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A-Maze-N white or blue smoke?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I know many people on the forums are getting great results with their pellet smokers and tubes.  I have question regarding their use.  Most of the videos I've seen online look like white smoke to me and not blue smoke.  Granted, it's a thin, very controlled white smoke.

 

 

 

I'm not trying to pick on anyone, just want to make sure I really understand before I spend more money on smoking toys.  In the video above, at the 3:40 mark, to me that looks very much like white smoke.  If it was heavier, it would be like the white smoke cloud you get out of a MES after loading a new set of chips/chunks.

 

The video below is of the A-Maze-N tube smoker. Video is not linking to the right spot, but at the 5:00 minute mark he opens the grill and you can see the smoke inside.  Looks a lot like opening a MES with chip load.

 

 

Is the above the typical smoke output of the A-Maze-N smokers?

 

Again, I'm not trying to bag on anyone and appreciate both video makers for putting it out there.  Just looking to understand how the product really works and if this is blue smoke and why.  

 

I recently saw modifications to the MES units and wonder if it's about limiting the wood input to 'thin' the white smoke.

post #2 of 8
I use the tube smokers and I get blue smoke. Occasionally I get white smoke when first starting or when the air flow through the smoker isn't good.
post #3 of 8

I've been using AMNS & AMNPS for over 6 years.

Most of my smoke is too light to tell what color it is, but whether it be white or whether it be blue, mine has never been bitter tasting in any way.

 

Just Keep It Light, and you don't have to worry about it !!! IMHO

 

Bear

post #4 of 8
When I first light my amnts, and its outside my smoker, it definitely puts out white smoke. However, when I put it in t he smoker and close the lid, the smoke coming from the smoker is definitely blue.

Either way, it's never caused any bitter flavor.
post #5 of 8

In both Videos they are Cold smoking. So the smoke does get a little thicker for accumulating. During Hot smoking there is more draft and convection and the smoke thins out...JJ

post #6 of 8

To get the "thin blue smoke" (or something close) the smoker needs to be at hot smoking temperatures. To be honest even then I only really see smoke that looks truly thin and blue when I use my hot pellet smoker or are burning chunks of well seasoned wood.

 

As JJ mentioned, the video above was using the tube for cold smoking and whichever smoke generator you use you will always get visible white smoke at these lower temperatures. The important thing to check is that the smoke you are using is not bitter and the best way yo do this is to ensure that there is a good flow of smoke passing through the chamber. I fan assist my cold smoker to help with this.

 

The bitterness is caused by the tars ("creosote") that are a natural byproduct of burning the wood or pellets. All wood and pellets when burned will produce these to some extent however seasoned woods will produce less than unseasoned woods and hardwoods will usually produce less than softwoods. When hot smoking, a good proportion of these tars are burned or decompose before the pass through the cooking chamber - but not all. The smoke flavour that you are looking to achieve is a very complex balance of the mixture of products that the wood produces when it burns - and this includes the tars that are produced. Too much tar and it will taste bitter - in fact if you can actually identify the taste of any tar at all then there is too much.

 

The ways to avoid any bitter taste when cold smoking...

  • Do not place your smoke generator directly underneath the food that you are smoking.
  • Avoid over smoking
  • Try to ensure that the cooking chamber and the food are at the same temperature during the smoke. Cold food will cause more of the tars to condense onto the food surface
  • Ensure that there is a good flow of smoke passing through the chamber to give less time for the tars to condense
  • Have some distance between the smoke generator and the smoking chamber. This will allow the smoke to cool and the heavier tars to condense before they reach the food
  • If you are mostly cold smoking then regularly clean off any visible tar deposits from your smoker. If hot smoking as well these will usually quickly burn off as you bring your smoker up to temperature.

 

A myth that sometimes goes around is that the AMAZN smokers produce less tar than other types of smoke generator. I have regularly used the AMNPS AMNTS and the Smoke Daddy generators and they all seem to produce about the same amount of tar. The only one that I found appeared to produced less tar was the ProQ spiral dust smoker - but this was probably because it produces so little smoke anyway.

 

Regarding the AMAZN products - I now exclusively use the AMNPS for my cold smoking and I use the AMNTS to add a little extra smoke flavour sometimes when I hot smoke.

post #7 of 8
I agree with everything above. Sometimes my smoke from the AMNPS looks blue, sometimes white, but it always smells good. If it's really billowing and is dark white (kind of an oxymoron haha) and it smells too much like a fire and not the type of wood it could be burning poorly or maybe jumped rows and a bunch of pellets are on fire. The nose knows!
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade View Post

To get the "thin blue smoke" (or something close) the smoker needs to be at hot smoking temperatures. To be honest even then I only really see smoke that looks truly thin and blue when I use my hot pellet smoker or are burning chunks of well seasoned wood.

As JJ mentioned, the video above was using the tube for cold smoking and whichever smoke generator you use you will always get visible white smoke at these lower temperatures. The important thing to check is that the smoke you are using is not bitter and the best way yo do this is to ensure that there is a good flow of smoke passing through the chamber. I fan assist my cold smoker to help with this.

The bitterness is caused by the tars ("creosote") that are a natural byproduct of burning the wood or pellets. All wood and pellets when burned will produce these to some extent however seasoned woods will produce less than unseasoned woods and hardwoods will usually produce less than softwoods. When hot smoking, a good proportion of these tars are burned or decompose before the pass through the cooking chamber - but not all. The smoke flavour that you are looking to achieve is a very complex balance of the mixture of products that the wood produces when it burns - and this includes the tars that are produced. Too much tar and it will taste bitter - in fact if you can actually identify the taste of any tar at all then there is too much.

The ways to avoid any bitter taste when cold smoking...
  • Do not place your smoke generator directly underneath the food that you are smoking.
  • Avoid over smoking
  • Try to ensure that the cooking chamber and the food are at the same temperature during the smoke. Cold food will cause more of the tars to condense onto the food surface
  • Ensure that there is a good flow of smoke passing through the chamber to give less time for the tars to condense
  • Have some distance between the smoke generator and the smoking chamber. This will allow the smoke to cool and the heavier tars to condense before they reach the food
  • If you are mostly cold smoking then regularly clean off any visible tar deposits from your smoker. If hot smoking as well these will usually quickly burn off as you bring your smoker up to temperature.

A myth that sometimes goes around is that the AMAZN smokers produce less tar than other types of smoke generator. I have regularly used the AMNPS AMNTS and the Smoke Daddy generators and they all seem to produce about the same amount of tar. The only one that I found appeared to produced less tar was the ProQ spiral dust smoker - but this was probably because it produces so little smoke anyway.

Regarding the AMAZN products - I now exclusively use the AMNPS for my cold smoking and I use the AMNTS to add a little extra smoke flavour sometimes when I hot smoke.
Great post Wade! Smoke=creosote. Vigorously burning wood vaporizes water, burns volitiles more completey (lignin, sap, nitrogen based plant matter etc.), for less creosote generation and incresed heat to heat the chimney for less condensing so less sticking to the chimney for chimney sweeps to clean. Since we need smoke for preserving/flavor a cool chimney effect whether just getting the smoke generator out of the smoker let alone piping many feet will have a condensing effect of bitter creosote hot or cold smoking. In the middle of summer with the Sun beating on the mailbox mod with a short 3"run to the chip loader, it's still cooler than the 225*F smoker and has surface area to condense heavier tars before it rises through the product chamber to your food. I have found i get a higher quality lighter smoke that i can hot smoke longer or the entire time. Mr T got me on the right track with his cheese threads. I'm outside the box with smoke generators with all my electric smokes. If you have the opportunity to see, how it's made videos on lox, bacon etc. All the smoke is piped in. Like JJ said, how do you get hams smoked for two weeks without being over smoked or bitter. It's probably off and on cold smoke being piped in.
-Kurt
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