving only the flavorable creosote and gasses to be passed on?   If that is true, would that imply although the AMNPS produces less smoke and leaves no deposits on the unit itself, it passes all creosote on, making products such as cheese taste bitter right out of the smoker?  If so this would necessitate a external unit such as my stove or as some, the use of a mail box or other container to scrub the smoke before entering the smoker.  If the ones using external boxes are seeing residue on the inside of their boxes it is creosote that is not going inside their smoker.

    Todd and Dennis both produce very good products and both have very good customer service, but have the above myths been busted?  I have made my decision.

    Pros and Cons:


     Pros:  Small, easy to light, long burning time, low maintenance.                                                                                                         Cons:  Small amount of smoke, takes up space in smoker, requires internal air flow.

    Smoke Daddy:

    Pros:  Burns multiple fuels, produces a light tasting, but thicker smoke, external mount.

    Cons:  Uses external air pump, more maintenance, needs more attention during use. 

    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  2. wjordan52

    wjordan52 Meat Mopper

    Your experiments seem to be sound Tom. I have been using my AMNPS outside of my smoker, and both 'containers' I used for it (one a welded box, the other an old ammo can) have a thick accumulation of creosote on the ceiling of the box and about 1/3 of the way down the sides. The rest of the sides and the bottom just show signs of heat and some ash.

    Several posts I've read here, including yours, suggest that when smoke from any wood or charcoal source comes in contact with a colder/damp surface creosote can form. Of course the amount will differ depending on the smoke source and a number of other factors. My unscientific assumption is that the top of the containers, being outside the smoker, are reletively cooler than the smoke and thus the creosote 'condenses' there.

    With all that said, my simple answer is that something nasty is above the AMNPS, but my food never has that bitter taste. Now the scientists among us can tell me how full of bologna I am [​IMG].
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  3. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Looks good Tom... I've always said that there isn't 1 size fits all for cold smoke generators.  The science of excess creosote production never changes...Determining factors are the fuel being used and how wet it is, temperature of the surface the smoke comes in contact with... i.e see how they make liquid smoke, air flow and the temperature of the fire. 

    Sometimes an external smoke generator is best and the choice of fuels also factors in. This is where the Smoke Daddy shines..

    Sometimes a simple smoke generator that can be placed inside is best and if you want a set it and forget it then this is where the AMPS shines. 

    When i cold smoke with my pine smoke box the max time i smoke is usually just a couple of hours for cheese etc.. and i enjoy using different fuels.   I'll put lump charcoal in the bottom of the Smoke Daddy(Big Kahuna) and fire it up and let it get good and hot with the fan on high... after it get's hot i just do a mix of lump and different wood chips depending on what flavors i want.  By waiting for it to heat up and keeping it hot with lump i get incredible results and NEVER have to even clean it.  It now comes with a spring baffle which helps the airflow which it didn't used to have.

    On my gas grill i'll be using a AMPS because i just wanted something simple to give a little smoke for those quick cooks.  All these smoke generators have a place but you have to use them properly to get desirable results. 

    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  4. smokedaddy123

    smokedaddy123 Fire Starter

    Thanks for your input on the comparison between the AMPS and my Smoke Daddy cold smoke generator. You helped a great deal to explain what I have been trying to get across for quite some time.Thanks for taking the time to share your observations.The AMPS and the Smoke Daddy are different types of smokers from each other and both have their place in the world of BBQ and smoking.

    Thanks Dennis
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Looks like you put some thought into this post, and I want to thank you for taking the time to do it. 

    I don't believe this post is a slam on either product or a testimonial to buy one over the other.  I believe, like many others, that different equipment achieves different results and sometimes the results can cross over.  There is no "Miracle Smoker" that will make you Grand Champion at the next contest.  These gadgets are only meant to help make you to be a better cook.

    I think Tom was trying to achieve a certain color in a shorter period of time smoking.  From the sounds of his test, he achieved what he was after.   I will be curious to see when the time comes to cut into these hams, if he has achieved the flavor as well as the color, or maybe there will be no differenceMy guess we'll see a follow up post around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Volume of smoke and quality of smoke are 2 different animals.  Smoke houses usually contain a very light smoke, not a heavy thick smoke.  My ancestors would typically smoke for weeks on end, with a very light smoke.  They did not rush the process with heavy thick smoke.  It is believed that the smoking process releases nitrites in very small amounts, and over a long period time, will actually cure the meat.  The heavy resins that built up on the outside of the meat flavored the meat, but would also keep the flies off.  Lots of stories from a generation that's mostly gone.

    Cooler temps will cause any smoke to condense on the coolest part of the smoker.  The window in the MES is a prime example.  Since it's cooler than the rest of the door, smoke condenses on it.  A pipe leading from an external smoke generator will also be cooler, so smoke will condense on it.  Smoke will also condense on an exhaust pipe leading from a smoker, because it's cooler than the inside of the smoker.

    Cold smoking in winter can and most likely will be different than cold smoking in warmer temps.  Smoke condenses in the cooler air, and does not move thru the smoker.  Think of it like fog in the swamp.  You can feel the temp diff in the lower areas, and this is where the fog will form.   would bet if you accurately measured the temp of the smoke, you find that the smoke from the Smoke Daddy is actually hotter then the smoke produced by the AMNPS.  It has to be hotter, and it is.....I've measured it!  Warmer temperature smoke will move thru the smoker faster, taking with it all the good and bad properties contained in the smoke.

    All Smoke contains creosote as well as other chemicals and resins.  BUT.....Not all resins from smoke are creosote.  The trick is to minimize the creosote and other ugly chemicals, and allow the good resins to add the smoke flavor.  Liquid smoke is made by capturing the resins, without capturing the creosote.  If all resins were creosote, then liquid smoke would leave only a bitter taste to food it's used in.  Again, not all resins are creosote.  You need to raise the temp of the fire just enough to attain good quality smoke, and not heat.  Too little heat, and you get ugly white smoke, too much heat, and all you get are BTU's & no smoke.  During the winter, I tell people to warm their smokers up to 100°, and then shut it down.  Just a few degrees in temp will make a world of difference in the quality of smoke.  Fire management is an art!

    There's a pretty good debate on how much of the smoke flavor is too much.  Some want more smoke flavor and some less.  Some like their brisket to taste like it came from a wood fired pizza oven and some want it to have a heavy smoke taste.  Some believe it's the creosote that gives us the smoked flavor we desire.  Those that have used a stick burned can attest to a heavier smoke flavor.  The trick, or art of smoking, is to cook your food to the way "YOU" like it, and not to they way others tell you it should be cooked or smoked.

    I could care less if you use a soldering iron & tin can, a couple lumps of charcoal & chips, a Smoke Daddy or an AMNPS, you have to learn your piece of equipment. 

     - Does it perform the same in cold weather as well as warm weather?

     - Will it perform differently for cold smoking than hot smoking?

     - Will different fuel or pellets perform differently?

  6. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I used to rep saddles and horse tack
    We used to have a saying:
    "There's an a$$ for every saddle, but sometimes the buyer just doesn't know if it fits or not."

    Sometimes we don't know any better until we try something different
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Then you know well, " You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink".
  9. smokedaddy123

    smokedaddy123 Fire Starter

    Thanks Mr. T for taking the time to do the comparison and research on smoke management.

    We at Smoke Daddy have tried to provide the user of our smoke generators the ability to produce the type of smoke that each individual user prefers.  When burning wood at low temperatures creosote, resins and gases result creating deposits which are part of the burning process and not the result of using the Smoke Daddy.
     Different fuels produce more or less desirable deposits depending on the type of wood being used. These can be controlled by the user with the combination of the provided variable speed air pump and the use of the included baffle which improves the air flow.  The air pump allows the user to control the amount of oxygen, which in turn controls the heat and the rate of burn. 
    If the user desires a hotter thin smoke, the use of large wood chips or chunks along with charcoal can be used with little residue left behind.  If a heavier and colder smoke is desired, the use of pellets and wood chips can be used to produce a true cold smoke, although more residue will be left behind, but that can be expected  when producing cold smoke, much of this depends on the wood being used. The ambient temperature along with the amount of air flow will influence these results.

    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  10. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ahhhh......Very True Indeed!
  11. Mr. T and Members,

    This is one reason I joined the form is for fantastic information like this! I have both a big kahuna and magnum pig smoke daddy. I love the units as they're built like a Sherman tank and the concept is fantastic. I kept having issues the first to time I used my big kahuna on my big Green egg. I went back and watched Dennis's videos and information and change my wood chunks to Alder, and mixed with one charcoal as directed. I kept getting acrid cheese, I ran the unit wide open with air on Max. Then I did pork belly, cut airflow to min, removed BGE top vent entirely, same acrid smoke taste. Two things I observed in reading these posts is that I did not warm-up my BGE smoker before hand to 100° and then shut it down, and additionally I did not fire up my big kahuna with just lump charcoal only before adding wood chunks. So looking back at both events, the external temps were in the mid 40s. So now what you say about the smoke condensing at the coldest place in the smoker and creosote forming puts some closure to my hunch that the cold big Green egg was causing my smoke taste issues. My generator has burned clean as a whistle on both attempts, so it's not forming in the unit. I think the issue also is I smoke the cheese too long (90 minutes), as I was producing a lot of white smoke. Additionally the smoke daddy adapter closes off the bottom vent of the egg so I also think that I am lacking severely on airflow, since I closed it with the solid shutter and not the screen shutter.

    I have been grilling and smoking for over 30 years and I learn something new everyday. It's just like one of the other members said below, is that smoking is not an exact science that there are a lot of variables. However learning from others triumphs and tragedies helps others learn. It is the reason I love to cook and share my knowledge. Yes I have thrown away a lot of expensive cuts of meat in my time, but is not stopped me from going back and trying again armed with a new game plan and a mission to succeed.

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