Adding newspaper pellets to sawdust to assist burning/smouldering?

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by gasbag, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. I would like to know if recycled newspaper pellets can be added to sawdust in an Amaze-N cold smoker (without an external heat source) if the sawdust being used has trouble maintaining a long burn.  Would these checmical-free newspaper pellets burn?  And would they be safe, in terms of smoke/vapours released?  I do know that some people add shredded/scrunched up newspaper to assist the smoking of sawdust...but what about the pellets?  I am assuming that purpose-made smoking pellets are made of paper/fibre of some sort?
  2. I wouldn't want to eat food smoked with newspaper pellets.
  3. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you have the AMNS do not burn pellets unless you are only burning the outer rows and I would not use newspaper for anything I am going to eat
  4. Thanks for the replies.

    I have some very coarse Redgum sawdust that I am trying to use in an Amaze-N Smoker.  I can get it lit quite easily with a strong, burning ember at one end, but keeping it smouldering continuously....doesn't happen.

    At the moment I have a pile of it spread out on a tray in the oven on a very low setting with the fan on, so I'm hoping that will help.  In regards to newspaper not being suitable - my regular butcher uses shredded and scrunched up pieces of newspaper, mixed with coarse Redgum sawdust in his smokehouse to make ham and bacon.  Has done for years.  And it tastes delicious.  As I said, I can get this sawdust well lit with a butane torch, but it will only continue smouldering for a while before it goes out.  I'm thinking the main problem is the sawdust isn't dry enough.  The newspaper pellets I am referring to are completely chemical and additive free, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly, so I was thinking they mustn't be any different to regular newspaper when burnt, which doesn't cause a problem.

    If there are any suggestions people can make, in regards to using this sawdust with an Amaze-N smoker, I'm all ears.
  5. Newspaper contains printing ink based on lead. You really want to eat it? Clean dust from Amazen products is only few bucks per pound.
  6. I thought they were using soy ink to print newspapers these days. If your chips are to coarse they won't burn well.
  7. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would not use the funny papers in a fire.  Most black inks are soy based with carbon black.  Some colors use cadmiun and may not be dangerous in the concentrations available but I still wouldn't want it burning in my smoker.     Black and white is fine,  funny papers and magazines a no no in my opinion
  8. As I've mentioned previously, I can readily source clean Redgum sawdust for smoking, and it happens to be a fairly coarse grade.  After I dry it in the oven, I have no problem getting it well lit with a butane torch, but I simply cannot get it to continue burning for a long period without an external heat source.  And whenever I provide an external heat source, it literally billows smoke, but is burnt up in no time at all.

    If anyone has any experience in cold smoking with Redgum sawdust, particularly with an Amaze-N smoker, I'd like to hear about it.
  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Have you considered adding an accelerant/binder to it?   Maybe small amounts of bacon grease or solid vegetable oil?
  10. Vegetable Oil?  I'm going to give that a shot.  Thanks for that.

    In regards to the recycled newspaper pellets, what's your overall opinion, after weighing up pro's and con's? -

    Like I said before, I know that some people add shredded/scrunched up newspaper to their sawdust.  Just not the pellets.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    My first choice would be to buy the correct Dust from Todd the designer but I can understand that shipping may make it cost prohibitive. That being said, I have no experience with Redgum but I would suggest running it through a cheap coffee grinder or food processor to make it finer after drying it. Fill the AMNS and lightly Tamp the dust to compact it. The finer dust and increased density may help your burn problem. Take a look at this video it will give you an idea of what you are aiming for...JJ

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  12. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The AMNS works great with the right grind on the sawdust. Several guys have tried to use other grinds and the just don't seem to work very well. The same guys have tried to burn the same dust in other devices and it did not burn well.  I am sure there are some dust's out there that will work but not sure who makes them. I know some guys that have shops have used their dust with moderate success.  Good luck with your quest
  13. Unless you are proficient in metal working and wood working I would recommend buying everything from Todd. Although I do save the dust from my miter saw and it seems to work fairly well. Of course being in Australia it could be costly getting stuff shipped from the states.
  14. Couple of things -

    Using cooking oil doesn't seem to help the least when the sawdust is "wet" with oil.  Will try it again though.

    Buying sawdust from overseas?  WAY too cost prohibitive.  I'm definitely prepared to spend some money, but not to the point of buying sawdust from overseas.

    I think the coffee grinder option may be worthwhile though.
  15. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would find a cabinet shop and ask them to give you some sawdust from a 100% oak or maple or cherry project to test 

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