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Just a bit of change in elevation

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My beautiful bride and I moved last month from south Louisiana at an elevation of less than 100 feet above sea level to the mountains just west of Colorado Springs at just under 9100 feet.  Finally got around to do some easy smoking with a Boston butt for the first time this past weekend.


Everything ended up great in the end but found out that the AMNPS doesn't work quite as well in my MES as it did at a much lower elevation.  I somewhat expected this from reading a few posts on here about the same thing. 


I made sure my pellets were nice and dry before starting by putting them in the toaster oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes, lighting the pellets with my MAPP torch and letting things burn for about ten minutes and getting that nice red cherry glow before putting the AMNPS in the smoker.  I opened up the chip loader to ensure good air flow in and had the exhaust vent fully open.


Thought I should be good to go.


After about 20 minutes I glanced over at the smoker and no TBS coming out.  Grabbed the torch and got things going again. 


Repeat the above about another six times over the next six hours.  At one point the pellets on the next row over caught and I had a bit more TBS than I needed.  Ended up filling the tray again with two rows and went at it again.  Finally got everything going the way it should near the end of the smoking period about an hour before I foiled.


I figured I would need to learn how to smoke things all over again.  Times and temps were pretty much the same, just getting the TBS is what I need to get dialed in.  I did end up removing the loader tray completely and removing the chip tray at the same time.  That seemed to help quite a bit as the pellets stayed lit much longer. 


Still much better than using chips and everyone raved about the pulled pork that was the end result. 

post #2 of 9

Congrats on the successful smoke and for using your noggin' to solve the new environment issues on the fly.  Well done! 

post #3 of 9

It seems I've read some members saying those mailbox mod helps some at elevations...might be worth a try.



post #4 of 9

Mailbox, and an exhaust stack to encourage flow.  I am still wondering if a 2 Cubic Feet a Minute (CFM) might actually be the ticket. It would likely need a waste gate to trim down the flow rate.  The one really good burn which happened with the tray IN the MES occurred when I accidently placed the tray way close to the heating coils (normally a no-no).  I am at a mile of altitude here. Currently, my record is 1 and a half rows burned in the mailbox, before it went out.  A stack on the exhaust will be my next attempt.

post #5 of 9

Congrats on the safe move, hope you can figure it out soon maybe a little fan by the chip tray?? 


A full smoker is a happy smoker 



post #6 of 9

9000 feet?  I would need a respirator?


Surprised you even got a burn.


Might want to check:




Most recipes that involve water like a simmer, a braise or a stew will require extra time there since water boils at such a low temp.


I have no idea how to bake anything at that altitude.  Bet a friendly neighbor or two might be a big help?


Congrats on moving to what must be a beautiful new home!


Good luck and good smoking.

post #7 of 9

Did a Search in the Search strip and came up with this - think it will answer your problem!



post #8 of 9
I can't help with amnps but I can tell you when I travel with my mini-WSM it definitely burns better at lower elevations. Up where I live 3600 I utilize the lower vent and both if my side vents to achieve the temps I want. At sea level I use one or two vents to do the same thing.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I was actually born and raised in Colorado, though we lived at the 6000 foot level, and have been camping, hunting and fishing up here for a number of years.  Cooking up this high is not anything new to me but smoking up here is.  From the link Pops added I just might have to go with the tube smoker.  I'll try again with the chip loader and tray removed before ordering one, though.  Seemed to keep the smoke going when I tried that near the end of the smoking period. 


Thanks everyone for the  replies!

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