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The Joy of lighting your new smoker

2909 Views 14 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Intheswamp
Just opened up a gift from local UW Professor of Biology,,, oh happy day a brand new shiney new smoker . Lets try it out... whats inside 4 pellets and a coupon to buy more pellets from bee distributor... 7.95 a bag
... Oh i dont think so .. Hello little free pinecones crushed up and some paper and some cool green grass on top .. yeah that just about works perfectly ....
Not to much beats a free deal.....
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I have a new smoker too. The old one leaned on a deep and lit it on fire. Lost the deep, top, frames, a few jar lids, and the smoker. Luckily the deep had no bees and my truck didn't burn to the ground.

My new smoker sucks. Lid is too tight and is hard to get off.
My new smoker sucks. Lid is too tight and is hard to get off.
I get a can of denatured alcohol from Home Despot and clean the lid edge and the smoker lip every 3 smokes and it makes it easy to open.
Got our a couple of months ago, and just admired its shinyness up on the shelf until a couple of weeks back. All of our friends seem to have trouble lighting theirs and keeping them lit, each using their own favorite fuel. One buys cotton dryer lint. One uses jute twine. Wood shavings from their shop. Etc. etc.

We tossed a handful of pine straw in ours, it lit easily, burned uniformly and under control, only went out when corked for a while. Probably should try with a little green grass on top.

Thanks for the cleaning tip. I always keep a little denatured alcohol on hand for cleaning jobs.
What can I say? He's a stock broker.

Evidently some bee supplier sells it.
I have a new smoker too. The old one leaned on a deep and lit it on fire. Lost the deep, top, frames, a few jar lids, and the smoker. Luckily the deep had no bees and my truck didn't burn to the ground.

My new smoker sucks. Lid is too tight and is hard to get off.

It is the tapered cone style top, I bought one last year and I hate it too. So darn hard to remove the top. Im back to using the round-dome style and couldn't be happier. I prefer the small size smokers and use wood-stove pellets. The a bag of pellets lasts for years, the small smoker half-full will last for hours.
i have an inch or so of wood pelets i nthe bottom (or wood scraps from making woodenware) and then use pine straw atop that. last time i out I use some old jeans on top of the wood pellets and it worked great. lots of smoke and just kept on going. My lifestyle is such that i always have old jeans to discard. they make terrible shop rags so I just toss them. I'll be keeping them for smoker fuel now. I'll give the dryer lint thing a try. lord knows our houshold produces enough of the stuff.

As for the tight fitting smoker lids, i have some old smokers that work well because the hinge is offset a bit. the newer smokers with the plastic/rubber bellows and the cone top fit too snug for my liking, but a little work on the horn of an anvil has them sliding open much easier.
I started to replace my smoker of 5 years mainly because the lid hinge broke. But then I found some old wire that I cut with tin snips and fixed it. Now it is good as new, but I still have a hard time keeping it lit. I use a bit of pine fat, wood pellets, pine needles and/or wood shavings (whichever is dry and handy). If I get the pine fat lit real good, it keeps the fire going pretty well. Still, its a challenge.
Watch out for the dryer lint. You don't want synthetics. Evidently the source of his was some industry that only washes 100% cotton. Maybe the pre-washed cotton jeans business?
The best way to light your smoker and keep it alight is to drill a small hole in the fire box just above the fire grate. Make a small door out of thin aluminium and use a self tap screw as the swing hinge. You can then pack the smoker with the fuel of your choice and light from the bottom using a small blow torch. Nice cool smoke and easy to relight if it goes out.
Thanks for all the advice. I haven't mastered my smoker yet either. Daddy used to use blue jean material, but I don't have any.
That is true about the dryer lint. With polyester, it would have chemicals.
I learn so much on this website!
Not to mention polyester is a form of plastic. Melted plastic in a smoker..... not a good idea. I too use old blue jeans. No soot, no creosote, clean burning, free, cool smoke, long lasting.... I could go on. lol
I use mowed grass for my starter and wood pellets for the main fuel. I wad up a fist-sized ball of grass, hold it over the smoker and light it with a match. It only takes a moment for it to flame up. I drop it into the smoker and start puffing to make it flame up brightly. I then push the grass on down into the smoker with my hive tool...not so tightly that it extinguishes, but compactly enough that when I drop a handful of pellets into the smoker they will mostly stay on top of the burning grass. Next I pour a couple of handfuls of pellets on top while still pumping the bellows. The first time lighting is the hardest part. As the fire from the grass starts burning the pellets, I continue pumping and adding pellets...shaking and jarring the smoker all along. When a nice bellowing smoke is coming out I'll then add ever how many more pellets I want to and top it off with a wad of green grass or privet hedge leaves on top of the pellets. The green material does double keeps the pellets from pouring out if I turn the smoker sideways or tilt it down and it helps to cool the smoke down.

I mentioned that the first time lighting is the hardest. After you have lit the smoker once, there is ash, charred pellets, and coals left in the smoker. Don't throw that burned material away. The second time you light the smoker drop in a handful or two of this charred matter over the burning grass, then pour in some fresh pellets along with a little more of the charred/burned stuff. The charred stuff acts as a catalyst in starting the fresh pellets and quickens the lighting process. I can light my smoker and it will burn until the fuel is consumed...never a problem with it "going out". ;)

Since figuring out a lighting technique for the pellets that is the only fuel that all I use. $7 for a multi-year supply works for me...stick some dried grass back in a plastic bag for rainy days and I don't worry about trying to find dry fuel. I used pine straw/needles to begin with being as I have pine forests and plantations all around me. My smoker creosoted *badly* with the pine creosote literally running down the outside of the smoker. The biggest thing for me was the stench of the pine needles burning. I know, I know...lots of folks use pinestraw and swear by it, it does make a thick smoke but so does oak pellets...and oak smells a lot better (to me). To each his own, my clothes (and myself) still smell a little smokey when I come from inspections but it's not the strong burned pine smell anymore. ;)

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