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BalconySmoken

Instructions for use for the cold/hot smoke accessory

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Hi @DennisLinkletter or somebody else who knows the right way to use the smoke accessory,

i ordered one on Monday, it arrived on Friday:how good is that (maybe not so exciting if you live in the US). I searched the forums and couldn’t find any info on tips and tricks for this thing. 

anyway, I set it up how I thought it should work and I don’t think I got it right as it didn’t really smoke! It would start out ok but then go out. Fortunately I was looking for a light smoke and am using some coffee lump so that should be enough for my cook so nothing lost. I’ll post the cook up later when it is done.

so this is what I am looking for:

1) when assembling the unit, does the tube that goes into to the kk have the grill facing up or down inside the chip canister 

2) what’s the lighting technique? Do you light some wood (or charcoal) and drop it in and then top the canister up after? Or do you put wood in and then drop some lit wood or charcoal on TOP?

3) how much wood to start? Do you just TOP up as it goes (ignore uppercase TOP - Apple loves doing this, I have no idea how to stop it)

4) should you let it burn for a bit with the lid off to get it going?

5) on the pump - recommended setting?

6) note I have the newer version of the kk with the port for this thing, that was straight forward to put together but if this is an instruction set it would be great to add it here.

I was running the kk at 225, is the setup different at any other temps.

if somebody can give me some detailed descriptions, I’ll take a photo or video next time I use it and post them here. Thanks in advance: the thing is awesome I just need to know how to use it right!

 

Edited by BalconySmoken
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Yeah, this thing is kinda tricky. I have often struggled keeping it lit, too. I finally bailed out of using wood chips and went to pellets like those used in pellet smokers. I seem to have better success with those. 

I'll try and answer a few of your other questions as best as I can. 

1) The small tube that the air flows  through, the opening (you have a later version with the grate) should be facing down, so it doesn't get clogged with ashes, as the chips/pellets burn. 

2) I tried the lit piece of charcoal, but found that it does works so well, at least for me. I just fill the tube with the pellets and blast the side air holes with my MAPP torch until I get good smoke production going. 

3) & 4) I fill it up from the get go. see #2 above and put the lid on.

5) I was an early buyer, before Dennis started supplying the air pumps, so I bought one at the local pet store. So mine only has one speed/setting, there's no adjustment. I tried putting a flow valve in the outlet tube, but it didn't work very well. 

I don't change how I set this up based upon the smoking temperatures. I normally am doing cold smoking, with no fire inside the KK. 

Search the Forum, as both Dennis and some members have posted videos of the smoker. 

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16 minutes ago, tony b said:

Yeah, this thing is kinda tricky. I have often struggled keeping it lit, too. I finally bailed out of using wood chips and went to pellets like those used in pellet smokers. I seem to have better success with those. 

I'll try and answer a few of your other questions as best as I can. 

1) The small tube that the air flows  through, the opening (you have a later version with the grate) should be facing down, so it doesn't get clogged with ashes, as the chips/pellets burn. 

2) I tried the lit piece of charcoal, but found that it does works so well, at least for me. I just fill the tube with the pellets and blast the side air holes with my MAPP torch until I get good smoke production going. 

3) & 4) I fill it up from the get go. see #2 above and put the lid on.

5) I was an early buyer, before Dennis started supplying the air pumps, so I bought one at the local pet store. So mine only has one speed/setting, there's no adjustment. I tried putting a flow valve in the outlet tube, but it didn't work very well. 

I don't change how I set this up based upon the smoking temperatures. I normally am doing cold smoking, with no fire inside the KK. 

Search the Forum, as both Dennis and some members have posted videos of the smoker. 

I tried the welding torch through the side holes as well. Sounds like I had it setup right. Something weird also with whatever is going on is condensation inside the canister and the wood chips are now damp! The condensation was probably caused when the steel cooled down - but still weird! Sounds like I got the setup right ; maybe I’ll try the pellets next time. I will also check the pump is pumping when it cools down and I can unplug it all.

thanks for your response @tony b

Edited by BalconySmoken

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The main tube should be angled towards the KK. I have only ever used pellets and I've never had a problem. I lite it in the side holes with a MAPP torch. Although you would think the going through the lit pellets adds a bunch of oxygen, it really doesn't as the burning pellets uses up most of the available oxygen going in from the air pump. 

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Lately I've been filing the tube and lighting through the side holes and yes, I do have to watch it and make sure it doesn't go out. Something that I thought helped was to make sure the fuel you use is dry, so I've put mine in the microwave to make sure it's dry BUT be careful with that as it can go on fire.

You don't want to ruin your microwave, maybe I should put the fuel in the dehydrator that would be a lot safer. :-D

 

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To start it up you put about 1/3 cup of pellets in the hopper tube. You then soak about 2 Tbsp's of pellets in alcohol for a few minutes. Drop the soaked pellets in the tube and light it with a long camping lighter from the side hole, leave the top cap off. After the alcohol burns off (10 minutes) your pellets are burning and smoldering. Fill the hopper with pellets and turn on the air pump and set to high. After a few minutes it's rolling out smoke. 

I always use ckreef's lighting method from his post above about hot/cold smoker and blueberries. It works every time (with the wood pellets he recommended). I haven't tried it with wood chips since I bought a bunch of the pellets and it works well with them.

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Might have to give the alcohol trick a try. I'm hoping to cold smoke some pork chops this week, weather permitting. 

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I partially fill with pellets to a level below the side holes. Drop in a lit starter cube. Leave the top off the smoker until the starter extinguishes. This leaves a good bed of smoldering pellets. Then I top off and put the lid on.

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Now that everything is cold again I have had a closer look at things. The pump isn't pumping! The motor is running but no air - so not matter what technique or wood I would have used it never would have worked with no air going in.

 Fortunately I have designed portable oxygen concentrators before so know a thing or two about compressors: I will open it up and see what is going on (hopefully the compressor isn't connected to the tubes properly). Worst case I suspect it is a diaphragm pump which can fail early (the diaphragms can get holes if molded incorrectly or with cheap materials). If the compressor is buggered: I luckily have one or two compressors sitting in a cupboard I can use instead but will have to back it off considerably as it is overkill for pumping a bit of air! 

If there is something weird on the inside I will post some pictures up on how to fix things.

The product isn't made by Dennis and yields cannot be expected to be 100% from his suppliers (although I am sure he wish they were!); if this pump is faulty it is not a reflection on the high quality stuff coming out of Indonesia: I am just unlucky! Hopefully I can fix it, if not I can use a compressor I have or go buy a fish pump. 

 

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We have air! So I have taken apart the pump and had a look on the inside; I was wrong about the compressor, it is a basic AC bellows style pump. It’s pretty crude but it works (see video); interesting design from an engineering point of view but it does actuate and there are not holes in the bellows. My next concern was the kinking in the outlet tubes. I had already removed the bellows assembly by now so I knew they were capable of pushing air. Next I removed the t-piece and manually used the bellows and found the were working. Next - virtual CFD as I call it at work: I blew into the tubes and found there was no possible flow through the Long line. I took the t piece completely off and found that there was a manufacturing defect in the t piece: flash where the two pins meet in the mold (tool maintained not well would be my Guess: getting pins to blank off like this). So I drilled out the flash and presto: it pumps air now!

so you don’t get curious and open one up: I have included photos and a video (note it runs off mains so don’t open it and risk 240/120 v shock!)

 

EA1BB20E-CA6B-4D07-9F5F-E8789BC76EFC.jpeg

0CA1765C-FE89-4EEF-A800-0D38081660AE.jpeg

F08D84CB-9CAF-463A-A544-6A7CC09FFBC8.jpeg

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The product isn't made by Dennis and yields cannot be expected to be 100% from his suppliers (although I am sure he wish they were!); if this pump is faulty it is not a reflection on the high quality stuff coming out of Indonesia: I am just unlucky!
 

I just wanted to reinforce this point I made for people thinking of buying the accessory. The faulty part is probably a second or third tier supplier: even if you are a large multinational it is very hard to control quality that far down the chain. Remember when Apple phones were burning? They outsource assembly to Foxcon in Shenzhen China, the battery is outsourced to Panasonic in Japan who make the cells but most likely outsource the assembly of the battery to some other company and country, probably China because of the tax of importing parts for assembly (that’s how we do it). These guys are big players yet they didn’t have tight enough control of the battery circuitry: net result is because a high power density was wanted which has a higher risk of thermal runaway, the controlling circuit at times malfunctioned and you got a burny phone. This has been resolved as Panasonic no longer allow such high power densities so the control doesn’t need to be as precise (they also enforce tighter physical runaway protection in battery design so that not all cells will go up if they go up).
So the short of it is: this can happen to any supplier but for KK it is only going to happen to parts that Dennis doesn’t make or assemble himself - which is hardly any from what I can tell, and I am sure that if this happened to you it would be as easy a fix as what I did (or call Dennis like a normal person!)
Rant = over

I am hoping to use the accessory this weekend - will use wood chips again and report back on my experience.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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It's just an aquarium air pump everyone. They are a dime a dozen. If you have issues about $7 at Walmart will solve the problem or go to PetSmart and buy a high end one and your problems are solved for life. 

Of course the above comments has nothing to do with flashing in the "T" valve. When I bought my air pump at PetSmart I bought a metal gang valve for regulation. 

 

 

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Final say on this: I am cooking some birds and am using the accessory. Now that I fixed the t-piece I can confirm that wood chips work just fine in this.
It’s bloody brilliant - so happy I got it!


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Used mine on Friday to cold smoke some pork chops that I'd brined for 5 days, then cold smoked for 5 1/2 hours with a mix of pecan and fruit wood pellets. I did use the alcohol soak on a handful of pellets for the first time. Worked great. I'll be using that technique for lighting it going forward. 

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Lately I've been filing the tube and lighting through the side holes and yes, I do have to watch it and make sure it doesn't go out. Something that I thought helped was to make sure the fuel you use is dry, so I've put mine in the microwave to make sure it's dry BUT be careful with that as it can go on fire.
You don't want to ruin your microwave, maybe I should put the fuel in the dehydrator that would be a lot safer. :-D
 
Just wrap it in alfoil you're be right

Outback Kamado Bar and Grill

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@Aussie, alfoil would kill it just like a fire. I am going to use the dehydrator next time just to make the fuel is dry.

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Why not lay some pellets or chips on some foil in your KK as your in the pre -heating process? I have seen people using offsets laying wood on top of the fire box and using pre]-burnt wood in an adjacent fire to keep clean smoke going. Theory's the same, lowering the Kindling temp or auto ignition temp is what your after for a continuous burn. That's my two cents, just a thought

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