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My quest for thin blue smoke

wrybread

Newbie
14
6
Joined Aug 18, 2021
I've been trying different methods to get thin blue smoke in my MES, and I *think* I finally have it. I was wondering if someone could confirm?

Here's what it looks like now when I open my smoker mid-smoke:

20210906_143548.jpg

FYI this is what's producing the smoke, with an Amaze-N pellet tube filled 1/4 of the way (with Traeger apple pellets) then turned on it's side inside of the BBQ smoke generation area:

20210819_172129-exif-remove.jpeg


What makes me think I finally have it is that I can breathe this smoke without coughing. Previously when I had lots of smoke in my smoker it would make me cough if I breathed even a little of it.

Also after running my smoker for awhile the inside glass on my smoker is still clean (no creosote).

And big thanks to tallbm tallbm , who told me about adding a fan in this post. I added a little computer fan to the top of my smoker and it instantly changed the smoke from choking to thin and breathable. I might make a better housing for the fan but so far this seems to be working fine.

20210906_143620.jpg

Hopefully I'm right and that the fan caused better combustion by sucking more air over the pellets resulting in better smoke.

Thoughts?

I'm getting ready to do a big batch and want to have the smoke reasonably dialed in.
 
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tallbm

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I've been trying different methods to get thin blue smoke in my MES, and I *think* I finally have it. I was wondering if someone could confirm?

Here's what it looks like now when I open my smoker mid-smoke:

View attachment 509966

FYI this is what's producing the smoke, with an Amaze-N pellet tube filled 1/4 of the way (with Traeger apple pellets) then turned on it's side inside of the BBQ smoke generation area:

View attachment 509965

What makes me think I finally have it is that I can breathe this smoke without coughing. Previously when I had lots of smoke in my smoker it would make me cough.

And big thanks to tallbm tallbm , who told me about adding a fan in this post. I added a little computer fan to the top of my smoker and it instantly changed the smoke from choking to thin and breathable. I might make a better housing for the fan but so far this seems to be working fine.

View attachment 509967

Hopefully I'm right and that the fan caused better combustion by sucking more air over the pellets resulting in better smoke.

Thoughts?

I'm getting ready to do a big batch and want to have the smoke reasonably dialed in.
Hahaha glad to have helped with your cold smoke issues! :D

I don't know if the fan is causing more or better combustion but it is definitely creating a draft drawing smoke into and out of the smoker.
Bad smoke is thick and stale and leave a horrible flavor on the meat.
Good smoke will be nice and thin and leave the smoked flavor you want.

I'm about to make my brother one of these contraptions as well for his cold smoking!

I'm looking forward to see how your big batch comes out :)
 

olaf

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 4, 2017
I used a fan for a couple years and it does help a lot then I fixed my ventilation issues and the problems went away. The fan will get coated with creosote and eventually quit but if what you have now tastes good go with it. I added a smokestack to mine.
 

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indaswamp

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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IMO, wood dust beats pellets for thin blue smoke while cold smoking.......
 

wrybread

Newbie
14
6
Joined Aug 18, 2021
I added a smokestack to mine.
Interesting and great idea. Does that work as well as the fan?

IMO, wood dust beats pellets for thin blue smoke while cold smoking.......
Also interesting! Is it full on sawdust or more like chips? Is it like this or more dusty?

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And what do you burn your sawdust in?
 

olaf

Meat Mopper
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198
Joined Sep 4, 2017
Interesting and great idea. Does that work as well as the fan?

It's been working much better but I have not tried a true cold smoke this way. My fan (same one you have) did not evacuate the smoke quick enough
 

cmayna

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Yes, using a fan for the exhaust works great, in the beginning. Then creosote builds up on the fan's blades and all poop happens.... Best to work on the exhaust without a fan for long term.
 

tallbm

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Here is my fan driven cold smoke assist contraption.
Using a blower fan and putting it all together like this avoids any issue with creosote getting on the fan and ruining it. This will run until the fan wears out naturally which should be forever as little as I use it :)

The idea is the blower fan blows up the tube. Tube sits over the vent. The forced draft up the tube causes suction and draft up and out of the MES, thereby circulating and drafting out the smoke so it never gets stale. Works like a charm for me and fixed all my stale cold smoking issues :D
1631303382607.png
 

wrybread

Newbie
14
6
Joined Aug 18, 2021
Great idea! I'll have to put something like that together.
As I type this I'm smoking a small batch, my first with my amaze-n maze pellet smoke generator. Working beautifully. Interestingly tho for a moment my fan got moved off the exhaust hole of my smoker and right away I got thick white smoke. Moved it back and within seconds the smoke looked good again.

I'm brining a bunch of salmon to smoke tomorrow, what are people's thoughts on temps and duration for salmon? I've been bringing up to 120 over a few hours, then up to 130 for an hour or so then 140 at the end. I'm thinking that 140 is too hot though.

Also I just paid to have a whole salmon loxed, and it came out great. A local fish market (The Tides in Bodega Bay, CA) will lox any whole salmon for $65, and return it beautifully vacuum sealed. So I bought them a nice 25 pounder. It's better than I expected, very delicate smoke flavor and nice consistency. Interestingly when I re-vacuum seal it, it doesn't have a bunch of oil coming out of the fish as there is with my smoked salmon. But it doesn't taste dry.

And thoughts on wood for salmon? I've been using Traeger apple wood pellets.
 

cmayna

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If you are smoking Salmon as an appetizer, yes starting at 120+ and ending around 140ish is very traditional. Number of hours depends on size of the pieces, at least when I smoke fish. I start with Alder and end up with Apple. Lox is typically cold smoked (no heat from the smoker). That's when dust make's it magic. I also use dust when cold smoking cheese & butter.
 
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tallbm

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Joined Dec 30, 2016
Great idea! I'll have to put something like that together.
As I type this I'm smoking a small batch, my first with my amaze-n maze pellet smoke generator. Working beautifully. Interestingly tho for a moment my fan got moved off the exhaust hole of my smoker and right away I got thick white smoke. Moved it back and within seconds the smoke looked good again.

I'm brining a bunch of salmon to smoke tomorrow, what are people's thoughts on temps and duration for salmon? I've been bringing up to 120 over a few hours, then up to 130 for an hour or so then 140 at the end. I'm thinking that 140 is too hot though.

Also I just paid to have a whole salmon loxed, and it came out great. A local fish market (The Tides in Bodega Bay, CA) will lox any whole salmon for $65, and return it beautifully vacuum sealed. So I bought them a nice 25 pounder. It's better than I expected, very delicate smoke flavor and nice consistency. Interestingly when I re-vacuum seal it, it doesn't have a bunch of oil coming out of the fish as there is with my smoked salmon. But it doesn't taste dry.

And thoughts on wood for salmon? I've been using Traeger apple wood pellets.
Man sounds like you have your smoke issues resolved! Yeah that little contraption I rigged would solve all problems including a creosote gunked up fan.

I have only hot smoked salmon or cold smoked so I'm not too sure about bringing up the temps, others will have to chime in.

As for the lox, that stuff is AMAZING!!! But guess what... YOU can now do it yourself with your AMNPS and cold smoke assist fan!!!!

It's actually super easy to do. You just use a cure#1 calculator and calculate the amount of cure#1 for the weight of your fish, then figure out what % of salt (1.5-2%) and sugar (1%) you want. After that understand it takes the cure and salt 24 hours to travel 1/4 inch in all directions of the meat so a 2 inch thick piece would take at least 4 days and add 1 day to be sure :)

Here's my last post on doing salmon lox trying a few new things to improve the approach:

I have a feeling you will be doing some Alder smoked Salmon Lox for yourself now that you have the smoking setup (AMNPS, fan, etc.), access to Salmon, and cold weather approaching soon :)

It's exciting! :D
 

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