Using a Pellet Tube for Smoking Meat

Pellet Tube Instructions Hero

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If you use an electric smoker and would like to have constant smoke for 5+ hours or you use a pellet smoker and just aren't getting enough smoke flavor, I have the solution for you!

A pellet tube filled with pellets and lit at one end will provide constant smoke for 5+ hours depending on it's size and how full you fill it with pellets.

Some of you may be here because you've already tried to use a pellet tube and can't keep the darn thing lit! Well, I'll show you how to fix that problem as well.

Here's what you'll need:

First, you will need a pellet tube. I use one that I found on Amazon really cheap and it works great!

IMG 2607

You will also need pellets and almost any pellets will work. I generally use the Pit Boss brand from Wally world because they are cheap and they work well in the smoke tube as well as in my pellet smokers.

You can also purchase pellets on amazon but they will cost more than what you can find locally. Your choice there!

71ejxgDLZ2L. AC SL1500

Third and possibly most important, you will need a propane or butane torch. I like the larger Bernzomatic torches like plumbers use but the smaller creme brûlée torches will also work just fine.

Here's the torch I use which you can find at Wally World, HD or almost any other store that sells hardware and tools.


Step 1: Fill the Pellet Tube with Pellets

Fill the tube all the way full with dry pellets.

Note: I have been known to microwave my pellets in a bowl for a minute or two before placing them in the tube to make sure they are dry but this is just something I do to make sure, it's probably not generally necessary.

Step 2: Light the Pellet Tube

I tend to lay the smoke tube horizontally on a flat, fire-proof surface but I've seen some stand them straight up during the lighting procedure.

Which smoke tube position do you think is better? Post it in the comment section below.

Turn on the torch and hold the flame to the pellets for about 45 seconds to get them to burning real good.

IMG 2609 1
Ligh ‘er up!

Once they are burning, allow them to burn for around 7 minutes to create a really nice bed of coals. This bed of coals is one of the key components that keeps the pellets going for 4 to 5 hours unattended.

If the pellets are still burning after 7 minutes, blow out the flame and continue on to the next step.

Step 3: Place the Smoke Tube in the Smoker

Every smoker is different and placement is something that varies from smoker to smoker. The 2nd key component to making sure the smoke tube keeps smoking for hours on end is air.

The smoke tube must get a supply of air via a vent, hole, opening, etc. so that it can continue burning.

For instance, I often use a smoke tube in the Reqtec pellet smoker. I place it directly on the grate all the way to the left, right next to the probe access hole and that gives it plenty of air.

IMG 2617
Give it some air

In the Masterbuilt electric smokers, the smoke tube will set on the bottom rack right next to the woodchip chute. The chute needs to be open to allow air to enter and keep the smoke tube going.

If you don't have a vent or opening, you can modify your smoker or grill to create an air inlet as long as this won't void your existing warranty.

If you use a smoke tube in your smoker, let me know in the comment area below what position works for you in your smoker. Be sure to let us know what type, model, generation, etc. of smoker you have.

Note: I recommend NOT using the water pan when using a smoke tube. The extra moisture in the smoker could mess with the smoke tube staying lit and this is not good. If possible, leave the water pan dry when using a smoke tube.

Having Trouble Keeping the Pellet Tube Lit?

  1. Make sure the pellets are dry. If you suspect the pellets are the least bit damp, pour them into a bowl and microwave them for a minute or two to help dry them.
  2. Hold the lighter/torch to the pellets for 45 seconds. This allows more pellets to start burning which will give you a better bed of coals to keep the pellets burning inside the smoker.
  3. Let the pellets burn uninterrupted for at least 7 minutes to create that bed of coals we talked about in #2 above.
  4. Make sure the pellet tube is getting sufficient air. The pellets must get a steady supply of oxygen to continue burning for hours on end. If the pellets are going out, they may be starved for air.

Using Pellets + Woodchips in a Pellet Tube

For even more smoke flavor, you can use wood chips in with the pellets.

I recommend NOT using wood chips only but layering them. For instance, a layer of pellets, then a layer of wood chips, followed by another layer of pellets and so on and so forth.

Pellets tend to burn more cleanly than wood chips and while this is a great thing about pellets, it also means the flavor can be less strong than wood chips.

I recommend placing pellets as your last layer and that is the layer that you light to create a good bed of coals.

Give it a try and see what you think.

If you have other tips for lighting the pellet tube and/or keeping it lit for hours on end, let us know in the comments area below.

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  1. I use the “mailbox” smoker setup (google that) where you always get air to it and you can run the water tray. It takes more space and not very mobile but its a cheap addition and works great. Also, my lighting method is similar to yours, but one thing I found is to not shake the pellet tube where the pellets settle. That did not allow enough air to the pellets for a smooth burn. So I only fill about 90%, cover open end with one had, turn upside down, then right side up…gently, then put the tube horizontally in its place to burn (again gently). I always get 5 hrs of smoke from the tube.

  2. Hi Jeff,
    I first learned about a smoker tube from your website probably over a year ago. I’m very pleased with my smoker tube experience and use it always when smoking in my Traeger Ironwood 885 smoker.
    I do however use a different “lighting ” method I thought I’d share with you.
    After loading the tube with whatever pellet flavor I’m wanting for my smoke I tap down on the tube and then place a “Firestarter cube” in the tube on top of the pellets. (I use the ZIP brand from Walmart as they are all natural and made for grilling…food safe). The Firestarter cube lights easily and I leave the smoker tube in a vertical position on a non flammable surface. (I.E…Small aluminum pie tin). The cube starts easily and after it achieves a flame I just let it burn out. This usually takes less than 10 minutes. By this time it is “smoking” nicely and I just lay it down horizontal on my smoker grates…usually length wise in the back of the rack for me. Loaded completely full of pellets I get 5-6 hours and more of smoke from the tube. I find this an easier way to assure a good start and a good hot bed of ash that keeps the smoker tube burning consistently. This method works great for me & I have never had mine stop burning before all the pellets are used up.
    Just a alternative suggestion for anyone not wanting to have to “torch” light the pellets in the smoker tube.
    Love your website!
    All the best for smoking in 2024 and beyond!

  3. I have a rec Tec and put to the left also
    When I fill my tube I it on the floor a few times to pack it some
    I lite my standing up seems to work fine

  4. Good information! I use a round tube and I’ve been frustrated with it rolling around. I think the one you are recommending would work better. I’ve been very happy with the extra smoke from the pellet tube.

    To light mine I bought a mini “weed burner” and it works much better than a small torch. I bought this one and it works really good at lighting the pellets or campfires. No affiliation to this company, FYI. https://a.co/d/0ReOus6

  5. I have a masterbuilt vertical smoker that I’ve been using a smoke tube in for years. I light it vertically and let it get started for approximately 10-15 min while the smoker comes to temp. I then place it in a small tin foil pan in the bottom of the smoker. The tube lays on one end of the pan and keeps it on an angle to burn better while the pan catches the ashes and keeps my smoker clean.

  6. I use the same pellet tube . I have used it in my GMG Davey Crocket smoker left side and I only use
    Traeger pellets I have used others but treager give me the best flavor! I enjoy your recipes and as you do I change some up ! Thanks

  7. I have a Traeger pellet grill. When I use my tube I place it next to the air outlet to the chimney. I’ve had problems keeping it lit. I’ve tried laying it flat, at a slight angle or placing it straight up on the grates. Am I wrong in placing it next to the chimney outlet. I’d appreciate any advice.

  8. Hi Jeff;
    I’ve enjoyed your recipes and tips for years! I think all of the tips have been covered. Like most, I light outside of my Louisiana LG900 smoker. I don’t douse the flames until it’s laying in the smoker and the lid is shut, cutting back the oxygen. I wait a few seconds then left the lid. If flames are still there, will blow them out then.

    Note: My smoker doesn’t go low enough to smoke cheese, and the pellet tube is perfect! No need to even start the grill, just put the cheese on and put the tube in. Depending on the thickness of the cheese, will turn over 1/2 an hour in, then smoke for another 1/2 hour. Just thought I’d mention it.

  9. I used to use propane to light the tube. Over time, the tube would become deformed in the common places that I lit it. Now, I use a heat gun. Works just as well but doesn’t deform the tube.

  10. A couple of things I do differently; I’ve used the propane torch but I have found the inexpensive ($9.99) heat gun from Harbor freight to be quicker in getting the pellets in the tube to light.
    I have a Green Mountain pellet smoker and the temperature sensor is on the left side. With the pellet tube smoldering, it generates a fair amount of heat so I try to avoid putting the tube too close to the sensor since it may falsely assume the temp is hotter than actual and slow the flow of pellets to the firebox. Placing the tube in the rear of the smoker seems to work fine.

  11. I’ve been using a smoke tube for a couple of years now to “cold” smoke cheese; (cheddar and mozzarella) as well as vegetables (onions, tomatoes) and even lemons. For cheeses it helps if the outside temps are low, otherwise I put the cheese on a wire rack and position it over an aluminum tray of ice and smoke them between an hour and two hours depending on the smokiness you want in your cheese. Wrap in parchment paper and hold in the fridge for a couple of weeks so the smoke will mellow out. I’ve used it in both an Akorn Kamoda and Charbroil 2 burner propane grill putting in as low in the grills that I can.

  12. I use an electric heat gun.It works better than a torch.The gun gets it lite and the fan force feeds it air.Works great .It will stay lite

  13. I have a Traeger smoker and I found out that you need to keep the smoke tube away from the temperature probe or it will cause it to read a higher temperature than the actual temperature in the smoker.

  14. Jeff, I have been using a smoke tube for the past 3 years in my Z-grill.

    I have not had any problems keeping it lit. Like you I lay it down to light.

    I place it near the left front in an area that the drip pan does not cover, there seems to be a constant draft.

    I have never had a problem keeping the tube lit using a water pan..!!!

    I have had 2 problems from time to time and that is the pellets blazing back up from to much air and a fine layer of ash on the meat.

    I normally use Lumberjack pellets. I now will clean the pellets before using.

  15. An electric heat gun is another option to light the pellets. It works well and I’ve been using it for years.

    1. G’day Bill, your experience with a heat gun sounded like you were pleased with it. I have an 1800 watt heat gun and have often thought of trying it on my smoke tube. What is the wattage of yours if I may ask? Thank you.

  16. I also have a Rectec smoker and use the smoke tube. I have problems with laying it flat while lighting. The pellets tends to either fall out or at least loosen up in the tube. Therefore I light it standing up and when it is completely burning I blow it out and the lay it flat. The burned pieces tend to bind together a little and stop the pellets from falling out when horizontal. I hope this isn’t too confusing….
    Still waiting for Volume 2 of your recipes….

  17. I have the Pit Boss Brunswick vertical smoker. I have been using the smoke tube for a few months now. I have not had any issues. I also use pellets and chips, also no issues.

  18. I hear these give out quickly and must be replaced often. Could you gather up some top products and rate them for us?
    I like the looks of the GMG Thin Blue model but it’s 2-3 X more $$$.
    The Wedgie looks promising also.

    I’m interested in building a larger model out of quality materials similar to what my heat exchanger (50 YO) uses as I have access to a metal shop and a plasma cutter. But that’s another story.

  19. I lay the smoke tube horizontal in the fire box of my The Good One smoker. Next time I’ll try using it in the smoking box.

  20. I added a sealing tape to the lid on my pellet smoker to keep smoke from escaping around the edges. When I use a smoke tube, now I use a thin wad of foil to hold the lid open enough to keep the tube burning. In retrospect, I wouldn’t seal the lid. I use my tube to cold smoke cheese, etc. and don’t start the smoker at all. These are a great little invention.

  21. Wherever you place the smoke tube, make sure it is away from the probe in the smoker that controls temp and pellet feed! The heat the tube generates will cause false readings by the probe…

  22. I purchased 2 from Amazon. I have one of the creme brulee torches. I can get them to light & burn. However, they don’t continue to burn when I put them in the smoker. So no extra smoke. Any suggestions?

  23. I use two large smoke tubes. One on each end of the Camp Chef pellet grill. To ensure the pellets are dry I fill the tubes with pellets prior to lighting the pellet grill. I light the grill, allow it to come to temperature and then I light the smoke tubes. I have found that the smoke tubes light quicker and begin to give that wonderful smoke flavor sooner.

  24. I have used a smoke tube with my Camp Chef Woodwind for years. Not every time, however. I agree that it adds smoke, but, at lower temperature cooks. The smoke tube pellets have a very short life span in a 300 degree atmosphere. I will try combining chips with pellets. Thanks for the tip.

  25. Jeff spot on. Wish I had known this years ago as have learned with smoke tube by trial and error. Found that 45 seconds is the sweet spot for lighting smoke tube. I have an older RecTec so no probe access holes. Have found that back left along back seems to work best and have had great success.

  26. I typically use a Smoke Tube with every smoke. I try to always place it at the opposite end of the smoker from the smoke outlet. I also use a elevated rack for the meat(if possible) to allow the smoke to surround the meat. Keep in mind, it does generate heat and it could “burn” the product if it is too close. It is also necessity when smoking cheese !

  27. I’ve had great success with all types of smoking pellets and a 12 inch smoke tube. It was tricky keeping it lit at first but found a little trick that works 100% of the time. You need 90% isopropyl alcohol (medical grade) smoke tube, pellets, and a small torch or lighter. Fill 1/2 cup closable container with pellets and 90% alcohol and close lid. Let soak for about 10 minutes. Whole soaking Fill your tube up about 2 inches from full. Now use soaked pellets and fill the tube the rest of the way. Light it up and let burn for about 7 minutes or until coals form. Place next to air source in smoker and let it do its thing!

  28. I have the Pit Boss brunswick smoker. I have used the smoke tube from the very start. I may try some chips along with the pellets. Sounds interesting. Love your site, been subscribed for a few years now.

  29. Hello Jeff, I use the pellet tube in my Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24. It works exceptionally well when trying to use extra low temp like when smoking my venison summer sausage after stuffing into casings. Trying to create smoke in the Smoke Vault is hard to do at 180 deg. It eliminates opening the smoker every hour to add wood chips and wood chunks won’t light in wood pan at that low burner flame.
    I ordered your recipes several years ago and love them.
    Keep up the good work,
    Your North Texas neighbor

    1. Yes, but… I have found that long smokes and reverse searing dry out steaks more than I prefer. My solution, on the Weber Spirit E-310, is to put a steel “pie pan”, with about 3/4 cup of pellets, direct on the the 3rd burner, under the grate. The pellets start smoking at about 400 degrees. They don’t last long, but for the high smoke period, the steak can be placed directly above the pan. Nice and juicy.

  30. Thanks Jeff,
    Good Info on how long to let it burn to make sure the pellets are well lit.
    Also, for shorter cooks, you can stuff tin foil in the bottom of the tube before adding the pellets.
    Love your site,

  31. Jeff, I have been a subscriber for many years and have purchased your recipes for rubs and sauce. Best money I have ever spent. Also have purchased your books. I too use a smoke tube. I live in North East Texas where the humidity is rather high so I do microwave my pellets before use. I microwave for two minutes adn then spread them onto paper plates to cool and disipate the moisture. I have a Pit Boss 1100 Pro and I place my pellets on the left side where the meat probe hole is located. Gives me extra smoke and is well worth the small cost. A WORD of CAUTION: Wear heat resistant gloves when removing the smoke tube at the end of your cook. Ask me how I know!

  32. I have a Smokey Mountain Great Outdoors vertical smoker, the one in which I can smoke 4 – 12# turkeys and often do. What about putting the pellet tube in the pan under the water pan that normally holds the wood chips? Do you think the heat from the burner beneath the chip pan would make the pellets burn more quickly? The idea of having 5 hours of smoke without having to refill the chip pan is most appealing. I’ve already ordered the pellet tube and it should arrive tomorrow. Thanks for all your help and recipes. I have also already sprinkled some of your Texas Rub on the venison we’re grilling tonight! Thanks!

    1. Bill,

      I haven’t used a pellet tube down in the wood chip pan of that smoker but I suspect it’ll be way too hot and the pellets will burn up too fast rather than smolder. Try placing the smoke tube all the way to one side down close to the side vents (I assume yours has the side vents?). Then place your food on the grates so it doesn’t drip on the smoke tube. That should give it ample air so it can keep the smoke flowing for several hours.

      Don’t be afraid to experiment with different placements until you find the perfect spot.

      I liked that smoker a lot better when it had the heavy duty cast iron wood box. I used to fill mine with large Chunks of wood, then wood chips followed by pellets so that it had very little air space. I would sometimes get smoke for 3-4 hours that way. I figure the lighter gauge metal probably won’t work quite that well but it should be better than just wood chunks alone. I have heard of folks using a small cast iron pan covered with foil and just a few small holes for the smoke to get out for better and longer smoke times.

      Let me know how you like that Texas rub on venison!

  33. Can’t keep a smoke tube going in a BGE or Kamado Joe or any of the ceramic smokers. That’s why we have multiple grills!!!!! :-)

  34. Always, as in ALWAYS, use heavy gloves to move and place the tube once lit. The metal doesn’t look hot, but it is anywhere near the coals. “The burnt hand teaches best” really applies to the tube.

    I stand the tube vertically and place a small amount of get alcohol on top of the pellets. Wait a little bit before lighting. You won’t need to use the torch very long to create a flame.

    Place the tube horizontally being careful to not spill the coals from the tube.

    Do not be in a hurry to empty the ashes from the tube. Make sure the embers are completely out.

  35. Hello Mr Jeff. I have a Pit Boss 820D. I don’t mind at all to drill a hole in it for its way out of warranty. Thinking on the left by the hopper, what size hole do you feel would give an adequate oxygen supply? Would the hole just cause a spot for the smoke tube to exhaust smoke?

    1. Daniel, the hole is not so much to exhaust smoke but rather to draw air so the pellet coals can continue to burn. I have found that a ¾ inch hole is usually sufficient. You could always try a ½ inch hole and see how well that works before opening it up more.

      I recommend making the hole in the side opposite the smoker temperature probe. The smoke tube produces some heat and by moving it as far away from the probe as possible, it will have less of a chance to affect the temperature reading of the probe.

  36. Would it help to raise the unlit end of the tube to allow the heat from the front of the tube to move upwards toward the unlit pellets?

  37. If you do not want 4/5 hours of smoke crumple up some foil and push down into bottom of the tube and then fill the rest of the tube with pellets. I found about half the tube will give you 2 hours of smoke.

    1. You can simply fill your tube 1/2 way and light through the holes on the side. I’ve done this many times over that past 6 years using an electric heat gun to light the pellets.

  38. Hi Jeff, I starting using a smoke tube like this last winter in my pellet smoker. One thing you should point out, especially if standing it up to start the coals, after you blow out the flame, be SURE to use an oven mitt to reposition it because it’s really hot. Don’t ask me how I know this. Thx
    Long time subscriber

  39. I use sagebrush in the middle of the smoke tube. Lit it and follow the rest of your instructions, no need for a propane torch then and they are inexpensive. Have never had a problem with them and the smoke tube is great when I’m smoking cheese. I just place the cheese into the cold smoker once the smoke is bellowing out of the tube and never have to turn my Rectec on. I just let the smoking tube do it’s thing.

  40. Have not been able to keep the smoke tube burning for more than 2 hours. Actually sprayed with water bottle to moisten pellets has helped getting to two hours.

  41. I have used an Amaz n Smoker tube for about 6 years and had very few incidents where the tube went out. I fill the tube to the desired level then put a 1/8 steel tent peg into the loading end of the tube then tilt it down slightly to keep the pellets from fslling out ,yhen put the steel rod into my bench vice and light with a propane torch. Works for me.

  42. I use a smoke tube and light it by putting a small piece of paper towel in last and then use the long lighter type to light the paper towel. One think I found out the har way is that the smoke tube is VERY hot when it has just burned out.

  43. I have an A-Maze-N pellet smoker tub. I did have issues with keeping it lit at 1st bud now lite it with my heat gun. It reaches 550 F. Takes a little longer to get the flame, but I think the air flow from the gun dries any moisture that may be in the pellets. I have never had a fail since I began lighting it this way. Give it a try, and good luck.

  44. Jeff, your instructions for using a smoke tube are spot on. I have a Pit Boss 850 Pro Series pellet smoker. I use a 12” smoke tube when I want more smoke. I mold a small piece of aluminum foil over the open end of the tube to keep the pellets from falling out. I place the tube on the grate against the back wall of the smoker. Works great, never had it go out.

  45. Hey Jeff! I use the A-maze-n
    expandable smoke tube on the left side of my pit boss model pb1000xlw1. Does a fantastic job of keeping smoke rolling. Fill it, lay it down, light it and smoke up the neighborhood. Thanks for all you do. Jimmy Wilson

  46. I use my smoke tube almost every cook. When I need a little extra smoke. I put a couple inches of pellets in the tube and light that. Once it’s going I fill the tube the rest of the way and light it again. The tube will burn from both ends making quite a bit of smoke.

  47. I have a Traeger TFB57CLB pellet smoker and use the pellet tube for extra smoke. I find it easier to light the tube in the horizontal position. One thing I do if I don’t need as much smoke time is to place a wad of foil in the tube to reduce the amount of pellets needed. I place my tube on the upper rack of the smoker whenever possible. I found that putting it on the lower left places it right above the smoker temperature sensor and interferes with the smoker pellet burning by elevating the sensor temperature.

  48. I have a Big Green Egg and the amount of air controls the temperature inside. At 225 degrees inside, is that enough air to keep a stick going for 5 hours? If not, how to get enough to make it work with the BGE?

    1. Stan, I have not been successful at using a pellet tube in the BGE. The airflow is pretty low and if you put it down with the charcoal, the pellets tend to burn up too fast. This was my experience.

      If others have been successful at this, I’d love to hear about it.

  49. Jeff, I use a propane torch to start the pellets, but in the past I have also used an electric heat gun. The heat gun is kinda fun. It causes the pellets to put out a tremendous amount of smoke just before they burst into flame. Also, as you mentioned, it is very important to allow the pellets to burn for several minutes before blowing out the flame. One more thing I’ve learned from using smoke tubes… They put out quite a bit of heat so be aware that the meat closest to the tube may cook faster than the rest of the meat. I have been using smoke tubes in my smokers for several years and really like them. (I have 2) Also, they make great gifts for your BBQ buddies that may not have one.

  50. Jeff,

    Awesome post on the Smoker Tube…!

    I have 2 that I use in my Weber Gas Genesis grill.
    Once lit, I place below the grill grate and cold smoke for hours.
    Great for camping also.
    Amazing flavor using your ribs and sauces, with cold smoking. After smoking, I apply some heat to bring meat to temp slowly and pull from grill.
    Nice smoke ring also.
    BTW, thanks for your weekly posts…!
    I have used many of your recipes and they are ALL amazing.
    Keep them coming and I’ll keep on Smokin….!
    Jeff C. Redding, CA

  51. I have been using a smoke pole for years. I did not have any luck using just pelle. works great.ts, so I used a mix of wood chips and pellets

  52. I use apple or cherry for turkey, pork fish. For cheese, (sharper the better), pecan seems to give the best flavor and MUST be done cold less than100 degrees F

  53. When I was using my Masterbuilt electric I used the A*maze*N Smoke Tubes. I recommend not lighting them in the vertical position as they may have more of a tendency to fall over and spill burning pellets.

  54. I find that microwaving the pellets for about 1 minute for the pellets that I put in the A-Maze-N Smoker 5×8 Inch Smoker Maze. I light it at both ends and this lasts about 8 hours and gives twice the smoke, which over 5 – 6 hours, gives a better smoke flavor.

  55. I use a Weber gas grill with a smoke tube,work great.my ?is just bought a ninja woodfire grill for camping uses 1/2cup of pellet ,smokes fine but find it produces xcess smoke flavor on some food and especially if food sits in ice box for a couple of days wondered if you have tested these grills and can make any suggestions.i have the Weber,mgm pellet and now the ninja,other grills have volume for smoke ninja is just too concentrated if this makes sense.
    Thankyou For all you do for bbq,smokeing meats etc.

    1. Rich, I don’t have the Ninja Woodfire but have heard it cooks and smokes well. I am wondering if it would help to use a lighter flavored pellet such as apple, alder, etc. (not sure what you typically use). I also wondered if you could use less pellets but they recommend filling up the pellet container. If I had one, I’d have to try only filling it half way and see how that affects the flavor.

      1. I have a vertical gas smoker. Master Built. Having trouble keeping tube smoker lit while using the burner for heat. I live in Calgary Canada, and winter can get cold. I am thinking the tube is not getting required air supply to stay lit, so I am thinking of injecting fresh air for it with an aquarium air pump. Same idea as some bolt on smoke generators use. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

        1. Cam, I have an electric Master Built, and when I use a tube smoker I remove the chip chute and set a small “personal” USB-powered fan near the chute inlet to add a little bit of airflow without cooling things down too much. Seems to help.

      2. Hi there,

        Both Weber and Pit Boss make collapsable smoke tubes (from 6-12 inches).

        When you only need a shorter smoke time, just compress the tube.


  56. I’ve always just used a universal blend of pellets for my grill since most pellet grills are so difficult to change pellets, so everything I have smoked pretty much had the same smoke flavor. Now I’m excited to see the difference in what I smoke using the smoke flavor recommended in a recipe


  57. I use my smoke tube for cold smoking homemade bacon in my Traeger with it turned off and unplugged. I have the extra smoking section on mine. I fill the tube generally w/apple pellets tap it on a flat surface a couple of times to settle the pellets tighter hold it on a 20-30 degree angle and put the torch to the open end for about 20 -30 seconds set it on the Traeger Firebox load my cured bacon into the cold smoker section of the Traeger close the door blow out the flame on the smoke tube close the big door on the Traeger and we are good for about 5 hours of smoke.

  58. I love the amount of smoke it puts out when it is smoking but often it flares up with flames when in the cooker. Any thoughts on preventing this from happening? Thanks. Keep up the great videos and recipes. Always look forward to your next email.

      1. It’s closed off as much as it can go. Maybe I need to pack the pellets tighter. I don’t always fill it to the top as my cooking time may be less. I have the same tube as yours. I’ll keep experimenting with it to hopefully get it right. Love smoked food. Thanks for you reply.

        1. I will sometimes fill my smoking tube with balls of tinfoil in the bottom so I can then pack the pellets on top of that to the top of the tube. That still gives several hours of smoke.

  59. I have a Kamado Joe and I’ve tried everything that I can think of to keep a pellet tube smoking, but it just doesn’t work. I’ve laid it at the very bottom near the vent to keep the air going, up on the grill grate and even on the ceramic smoke diverter. Nothing seems to work. Advice would be most appreciated.

  60. I got my tubes 2 Christmas ago and I love them. Unfortunately my smoker just doesn’t work anymore so I have a old BBQer (gas) I turn on the searing side of my BBQ witch a 225 degrees and the other end are my tubes and it works great

  61. If you have a Green Mountain Grill with WiFi you have an app that allows for cold smoking with a tube. it supplies oxygen but no heat from grill.

  62. I use the same tube and add apx 1/2 cup of pellets and then tap the tube on concrete to pack them. I continue that until filled just to the top of the holes of the tube. Using the same torch light the standing tube on high flame for 45 seconds. Let burn for 10 minutes using torch to keep a flame going. I then place on the left side of a Yoder Pellet Smoker away from the stack and next to the wire access vent. Always runs 5-6 hours and never goes out.

    1. When I said place in the smoker- I should have said
      “Lay flat Or horizontally on the grate “.

  63. I have a 4-rack, vertical gas smoker and it was a months-long chore figuring out why it wouldn’t stay lit. If you have one with both a chip and water tray in it, remove the chip tray (it’s useless) but leave the water tray to shield the pellet tube. Place the properly lit tube (as described above) on the lowest rack, open the vents all the way then smoke away.

    Physics: The gas flame literally consumes all the oxygen regardless of flame setting so the tube will snuff out. Note also that pellet trays won’t work in a vertical gas smoker which is why the developer invented the tube. Those tray types are for BBQ grills and similar appliance constructs.

  64. I’ve used a smoke tube for over a year .Puts out great smoke with little effort.I light mine right on the grate with lid open .Can’t beat it .

  65. I have one of these….I love it! Works great in a gas grill too. In fact, that’s why I bought it. I was visiting long-term with my parents who have a gas grill on their deck and I wasn’t settling for meat without smoke!! LOL

  66. Jeff, like you I lay my smoke tube down to light and have not had many problems getting 5+ hours of smoke.

    I have a Z 1000 pellet grill and did have to find the sweet spot to place it. My grill has 3 levels of racks, I place the smoke tube just above the space between the drip pan and the front edge of the grill (this is about a 1″ space) on the bottom rack. I place it on the left side so that the smoke travels across the grill.

    I have only had 1 problem with my smoke tube and that was smoking some Red Rine cheese last winter. Using the barrel and dome top from an old Brinkman smoker that the bottom was gone, set the barrel on some bricks and placed a brick in the center to set the smoke tube on. The 1st batch of cheese turned out great, the 2nd batch the smoke tube must have been getting to much air, the next morning (cheese was wrapped in cheese cloth) the cheese had melted. So I will have to play with it to make sure that the pellets don’t blaze up when I try again.

  67. Are there any special considerations for use when grilling? I’m thinking of the high air flow at high heat affecting placement. Also, I’ve got two old maze-type smoke generators, one for pellets and the other for sawdust. I’ve only ever used them for cold smoking (fish and cheese). Are these also good for use in the smoker?

    1. Joel, I have a few of the trays as well and back in the day, we used sawdust instead of pellets. The mazes work just as well as the tubes in my opinion but take up a little more space on your smoker grate.

  68. I like this idea, I wonder how it would work for cheese? I mean, with my master built smoker off
    and the tube onthe bottom shelf and cheese on the top. The temp would come up some but maybe not enough to melt the cheese. Have you or anyone you know ever tryed it like this?

    1. Skeets, lots of people use these for smoking cheese. They do need air but if you give them too much air, they can flair up and create too much heat. Give it just enough air and try to place it as far away from the cheese as possible and it will work perfectly.

    2. Skeets, I’ve done it with my Masterbuilt vertical electric smoker with an Amazen tube. Living in Florida…heat is my worst enemy! Even with the smoker off, it’s too much heat for most of the year. So, what I did is fill up a foil tray with ice cubes and placed it on the lowest rack with the tube lying in the bottom of the cabinet with one end propped up on the electric coil. Worked great! Definitely bought me a few extra months to cold smoke.

      Jeff…thanks for all the tips, recipes, videos, pics, etc. Everything I’ve made so far has been phenomenal! Looking forward to trying some of your rubs and sauces here in the near future.

      1. NorCal here with an MES. I’ve filled my water pan with water and frozen the whole pan…or filled the pan with ice during my 100 degree + summers for cool smoking.

  69. My amazon purchased smoke tube is hinged and opens lengthwise. I layer the pellets and wood chips lengthwise in the tube. Abundant smoke produced for 5+ hours.

  70. 12″ smoke tube in my pitboss 1150 on the left side opposite of chimney as per recommendation from my buddy from Texas. Combination of pellets and wood chips in the tube. Total smoke show! Also allows for combination of one flavor of chips in the hopper and a different flavor of pellets/chips in the tube.

  71. I wait for fall and winter and use the smoke tube in a unheated smoker or grill to smoke cheese. If your temps get above 80, you will have a mess. 3 hrs smoke, wrap tightly for a couple of weeks to distribute smoke, cut and enjoy. Some eat the cheese right away. I think it’s to strong then but mellows in a couple weeks.

  72. The tube will get hot during the 7 minute period waiting for a good burn to start. I wear a leather work glove to move and position the tube.

    I light the tube in the standing position and place a small amount of gel alcohol on top of the pellets before lighting. This is almost necessary if you do not have a torch lighter.

  73. I light mine vertically and usually place it toward the back of the rack, my reasoning is to keep it away from the temp prob. Is that an issue, that hasn’t been mentioned by anyone yet?

    1. Ron, You make a great point.. I think it is smart to not get it too close to the temperature probe in the smoker as this can give the controller a false reading and could affect the cooking temperature.

  74. Your smoker tube instructions are very helpful. I have a Gorilla Grill pellet smoker and it doesn’t put near as much smoke into the meat as my old wood smoker. I tried a smoker tube but couldn’t keep it burning after I lit it with a torch. Now I know to let the flame burn for 7 min. Before I blow it out. I’ll give this a try. Thank you.
    Dean Coates

    1. Popeye, I have played with most other smoke generators on the market and most of them work pretty good including the Smoke Daddy. I just feel like the pellet tube is a lot simpler and less expensive for most people. I personally feel like all pellet smokers should come with a pellet tube since they just don’t produce enough smoke for most people. The new Camp Chef Woodwind Pro is heading the right direction with their smoke box that allows to you insert wood chunks for smoke. I just received one of these a few weeks back and a review is forthcoming. It works extremely well and the flavor is blowing me away.

  75. Great idea about using the wood chips! I will try it next time I smoke. I use a Camp Chef 24″ Smoke Vault to smoke my venison summer sausage that I make. It can produce a low temp, around 160 to 180 degrees needed, but produces little smoke with out a little help. The tube does the job very well but hard to find the types of wood I want to use in a small bag. I do not have a pellet smoker and I don’t need them in my old Oklahoma Joes Stick burner. Thanks for the great recipes you send out, I have tried several of them.
    North Texas Fan

  76. My Pit Boss vertical is too air tight and I am not going to drill a hole in it so I can get a smoke tube to stay lit.

  77. *Excellent post on the smoke tube!
    *Camp Chef 24 Smoke Vault
    *I light my 12 inch smoke tube in the vertical position.
    1. Dring of the pellets is very important. The pellets will not burn right if damp. Microwave 30-60 seconds. Don’t want a flair up. Start at low end. Watch the whole time.
    2. The lighting as stated is very important as well. Get a good burn with flame before snuffing flame to let smoke. A metal soup can or the like work well to put out flame.
    3. The placement by air vent helps to keep the burn going.

    1. I have a A MAZING PELLET Tube. I use an electric heat gun to light the pellets. Takes a little longer, but it dries the pellets out nicely. Gun reaches 550 F.

  78. What not to do…. I recently placed this very smoke tube shown in this article on top of the fire box where the auger turns out the pellets. Ended up catching the hopper on fire and ruined the plastic bushing that supports the auger. What a mess! Ordered new parts. I have a Z-Grille 600 series.

  79. I use a Green Mountain pellet grill. I use a tube smoker and lay it to the left side next to the probe holes for good air. I used to have trouble keeping it lit, even with microwaving the pellets, but now I place a smallish flat rock about 1 1/2 inches thick in the back left corner and prop the back end of the tube on the rock. Always stays lit. Love the good smoke flavor. Have always used A-Maze-N pellets, last time had to order from Pit Boss website, I am afraid they are going out of production

  80. I usually sit mine near the air intake, but also away from the food, since the smoke tube will also generate some food and could overcook something like salmon.

  81. On RecTec 590 I put the smoke tube horizontally across the grates over the gap between the drip pan and side of smoking chamber. The air circulation from convection fan passes across tube and keeps the pellets smoldering/burning

  82. During the 7 minute burn at start up is the tube in or out of your RecTec smoker? If in is the door open or closed? You don’t mention handling the tube once it is lit.

    1. Jim, Others may do this differently, I start mine outside the smoker and let it it burn for about 7 minutes then once I blow it out, I carefully place it in the smoker where I want it.

  83. I honestly believe that your newsletters are the best deal on the net. You give us a subscription to your newsletters as well as your recipes for your BBQ sauce and 2 rubs.
    You are consistent with your emails & updates and your emails are unobtrusive.
    Thanks for your thoughts and expertise Jeff.

  84. I have an 8 yr old Masterbuilt 30″ electric smoker. Have been using smoke tube for abt 5 yrs. I light it vertically with a Benzomatic type torch as you described. Once burning for 5-10 mins, I place the tube vertically in the front portion of the smoker (standing it upright on the bottom of the smoker and in front of the racks/grids). I think it stays lit better than when I have tried it horizontally as you described.

    1. Same here. My 6 inchers came with hooks that I use on the lowest rack bracket. Works well. Last winter I tried cheese turned out good except I overloaded the rack and it just so happened the softest cheese was right over the tube. Yes you guessed it. what a mess. Nothing like burned up cheese!