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Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 03:57
by JerBear
Kevin, in your picture above is that pellets or dust and have you lit one or both ends?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 03:57
by Cabonaia
My Amaz-n pellet smoker came in the mail today. Woo hoo! I don't know what I'm going to smoke this weekend, but it's going to be somethin'. Maybe cheese. That would be a new one on me.

We heat with oak, so I have a big supply of that. But cold smoking has not been feasible for me because I haven't taken the trouble to set up for it. This new little unit is my shortcut to cold smoking.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 06:20
by Chuckwagon
Grasshopper wrote:
Also I have been told that the raw meat takes on the smoke flavor more intensely. Don't want to get in any trouble doing this.
Hi Grasshopper, good to hear from you. Please tell me that you are going to cure the meat first with an actual curing agent (not just salt). How about allowing me to refer you to a couple of passages from two of the most respected publications in the sausage-making industry?

Page 16 in "Great Sausage Recipes And Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas, states, "If you can`t cure it, don`t smoke it". It doesn`t matter if it`s meat, fish, poultry, cheese, or vegetable; don`t take the chance. It`s a pretty good bet that anything you will smoke has some moisture in it. You are removing oxygen when smoking and product and the temperatures are ideal [for the growth of pathogenic bacteria]. Do not forget this one cardinal rule: IF IT CAN`T BE CURED, DON`T SMOKE IT."

Page 166 in "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages" by Stan Marianski, states, "A common question is: can I smoke meats without nitrite? Of course you can. As we have explained [above] you have to smoke your sausage at above 170°F (77°C) which will affect its texture and will produce an inferior color. You may like it, but a commercial plant cannot produce inferior products which will not be purchased by the consumer." Stan Marianski later reinforces Kutas` statement by reiterating "If you can`t cure it, don`t smoke it"

Grasshopper, your question arises quite often. People often confuse "smoking" with "cooking". It`s actually just a matter of temperature and how quickly it is applied. If someone places raw (moist) meat into a smoker between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F (4°C. to 60°C.) called the "danger zone", it does not constitute "cooking" and is an open invitation for the development of pathogenic bacteria. Worse, when smoke is introduced, it becomes an anaerobic atmosphere for two hours where conditions for the development of several types of bacteria may develop, including clostridium botulinum. Smoke cuts off oxygen - it`s that simple.

Please understand how spores work. Most bacteria are destroyed by the cooking process. If not, we would have perished long ago. However, Mama Nature is a pretty smart ol` gal. In order for her to protect certain strains of bacteria, she has developed a foolproof system - that of protective "spores". These "special" cells actually wrap themselves in a protective blanket or shell - sort of like a cocoon. This spore "cocoon" protects its host bacterium during unsympathetic environmental conditions such as extreme heat. In other words, spores are developed for surviving extended periods necessary for their reproduction. When environmental conditions improve, the cells return to normalcy. However, some spores are so resilient, even boiling water will not destroy them! Thus, once a spore has formed, even cooking may not protect us against the toxins produced. Thus, the case of clostridium botulinum. Believe it or not, there are bacterial spores that have been on earth for millions of years and have even become hardened to radiation!

So Grasshopper ol` pal, please do not smoke raw meat! Under any conditions - unless it has been cured with an actual curing agent such as sodium nitrite. Many people ask about salt. Salt does not kill bacteria. It merely slows its development. The only practical, effective solution modern science has come up with to date is good ol` sodium nitrite, mined in several places on earth (Peru has a vast production).

Many folks have asked, "Why all the hype?" Well, if most people saw the effects of clostridium botulinum on the human body first hand, it would make them want to throw up. Botulism is fatal! All the pretty little bacteria on a microscope slide are amazingly beautiful... until one realizes that each year in the United States alone, food borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses and 325,000 hospitalizations. Of this number, more than 5,000 Americans painfully suffer the clearly evident indications and symptoms of preventable food contamination, breathe their last breath, and then laboriously and agonizingly die! So, is it worth all the hype? In one word, "Yup"!

If I`ve scared you into obeying the rules, then I`ve done my job. I hope I haven`t let all the air out of your balloon. Don`t smoke raw, uncured meat... and live a long, fruitful, healthy, and enjoyable life!

Best Wishes,

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 15:18
by Devo
JerBear wrote:Kevin, in your picture above is that pellets or dust and have you lit one or both ends?
In Kevins picture those are pellets and from the picture he only lite one end. These things work good, not great. Remember they need air to burn so having a tight smoker you need to let air in to get a steady burn of the pellets. I live in Ontario Canada and find in the winter I have a hard time keeping it going, not sure why but just seems to be a pain in the butt when its the coldest outside. I do like mine very much and it is very well put together.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 16:22
by grasshopper
A very special thank's to you Chuckwagon. That is the answer to my question. I have Rytek Kutas book and have read it. Clostridium and Botulinum being the worst and can lead to death if not caught in time. Blurred vision and sore neck as Rytek says, head to the doctor. I kind of knew there was something wrong with the advice. I do preheat my 2012 MES 40" and smoke and cook my ribs and other meat at the same time.I have tried your cowboy rub. It was very good,but I think I used to much, it was strong in flavor. Sausage stuffing and smoking is still a ways off. Insta cure 1 will be on my list. More school housing thank's again.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 20:17
by JerBear
Thanks Devo,

I see the pellets now. I was originally looking at the photo on my phone and couldn't get the picture large enough to see the detail. I'm going to do a test burn of mine today and see what adjustments I need to make to my smoker for a longer smoke tomorrow.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 20:58
by grasshopper
The A-maze-n-pellet smoker is great. It has many uses. Todd Johnson is very easy to deal with and stands behind his product. Draft is the key to success on a tight sealed smoker. A person can talk to him by phone, not a recording. Located in Savage MN. Also I personalty like the pitmaster pellets. Good luck.

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 23:55
by JerBear
I actually ordered 2# of the Pitmaster Select pellets when I ordered my smoker. So here's my shortish review. I did a small test run yesterday and it took some time for a good smoke to get seems that my smoker is fairly airtight so there wasn't enough air flow to keep the embers going. A little 4" desktop fan was put in the smoker facing a different direction just to keep the air moving and once everything was movin' I just removed the fan and it kept smokin' strong. I'm very pleased with it's performance and and using a blend of 70% hickory and 30% apple pellets.... I'm loving the color from the hickory!

And I agree with grasshopper's assessment of Todd.... I agree that he was very informative, helpful and pleasant to work with and I look forward to speaking with him again in the near future.

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 01:38
by grasshopper
Probably not good advice. I light mine outside of the smoker on a tipped over tin 5 gallon pail. I pour 2 tlb of rubbing alcohol in the front part of the pellets to get it going, after that, I blow it out and than it starts to smoke. I have a MES 40", I pull the chip loader out about 2" and the chip tray about 1" for draft. With all the heat and humidity and no breeze. I am also ready to use a fan by the chip loader. They are low maintenance.

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 04:25
by JerBear
I actually started the AMZN outside of the smoker but because I have no independent airflow I needed to get some air movement to keep the smolder going. My first attempt was actually to blow air up my installed smoke inlet but the fire still went out. Because the fire box weighs in the neighborhood of 75 lbs and everything is very tightly fit together I declined to pull it apart, also, removing the piping would have left a 4" hole in the side of the smoker and I didn't want any critters to join in my reindeer games. Below is a picture of the smoker and the second is the bacon after about 9 hrs smoking... (I started the AMZN on the top of the smoke box which is steel)



Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 15:46
by IdaKraut
After talking with Todd at A-Maze-N, I bought some Lumber Jack brand pellets from Amazon. They are made from 100% of the species that is specified on the bag vs. other brands that use various fillers such as alder. I've had really good luck with Lumber Jack brand. They light well and stay smoking until all used up unlike some of the other brands I tried previously.

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 23:20
by Marty
I would definitely be interested in an A-MAZE-IN Smoker, but unfortunately in NZ there are no pellets available. I would only be able to use dust (probably make my own using my mitre saw and saw up some appropriate logs/branches) which by readin some of the feed back here would mean shorter burn times.

I'm assuming it would cost a fair bit to get pellets couriered to NZ as well. I guess I'll have to stick to my new Smokai (venturi-type) smoke generator. Besides, after what I paid for that thing on our budget, I'd be in serious trouble with my wife if I used it once and then bought an A-MAZE-IN >.>

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 23:47
by crustyo44
Hi Marty,
Stick to your NZ manufactured venturi smoker, they all work great, good workmanship and you support the local manufacturers.
All these smokers can be extended on top to hold more chips/sawdust mix so you can smoke all day without refilling.
I own an Alec Howe venturi smoking attachment and it works great, once burning it needs no attention at all for around 10 hours.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 00:00
by redzed
What about these sources? ... .asp#facts

Based on one of the above there are 5 pellet plants in the land of the kiwi (and those pesky kia parrots). Apparently the pellets are made out of untreated wood and without any bonding agents, but you would have to determine the variety of the wood.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 00:11
by Marty
Jan - I will definitely consider a hopper extension! I don't think it would be that hard either considering I have a hunting shop/ gunsmith / light engineering shop right next door to me (The source of my wild game meats hehe :) )

redzed - unfortunately I can almost guarantee that those pellets are for pellet burners/ home heating solutions and will certainly be pine (Pinus radiata) sawdust. That is one of our primary industries here in NZ - pine tree farming hehe, and you thought it was sheep!

Maybe theres an opening in the market - Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsor) and Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) are two excellent native timbers used for smoking in NZ. Unfortunately they are not really available on a commercial scale, so you really have to know someone with land that has these trees on them, or grow your own, they should be ready in about 30+ years... !