Drying & canning pellets.

Discussion in 'A-Maze-N Smokers' started by hillbilly jim, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. hillbilly jim

    hillbilly jim Meat Mopper

    When I ordered my AMNPS, I also ordered a 40 lb. bag of hickory pellets from COOKINPELLETS.COM. The first run I did was a 'blank' test (no food) and the pellets quit burning after a few hours.

    I wondered about the moisture content of these pellets, so I put a tray full in the oven at 300 for an hour. That batch burned perfectly and completely for 14 hours. I ran another test with pellets right out of the bag and they went out, too. I did a fourth test with oven dried pellets and they burned perfectly like the second test.

    I then discovered that a 1.5 pint Mason jar holds a tray full of pellets with almost no room to spare.  This morning, I put two large baking trays full of pellets in the oven and heated them to 300* for two hours. After letting the pellets cool down to where I could just lay my hand on them, I canned them in Mason jars.

    I may very well be going around the block to get across the street, but I know the 'canned' pellets are cotton dry and will burn correctly.

    I've got 11 jars ready. When I get down to two or three, I'll make up another batch.

  2. jackpot

    jackpot Newbie

     I wondered about this exact thing, seeing my unused pellets sit in the pellet hopper inbetween smokes. (very humid this time of year) 

    Now I know!!

    Thanks Jim
  3. hillbilly jim

    hillbilly jim Meat Mopper

    I don't know for a fact that I'm right about this. All I can do is tell you about my testing, the results and the procedure I developed to solve (what I think is) the problem.
  4. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Since the mailbox mod is directly in the intake draft and the bottom drip pan drain is never needed so far I plugged the back drain to the grease trap on my Gen 1 40" DaveOmak and I are on the same page with elevating the Amnps in th maibox for air circulation. My pellets sit open in the bags they came in and pails with no lighting problems or problems keeping them lit. I do have them in my air conditioned house.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like you have it figured out!

    Whatever works for you.

    Bear stores his in plastic jugs.

    I just nuke mine right before I need them.

  7. andy arends

    andy arends Newbie

    Al,how long do you nuke the pellets for?
  8. Vacuum sealer would keep them dry. But as long as they are not swelling in storage from moisture I would just dry them right before. I put mine in the toaster oven for 20-30min at 200F before lighting works well.
  9. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    I've thought of vacuum sealing them especially now that we got a chamber sealer and the bags are so cheap but use the oven, too.  I set the oven to 200 degrees and turn it off as soon as it get there while preheating the smokers.  the pellets are dry by the time I load up.  The pellets are in the original plastic bags in a drawer in the storage cabinet in the garage next to the smokers and stay there year round.

    If I need more during a smoke I put them in the smoker for a while and they dry out fine.

  10. hillbilly jim

    hillbilly jim Meat Mopper

    I ran a little test a coupla' days ago. I filled one of my 1.5 pint jars with pellets and put it in the nuke box for three minutes, go it blisterin' hot. I put a lid and ring on it and screwed it down tight.

    I took that jar and a jar of my oven dried pellets (1 hr. @ 200*) outside and set them in the sunlight. After an hour, the jar that was nuked was showing condensation inside. The jar of oven dried pellets was still dry.

    Here's my theory: Nuking the pellets gets them hot, but the heat is not applied long enough to drive all the latent moisture out. An hour at 200* in the oven gives the moisture time to evaporate out. 

    That's my story an' I'm stickin' to it.
    daveomak likes this.
  11. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    And I suspect that without them spread out on a pan or foil the moisture stayed right in the jar, too.  they likely would have dried out some on a plate.  I stopped using the microwave when I put some in for a bit too long and they charred up in there.  The darn thing smelled like a damp fire for the next week or so.

  12. sigmo

    sigmo Smoking Fanatic

    I've had good luck drying them in the microwave oven, but I nuke 'em for 30 seconds in a ceramic bowl, then take them out and stir them with a huge spoon, then repeat that about five or six times.

    Each time I stir them, I can feel the warm humidity coming off of them. As I do this, I can feel less and less humidity escsping. This works pretty well.

    But spreading them out in a pan and baking would do an even better job with less effort, just taking longer. But then, you could do a much larger batch, too.

    If I'm heating the smoker up to a high temperature, I load up the tray and just set it up inside the smoker while it pre-heats. An hour at 225*, and they're bone dry and ready to go, too.

    I think there are lots of options. Oven drying a big batch and sealing them for future use would be handy for getting going in a hurry the next times.

    Storing them in an air-conditioned house should work, too, if you cool with a refrigerative AC system, since that acts as a dehumidifier, effectively.

    I cool with both refrigerative AC, and with evaporative cooling depending on outdoor dew point. So I just store mine out in the garage and dry them as needed. Pre drying some ahead of time might be worth a try for me, too.

    @LanceR I did that once, too! Now I never nuke for more than 30 seconds at a time. The stirring is necessary to let the moisture escape, and 30 seconds seems like it doesn't quite get them up to ignition temp, too. I know that smell! Scrubbing the inside of the oven, where I could get to, didn't help much, either. :)

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