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Help please...wood chips turning black

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Sorry if this question has been answered previously. I did the search and didn't find it. I have a brinkman bullet smoker that uses wood chunks and charcoal. Those wood chunks burn down to ash. So I bought and used a Palm Springs vertical gas smoker this weekend. Chips were recommended in the manual. They smoked for about 30 minutes and stopped. When I checked the chip tray the chips were black. I replaced them and 30 minutes later the same thing happened. Should the turn to ash?
post #2 of 15

Looks like a common design with a chip pan over the Gas burner. Some brands Burn wood too fast with a rise in temp and the pan has to be raised, others the chip pans don't get hot enough to get the chips smoking. Your goal is smoldering, not burning chips. If the Chips give a nice light gray blue smoke, you are doing great. The average Chip Pan can be expected to give 30 minutes of smoke on a 1/2Cup or big handful. They may not necessarily burn to ash but still have given up their flavor. Sounds like your smoker is working well. If you want a longer set and forget smoke, look at the A-MAZE-N Expandable Tube. They burn Pellets in a Gasser and once lit properly make smoke for several hours...JJ

post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by joyshellnutt View Post

Sorry if this question has been answered previously. I did the search and didn't find it. I have a brinkman bullet smoker that uses wood chunks and charcoal. Those wood chunks burn down to ash. So I bought and used a Palm Springs vertical gas smoker this weekend. Chips were recommended in the manual. They smoked for about 30 minutes and stopped. When I checked the chip tray the chips were black. I replaced them and 30 minutes later the same thing happened. Should the turn to ash?

 

Yes JJ is right, the chips may or may not burn according to element heating, and in high heat they blacken and have even a shorter life, common problem with the chips, and when working yes, about 30 minutes is all you get.....................JJ is right again on the AMNPS Pellet Smoker addition for trouble free smoke.
I have a MES 30 and I experienced the same issue with chips, and incredible success with the AMNPS Pellet smoker, in high temps, close to 400 degrees the pellets turn black from excessive heat and burn up much quicker but you still get a little over 2 hours of good smoke at 400 degrees, if you are not cooking at very high temps though, the AMNPS will give you hours and hours of smoke so you do not have to open the door constantly and suffer from temp swings and longer cook times.
If cooking normal temps for slow cooking, around 200 degrees a full tray will go well over 6 hours, I just recently had the AMNPS go 10 hours when I was seasoning my smoker and cooking a split breast of chicken at 300 degrees so it would be done before midnight hehehe, the AMNPS Pellet Smoker is very nice and very reliable in my opinion.

* that is what turned me away from the little chip tray as well for my smoker, the directions said the chips would need replacing every 30 minutes .............I was like HUH, every 30 mins ?????, so that right there was a disqualifier, not to mention the fact that the smoke was very weak and not reliable due to cycling of the heating element, the AMNPS Pellet Smoker on the other hand was and is reliable and will make hours and hours and hours of smoke, beautiful thin blue smoke, and the pellets are very cheap too and available like chips in every flavor you would want.
I have always use chip and sticks on the Char Grill I have, but always had a bed of coals to keep them fired and would wet them to make them last longer, AMNPS is awesome, load and light and keeps smokin forever, you can spray it with a bit of water to put out if it lasts too long, dry and use again, or just add a small bit of pellets to burn for short cook/smokes, I prefer to load mine completely and sift it just a bit to get the pellets very close together, this way you should not encounter any problems like the AMNPS going out, on some of the models of smokers, air seems to be a issue and like chute trays for the original chip burners would have to be opened for the pellets to get the Air they need to continue smoldering, I have a analog unit and my AMNPS is in the bottom where my chip tray was, just above (maybe 5 ") the dripping drain hole / air intake, I never have a issue with them going out, they work flawlessly, just make sure you have the AMNPS protected from drips !!!!!! Drips from the meats will extinguish it.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I will definitely check out the pellet tube!
post #5 of 15

If this is what you are getting you are good for a mild smoke flavor.

 

 

8080183753_1e401ed32b_z.jpg

 

 

8080177500_f31ac40e45_z.jpg
 
8080185007_2d6da79d3b_z.jpg
post #6 of 15

The Pellet Burner, AMNPS, either in the tray or tube form will produce better smoke for you, that is the same issue I had with the chips in my seasoning / learning experience, that the smoke was very thin and would not present much presence by smell or sight for that matter, when I entered the AMNPS I got a very nice concentration of smoke and then I had the presence of distinct smell from the flavor of the pellets, also if you do want more smoke, the tray version is nice as you can light each end and increase smoke output without really increasing temps hardly at all ( have not used the "Tube" do cannot say if it could be lit from each end, I would guess it could)
Bottom line is, from my experience with chips, once blackened, you do not get the same quality smoke, at least not that I would want, even in the side burner box on the Char Grill I would go thru some chips, once blackened like that they are wisping, not smoking anymore, my opinion, I want the smoke, I want the presence and all that flavor, that is what I am after, and I am so pleased with the pellets, they are amazing and give very nice flavor, and the beautiful part is, the tray will burn up to 11 hours, and I have witnessed 10 hour burns, so nice not to have to worry about the chips and just letting it do its thing without any monitoring !!!
I am going to use the AMNPS in my Char Grill in the Side Burner Box for now on, and if I use the side burner for a slow cook, then I will put the AMNPS on the coal grate in the main box, I am really sold on that little jewel  :yahoo:

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Excellent information. Thank you very much!!
post #8 of 15
The tubes work better in the vertical propane smokers. They will work in your vertical propane smoker as long as your pit temps are lower than 300f. Above that the pellets get to hot and combust.

I have all three original tweet be smokers and the expandable one. The 18" tube will provide the most smoke time. Around 6-8 hours depending on pit temps. The expandable tube is nice but the design allows more air into the tube and the smoke time is less.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post

The tubes work better in the vertical propane smokers. They will work in your vertical propane smoker as long as your pit temps are lower than 300f. Above that the pellets get to hot and combust.

I have all three original tweet be smokers and the expandable one. The 18" tube will provide the most smoke time. Around 6-8 hours depending on pit temps. The expandable tube is nice but the design allows more air into the tube and the smoke time is less.

Maybe it is less air as compared to the propane units, but I just did a test over 12 hours on the AMNPS Tray and it would not combust over 300, rather it did well, it lasted over 9 hours with a full tray, though once over 300 the burn times of the pellets were accelerated, at 400 still no burning but as you said they blackened and smoke time for a whole tray was only around 2 1/2 hours but smoke was good, just accelerated burn time, but no flames, even at 400, this did not bother me as I will not be doing much at that high a temp anyway.

I got 9 hours out of the tray loaded and right at 300 degrees, so was very happy with that, but again I am doing this on a electric smoker and air flow is somewhat less than the other grills and even  large smokers unless throttled back on low temp with air shutters closed a bit.
One could try to locate the pellet burner low in the box to escape full heat in the upper areas, not sure you have that option looking at that pic, it would seem your best spot would be on the bottom far left or right according to that pic, that is assuming that the burner is center on the bottom.

So take a hard look at the configuration, but as far as the Tray, I have had very good results in time of burn and smoke produced and had no issues, and the smoke was wonderful, I was pleasantly surprised that the pellets produced food that actually had better taste and penetration of flavor than that of my Char Grill with Charcoal or Wood, still trying to figure that out, I think it is the fact that the smoke actually travels over the meat rising whereas the Char Grill it is coming in from the side burner and hanging in the top and coals only produce limited smoke from drippings and do not contribute to the wood flavor.

Anyway, you will love the pellet burners which ever one you choose, I like the tray, and another reason I like the tray is if I want more smoke, I can light both ends and it burned that way for a bit over 5 hours, so I really like the concept and the smoke it produces.

Also, just a note, not disagreeing with DS, just what I found, and the reason may be because my AMNPS Tray is in the bottom of the box, just above the heating element, and I re-positioned it so it is above the open part of the element, so it is not subject to the intense heat as it would have been in the original spot the chip tray was in, and it is only 5 inches above the air intake hole in the bottom of the box, so this may be why my results were different.

Again try and get the pellets as low in the box as you can, if you can get them beside / below the burner then you should get those same results, and make sure it does not get dripped on, will put it out and create some airborne ash in the box.

You will love the pellet burner though !

 

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by N4YNU View Post
 

Maybe it is less air as compared to the propane units, but I just did a test over 12 hours on the AMNPS Tray and it would not combust over 300, rather it did well, it lasted over 9 hours with a full tray, though once over 300 the burn times of the pellets were accelerated, at 400 still no burning but as you said they blackened and smoke time for a whole tray was only around 2 1/2 hours but smoke was good, just accelerated burn time, but no flames, even at 400, this did not bother me as I will not be doing much at that high a temp anyway.

I got 9 hours out of the tray loaded and right at 300 degrees, so was very happy with that, but again I am doing this on a electric smoker and air flow is somewhat less than the other grills and even  large smokers unless throttled back on low temp with air shutters closed a bit.
One could try to locate the pellet burner low in the box to escape full heat in the upper areas, not sure you have that option looking at that pic, it would seem your best spot would be on the bottom far left or right according to that pic, that is assuming that the burner is center on the bottom.

So take a hard look at the configuration, but as far as the Tray, I have had very good results in time of burn and smoke produced and had no issues, and the smoke was wonderful, I was pleasantly surprised that the pellets produced food that actually had better taste and penetration of flavor than that of my Char Grill with Charcoal or Wood, still trying to figure that out, I think it is the fact that the smoke actually travels over the meat rising whereas the Char Grill it is coming in from the side burner and hanging in the top and coals only produce limited smoke from drippings and do not contribute to the wood flavor.

Anyway, you will love the pellet burners which ever one you choose, I like the tray, and another reason I like the tray is if I want more smoke, I can light both ends and it burned that way for a bit over 5 hours, so I really like the concept and the smoke it produces.

Also, just a note, not disagreeing with DS, just what I found, and the reason may be because my AMNPS Tray is in the bottom of the box, just above the heating element, and I re-positioned it so it is above the open part of the element, so it is not subject to the intense heat as it would have been in the original spot the chip tray was in, and it is only 5 inches above the air intake hole in the bottom of the box, so this may be why my results were different.

Again try and get the pellets as low in the box as you can, if you can get them beside / below the burner then you should get those same results, and make sure it does not get dripped on, will put it out and create some airborne ash in the box.

You will love the pellet burner though !

 

For propane smokers, AMNPS (tray) does not work. Todd will confirm this. Many here tried. The tube smokers are what you want for vertical propane smokers. I have been using the Tube smokers in my propane smoker for 6 years now. Over 300° the pellets will ignite in the tube and you will not get smoke.

 

As for placement you either need to put the tube in the water pan, or on a diffuser. I use a cast iron griddle.

 

 

 

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by N4YNU View Post
 

Maybe it is less air as compared to the propane units, but I just did a test over 12 hours on the AMNPS Tray and it would not combust over 300, rather it did well, it lasted over 9 hours with a full tray, though once over 300 the burn times of the pellets were accelerated, at 400 still no burning but as you said they blackened and smoke time for a whole tray was only around 2 1/2 hours but smoke was good, just accelerated burn time, but no flames, even at 400, this did not bother me as I will not be doing much at that high a temp anyway.

I got 9 hours out of the tray loaded and right at 300 degrees, so was very happy with that, but again I am doing this on a electric smoker and air flow is somewhat less than the other grills and even  large smokers unless throttled back on low temp with air shutters closed a bit.
One could try to locate the pellet burner low in the box to escape full heat in the upper areas, not sure you have that option looking at that pic, it would seem your best spot would be on the bottom far left or right according to that pic, that is assuming that the burner is center on the bottom.

So take a hard look at the configuration, but as far as the Tray, I have had very good results in time of burn and smoke produced and had no issues, and the smoke was wonderful, I was pleasantly surprised that the pellets produced food that actually had better taste and penetration of flavor than that of my Char Grill with Charcoal or Wood, still trying to figure that out, I think it is the fact that the smoke actually travels over the meat rising whereas the Char Grill it is coming in from the side burner and hanging in the top and coals only produce limited smoke from drippings and do not contribute to the wood flavor.

Anyway, you will love the pellet burners which ever one you choose, I like the tray, and another reason I like the tray is if I want more smoke, I can light both ends and it burned that way for a bit over 5 hours, so I really like the concept and the smoke it produces.

Also, just a note, not disagreeing with DS, just what I found, and the reason may be because my AMNPS Tray is in the bottom of the box, just above the heating element, and I re-positioned it so it is above the open part of the element, so it is not subject to the intense heat as it would have been in the original spot the chip tray was in, and it is only 5 inches above the air intake hole in the bottom of the box, so this may be why my results were different.

Again try and get the pellets as low in the box as you can, if you can get them beside / below the burner then you should get those same results, and make sure it does not get dripped on, will put it out and create some airborne ash in the box.

You will love the pellet burner though !

 

For propane smokers, AMNPS (tray) does not work. Todd will confirm this. Many here tried. The tube smokers are what you want for vertical propane smokers. I have been using the Tube smokers in my propane smoker for 6 years now. Over 300° the pellets will ignite in the tube and you will not get smoke.

 

As for placement you either need to put the tube in the water pan, or on a diffuser. I use a cast iron griddle.

 

 

 

 

I take your word on that sir, never have used propane, not a hater, just have not used it, looks like by your pic though you may have room for the tray on the bottom in the corner, wonder if it has been tried there, it would be cooler there and would not present a issue with the excessive heat being on top, I had similar issues with the electric until I moved the tray from being above that "S" bend in the element, I would imagine though from reading all of you guys various posts that someone had tried that, and will leave the rest to those that are using them as they surely know better than I regarding the propane, as stated was not disagreeing, just adding a thought and giving props to the AMNPS and the pellets, I was very impressed with the flavor, have seen many posts saying it is not the same as wood and after trying I would have to say it is better in regards to managing and consistent smoke, longer lasting, just the right amount of smoke and the flavor is outstanding :yahoo:

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIB View Post
 

If this is what you are getting you are good for a mild smoke flavor.

 

 

8080183753_1e401ed32b_z.jpg

 

 

Looks like home made charcoal?

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dward51 View Post

Looks like home made charcoal?
It is now but was cherry
8080176661_2864e9f61c_z.jpg
post #14 of 15

Those were some fine looking chunks pre smoking.  Could it be that the LP was consuming most of the oxygen?  As I understand how the carbonizing process works in changing wood splits to charcoal lump, it  needs a low oxygen, high temp, mostly closed environment to work.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIB View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dward51 View Post

Looks like home made charcoal?
It is now but was cherry
8080176661_2864e9f61c_z.jpg

Nice dense chunks there, look at those tight rings, as my Grandfather would say "that would make some nice furniture" lol, but better eats hehehe, nice !

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