Mailbox Mod Question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by murdermode, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. murdermode

    murdermode Fire Starter

    Well I decided to do the mailbox mod on my smoker today. I got me a mailbox and some semi rigid ducting and a couple fittings for the ducting to the mailbox and smoker. I drilled a hole in the back of the mailbox put a fitting in attached the ducting then ran it to the smoker. I drilled a couple 1/2 inch holes in the mailbox door for airflow. Well that was super easy and took like half an hour and I was happy. I decided to fit up my AMNPS and see how it worked. Well I or it lit and let it burn for ten minutes blew it out and set it in the mailbox. Well it was going great making a lot of smoke so I decided to go take a nap and check on it later. When o woke up the pellets had gone out and I can't figure out why. It burned all the way down to the end of the first row then went out. And the other side never really took off. It just fizzled out soon after going on the mailbox. Now I know it obviously wasn't getting enough air once it got down to the end of the first row. I also know this is a long explanation for a simple questions. Well I want to know should I drill more holes in the door or would it make more sense to drill holes in the middle of the mailbox by where the end of the first row is located?
  2. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Where did you have your pellet smoker placed in the mailbox?  Was it in the front closest to the door or toward the back of the mailbox.

    I generally place mine near the front of the box and never have a problem.

    Good luck,  John
  3. murdermode

    murdermode Fire Starter

    I put it all the way to the front right against the door
  4. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Keep in mind that there are holes in the bottom of the mailbox so I cannot see where you should have had a problem. Sometimes the AMNPS can be persnickety.  Were your pellets completely dry?
  5. murdermode

    murdermode Fire Starter

    Yeah they were fresh out of the bag. Like I said they burned all the way down until the end of the first row and the other end which is at the same point stopped burning immediately. It seems that there's a definite air flow problem. I know the mailbox had holes in the bottom but the bottoms the mailbox is basically sealed from airflow because the lip around the bottom touching the ground.
  6. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Try setting the mailbox on two narrow pieces of wood to get it off the ground...That might help.

    Sometimes pellets right out of the bag may not be completely dry.  This is what I do and rarely have a problem.

    Put the amount of pellets you will be using in the microwave and nuke for one minute...wait about five minutes and then nuke an additional minute.

    This is foolproof for me.  I hope this helps.

    If no,t someone will be along to offer more suggestions

    Good Luck,  John
  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Draft is very important.  # 1,  elevate your smoker above the mailbox this will cause more draft, the higher the better.  If too much you can then start choking your intake vents.  Putting holes along the side may result in smoke escaping out the side rather than going to the smoker.  You may have to heat the smoker in the beginning to get a draft started, no problem.

    Let us know how it goes,

  8. murdermode

    murdermode Fire Starter

    Yeah I have my smoker on an old coffee table with my mailbox underneath it. I haven't hears of microwaving the pellets before but that really seems like a great idea. It can't hurt at least. And I'll prop my mailbox up and see what happens with that. If it still messes up I'll drill another hole in the door!
  9. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    I've had much better results since:
    1. Setting the AMNPS on top of some bar stock inside the mailbox to get better airflow underneath
    2. Drilled a 2" hole in the door, close to the mailbox floor bottom. I use a magnetic business card to regulate air flow.
    Not sure which or if both helped, but it's working great now. Suggest you start with #1;  using something to elevate the AMNPS above the mailbox floor and see if that helps.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You want holes in the door only... That allows for "Once through air".... recirculating air is low in oxygen.....

    Try drying the pellets at 275 for a couple hours AND try piling the pellets up higher at the turn... seems the turn, at times, will not allow the fire to turn the corner....

    Also, is the smoker warm.... that helps with draft... doesn't have to be hot, just warmer than ambient to keep natural draft going..... turn the heat on for a bit then off again if you are cold smoking.....
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Dang, Dave, like minds?  [​IMG]   That could be scary.    

  12. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic

    I keep my pellets in gallon sized pretzel screw top jars. I use desiccant packs in each jar.

    I just started doing this next step a few months back and have not had pellets in the AMNPS go out.

    I smoke in my barn / mancave and it is 400' from the house / kitchen. I preheat my electric,
    I load up the tray and set it on he bottom heat diffuser for my pre-heat time. I usually will
    pre-heat at MED to HIGH, just to drive off moisture and get the cabinet warm. Pre-heat time
    is 45-60 minutes. After this pre-heat, I take the tray out and light it, let it burn and develop
    A good coal while I setting cooker temp, and final meat prep.

    I even do this on cold smokes (BACON) and it works great.

  13. murdermode

    murdermode Fire Starter

    I want to say thank you all for the great advice. I microwaved my pellets then propped my mailbox up off the ground about an inch and also drilled a 1" hole in the door and WOW. This thing took off. I have an MES 30 with the glass on the front and there was souch smoke I couldn't even see the meat. Just a cloud of white smoke. There was so much coming out of my smoker that it looked like the exhaust stack on an old steam engine. Now if only I could beat the stall on my brisket......
  14. The stall is very important when it happens. It is a pain but it is important to tender meat. It might be beef or  pork it does not matter. Normally it occurs in tough meat like the Brisket or shoulder. Those meats need to be smoked to a IT of 200 or more just to make them tender. To get there the stall ocures. It is different in every p[piece of meat. it all depends on  the meat composition. Our normal perception should change from a pain to a real good thing. I know it's hard when it seems it wont quit. I have even had my meat cool down a couple degrees during the first part of the stall. Just ride the wave so to speak.

  15. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

  16. murdermode

    murdermode Fire Starter

    I understand what you're saying but if it stalls too long it will just cook all the flavor out of the run before the meat ever gets done. Not to mention everyone in the world knows that once you hit the stall you wrap in foil to beat the stall. The stall isn't important at all it's just something that happens.
  17. Not everyone foils their meat, most restaurants don't. A lot of home smokers use the wrap but not all. I don't unless there is a time problem that I did not anticipate. Shoulders, butts and brisket are being smoked regularly with out foil. The bark that forms and hardening of the outside of the meat holds in the bulk of the flavor and juice. If properly rubbed and cooked to the right IT you won't have dried out flavorless meat.  Jted
  18. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I could personally debunk about half of what that guy writes. Just because it is on the internet does not make it gospel. 
  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Not everyone does everything the way you do.
  20. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    >I could personally debunk about half of what that guy writes.

    >Just because it is on the internet does not make it gospel. 

    I can't argue with you there. But foiling seems to shorten the stall for me and many others, so it seems like evaporation is the real culprit. So if we can eliminate the stall and still end up with tender meat, then the stall itself is not "important". 

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