Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by smokeitifugotit, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. I'm doing some stuffed bell peppers today and wanted to post, at the risk of being redundant, how I preheat my pellets. Rather than transferring to the microwave, I load what I'm going to use in the AMNPS and set them on a rack to heat up with the rest of the smoker. Works every time and doesn't go out, even though I store them in a damp garage. Now maybe someone already posted this method, but I won't live long enough to read everything on here. LOL.
    I'll post some pics when my peppers are done done. Using a pecan and peach combo.
    The above is them peps still cookin'.
    I know, "if you lookin' , yada yada yada. :). I'm retired and got nothin' but time. LOL

    The above is the finished product and ready for Freddy. The only way I'll "share" these, is if you can figure a way to get a bite off Facebook. LOL
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  2. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      Sounding like something to try! Looking forward to the q-view.

  3. nickmv

    nickmv Newbie

    Wait, what do you mean, pre-heating pellets? I've got a pellet smoker (Yoder) as well as an AMAZEN tube smoker, and I've never once heard of any concept of warming up the pellets.

    Are your pellets WET? If so, you've got WAY bigger problems than needing to pre-heat them. I'm really honestly baffled at what you mean by pre-heat pellets. 

    If you're AMNPS is going out, there's usually 2 possibilities:

    A) incorrect storage and you're getting pellets wet. Pre-heating is not the solution. Storing them properly IS.

    B) You have them in too hot an environment. Those AMAZEN smokers tend to not work well in a very-high-heat environment like a 500F grill, etc. They're meant to supplement a smoker that already runs at a cooler temperature, or perhaps a kettle grill where you've done some indrect heating methods to drive temp down. Or to just be run by themselves with no other heat source.

    Any other pellet poopers wanna chime in here?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    By the way, we try to help folks solve their problems....  make stuff work regardless of their situation...   My pellets get damp all the time and drying is a given for an uninterrupted smoke..... 

    I find the pellets, even stored in plastic, seemingly air tight containers, will absorb enough moisture to make the burn not go as planned, especially when using them for cold smoking....   Placing the AMNPS in my mailbox mod, at times they won't burn/smoke for more than 20-30 minutes.....   Predrying in the smoker during preheat, eliminates the problem of having to relight them...... I usually preheat the MES 30 for 2 hours at 275 to "sterilize" the cooking chamber, and the AMNPS with the days supply of pellets already loaded in it, are in the smoker....  Using that method, my pellets smoke for 3-4 hours per row and no relighting necessary.....

    Maybe some folks live where the humidity is low and they don't have that problem....  Or they are placing the pellets in a hot smoker, alleviating the problem.....  Those of us that use a cold smoker for pellet burning, or use a "mailbox" mod type smoke chamber, preheating and drying the pellets is a good thing....  

  5. [​IMG]Yay Dave,

    Thanx for chiming in....if Nick would have read my post thoroughly, I stated I stored them in a damp garage and even though they are in air tight containers, they still get a degree of dampness, that, in my case, prevents them from flowing from the initial lighting to the rear.  Sort of akin to putting wet logs on top of lit kindling.  All I'm pointing out is that preheating them with the smoker warmup saves a step to the microwave, that I see so many say they do.  By the way Nick, I think you'll find most folks on here have been at it long enough to know what the pellets are for and how to use them.  Every once in a while, someone comes up with a solution to save time and steps.  I don't ever offer advice, unless I know for 100% sure, that it works and works well.  In my case, the Ayatollah has dictated that my smoking area is the garage and she wants everything related to that purposed IN the garage.  Just another insight that I hope might help someone.  
  6. nickmv

    nickmv Newbie

    I actually read every last word of your post, and I did see that you said you stored them in a container. I live in TN and we have average humidities in the high 80s and even 90s during the summer, and my pellet sits in the bag (handwrapped/twirled shut) and stored in a shed. They easily can get moisture into them.

    I have an AMNTS tube smoker and have never once had an issue with them not burning. Regardless, I've never once read about an issue with moisture in pellets, and am quite frankly baffled by the idea that they could get wet enough to where they wouldn't burn. Perhaps the AMNPS is poorly designed, or perhaps your storage container has some issue. I don't know what else to tell you. You shouldn't have to heat up pellets before using them, and that's surely a fact.

    I'm not trying to get into a big argument about it, and I'm going to leave the thread at this point, but pre-heating pellets is something that under normal circumstances, should NOT have to be done, period.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Most of you guys are right!!!

    Below is how I store my pellets & dust.

    I have never had to heat my pellets, but if they got damp, I certainly would.

    Everybody has different ways of doing things, but if your pellets do get damp or wet, and you throw them away, instead of heating them, you must have more disposable income than I have.


    This picture is with sawdust in the jugs, because I took this picture before there was such a thing as an AMNPS: I've had sawdust in these jugs for over 4 years, and pellets in jugs since before the AMNPS was put on the market (Over 2 years), and they all stayed dry all this time.

    crazymoon likes this.
  8. nickmv

    nickmv Newbie

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2013
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Sounds like you simmered down a bit. Leave it alone, and I'm sure others will too.

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    nickmv,  afternoon.....    I noticed you were looking to purchase an electronically controlled pellet smoker 5 or so months ago......   Did you get one ???    


    4/5/13 at 11:39am


    • [​IMG]
    • 15 Posts. Joined 4/2013
    • Points: 10

    So I'm about to move out of a small apt into a house for rent, and looking to upgrade from my Weber Smokey Mountain (actually let's just say "complement it").

    Naturally, I'm leaning towards an electronically controlled pellet smoker that serves double duty as a grill. I wanna be able to fire it up and do steaks, but also go on long smoke sessions with ribs, briskets, and more. I've experienced a Traeger before at a friend's house, but the controller was always going whack and letting the temp get out of control, etc.

    I see the Rec Tec gets rave reviews, but it's also a Chinese product. I'd prefer American made if possible. My budget is $1200 shipped, however what's made the Rec Tec so appealing is that it's 24mos same-as-cash. I'd much rather pay it off interest free over 6-8mos, than to try to drop the full amount all at once.

    Any recommendations? I'm all ears.
  11. nickmv

    nickmv Newbie

    I'd prefer not to go off topic and hijack OP's post, but yes I did. I got a Yoder YS640, but I also got an AMAZEN AMNTS tube smoker to A) cold smoke on either my WSM or my Yoder, and B) to supplement the Yoder smoke if I'm feeling super smokey.
  12. If my pellets/dust/chips seem to have some difficulty staying lit, that's exactly the way I "dry" them out and like you said it works very well. The ones I have the most difficulty with are the Jack Daniels Oak Barrel Chips (sometimes you can see the moisture in the bags at the store). 
  13. Smokinhusker, you're right about the naturally damp JD's. Unfortunately, what's not being considered here is the fact that prior to purchase, you have no control as to how pellets are packaged and stored. Especially if you buy from one that buys in bulk and repackages to make money selling at a premium in smaller quantities. I've had bags show up in a box that had pin holes in them. I live on the shores of Lake Erie and have learned to not even start an AMNPS without letting it heat up in case my pellets are damp. Take my advice or leave it Nick, but don't insinuate that somebody doesn't know what they are doing because their methods or situation doesn't fall in line with your thinking or your situation.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  14. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Dry pellets are hygroscopic and want to absorb moisture from the atmosphere.  It's just a fact of physics. 

    There have been quite a few threads and posts about damp pellets or trouble lighting pellets.  One of the tips I picked up from just such a thread is to microwave the pellets just before use.  That converts most of the moisture in the pellets (if any) into steam.  I sort of use a hybrid method. I'll dump what I expect to use into a pyrex measuring cup and microwave about 1 to 2 minutes (until I see moisture from the steam on the edge of the cup).  Then I put the hot pellets in my tray and sit the tray in the smoker or grill which is still heating up.  I don't light the tray and let the pellets heat up with the smoker or grill (indirect heat).  One the smoker or grill is at temp, then I will take the tray out and light it as in the pellet tray lighting directions (using a MAPP gas burner which makes quick work lighting).

    I have not had a single issue with hard to light or damp pellets since I started doing it this way.  Only adds the time needed to microwave the pellets to the overall prep time as the rest of the stuff I'm doing anyway.  Figured I might as well take advantage of the heat in the grill or smoker as it comes up to the desired temps to make sure the pellets are good and dry.

    I also store my pellets in sealed containers inside the Pantry.  Does not seem to matter as we get those lovely muggy summer days and nights of 110% humidity (seems like 110% anyway).



    And as for your comments to DaveOmak - I think it was rather ballsy & crass for someone with less than a dozen posts to light into a well known, well liked, very helpful, long time member and moderator like you did. Not a good first impression dude no matter what your intention was.  That being said, "that's about all I have to say about that" (to quote a certain Gump person).  It's done and over.  Besides us ol' farts gotta stick up for each other....
  15. Xcellent post Dward51. I too was using the micro until I just started letting the AMNPS sit loaded in my MES30, while it comes up to temp. I, as stated, have found that I can now skip the micro, as I haven't had an issue since I started doing it this way. Thanx for your insight as to the oft times damp feel to some of the pellets.
  16. I just read thru this thread and being a newby was surprised to read about damp pellets.  I'm still in the reading and learning stage (my grill/smoker won't even be here till Friday).  I'm in So.Cal. and we get some humidity but nothing like I imagine the south and other areas get.  I was going to fill my hopper with 1/2 a bag and leave them in there, but if they are sensitive I may have to rethink that and get some storage containers for them.  
  17. Hi Cathy L,
    I think after reading all this, that you'll find everyone has different conditions and experiences with reference to smoking. Some folks, apparently, are blessed by the smoking gods and don't have any problems. However, if you do, you'll find that there's a plethora of solutions available here. Were I you, I'd wait and see how things go and proceed from there. With regards to the sometimes dampness of the pellets, Dwards51's post makes the most sense to me. It's not a big deal to dry them out a bit prior to lighting. Good luck!
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cathy, morning.... I think the pellet grills have an igniter that continually lights the pellets....   What we are speaking of is, lighting a pile of pellets once and the pile having to continue burning for 12 hours without a relight...    BIG difference... 
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  19. Thanks both of you for your replies.  As I said there is much to learn and lots of reading to do.  I appreciate your explanations.
  20. For what it's worth, Cathy, here's how mine are stored. The big bin on the bottom is apple, as I use that the most. They still get a bit damp, just like Dward51 stated. Not an insurmountable problem, but just needs a workaround sometimes. Good luck with yours,


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