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Using a pellet tube...questions

SherryT

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So I finally got around to trying out my tube and I have a few questions:

1) Are you supposed to lightly fill this OR tamp it down and pack it well? I filled it until just below the opening, jiggling it slightly every couple of handfuls, and lit it up according to instructions, but the pellets sort of "settled", leaving almost 1/2" of open space along the length of the tube.

2) I lit it at 1:30PM, placed it on the chip pan bracket against the lower door in my MB propane smoker (ThermoTemp XL) as a member suggested, and it had burned completely up by 4:30PM, ...3 hours. I thought these 12" tubes were supposed to go for 5 or 6 hours (hence, my question above and filling).

3) This tube produced COPIOUS amount of smoke...there was never, at ANY point, TBS. Is this inherent in the tubes? I found the thread about the U-bolt mod...perhaps I should try that?

4) Finally, does the brand of the pellets matter? The ones I have were purchased at Academy a couple of years ago and have been kept sealed in 5 gal buckets. I don't recall the exact brand, but I do remember they were what I assumed was their "store" brand (read as "the cheapest ones they had"). I went this evening and got a bag of Traeger Apple pellets at HD, only to learn after I got home they're not exactly what they claim to be (not 100% flavor wood, but with flavor added)...oh well, they're mine NOW!

I know I'm a pain in the butt with all my questions, so thanks for your patience as I learn.
 

Murray

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I have a 6” Oval and I can’t use all pellets otherwise I’m fearful the fire department will show up. Way too much white smoke. I have to use pellet dust with 30%(max) pellets mixed in, usually I just burn dust in a mailbox mod on my MES electric. I bang the bottom of the tube on a hard surface every quarter of a fill. If I pack it really tight with the but end of a screw driver then I’m fighting to keep it burning. My suggestion would be fire up the smoker and experiment with packing/tamping the pellets using a quarter or less full and see if that helps. My theory is with loose pellets in a tube you have too many voids in the tube equals too much air thus the high burn rate. I purchased the oval because I live at 4900’ and was under the impression that I would have issue with oxygen content, not so. Can’t speak about the brand of pellets, my wife gifted me 60 pounds of pellets last year for Christmas not realizing how little I real need. I would think a U bolt would allow more air to help with combustion which is not an issue. Don’t be afraid to experiment, pack, bust up some pellets and try smaller chunks of pellets. Once you get it right you’ll know. Good luck
 

SherryT

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I have a 6” Oval and I can’t use all pellets otherwise I’m fearful the fire department will show up. Way too much white smoke. I have to use pellet dust with 30%(max) pellets mixed in, usually I just burn dust in a mailbox mod on my MES electric. I bang the bottom of the tube on a hard surface every quarter of a fill. If I pack it really tight with the but end of a screw driver then I’m fighting to keep it burning. My suggestion would be fire up the smoker and experiment with packing/tamping the pellets using a quarter or less full and see if that helps. My theory is with loose pellets in a tube you have too many voids in the tube equals too much air thus the high burn rate. I purchased the oval because I live at 4900’ and was under the impression that I would have issue with oxygen content, not so. Can’t speak about the brand of pellets, my wife gifted me 60 pounds of pellets last year for Christmas not realizing how little I real need. I would think a U bolt would allow more air to help with combustion which is not an issue. Don’t be afraid to experiment, pack, bust up some pellets and try smaller chunks of pellets. Once you get it right you’ll know. Good luck
Thanks Murray...I'll give it a try tomorrow and see how it goes.
 

forktender

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I don't exactly tamp down the pellets but I do set it on end and shake it a few times when I fill it.
It's pretty dang full when I light it and my 12'' oval runs close to 4 hours using Lumber Jack pellets. When you light these things off it looks like your house is on fire. Don't worry about the thin blue smoke deal when you're using pellets just make sure your vents are wide open and have good air flow. This is one time that I actually prefer to set my smoker up in the wind to get better air flow and you could always use a small desk fan set up in front of your lowest vent which is what I do if there is no breeze. I do place one end of the smoke tube higher than the other by placing it on a chunk of wood or a rock you don't have to get fancy with U bolts anything that elevates one end will do. Out of all the pellets that I have used I prefer Lumber Jack they seem to give off a better smoke flavor too me. and they are cheap at Rual King we don't have a R.K. out here but Dick's will price match any advertised price without any questions.
Good luck.

If you're looking for T.B.S. by the Maze and make dust, it runs longer and gives you T.B.S. which works best for cheese and many other things.
I have the amazing smoke maze but I really like the looks of these because there is no chance of the fire jumping the divider and catching the whole maze on fire which has happened to me before.


I hope this helps....good luck.
Dan
 

SherryT

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I don't exactly tamp down the pellets but I do set it on end and shake it a few times when I fill it.
It's pretty dang full when I light it and my 12'' oval runs close to 4 hours using Lumber Jack pellets. When you light these things off it looks like your house is on fire. Don't worry about the thin blue smoke deal when you're using pellets just make sure your vents are wide open and have good air flow. This is one time that I actually prefer to set my smoker up in the wind to get better air flow and you could always use a small desk fan set up in front of your lowest vent which is what I do if there is no breeze. I do place one end of the smoke tube higher than the other by placing it on a chunk of wood or a rock you don't have to get fancy with U bolts anything that elevates one end will do. Out of all the pellets that I have used I prefer Lumber Jack they seem to give off a better smoke flavor too me. and they are cheap at Rual King we don't have a R.K. out here but Dick's will price match any advertised price without any questions.
Good luck.

If you're looking for T.B.S. by the Maze and make dust, it runs longer and gives you T.B.S. which works best for cheese and many other things.
I have the amazing smoke maze but I really like the looks of these because there is no chance of the fire jumping the divider and catching the whole maze on fire which has happened to me before.


I hope this helps....good luck.
Dan
Thanks Dan.

I dug out an old spice grinder a little while ago and did a test run on a handful of pellets to see how it would grind them...looks a bit better than when I soaked/dried them before...more coarse with a scattering of chunky bits throughout. I'll light 'em up tomorrow.
 

forktender

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NICE!!!
I have yet to find my Noni's old meat grinder, I know I have it but I haven't found it yet.
It's an old funky meat grinder which will work great for making dust once I locate it.....Moving suck's.
 

SherryT

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NICE!!!
I have yet to find my Noni's old meat grinder, I know I have it but I haven't found it yet.
It's an old funky meat grinder which will work great for making dust once I locate it.....Moving suck's.
I have an old Victorio hand grinder that I haven't used in years (originally bought it to crack grain for beer)...it's CRAZY heavy, so, of course, I put it on the very TOP of my 7' tall cupboard so I'd have to try to get it down with what is NOW a bad right shoulder, but hey! :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
 

Murray

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I have an old Victorio hand grinder that I haven't used in years (originally bought it to crack grain for beer)...it's CRAZY heavy, so, of course, I put it on the very TOP of my 7' tall cupboard so I'd have to try to get it down with what is NOW a bad right shoulder, but hey! :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
That’s what I use for breaking down pellets. Was used for home brewing also.
 

Winterrider

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forktender forktender has you covered, I also just tap tube on ground to settle pellets. Elevate tube helps greatly for air circulation for better burn.
Dust is easy to make for use in tray, soak pellets for about 5 mins. Lay out on sheet pan and dry in smoker about an hour @ 270°
 

normanaj

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Sherry even though I started this in regards to doing this in a MES,a lot info will apply to your situation/smoker as well:
 

chopsaw

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MJB05615

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I also use the 12" tube in my MES 40 with the U bolt. I set it in the Lower left on top of 2 split bricks. This allows better air flow under it. I fill it by handfuls with the tube upright, all the way t the top. I tap it a few times to leave about 1/2" from the open edge for easier lighting. I use Lumberjack pellets or Smokin' pellets. These are 100% wood with no filler. I read on here a while ago that some brands use filler and may not stay lit as well as the 100% wood. When first lit, it produces a lot of smoke, but after 30 minutes or so it settles down to TBS. Tube burns for 5-6 hours most of the time. Hope this helps.
 

SWFLsmkr1

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I been with Todd and the Amazn tray and tube for many many years. On the tubes i found if you pack the pellets they tend to go out, lightly put the pellets in for air flow. Lighting them i use a torch end and let the fron pellets flame for about 3 mins. You can find the torch at wally, lowes, homepeepot for like $9-15
 

SherryT

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I been with Todd and the Amazn tray and tube for many many years. On the tubes i found if you pack the pellets they tend to go out, lightly put the pellets in for air flow. Lighting them i use a torch end and let the fron pellets flame for about 3 mins. You can find the torch at wally, lowes, homepeepot for like $9-15
Yeah, I tried using my small butane torch to light it...NOPE! Had to break out the propane...that got it done.
 

SherryT

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Sherry even though I started this in regards to doing this in a MES,a lot info will apply to your situation/smoker as well:
Yes, I found your posts about u-bolts...good info.

You know, I see a lot of tubes available on Amazon that come with s-hooks to suspend the tube from a grate...I bet if you had two different sizes of s-hooks (perhaps bend a couple of metal skewers into shape), you could get the same effect of raising one end higher than the other.

Hmmm......
 

chopsaw

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I fill mine , and shake it down . It's full over the diameter , but not packed . I light it and let it burn for a couple minutes . When it goes out I blow on it to see how many pellets are glowing / turning white . I'll let it flame up again , until it has a half moon of glowing pellets on the bottom front edge when I blow it out . I use oak pellets as a base , then mix in the other types I want for flavor and color . Sometimes I mix wood chips in also . I'll get up to 8 hours out of the 12 " tube using a mailbox , with the u bolt on the front .
 

SWFLsmkr1

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I use the oval tube holder in my vertical. Holds 1 or 2 oval tubes. Small tube in the holder is great for cold smoking.

othol.jpg
 

SWFLsmkr1

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Friend of mine made it.
 

SherryT

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UPDATE...

Ran to HD and grabbed a u-bolt, attached it to one end of the 6" tube, used my Victorio grinder to break up the pellets (had to loosen it up a bit, but I finally found the sweet spot), tapped the end of the tube on the table after every hand-full of dust, lit it up...PERFECT!

After the "coal" got going good and stabilized, the smoke produced was no where NEARLY as thick and white as before and the 6" tube lasted in the neighborhood of 3.5 - 4 hours (closer to 3.5 IIRC) without ever having gone out.

Happy camper here! Just though I'd let you know.

THANK YOU ALL!!!
 

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