New MAK 2 Star Smoker here with a couple of questions
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New MAK 2 Star Smoker here with a couple of questions
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Thread: New MAK 2 Star Smoker here with a couple of questions

  1. #1

    New MAK 2 Star Smoker here with a couple of questions

    Hello brother pellet smokers,

    My name is Porque Pig and I am a pellet smoker...

    After over 1/2 a year or research I pulled the proverbial trigger on the MAK 2 Star.

    My previous smoking experience was with my trusty 26" Weber kettle. Did a lot of indirect smoking (lump charcoal and wood chunks)/ reverse searing on it. Cooked a lot of killer meals on it and plan on keeping it to work in conjunction with the MAK 2 Star when I have big fiestas.

    As much as I dig my kettle, and can cook comparable quality grinds on it, there is no comparison to the MAK in terms of ease. Just set it and forget it (at least on low temps - more on that later). I've done a few of low (225 to 250 deg) and slow (5 to 8 hour) cooks, and its performed like a true champ. The food has been killer. On these low settings the Pellet Boss is more than a tool - it's more like your ultimate smoking co-pilot or wingman... no matter how many beers or cocktails it has, how baked it gets (hey it's 2108 and I'm in Cali), or how many hot chicks it trys to scam on at the party - it's always got your back - the smoking comes first and foremost, no distractions. It was so relaxing to not have to constantly monitor the temp, open/close vents, add more charcoal, etc. I love that aspect of it. The older I get the less I like unnecessary challenges.

    I've had a couple of issues with it at higher temps though, and I was wondering if someone had similar experiences and could help me out:

    (1) Temp differences between the Boss sensor and my Thermoworks Therma Q w K thermocouples air probe. I understand that the grill temp can be up to 20 degrees higher than the boss probe, and in the 195 -325 deg range its well within 5 to 10 degrees, but when I've done a couple of 450 - 500 degree cooks/sears, the air probe reads 100 degrees higher. Not sure, but I think that is WAY too much? The air probe is positioned on a grate clip on the edge of upper rack on the same side as factory probe - facing away from the rack. It's the heavy duty probe, rated for up to 650 deg, or something like that.

    (2) A couple of times I've done high (around 450) cooks where I am cooking veggies for about 45 minutes, putting them in the warming drawer and then want to indirect cook bison patties / steaks before doing reverse sear on them. After the veggies are done, I reset the temp on the Boss to 250. It slowly drops down to 250, but then it just keeps dropping, it does not relight. Both times I've had to turn the unit off, then turn it back on. When I have done that, the MAK produces the biggest cloud of smoke ever, then relights and eventually the temp slowly starts to go back up. Is this normal?

    Besides these two issues, I am completely satisfied with the MAK for the low and slow. And I am totally blown away at how beautiful it is. Maybe its because I am a machinist, but the internal gut parts, and the unit as a whole are works of art. I love the USA and the fact that all the steel and other parts are all from the US, and that it is machined and assembled in the US make it that much better. I am someone that buys strategically, and for the long term. I know I will have the MAK for the rest of my life.

    Another lifer for me is Big Papa Smokers. Everyone I have dealt with there are extremely knowledgable, friendly and STOKED at what they do, and helping fellow smokers. Great company. No need to ever go anywhere else.

    Cheers,

    Porque
    Last edited by Porque Pig; 03-11-2018 at 07:52 PM.

  2. #2
    First, welcome to the forum!


    I would have jumped in on this a little sooner, but I'm on vacation in Florida right now, and haven't been online much.



    Now, in answer to your questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by Porque Pig
    (1) Temp differences between the Boss sensor and my Thermoworks Therma Q w K thermocouples air probe. I understand that the grill temp can be up to 20 degrees higher than the boss probe, and in the 195 -325 deg range its well within 5 to 10 degrees, but when I've done a couple of 450 - 500 degree cooks/sears, the air probe reads 100 degrees higher. Not sure, but I think that is WAY too much?

    No that's not too much of a difference, especially in grilling mode (with the FlameZone covers removed for direct grilling). The best advice I can give is to ignore and keep the Thermoworks pit probe out of your MAK or you will drive yourself nuts!

    Read this review I wrote up, paying particular attention to the temperature testing portion, and you'll see that I too easily get a 120+ difference between what the MAK's thermocouple detects and what the actual grate temps are in Grill mode (direct grilling):

    2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!




    Quote Originally Posted by Porque Pig
    (2) A couple of times I've done high (around 450) cooks where I am cooking veggies for about 45 minutes, putting them in the warming drawer and then want to indirect cook bison patties / steaks before doing reverse sear on them. After the veggies are done, I reset the temp on the Boss to 250. It slowly drops down to 250, but then it just keeps dropping, it does not relight. Both times I've had to turn the unit off, then turn it back on. When I have done that, the MAK produces the biggest cloud of smoke ever, then relights and eventually the temp slowly starts to go back up. Is this normal?

    Yes, this is somewhat expected. Let me explain what I think is happening, based on my experience, and what you can do to lessen this.

    It always takes time, and is harder, to go from a high temperature to a relatively low one on a pellet grill. If it's enough of a temperature drop the pellets in the firepot can pretty well burn up before it drops to the desired temperature and needs to start feeding pellets again. The fire basically goes out, meaning a relight sequence is needed when it does start feeding pellets again. HOWEVER... (if memory serves me correctly) the MAK igniter doesn't relight unless the pit temp drops below 150. Ergo the temp continues to drop until then.

    By time it triggers a relight, there are enough pellets built up in the firepot that it creates a nice cloud of smoke when they start smoldering.

    This is a common issue for ANY pellet grill and there's an easy solution. Next time you drop in temperature that much, simply open the lid for a few minutes and allow the heat to dump out. Get your steak or other food ready, and by time you put it on the temperature will have dropped enough to trigger a pellet feed and keep the fire going.

    Hope this makes sense and helps! In the mean time, keep calm and smoke on!


    Cliff
    Last edited by TentHunter; 03-13-2018 at 01:37 PM.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  3. #3
    Hi TentHunter,

    Hope all is well in Florida.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to write such an extremely detailed response - I really appreciate it!

    I followed your link and it turns out I had already read your review when researching the MAK... It was a while back though. I noticed your probe was directly over the closest grate, where mine was on the top shelf (still over the flame zone though). That probably explains why you were 20 deg even higher than me, considering you were that much closer. Totally makes sense - thanks.

    You nailed it on the head with you answer and explanation to my question on the flame out. I totally get it. To drop the temp that much you naturally have to cut the heat source. By the long time takes to drop to the reset lower temp in the enclosed chamber, the fire is long gone. You can drop as many pellets as you want into the pot at that point - if theres no fire, theres no fire. So it has to keep dropping to its preset light temp. By that time there are so many pellets in the pot that its like Armageddon once it catches. Instead open the lid, drop the temp fast enough so when it gets to what you want there is still a fire in the pot. Close the lid and you are in business. I kind of figured as much but I didn't want to volunteer my thoughts on it, fearing I might be wrong. How does the saying go... there's no stupid questions, only stupid answers? :-) Again, thanks for clearing that up for me.

    I mentioned before that I had read your review when doing research on which smoker grill to buy. I have actually read many of your posts. In fact you are one of the top three researched people who influenced my decision to go MAK. Thanks for taking the time to make so much valuable smoking information available to the general public. Another reason to love the USA - I don't think they've got a pellet smoking website in North Korea! Seriously, thanks. The MAK was the right decision. The amount of ease and precise control is incredible. I can say I've cooked comparable tasting meals on my Weber, but certainly not as consistently and DEFINITELY not as easily. It's like after I finally bought my first thermometer - I don't know how I managed w/o it. Looking forward to many long years and many consistently awesome meals.

    And no doubt regarding the keeping calm and smoking on - when you've got the BOSS as your wing man.

    Mahalo,

    Paul

  4. #4
    the more you use your MAK a lot will become second nature
    MAK Grills ,BPS Drum Smoker, Ole Hickory Pits Ace BP, Hasty Bake Legacy KCBS CBJ

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