Restocking Wood Pellets For My AMNPS

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by daricksta, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hot dog! Just ordered packages of hickory, oak, pecan, and apple from Todd Johnson/A-MAZE-N for my AMNPS. Got 5 lb. bags of the pecan and the apple because I plan to smoke plenty of pork ribs and a few pork butts in the coming months. There are a lot of guys who use only pecan on ribs but I've also read it's good to mix it with a fruitwoods like apple. I can also use the apple for smoking cheese and bacon! I like hickory or oak best for beef.

    Since I already have 2 lb. bags of oak and hickory I just wanted to bolster my stock in those. I'll be adding them to my stock of mesquite, alder, and Pitmaster's Choice. Decided not to order cherry pellets since it's already in the Pitmaster's blend and I've read that it's difficult to keep cherry wood lit unless it's mixed with other woods like apple or hickory, etc. When I choose to smoke (instead of grill) Santa Maria tri tips I like to use mesquite. The alder I save for our gorgeous Northwest king or sockeye salmon (and Copper River when I can afford it). Pitmaster's Choice is just a great, all purpose blend of pellets. I've smoked many fabulous meats with it.

    I am all set now. My sister's going to be visiting in November and she's going to get some smoked baby back or St. Louis ribs!
  2. I got all stocked up in May so I would have plenty for the summer. I spent a great deal of that time in the Pacific NW and had the joy of catching a whole bunch of Kokanee (landlocked Sockeye) and quite a few Chinook, Silvers and a couple Steelhead. I kept the Alder smoke going frequently! I love the size of my MES 30 and the fact that it goes where I go so I can enjoy fresh smoke where ever I am!
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have to stock up.  I am down to under 1 lb of pitmasters and out of pecan.
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey, azbohunter--do you live near the PNW? I live near Seattle and you eat a lot more salmon than I do. Of course, my wife doesn't like seafood so that restricts me a bit.

    Chinook or King salmon is my favorite of course. Just cooked some up (not in the MES though) last week. Fresh caught in the Columbia that morning and bought it at Safeway that afternoon, ate it that evening. I'll also eat Sockeye or Kokanee but I don't buy Silvers or Steelhead. Guess I'm an elitist. The next salmon I buy is going into the MES. With the last one, I was trying a new recipe from Cook's Illustrated since the writer was convinced his recipe was the best ever. It was tasty.

    I agree with you about the MES 30; it's easily portable and for the most part it's a great size for my family. Sometime I'd like a larger size, though, just to make it easier to smoke larger cuts of meat since I don't like to cut anything in half.
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Also forgot to ask you: do you brine your salmon before smoking it?
  6. This is the recipe that I use, I can't take credit for it but it has turned out to be a great one. I cut the recipe for brine in half and that will do about a 15# King cut into smoking size pieces.
    I actually live in Glendale Arizona but being retired and having spent 30 years here year round, we now escape from June through mid Sept. We have a daughter and family in The Dalles, OR so we spend about 6-8 weeks around there which is right on the Columbia. I fish a lot!!![​IMG]

    I love smoked King/Chinook and the Kokanee are awfully good too! Have not tried the Silver/Coho yet.
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I never thought salmon needed to go into a brine before smoking. Is it supposed to make them more tender and juicy than they already are? I have to research this more. Two things I noticed about the recipe: 1. It doesn't specify the weight, the number, or the cuts of salmon to go into the brine. 2. 3 tablespoons of cayenne pepper? That might be too hot for me since I seem to be getting wimpier about the hot stuff as I slowly and inexorably age. I would think it should be three teaspoons instead of tablespoons but again the writer didn't specify how much salmon goes in the brine. What's the basis for going up the ladder in cooking temp? I've never seen that before but then I've only smoked a salmon fillet once and I didn't brine it that time because I didn't know it was an option.

    Glendale, AZ? Jeez, here it is mid-October and you're getting the same peak of summer heat wave that California is suffering through. Of course, that's where you get your weather from as the fronts head eastward. We've got some sun and lots of rain here in the Puget Sound area. The nights have cooled off since it's October but the days vary from cool to warm. What I don't like about this time of year is that the supermarkets only sell the farmed Atlantic salmon, which I will not purchase under any circumstances.

    Anyway, I'm going to give the recipe a try but I'll probably tweak to be less hot and more on the savory, umami side.

    Here's one I just saw on the Masterbuilt "Dadgum That's Good" website. No brining, it's more like making a salt cod.  It even calls for alder. This is the next recipe I'm going to try.

    There's also one for stuffed salmon and one with a peppercorn crust.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  8. Not to worry, it is not hot! Actually you really hard can tell that there is Cayenne in it! I think the only important thing with the brine is that the fish be covered, I cut the recipe for the brine in half and and had plenty to do a salmon in the 15# range. Which gives me a pretty good load in the MES 30.

    I can't tell you whether you would like it or not, it is very good in MHO, you just have to try it!
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm definitely going to try it. Interesting how the heat of cayenne appears to mellow out. We frequently use cayenne pepper all the time in our cooking at home. In fact, my wife will make Mexican food spicier than she likes it because my son and I love the hot stuff--he likes it hotter than I do but then I liked it hotter when I was a lot younger. From what you're saying, I imagine that it's not as hot as the Thai food that I enjoy. I can eat habanero salsa up to a point but a little bit of ghost pepper salsa does me in. So, yes, I'm going to try this recipe out.

    By 15# you're saying you smoke 15 lbs. of salmon at a time? Are these steaks, whole fillets, or how are they cut? How many racks do you use for the salmon in your MES 30?
  10. I feel like we have hi-jacked this thread BUT you are the original poster so I guess it is okay!

    15# would have been live weight. Filleted and cut into chunks for smoking. These are about 1 1/2 to 2 inch wide strips cut across the full width of the fillet.

    Believe me, they are not hot. You really don't know there is cayenne in the brine.

    One thing I did do differently than the original recipe, "after the brine process, I rinsed the fish in cold water".  The original recipe author did not rinse his fish .Then patted dry with paper towels and let air dry till a dry tacky pellicle formed.

    Starting the fish at a really low temp and slowly raising the temp??  (It is important to bring the temperature up gradually or you will get that white albumin “bleed” on the meat.) This is what I have read and I have found it to be true if I get to much heat to soon.

    Let me finish with this, everything I do with my smoker is the result of something I have read on this site or from information someone on this site has sent to me. I am in no way advanced in my smoking technique, I am in the infant stages of smoking but because of "Smoking Meat Forums" I have turned out some pretty great tasting/looking Q!
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh man that salmon looks great! I never care about thread hijacks. I have a Facebook political group and it fascinates me how very long threads will morph over time into something completely different from the original post. It's kind of like playing word association or telephone.

    I watch a lot of cooking shows and I never see chefs rinse off the brine unless it's been edited out. However, I've seen recipes for brining turkeys that call for rinsing it off so that the turkey isn't overly salty so I think rinsing is a great idea. Fully understand what you mean by the white albumin bleed. I saw a salmon recipe in Cooks Illustrated that called for baking salmon in a 200* oven to avoid the same thing. I tried it and it worked. Definitely going to try your recipe. However, unless my daughter visits I'm the only one who eats salmon in the house so I'm restricted to buying one salmon fillet at a time so I'd have to do a really scaled-down version of it.

    About the cayenne, this year we bought some cayenne plants to try to grow and ripen in our backyard garden. This was back in May or June, I think. Here it is mid-October and every cayenne pepper is still green! Ironically, most of the Serrano peppers I planted have turned red--but not the cayenne. Same thing happened with the ghost peppers I planted last year; none of the ripened. I've also got some jalapenos that fattened up nicely although they never grew to the size you see in supermarkets nowadays. Hey--just read an article that green cayenne peppers are fine so I have some harvesting to do today.

    Yeah, I credit this forum for enabling me to raise my smoking "game". It introduced me to Todd Johnson and his AMNPS and his wood pellets. Also bought my Maverick ET-733 from him. I've met and been helped by incredible guys like the late, great Gary "Scarbelly" Simmons, Bearcarver, Chef JimmyJ, and Darryl "MBTechguy". I've got a couple of really good smoking books and have learned some techniques and rubs there. Like you, I've turned out some great Q as well. What I'm making now is far superior to what I made two years ago when I first got my MES 30. My favorite brother-in-law calls me the King of Ribs. Seeing as how my last name is Lear, I think that is most apt.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Woohoo! My pellets order arrived a day early. Love that Todd!

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