Adding Extra Smoke to Pellet Smokers

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el ducko

Newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
4
12
Pellet smoker feed screws don’t run continuously. This is how the temperature controller regulates. Unfortunately, it reduces the rate of smoke generation. I’ve tried adding extra smoke with an Amazin’© or similar smoke generation tube. These typically are a mesh, screen, or hole-punched tube of up to 24” or so length and 2” or so diameter, with one end capped and the other usually open. There are several brands out there, and they work quite well when filled with wood pellets and lit at one end. Ideally, they are positioned vertically, lit at the top end, and the slowly-burning layer progresses downward until the last of the pellets are consumed.

Unfortunately, there are two problems: (1) the tube has to be shortened so as to fit inside horizontal barrel smoker, and (2) the air flow is insufficient to maintain a burning front, so combustion stops. I’ve had good luck with a stove-pipe connection to the side of a Masterbuilt vertical electric smoker, once I removed the pellet addition entry internals, but without an existing opening, it would require cutting a hole in a flat side or end surface and mounting a flange. This can be done if you’re handy with a hole saw and stove pipe, but it requires effort beyond what most people are comfortable with.

But there’s a simple solution, which I’ve now used on both my Traeger and Pit Boss pellet smokers. There is no need to take a hack saw to a combustion tube or to drill, cut, mount a hole and flange in the smoker’s side. You simply load most of a combustion tube with pellets, turn the thing to horizontal, then carefully light the pellets at either end or in several places. Once the flames die down (or you blow them out), place the smoke tube in the smoker, along either the front or the back of the cooking grill, above the slot for the air/smoke stream from below. This supplies a sufficient flow of air, which keeps the combustion going. If you want, you can increase the rate of smoke generation by lighting the combustion tube pellets in more than two places.

I recently smoked a turkey breast this way. Previous attempts didn’t taste very smoky. Lit in four spots, this one came out great! Plus, it’s simple to do and requires no hardware modifications.
 
Through trial and error, I found this is what works for me in my Camp Chef Windwood.
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I stuff my tubes with pellets and wood chips. Use a torch to light it and let it burn for about 5 min. Then lay it in the grill. So far I've not had a problem with them going out.
 
I have always put the tube horizontally. Never had a problem. I put it on the opposite end
from the smoke stack in my Green Mountain pellet grill. Enough air leaks through the lid
edges to keep the tube lit.
 
Appreciate this post as I'm new to the pellet smoking game and have been reading about smoke tubes. Getting ready to light up and season my Traeger 575 Pro today, and hopefully have the inaugural smoke next weekend.
 
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Ive never felt like I needed to add a pellet tube for more smoke flavor.
Sometimes I run the Rec Teq on low/high smoke setting for a hour at the start. But thats about all, if I even do that.
 
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If you lite it in the middle and lay it down you will get plenty of smoke, no need to light both ends,
 
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I second the tube with U-bolt mod

I stuff my tubes with pellets and wood chips. Use a torch to light it and let it burn for about 5 min. Then lay it in the grill. So far I've not had a problem with them going out.

I used to use a regular propane torch, but an enabler ( Chris_in_SoCal Chris_in_SoCal ) on this forum turned us on to this handy toy uh I mean tool!
torch.png
It does a much job than a regular torch.
Plus it is waaay cooler!
 
I use the u bolt and as long as i let it burn for five min outside the smoker it never goes out in my yoder. I light it with a propane torch.
That's good to know. I use trays for cold smoking but absolutely can not get one to stay lit while my Yoder is running. Gonna get one and try that.
*EDIT* Got one on the way!
 
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This is mine right now. Smoke tube, one end lit, cold smoking. Penny between the lid and the body for air flow.

On hot smokes, I'm generally ok without the tube. I did learn here to make sure the pellets loaded into the tube are bone dry. I load it, put it in the oven in a foil pan, turn oven on. About 45 minutes later I lay it on the grates and hit it with a propane torch for maybe a minute. I'm sure the pellets being dry and hot helps because at first I was having to torch it much longer and sometimes it would go out.


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I have found it best to set it vertically, light the top and let it burn a flame for a few minutes. Then using welding or silicone gloves blow out the flame and set it horizontally in the smoker.

If you don't let it burn for 4 or 5 minutes first it will likely go out.
 
Drying the pellets in the microwave works well but make sure the wife isn't home lol, the ubolt mod is to hold the tube up and slow down the burn rate, they burn faster when layed flat,
 
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the ubolt mod is to hold the tube up and slow down the burn rate,
I average 10 hours out of my original 12 " . They have a solid end cap , and I think that makes a difference in burn rate . I have the newer 6 and 12 . Both with holes in the end cap . With the U bolt I still get good burn times . Using a mailbox makes a difference too .
 
Burning dust will increase burn times too.On overnight smokes using a modded 12" tube with dust I don't even have to think about smoke again until the alarm goes off the next morning.
 
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I'm going to have to prop mine up next time. I have a 12" tube and it only burns ~6 hours laying flat. It heats up the pit quite a bit too. Last night on my inaugural sausage run it had the pit a full 20 degrees above ambient after about 4 hours.
 
That will cut down the temp and increase the time the more vertical you go. as the outside temps come up the more critical watching the temps are if cold smoking,
 
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