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Help with AMNPS smoke level hot vs. cold

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a new Masterbuilt 40" smoker I've been using for about a month or so.  I also picked up the AMNPS at the same time and have been trying to figure out what's the deal with the smoke level when the smoker is heating vs. cold.  I have learned to really get the AMNPS lit well before smoking and using a torch and a heat gun to get it going pretty good.  I did a brisket last weekend and had consistent smoke for about 12 hours straight.  Wonderful; however, when I am smoking something that requires heat, such as brisket, burgers, fatty, etc. the smoke is consistent but not as intense as I think it should be.  This leads to flavor that I don't think is as smokey as it should be.  I know this because when I've smoked cheese (of course the heating element isn't running), I get the thickest cloud of smoke known to man.  If I open the door to check, the level of smoke is amazing.  Its so thick that at first you can't even see what's in the smoker.  When smoking meat, if I open the door to check, its a nice level of smoke, but maybe less than half as much as the amount I get when smoking cheese with the element off.  Why is there such a difference?  Everything is the same for both.  I put the AMNPS on top of the water pan opening, no water pan, chip holder completely removed and the chip loading tray completely inserted into the side of the MES.  Like this:

 

post #2 of 10
Here is my "guess".... cold air is dense and has more oxygen than hot air.... the pellets burn better.... that should take a cold one or two to swallow....
post #3 of 10

I've been experimenting, with good results, with leaving the chip tube out and having a box fan blowing towards the opening. Seems to help push air through when running higher heat. Still not gotten the mailbox mod done yet, need to do that and see if that solves all the problems with the gen 2 MES40.

post #4 of 10

gtrplayer,

If you can't even see what's in the smoker, that's too much smoke.

Do you have your top vent open all the way in both hot & cold smokes? You should.

If you have trouble with too heavy a smoke, like when you were cold smoking, don't fill your AMNPS as full (high) next time.

 

 

Bear

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

gtrplayer,

If you can't even see what's in the smoker, that's too much smoke.

Do you have your top vent open all the way in both hot & cold smokes? You should.

If you have trouble with too heavy a smoke, like when you were cold smoking, don't fill your AMNPS as full (high) next time.

 

 

Bear

The side vent, near the top/rear smoker is completely open and I kept it that way for hot and cold smokes.  I can see what's in the smoker through the window to see what's in there (assuming i've kept it clean), but when I open the door, there is a very nice thick cloud of smoke.  It was a slight exagerration to say that I can't see what's in there, its just that there really is at least twice as much smoke during cold smokes with nothing changed except the lack of heat.  So, I'm not having trouble with heavy smoke, I want to have as much smoke for the hot smoke as I do for the cold.  The brisket and fatty had decent smoke flavor, but could have used more.  The burgers seemed to have very little smoke flavor and maybe the shorter cook time had something to do with that.  Maybe trying a different type of wood pellets would help?  I've been using the Amazenproducts pellets; 1/2 hickory, 1/2 pecan for the brisket; Pitmaster's choice for the fatty, and all hickory for the burgers.

 

Is there anything about the placement of the AMNPS or smoker setup that I should change?

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrplayer View Post
 

The side vent, near the top/rear smoker is completely open and I kept it that way for hot and cold smokes.  I can see what's in the smoker through the window to see what's in there (assuming i've kept it clean), but when I open the door, there is a very nice thick cloud of smoke.  It was a slight exagerration to say that I can't see what's in there, its just that there really is at least twice as much smoke during cold smokes with nothing changed except the lack of heat.  So, I'm not having trouble with heavy smoke, I want to have as much smoke for the hot smoke as I do for the cold.  I think smoke is more visible in cold air than in hot air. The brisket and fatty had decent smoke flavor, but could have used more.  The burgers seemed to have very little smoke flavor and maybe the shorter cook time had something to do with that.  Maybe trying a different type of wood pellets would help?  I've been using the Amazenproducts pellets; 1/2 hickory, 1/2 pecan for the brisket; Pitmaster's choice for the fatty, and all hickory for the burgers. Light smoke is all you need for cold or hot smokes. If you want more smoke flavor, give it more time smoking, not heavier smoke. Also it sounds like you're a smoke hound like me. Try 100% Hickory---It's all I use.

 

Is there anything about the placement of the AMNPS or smoker setup that I should change? Whatever you are doing to keep the AMNPS going in that Gen #2, if it's working, keep doing it.

 

 

Bear

post #7 of 10
Without heat you are going to have less air movement. More heat = more convection=more smoke out the top vent
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

 

 

Bear

Thanks for the suggestions and input.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepDiver View Post

Without heat you are going to have less air movement. More heat = more convection=more smoke out the top vent

So, you're saying that with heat more of the smoke escapes, due to the increased air movement.  And, with no heat/less air movement, less escapes the vent, therefore more stays contained inside the box at any given time?  I usually don't put the chip drawer in (see the picture I posted above).  Maybe putting in the chip drawer would block or absorb some of the heat, leading to less air movement and therefore more smoke?  I guess it doesn't hurt to try.  Hopefully, that wouldn't choke off too much oxygen and cause the AMNPS to go out.

 

I hope I don't sound like an idiot.  Just trying to make sure I understand.

post #10 of 10
Mailbox mod, mailbox mod, mailbox mod....

I've had great success with the mailbox mod on my gen 2. The smoke is still thin but that's what you want. White smoke isn't the goal.
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