A Maze N-- Wood For It??

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Original poster
Jan 2, 2011
Cold As Hell NY
Hi guys, i just ordered an a maze n smoker 6x8 kit, my question is my father has an apple orchard and i want to know how i take that tree and cut it down enough to use in the amaze, how fine does it have to be, i know they advertise as dust, but can regular saw dust from the chain saw work, also, i have a couple of bags of chips, is there a way to refine that to be able to use in it? lastly, do i have to let that dry(season) or is it better wet/fresh? thanks
I am nowhere near an expert on this but here is what I know. With the sawdust from the chainsaw, I'd be careful because of the lubricating oils that are used, you don't want those in your food. I saw someone suggest using vegetable oil instead of the grease. Having access to apple wood let alone a whole orchard is awesome. Apple is one of my favorite woods so you are one lucky smoker. I would also let the wood cure for some time. Not sure how long you need with sawdust but normal logs/chunks are 6 mos. Todd would be better at that answer than me. For your chips that you have, not too sure how to make dust out of them, sorry bud. Hope this helps some.

If you want to use chainsaw oil to smoke meat??

Or you could drain your bar & chain reservoir & fill it with veggie oil.

Then since the dust is a bit too heavy for the AMNS, you can use your blender to make it finer.

Or you can just buy some from Todd in larger 5 pound quantities and no problems.

The AMNS comes with a 1lb bag of dust so I guess you could take a look at the dust you get and try to replicate it. It might not be that easy though. 

Myself, I ordered a couple 5lb bags of dust along with my 6x8 AMNS (with combined shipping) and I am set for a pretty good while. The low cost per lb (when you buy in 5 lbs sizes) and the large amount of smoke you do get from a lb of dust makes messing with substitues not worth it, in my opinion.
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IMHO, for the low cost of the dust from the manufacturer, you'd be gambling to use sawdust that might possibly harm you and your family/friends. Plus, when you factor in the cost of the best meat that we all crave, for me it's a no brainer. I like to have "peace of mind", but that's just me.
Thanks all good points, ill just stick w/ the dust, however if i don't smoke w/ the amns and want to use some of our apple tree, can i take branches, thin ones, and dump them in the pan? would be the same as chunks or i could just chunk some right? just hate to buy it when i have a whole supply of it, and if i do, do i peel the bark off? or smoke it w/ the bark on- more flavor? 
Thanks all good points, ill just stick w/ the dust, however if i don't smoke w/ the amns and want to use some of our apple tree, can i take branches, thin ones, and dump them in the pan? would be the same as chunks or i could just chunk some right? just hate to buy it when i have a whole supply of it, and if i do, do i peel the bark off? or smoke it w/ the bark on- more flavor? 
I have heard "OK & Not OK" about bark. I would remove as much as I could without busting my butt or knuckles.

As for the thin branches. If you have a miter saw (chop saw), you can hack them up into real short lengths, but be careful to hold them tight to the fence, since they are round & bumpy (they will want to move on you). I have cut a few buckets of 1" long pieces (chunks), and crosscut some at 1/8" for chips. If you cut any that thin (1/8" to 3/8"), make sure you wear safety glasses (you should all the time), because those thin slices can fall into the blade an explode on you.

Apple, Cherry, and Hickory chips & dust are my favorite, especially Hickory (LOL You can ask Todd).

I'm fortunate to have an apple tree (and a pear tree
) that I trim each year, just when it's necessary.  I use virtually every part.  Twigs, cut up into about 4" lengths with hand cutters, something larger with two handle shears, larger 1"dia and up, that's when I use the 12" miter saw (insert Tim Allen: more power).  ALWAYS wear safety glasses AND hearing protection and a decent pair of work gloves wouldn't be a bad idea either.  Working over the miter saw is very noisy work and spending quite a bit of time at it CAN AND WILL in the long term, lead to hearing loss.  It's just not worth it.  Now on to the interesting stuff.  I have enough wood backlog that what I harvest this year, dries for a minimum of 6 months.  Basically, I plan on using  it next year, especially when dealing with larger chunks of branch (1" or greater diameter, 2 " in length seems to be about right, for me).  Bark, well, I guess it depends on if you spray your tree for insects.    I don't use chemicals, there are more environmentally friendly methods you can use.  Consequently, I leave the bark on. BUT, I remove moss and anything else that isn't bark.   Pre-AMNS, I built up quite a supply and variety of chips, chunks, pellets, etc etc and I use these as well in my smoking (not in the amns of course).  As to your thoughts on reducing wood products to AMNS usable, what's your time worth?  Unless you spend the big bucks to buy a wood mill,  it's just not economical.  The process is very labor intensive (concentration to the task at hand) and time consuming.  Let Todd or his minions do the heavy lifting for you.  No, I don't get any remittance from Todd, just a very satisfied customer.
Thanks, buying dust seems the way to go, he has a plum tree, cherry tree and pear as well, they good to go chunk wise? as far as spraying we don't, ill just have to inspect as i go, out of those 3 which would have the best flavor or is it up to what i want in taste?
I'll keep the response simple.  ALL, ALL, ALL in your list are excellent smoking woods.  Even if you don't think you'll like that particular wood, as you gain experience from these guys and gals, you might just be kicking yourself if you didn't snag all the varieties.  I don't know what type smoker you have, but for me, 95% is propane GOSM.  I use mix, chips and chunks.  The chips give you smoke earlier in the process, then as the chips are consumed, the chunks are just starting the smoke routine and you're good to go.  Also, a side note:  I add chunks when the smoking chunks are about 1/2 way done.  Helps reduce the up's and down's of the smoke cycle.  Just remember, you're looking for a thin blue trace of smoke, not billowing clouds (hey Mabel, call the Fire Dept, Lakeeriearms place is on fire!!!!!) (Don't laugh, it happened to me, before I knew better)
This site is getting flakey.  I attempted a additional response and it showed up blank.  Just wanted to add that you want to keep the wood types separate and labelled.  After they dry out, they get looking rather similar. 
LOL... true that.

I have my folks save all their trimmings of apple, peach, and pear wood from their 6 trees in southern Oregon. First year it was all mixed up in one box..... very hard to figure out, now they bring three boxes and label them.
Sounds like you have a good selection of wood to cut up for chunks, I use a sharpened  concrete chisel to split my small rounds,     ...may I reiterate what Bear said about the miter saw, please..., BE VERY CAREFUL!!!

As you can see from my location I have different varieties of wood available to me than you have, I also make cabinets so I probably have a few more tools than most people, when cutting smoking wood with the miter saw I catch the dust in the dust bag, that works fine for the fine particles like in Todd's dust, after a thorough cleaning of my joiner (and also after each species of wood) I pass the smoking wood through with the blade set at just under 1/8", this gives me the larger particles needed so that the dust doesn't pack too tight.

I do this out of necessity, to buy dust from Todd it would have to pass a Ag inspection and they would spray it with chemicals not to mention the freight would be prohibitive, also it is very time consuming, ...IMHO it would be much cheaper just to order from Todd and support a fellow smoker.

I hope that gives you some insight,

Has anyone ever tried using this sawdusts in their AMNS?  The pictures are ambiguous as it shows big chips in the bags, but fine dust in the container in the middle.


You're right about the stock picture.

If the dust looks like the can in the middle, I would guess it might work, but since you can't rely on their picture, I wouldn't want to spend the $ plus $ shipping just to find out.

About all I can say, without knowing what it really looks like.

Dido to what Bear said.I tried to save a few bucks and ordered dust from butcher & packer.The stuff was too coarse to smolder properly.I contacted Todd and he was kind enough to go the extra step and produce some extra fine dust for me to compensate, so my order wasn't a total waste.(Todd,in old timers speak,is good people) In the long run,it just wasnt worth it.The stuff on the PSseasonings website looks good,but what is posted and what you receive could be 2 totally different things.I suggest you stck with what you know works.
I just found a thread on the Weber Cold Smoking board where a poster has stated that they had good results with the PS sawdust using it in the ProQ smoker, which seems to be similar to the AMNS.  Just thought I'd mention this as the PS dust seems to be about 5 times cheaper than the AMNS dust.  Actually, it better than 5X.  You can get a 40 lb bag of hickory for less than a 5 lb bag of the AMNS stuff.  There are actually recommendations for several dust sources in the thread.

The Pro Q smoker is made with metal screen...it allows more air to burn the coarser chips. with the amns the perforated metal doesnt allow as much air to the dust/chips.

Just because it works in one device doesnt mean it will work in the other...I know....tried it!

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