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PELLET PREHEAT - Page 2

post #21 of 38

The AMNPS is a well tested, great design used successfully by over 10,000 people and works well for it's intended purpose, making a small to moderate amount of TBS over a long period of time. It's earliest application was to allow smoking in a MES over a range of temps. It was found while it performed flawlessly in the MES and some other Electric smokers, any smoker that did not provide a constant supply of fresh air, such as Propane, Charcoal and Pellet Smokers, required a different design hence the Tubes were born. Because the AMNPS works by having a small amount of Smoldering pellets light the pellets above to generate smoke, a fine balance of dry pellets and fresh air must be available. Even with proper storage at your home there is no guarantee the pellets will be sufficiently dry. We have no clue as to how seasoned the wood was to begin with, no idea as to the weather condition at the manufacturing facility, after all they can't be expected to store several hundred TONS of pellets in nicely sealed 1 Gallon plastic containers, and as it is my understanding that Todd purchases by the ton palate loads he too is at the mercy of the weather and humidity in his storage area. That being said the High Heat generated by the pellet burner in a Yoder or any other Pellet Pooper is more than enough to nearly instantly Dry any pellets and burn them without issue...BUT...The tiny pile of smoldering pellets in any row of the AMNPS is a far different story. If the pellets are not Very Dry, I seem to recall reading <8% moisture they will not burn well or continuously. So regardless of how the Pellets are stored by the end user, taking the extra step to Dry the pellets either in the Microwave, Oven or while preheating the Smoker is smart insurance that no matter how they were stored or handled prior to placing them in the AMNPS, they will generate the desired result. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding as you have all made valid points. Even though we were comparing Apple to Oranges we were still all discussing Fruit!...nana2.gif...JJ 


Edited by Chef JimmyJ - 9/26/13 at 2:17pm
post #22 of 38
Thread Starter 
Say hallelujah and AMEN! :-)
post #23 of 38

All,

I've got 20 tons of pellets in my warehouse.  Most of which were produced at 6%-8% moisture content.  As humidity rises, I'm sure the pellets will "Wick" up some moisture, but I've never found them to be greater than 10% moisture content.  When pellets are formed under heat and pressure, a natural compound called "lignin" is released.  This compound holds the pellet together, and also causes the shiny surface on the pellet to form.

 

Sawdust, on the other hand will wick up moisture easily.  Keeping it in a sealed bag or container is necessary.

 

I cannot say I regularly microwave pellets, but I have done it a few times.  A few guys in some very damp areas microwave their pellets as part of their starting procedure.  By placing the AMNPS in a smoker that's warming up, will also dry the pellets.  I think the OP may be using the terms "Drying" and "Warming" as one in the same.

 

Anyway, whatever method you use, keep on doing it!

Thanks for sharing, cuz others can learn from our experiences, good and bad!

 

 

Todd

No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

Reply
post #24 of 38

Just to clear up the container issue. It DOES MATTER how you store them because when I get them from Todd they are in a plastic bag. They go directly from his bags into my plastic jugs with screw tops. I have never had to microwave them or put them in the oven. I also don't put them in my MES while it's warming up. I have ZERO problems keeping them lit.

 

These things are true for both my pellets & my sawdust, so apparently they come from Todd dry enough, and my jugs continue to keep them dry enough. As for humidity, we get a lot of rain here & quite a bit of humidity, but I know there are more humid places than here. However if you do what I do, and tighten the cap, humidity doesn't get into those jugs. Like I said earlier (with the picture of my dust jugs), that sawdust is in those jugs for 4 years, and my pellets for 2 years, and everything is dry.

 

You can't put them in snap-top containers that were made for nails & screws & such. It has to be a tight sealing jug.

 

Most of the time when an AMNPS goes out, it is because it wasn't lit properly in the first place, but I'm sure some of the problem is because the dust or pellets weren't stored in an air tight container, and they picked up moisture.

 

Bear

post #25 of 38
Thread Starter 
Just gotta mention one thing about my "snap top" containers. I can turn these upside down full of soup and they don't leak. They are definitely air tight. Mine were made for food storage, not nails and screws. I believe Todd and Dward51, that some of the pellets are prone to wicking from the atmosphere and various storage conditions. Maybe I don't need to warm them during preheat, but I do and haven't had any outage concerns since.
Again, sorry to have started this, but just wanted to pass along an idea that works for moi.
With all my love,
Fred
post #26 of 38

Dave,

I am speaking for my Smoke Daddy pellet burner, but, the igniter rod only stays lit for a few minutes on burner start up to light the pellets.  Once the pellets have ignited, the controller runs the feed auger at a predetermined time interval for a short period of time to keep just a few pellets in the burn pot at all times, even if the smoker is at temp and is not calling for heat.  That prevents the fire from going out completely.  I am going to have to assume that is how other pellet poopers work as well, although, I could be wrong.  My wife says I'm wrong all the time. LOL

post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

The AMNPS is a well tested, great design used successfully by over 10,000 people and works well for it's intended purpose, making a small to moderate amount of TBS over a long period of time. It's earliest application was to allow smoking in a MES over a range of temps. It was found while it performed flawlessly in the MES and some other Electric smokers, any smoker that did not provide a constant supply of fresh air, such as Propane, Charcoal and Pellet Smokers, required a different design hence the Tubes were born. Because the AMNPS works by having a small amount of Smoldering pellets light the pellets above to generate smoke, a fine balance of dry pellets and fresh air must be available. Even with proper storage at your home there is no guarantee the pellets will be sufficiently dry. We have no clue as to how seasoned the wood was to begin with, no idea as to the weather condition at the manufacturing facility, after all they can't be expected to store several hundred TONS of pellets in nicely sealed 1 Gallon plastic containers, and as it is my understanding that Todd purchases by the ton palate loads he too is at the mercy of the weather and humidity in his storage area. That being said the High Heat generated by the pellet burner in a Yoder or any other Pellet Pooper is more than enough to nearly instantly Dry any pellets and burn them without issue...BUT...The tiny pile of smoldering pellets in any row of the AMNPS is a far different story. If the pellets are not Very Dry, I seem to recall reading <8% moisture they will not burn well or continuously. So regardless of how the Pellets are stored by the end user, taking the extra step to Dry the pellets either in the Microwave, Oven or while preheating the Smoker is smart insurance that no matter how they were stored or handled prior to placing them in the AMNPS, they will generate the desired result. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding as you have all made valid points. Even though we were comparing Apple to Oranges we were still all discussing Fruit!...nana2.gif...JJ 

 

This is a good point JJ.. it does not hurt to take a couple of minutes to microwave or warm the pellets even if you think they are probably ok. Seems like an easy thing to do with a huge potential payoff.

 

Ounce of prevention.. yada yada yada...:biggrin:

post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScooterMagoo View Post
 

Dave,

I am speaking for my Smoke Daddy pellet burner, but, the igniter rod only stays lit for a few minutes on burner start up to light the pellets.  Once the pellets have ignited, the controller runs the feed auger at a predetermined time interval for a short period of time to keep just a few pellets in the burn pot at all times, even if the smoker is at temp and is not calling for heat.  That prevents the fire from going out completely.  I am going to have to assume that is how other pellet poopers work as well, although, I could be wrong.  My wife says I'm wrong all the time. LOL

 

Scooter, afternoon.....   are you familiar with the AMNPS....   Once you light them, they have to continue to smolder without any forced air...  hard to do if they are a little damp..    Todd has noticed cherry pellets, will not burn or smolder unless they have a companion wood, such as oak, alder, etc...  I think they are just too hard or dense or something....   If straight cherry, that is dry, will not burn, you probably can see where a little moisture would affect the smoking in other species of pellets....     

 

Never seen a pellet smoker...  I have a pellet stove I heat with...  It ignites and burns....  auger feeder..... SS burn pot... and continuous supply of air blowing on the pellets...    Is that similar to your pellet smoker... 

 

Dave

 

post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsaJeff View Post
 

 

This is a good point JJ.. it does not hurt to take a couple of minutes to microwave or warm the pellets even if you think they are probably ok. Seems like an easy thing to do with a huge potential payoff.

 

Ounce of prevention.. yada yada yada...:biggrin:

 

Seems this would be good if you've had problems, but if you've been smoking with an AMNS (Dust) for over 4 years, and with an AMNPS (Pellets) for over 2 years, and never had a problem lighting or keeping them lit, it would be a waste of time, effort, and electricity.

 

Not to disagree with the Boss, but that's how I see it, with my long time experience with the AMNPS & AMNS.

 

 

Bear

post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

 

Seems this would be good if you've had problems, but if you've been smoking with an AMNS (Dust) for over 4 years, and with an AMNPS (Pellets) for over 2 years, and never had a problem lighting or keeping them lit, it would be a waste of time, effort, and electricity.

 

Not to disagree with the Boss, but that's how I see it, with my long time experience with the AMNPS & AMNS.

 

 

Bear

 

 

I see your point.. if it's not broke, don't try to fix it.:biggrin:

 

I agree, if you are having no issues then by all means, don't worry about anything just keep doing what you are doing. I should have made that more clear.

post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsaJeff View Post
 

 

 

I see your point.. if it's not broke, don't try to fix it.:biggrin:

 

I agree, if you are having no issues then by all means, don't worry about anything just keep doing what you are doing. I should have made that more clear.

 

 

Thank You for your reply.

 

 

Bear

post #32 of 38

 A minute in the microwave for the pellets is as normal as applying my rub on the meat now.. here in texas... its hot.. humid... nasty.. blah! I store in sealed containers.. but it just doesnt matter most of the time... so I just do it, and dont even think about it. PLUS.. it makes the kitchen smell just like the back yard then :) SMOKIE :biggrin: 

post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

Scooter, afternoon.....   are you familiar with the AMNPS....   Once you light them, they have to continue to smolder without any forced air...  hard to do if they are a little damp..    Todd has noticed cherry pellets, will not burn or smolder unless they have a companion wood, such as oak, alder, etc...  I think they are just too hard or dense or something....   If straight cherry, that is dry, will not burn, you probably can see where a little moisture would affect the smoking in other species of pellets....     

Never seen a pellet smoker...  I have a pellet stove I heat with...  It ignites and burns....  auger feeder..... SS burn pot... and continuous supply of air blowing on the pellets...    Is that similar to your pellet smoker... 

Dave


It sounds like a pellet burning smoker works the same as your furnace. As far as damp pellets in my AMNPS, there is a lot of air flow in the smoker and I never have a problem with them going out.
post #34 of 38
YES, It works great . That is just how I preheat mine. If I used the microwave in the kitchen I would have to move out back. I pre heat mine at a higher temp (270) than I am going to smoke so when I retrieve the pellets I don't lose too much heat. I use a Auber PID as a controller so I set up a pre heat cycle then a cook cycle. With the Auber you can set up to 6 cycles altho I have never used more than 3.
post #35 of 38

Have tried preheating the pellets/tray in the smoker....tried drying them in the nuke box......lighting them with gel letting it stay lit until going out on its own...Holding a MAPP torch on them for 2 minutes followed by a 15 minute burn. Just don't matter, after a few inches of burning out they go. Sitting on a table, sitting in a BGE with no wood in it an the vents wide open....in the mailbox with the MSE set at 250*....just doesn't matter....they go out...

post #36 of 38

Are you using them for hot or cold smoking?

 

The AMNPS is usually very reliable however I used to have a similar problem with my AMNPS type smoke generator and I found that a combination of things helped to fix it. Now it is totally reliable with any pellets and at any temperature.

 

Firstly I find that certain pellets are harder to keep going than others. One batch of Oak pellets were a real problem and so I got around this by mixing in 25% hickory - which I have never had a problem with. Later bags of Oak have been fine but it shows that batches do vary.

 

Fill the AMNPS with pellets heaped on top and then pour these into a shallow microwavable bowl. Zap them in the microwave on full power for about 6 minutes. After 4 minutes give them a stir as the moisture driven from the pellets in the bottom will start to expand the pellets on top. When they come out the pellets should be too hot to handle comfortably. Stir again and leave in a warm dry place for 5 minutes for more of the water to evapourate.

Place the AMNPS in a tray and pour the warm/hot pellets over the top. Using your hand use a gentle grinding motion to compact the pellets as densely as possible into all of the AMNPS strips. Dont break any of the pellets but you will be amazed how much more densely they will pack than when simply poured in. Denser pellets retain more heat and burn more reliably.

 

If you can, place the AMNPS in the smoker so that the burn is perpendicular to the air flow. By simply doing this I found the burn to be much more reliable.

 

With the pellet burn in line with the air flow (with the problem pellets especially) it would often stop part way along the row - more often on the burn direction that was towards the air flow. By turning the unit by 90 degrees the warmth from the burn was always heating the pellets in front and also the heated air flow was pre-warming the pellets in the adjacent rows that was about to be burned.

 

I have found that the results are often due to the types of pellets used (even batches of the same wood type vary) and since I have been using the combination of techniques above I now get a 100% reliable full burn.

 

Hopefully this may help.

 

Because some of the nights are getting really cold I have built a pre-heater that I put into my smoker. It uses two ceramic 150w reptile heaters to gently warm the box where the smoke generator sits. This is thermostatically controlled and they switch off if the smoking chamber temperature rises above 10-12 C (50-54 F)

 

post #37 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by inkjunkie View Post
 

Have tried preheating the pellets/tray in the smoker....tried drying them in the nuke box......lighting them with gel letting it stay lit until going out on its own...Holding a MAPP torch on them for 2 minutes followed by a 15 minute burn. Just don't matter, after a few inches of burning out they go. Sitting on a table, sitting in a BGE with no wood in it an the vents wide open....in the mailbox with the MSE set at 250*....just doesn't matter....they go out...

Your MAPP Gas Torch can be too hot to start the pellets, if held on the pellets for too long.  You make some wonderful charcoal!

 

Only hold the torch on your pellets for about 45 seconds, until the pellets ignite

Allow the flame to burn on top the pellets for 10 minutes

Blow out the flame and the pellets will smolder

Your AMNPS needs a slight draft to keep burning

The min. temp for "Cold Smoking" is really about 45°.  Smoking at temps below 45° can be difficult.

 

Questions.....

What pellets are you using?

What's your elevation?

Outside Temp?

 

 

Todd

No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

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post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJohnson View Post
 

Your MAPP Gas Torch can be too hot to start the pellets, if held on the pellets for too long.  You make some wonderful charcoal!

Only hold the torch on your pellets for about 45 seconds, until the pellets ignite

 

I use a MAPP torch to light them too and as Todd says 2 minutes would be way too long. Todd is the expert and I totally agree with him - 30-45 seconds is enough to get them well alight. Much more than that and you also run the risk of getting the mesh so hot that it can actually light the pellets in the adjacent row. 

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