Memphis Advantage pellet backup on long cook
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Memphis Advantage pellet backup on long cook
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Thread: Memphis Advantage pellet backup on long cook

  1. #1

    Memphis Advantage pellet backup on long cook

    I did my first overnight cook recently. Put two pork shoulders on my Memphis Advantage at about 10:00pm for pulled pork the next day. I used Lumberjack Competition Blend and set the grill controller at 220 degrees which seemed to hold close to 225 most of the night. When I got up the next morning I noticed the smoke was a bit different. When I opened the grill, I could see pellets had backed up onto the ramp they slide down from the auger to the fire box and were burning on the ramp. The temperature was still holding good so I left it for a while. When I wrapped the pork shoulders I used a small putty knife to clear the pellets and continued the cook. Pulled the first shoulder at 11:30 and the second at 12:00 at just short of 200 degrees. Kept them in a cooler wrapped in towels until about 4:00 when I pulled them. They were still at about 175 degrees and turned out REALLY good.

    When I finally went to clean the grill afterwards, there was a lot of build-up in the fire box. It didn't look like regular ash. It seemed very fine and almost tan in color. It have formed a fairly solid clump almost like felt. I didn't get a picture of it. Sorry.

    So, what would cause this to happen? Is it the Lumberjack Competition Blend pellets?

    I have read mixed information about them. They seem very popular but a lot of people talk about excessive ash. Is what I saw typical of excessive ash production?

    I am very happy with the flavor I get from these pellets and they are easily accessible locally. Do I need to try different pellets for long cooks like this? Maybe mix in some oak, or layer oak on top of the Competition Blend to switch over later into the cook? Any suggestions are welcomed.

    Oh, here's a picture of how they looked in the morning:
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  2. #2
    I’m sure others will speak but if you had a clump, it almost sounds as if you had some wet pellets? I only saw your food in the picture & not what you were talking about. Any possibility of wet pellets? It almost sounds like you had an auger jam because of this. Also, on long cooks, make sure you start with a clean fire pot. Build up of ash from previous cooks could cause a flame out with a back up of pellets in the pot as well. I don’t know if this helps or not or if I’m telling you the obvious you already know??

  3. #3
    Yes, the LJ Competition blend (formerly known as MHC Blend - Maple, Hickory, Cherry) can be very ashy. I use them for smoking Charcuterie stuff (sausages, bacon, hams, etc.).

    What I do is mix them 50/50 with oak. It doesn't mess with the flavor at all, and they burn a WHOLE lot cleaner with noticeably less ash. I basically NEVER burn 100% flavorwood pellets, mixing 50/50 with oak instead. I feel like it has prevented a lot of problems over the years.


    The leftover dust you saw that was tanish in color could simply have been unburned pellets left from the cool down cycle. Without a pic of the lump you found, I can't even venture a guess as to what it was. Was it in the firepot, or in the cook chamber?

    The fact that pellets backed up on the chute going down to the firepot does not sound right. You might want to give Memphis a call about that.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by wolverines View Post
    Iím sure others will speak but if you had a clump, it almost sounds as if you had some wet pellets? I only saw your food in the picture & not what you were talking about. Any possibility of wet pellets? It almost sounds like you had an auger jam because of this. Also, on long cooks, make sure you start with a clean fire pot. Build up of ash from previous cooks could cause a flame out with a back up of pellets in the pot as well. I donít know if this helps or not or if Iím telling you the obvious you already know??
    Thanks for the feedback. The pellets were not wet. Probably not even remotely damp. Just opened the bag a few days ago. I forgot to mention that we did thoroughly clean the grill first. I now clean the fire box before any cook and make sure the grease trays are very clean if we will be cranking up the heat (have had a couple of fires in the grease trays).

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by TentHunter View Post
    Yes, the LJ Competition blend (formerly known as MHC Blend - Maple, Hickory, Cherry) can be very ashy. I use them for smoking Charcuterie stuff (sausages, bacon, hams, etc.).

    What I do is mix them 50/50 with oak. It doesn't mess with the flavor at all, and they burn a WHOLE lot cleaner with noticeably less ash. I basically NEVER burn 100% flavorwood pellets, mixing 50/50 with oak instead. I feel like it has prevented a lot of problems over the years.
    What brand of oak pellets do you use? Lumberjack makes 100% oak pellets and I think the store near me carries the oak. Also, what about their Supreme Blend (Oak-Hickory-Cherry)? We bought a bag of that but I think I liked the smoke flavor from the Competition Blend better. Hard to tell sometimes though.

    The leftover dust you saw that was tanish in color could simply have been unburned pellets left from the cool down cycle. Without a pic of the lump you found, I can't even venture a guess as to what it was. Was it in the firepot, or in the cook chamber?

    The fact that pellets backed up on the chute going down to the firepot does not sound right. You might want to give Memphis a call about that.
    The clump was in the firebox. Sounds like contacting Memphis may be a good idea. Already had a discussion going with them regarding the wi-fi (which I no longer trust) and a replacement snap disk thermostat.

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