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A-Maze-N-Smoker sawdust

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by hilltopper, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. hilltopper

    hilltopper Newbie

    I have tried to put regular hickory sawdust in the smoker and sometimes it will work and sometimes it will light and only burn for a really short time (5 or 10 minutes) and just go out.  Anybody have any suggestions.  I know the dust isn't that expensive but I have a supply local and it is a shame to pay uncle sam the shipping and not use local resources.  Any help would be appreciated by not only  me but I am sure there are others in the same boat. 
  2. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    It has to be the right consistency.

    The right percentage of dust & small chips.

    If it's from a cabinet shop, it would best be from the Radial saw, Miter saw, or Table saw.

    It would have to be from a hard wood, because soft wood dust would generally be too fluffy, but you wouldn't want to use soft wood anyway.

    Planer & shaper chips would be too big. Jointer produces chips too much like shavings.

    Any kind of sander (Wide belt, Drum, Belt, Spindle, and Edge sander) puts out a dust much too fine.

    Todd (A-MAZE-N-SMOKER) has special expensive pieces of equipment to make his "dust" just right.

    Hope that helps,

  3. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    And another consideration is dryness of the dust.  You don't say where you live, but out here on the Wet side of the Mountains in Washington State I'm always fighting the moisture content of my dust.  I have to stick the dust in the microwave for a minute or so to dry it out, then it works just fine.  It's the humidity that's killing me.  I even store the dust in capped plastic jugs, but still.  At least I know the source of the problem.
  4. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have been using Oak dust, which came from me cutting over sized firewood in the garage with an electric chainsaw.  I have a big box of dust, and the chip size is perfect for the AMNS, my electric chainsaw is a 14" chain.  I wish I had hickory, because I think the Oak leaves a heavier smoke taste and the hickory seems to have a more pleasant smoke flavor.
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I would be carefull using sawdust from a chainsaw due to the oil on the chain. My guess is the sawdust you have is too moist. You can put it on a cookie sheet and dry it out in the oven or as suggested by Dave, use the microwave to dry it out some
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    How fine or coarse is the sawdust you are using?  Is it from a miter saw or table saw, or is it 1/8" x 1/8" chips used in commercial smokers and found at your local butcher supply?

    If you're using fine sawdust, then it's most likely the moisture in the sawdust that's affecting the burning. \

    NWDave nukes his sawdust every time he uses it, because it guarantees the moisture level is low, when he uses his AMNS.  Guys that live in dry climate don't have the same moisture issues we do.

    I PM'd you.

  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Scar is 100% correct about the bar oil from a chainsaw.  I got a load of hickory sawdust from a supplier that smelled so nasty, I could not use it.  He usually uses "Vegetable Oil" in his firewood processor, but his helper put regular "Bar Oil" in it" instead....Big OOPS!

    Hope this helps!

  8. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    Hey Hilltopper,

      I had issues like that aswell..and my problem was due to lack of air..I drilled out the 3 holes in the chip loader to 1/2" and adjusted my door latch so it isn't air tight..Works like a champ..I smoked some "Death Nuts" yesterday using the AMZN.Almonds coated with oil,sprinkled with  my dry rub and powdered ghost peppers.Turned out nice and smokey.   
  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    Guys that go into most State & National Parks are required to use veggie oil in their chain oil reservoir when getting logs for chainsaw carving (and/or firewood).
  10. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Bobby!

    Forgot about our little MOD to the air holes.  I also drilled my intake holes to 1/2" to get more air in the smoker.  You'll notice the AMNS takes off a little when you open the door.  This is because the oxygen is low in the smoker, and when you open the door, it starts to breath again.  You may also notice a difference if ther is a slight wind blowing.  This also cause the smoker to draft better.

    When the heat is on, fresh air is drawn into the smoker thru the intake holes when heat rises thru the exhaust.  When the heat is off, oxygen can be used up in about an hour.  Some guys just open the smoker door to fill the box with fresh air after about an hour or so.

    Air = GOOD!

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  11. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    I had no idea i could use veggie oil in to replace bar oil in my chain saw. Thank good info.
  12. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Wouldn't it work just as well to turn the chip loader and pull it out a little bit?  I think that Todd made that recommendation in a thread somewhere.