Pellet Smoker Question

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kvhookem

Newbie
Original poster
May 15, 2016
12
13
Lumberton,TX
I've always been a stick burner guy. I broke down and got a pellet smoker. I love it. I have done some chicken, pork loin and ribs. I did a brisket last weekend. It was OK, but I wasn't happy with the finished product. I follow instructions to the T, but the flat just wasn't as tender as I would have liked. I have a feeling it more of the quality of the beef. I didn't get a prime, just a basic one from my HEB. I smoked for 16 hours, The last 8, I wrapped in butcher paper. The bark wasn't as good as when I used my stick burner. Is my assumption correct? I'm going to get a Wagyu this weekend to smoke for Easter. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to smoke it?
 

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These guys should send me a paycheck but, after finding myself in the exact same position as you pellet smoker wise, I bought a Masterbuilt 560 gravity cooker.
It's set and forget cook temp wise and the smoke profile is close to stickburner, but without having to tend fire all day and into the night.
 
Temps that you were set at verified by a digital thermometer ? Maybe not running quite as warm as set temp. Just a thought . . .
If you got a smoke tube, I would throw that in there for a few hrs of additional smoke.
 
A Waygu what?
The biggest difference I found between stick burner and pellet pooper is time.
A pooper moves a lot more air compared to the stick and usually cooks a lot faster.
I can do a pork butt in 9 hours with lower temps.
I haven't done a brisket on my pooper.

Start with Winterrider Winterrider suggestion to check the temps. My pooper runs all over the park.

Poopers (even with a smoke tube) don't match flavor of a stick burner.
 
As said, the pellet smokers move a lot of air. This can make it a more efficient burner of your fuel, No so much on making smoke. I installed a speed controller on the fan of my smoker as well as a cut out switch for the hot rod. I do a lot of cold smoking with the tubes for smoke. This is something I think should be on all pellet smoker controllers.
 
...I installed a speed controller on the fan of my smoker...
Would love to hear how your controller works!

My approach is to use the controller that came with the unit, but have switchable resistors (50,100,200ohms) in line with the fan power to cut the air flow way back after start-up and temperature equalization. This is not without safety issues however, which is why vendors design these as conservative as they are. They don't want fires going out, augers feeding lots of pellets, and then folks carelessly restarting a flaming ("scary") mess.

Granted I'm a water pan guy in all my cookers, but the basic design of pellet machines make them operate dry to begin with so bear with me as I promote them here. But to get consistent (and high) heat to the pan in a pellet machine, I add a 400W hot water heater element so I can actually see steam. Even if you like to cook "dry", a little supplemental electric heat is useful in a pellet machine...that way you'll spend more time smoking pellets and less time incinerating them.

But not from the igniter rod in the pellet crucible! Pretty sure my "hot rod" only is powered for the first 15 minutes of startup...I know of no conditions that would re-power it. But if anyone's pellet machine does, I heartily endorse the cut-out switch idea, if only to preserve the lifetime of those igniter rods....which have a high power density so aren't prone to long life anyway.
 
I used a ceiling fan speed controller in line with the power for the fan. And simple single pole switches to cut out the auger fan and hot rod power feeds.
 
Hey, I am sorry to hear the bad experience you had with pellet smoker but using stick burner will help you take off smoking for Easter.
 
16 hours sounds very long. what was the set temp and as others mentioned was this verified? I run my briskets at high smoke (180) for an hour or two then up to 275 on my rec tec with no wrap and they are usually moist and have good bark. most are done in under 10 hours.
 
I used a ceiling fan speed controller...
Ah, now I understand, thanks. When you said controller, I thought you meant software/firmware changes in what your pellet grill manufacturer calls a controller.
Glad to hear these pulse-width modulation-based fan controllers/light dimmers work, at least with your controller (both usages!).
I assumed that's probably how the manufacturer's "controller" did fan speed control and I wasn't sure if 2 PWMs in series with each other would play nice together so I went with pure resistance for fan speed control/override in mine. Glad it worked for you.
But a $6, 600W PWM dimmer was certainly my go-to choice for the 400W hot water heater element I use in my water pan--no worries there.
 
I'm going to try and use a smoke tube in the new Pit Boss V4 and my question is, although I can hear the fan running under the unit, does it get enough air to keep the tube smoking? It's basicly an oven and puffs some smoke every once in awhile and I want more smoke flavor than it gives me. Thanks again for all the help!
 
I'm going to try and use a smoke tube in the new Pit Boss V4 and my question is, although I can hear the fan running under the unit, does it get enough air to keep the tube smoking? It's basicly an oven and puffs some smoke every once in awhile and I want more smoke flavor than it gives me. Thanks again for all the help!
There is more than enough air blowing through the grill to keep the pellet tube lit.
Just place it away from the internal temp probe or the heat of the burning pellets in the tube really messes with the controller.
 
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There is more than enough air blowing through the grill to keep the pellet tube lit.
Just place it away from the internal temp probe or the heat of the burning pellets in the tube really messes with the controller.
Okay thanks! I'm going to get the tubes today and try it out soon. I saw a thread that mentioned using chips mixed in with the pellets and going to try that as well. Thanks again for all the help and I'll keep y'all posted!
 
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