View Full Version : Wood Pellet Smoker Fuel
04-19-2006, 06:28 PM
I see Dadant is selling wood stove pellets as smoker fuel.
Anyone try this?? Results??
What is the best commercially made smoker fuel if pellets do not work well.
04-19-2006, 06:37 PM
Bruce, do you really have trouble finding satisfactory fuel?
Focus on Bees
04-19-2006, 06:41 PM
I use pellets and they work fine. I have an outdoor woodburner and I like to put a couple of coals into the smoker and then put the pellets on top. Sometimes though I just put regular chainsaw sawdust over the coals. it seems to work better and smells good too.
04-19-2006, 06:49 PM
George, I am tired of scrounging around for sticks and such.
Going to be working 125 colonies this summer and would like a fast, reliable, long lasting smoker fuel.
04-19-2006, 07:25 PM
Well then Bruce, if I was going to buy a supply of smoker fuel, I'd find a pet supply store and buy the biggest bag of cedar shavings I could find and get it over with. It's dry, smells good, burns great.
Actually now that I think about it, that's not what I'd do. I'd go to the local saw mill about 2 miles down the road and fill my pickup with planer shavings. They don't usually plane green wood, it would be nice and dry.
Focus on Bees
04-19-2006, 07:34 PM
Don't they mix chemicals with the wood chips and shavings that you buy for mulch ?? At least that was my understanding.
04-19-2006, 07:36 PM
The cedar shavings or animal bedding works very good for fuel. Easy to light and lasts a long time and doesnt go out if left 4 awhile. When im done with my hives i let my son finish them off and you would think an old time coal burning train is going through the back yard. He just loves all the smoke and it smells nice to. All most 4got the pellets are a waste of money unless you got about 15 to 20 min to get your smoker going. The ones i got from mann lake go out easy and are hard to light.
[ April 19, 2006, 09:38 PM: Message edited by: Big Stinger ]
04-19-2006, 07:47 PM
Sawdust or wood shavings are the way to go. Last year I got two big boxes of sawdust that a bunch of apple rootstocks came packed in. Burns long, won't go out, easy to light with a little newspaper.
This year they took down a huge old ash tree up the street and left behind a huge pile of strange shavings. Maybe the really big chainsaws work differently from the smaller ones? Anyway, the shavings are fluffier than the sawdust I had last year, I can light them directly, and they work great.
Sawmill sounds like a great source so long as you don't get any pressure treated sawdust mixed in.
04-19-2006, 07:55 PM
I LOVE the wood pellets as they light easy burn slow and give off LOTS of great smoke......but don't buy from dadant as the shipping will kill you.......go to a farm store or somewhere and you can usuall pick up broken bags for little of nothing or even a full 40lb bag is around 5 bucks and will last you for a LONG time......LOVE THEM AND WON"T USE ANYTHING ELSE.....btw use strips of burlap to light them and one on top to keep the pellets in.....works AWESOME!!!!
04-19-2006, 08:13 PM
Contraversy even in the pellet world ;)
I've tried my own sawdust with poor results.
Cedar shavings sound interesting. The pellets are cheap enough to give a try.
04-19-2006, 08:39 PM
Pine Needles work great for me. They're free in the woods behind the house and they give great smoke.
04-19-2006, 08:43 PM
I've got some stove pellets left over from the winter; gonna try them in a few days. I'll let yall know how well they work (imho of course). smile.gif
King bee apiary
04-19-2006, 08:54 PM
Old cotton from a cotton gin works good too.I bought a case from Mann Lake last year.I use it as a starter base for pine straw.The cotton burns longer but the pine straw is free..Have also used wood chips but that seems to need more belows action to keep lit and seems to go out quick..The only draw back to the pine needles is that it does build up on the inside and a tar like mosture run down the outside..I use a small braising torch to light it,small enough to fit into a pocket it I have to ever relight it.
04-19-2006, 08:58 PM
Bruce, Not much experience (just got first two hives,) but long-time keeper tells us he uses cedar shavings exclusively because he gets a good mite kill with 'em!
04-20-2006, 07:10 AM
Havent heard that cedar shavings kill mites but that mite bee the reason my bees dont have them.
Havent got many on the mite drop sticky board either. Maybee 1 or 2 in 24 hrs. Sometimes none.
04-20-2006, 11:25 AM
Dry lawn clippings work in a pinch, but smell terrible
04-20-2006, 12:24 PM
Burlap. You can buy your own at the fabric store. You can also buy scraps at Walter T. Kelly.
04-20-2006, 01:05 PM
Funny, today for the first time I can remember, I actually had a hard time keeping my smoker going, at first anyways. I didn't grab my bag of "stuff", I just scrounged when I got to the yard and put a few too many pine cones in, contrary to my own advice. They're great to add to the smoker, but too many of them either don't pack tight enough, or pack too tight. Finally got it working right the 3rd time after dumping everything out and gathering some pine needles, dry grass, and leaves. Threw in a couple of pine cones for good measure. As usual, it sat there burning until I put it out.
I guess what I'm saying is I can begin to relate to Bruce's desire to have a copious and handy supply of smoker fuel at all times. I still think I'd go with planer shavings from a saw mill, by the pickup load. I'm too cheap to buy cedar bedding material and burlap... oh gawd I know Michael Bush swears by it, but I just can't stand the stink!
Your inquiry related to wood stove pellets. I have seen them at Home Depot and most places that sell wood stoves. May be cheaper and no additional shipping.
I use the paper, twig, then cedar bark method. It takes time, but the cedar (Juniper) bark smokes like crazy and burns for a long time. Of course, I only have to work one hive, now. Bees seem to take to the cedar bark--at least they did not take to me.
04-20-2006, 02:48 PM
What kind of "STUFF" you got in that bag. :D :D :D :D :D :D
04-20-2006, 07:50 PM
I use hay. Its not the best fuel but its cheap and easy to light. It burns rather quick and hot. What I like about it is that one can buy it in large bails and I hate scrounging for pine needles.
I learned a trick from an old keeper that works great for lighting smokers. A hand held small propane torch. One would apply the torch to the exterior walls, the smoker gets red hot and the fuel inside ignites. Very handy in high winds. One must have a steel smoker, those tin pieces of junk would burn right through.
I never thought of cedar shavings from pet stores. Interesting. I think I will give it a try.
I remember reading something somewhere sometime about nicotine killing mites and that tobacco smoke might work well for IPM. Obviously, shoving packs of Camels in ones smoker can get expensive. But I thought about growing some tobacco for the sole purpose of smoker fuel.
But like so many thoughts Ive had over the years, theyve remained just that, thoughts.
04-20-2006, 08:21 PM
I second the pine needles
04-20-2006, 09:44 PM
I use the cedar shavings and love them. They don't go out, as has been mentioned they smell awesome burning. They also light really easy with just a regular lighter. I think it's some kind of oil in the wood. Not to mention a bag at walmart is cheap enough to not even worry about.
04-20-2006, 10:03 PM
So far this newbee has used tighty rolled cardboard. I'm not enchanted with it. How do you ignite cedar shavings? A coal in the bottom?
04-21-2006, 05:13 AM
To light cedar shavings: get a small hand full put in bottom of smoker light them pump bellows get them going real good. Then fill smoker up with enough cedar shavings to do what you need to do. I fill mine up cause when im done my son runs around the yard pretending to be a train.