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    New to Mak

    Howdy all,

    I just got a 2nd hand Mak 2-star General and thought you may be able to provide some wisdom.

    1. Can I leave the pellets in the hopper (smoker is not covered); can water or moisture get in there and ruin them?

    2. I don't use the cold smoker on the right. I see some of the smoke and heat leaking into it. Does it make sense to cover the louvers with foil to close them off?

    3. I plan to mostly use the MAK to smoke. Is there truth to the theory that lower temps provide more smoke, and higher ones provide less?

    4. Has anyone had success grilling with this guy? I do have the optional lids with the holes in them.

    5. Any particular hints or tips you think of? My prior smoker was electric with wood chips, and before that, charcoal; this is my first pellet smoker.


    Thanks so much fellow ribsters!

    #2
    1. I would highly suggest dumping out pellets between uses if it's gonna be more than 24 hours before you use it. Clogged augers are not fun.

    2. DO NOT block any vents anywhere on the MAK. It's designed to smoke through the warming box whether you are using it or not.

    3. Your best smoke will come in smoke mode, anything below 245 will provide heavy smoke for a pellet grill. The MAK surprisingly will still produce decent smoke up to and over 350 but it won't be strong.

    4. I grill all the time, I'm not sure what you mean by option lids? The standard flame zone has holes in the top and 2 plates that you cover them with except when grilling. There is an optional flamezone cover that is completely smooth, this should never be exposed to grilling temps.

    Comment


    • smokyYank
      smokyYank commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, "Its". Smoke mode? Please elaborate?

    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
      Editing a comment
      smokyYank when you first turn it on the temp setting is "smoke" then it's 200 and up

    #3
    ^^What he said!

    Comment


      #4
      Oh and post a picture of you MAK please, a shot with the controller and a picture inside the cooking chamber, it will help us figure out what you have and how best to use it

      Also, make sure you register it with MAK.

      Comment


        #5
        If you do plan to primarily smoke with it, you might like the blank flame zone pan. I bought that and I wrap with foil making sure not to block any of the holes on the sides - you don’t want to mess up airflow. Most of the rest has already been covered above, but keep asking questions as they come up and post some pics when you can.

        100% Hickory pellets will give you more smoke flavor than others. Most pellets are 70% oak or alder and the rest the species wood (hickory, cherry, apple, etc.).

        Comment


          #6
          I find covering my 2-star easier than emptying hopper between uses. Have left hopper full for years, only time I ever had a problem was when I forgot to cover it and left it through several days of rain/storms.

          Also love their recently updated flamezone, I retrofitted mine. If you don't already have then you might consider.

          Comment


            #7
            Congrats on your MAK. Here's a good place for MAK info/questions:
            https://www.facebook.com/groups/256229777690/

            Comment


              #8
              Hi all,

              Thank you so much for your help! I'll also check out the facebook group.

              BTW, it's a pre-2019, but the prior owner said he upgraded to the new flamezone.

              Comment


                #9
                I have the MAK 3 star. The only time I dump pellets is when I change flavors. We do live in a little drier climate than say Oregon or Washington. If in those damp and dreary climates I would probably dump them if no plans to use the grill for a few days. Not sure how easy it is on a 2 star but the 3 star it only takes a couple minutes. You also need to consider the quality of your pellets. Pellets with fillers and binders IMHO are not worth using for several reasons.

                Comment


                • smokyYank
                  smokyYank commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hi Dave,
                  Thanks for the info. What pellets do you recommend and why?

                • Bighorn Dave
                  Bighorn Dave commented
                  Editing a comment
                  smokyYank there are several makers of pellets that don't use binders or fillers and are 100% wood. I can't suggest which brand as I don't care so much about that as I do what the pellets are made of. Just look at the information on the bags and see what they say. You can also go to a store that specializes in grills if close to your location and ask them what they have and how the pellets are made.

                #10
                Congratulations on your MAK. I use mine for grilling a lot. Have fun learning the pellet grill method.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Thanks, all.

                  I just had a trial run yesterday with a whopping 2 (two) chicken thighs. Warmed it up to about 210F, put them on, and monitored both the ambient temp and meat temp with a Thermoworks 2 channel unit. Unfortunately, the MAK seemed to vary +-20F from what the Therm was indicating. Took a couple of hours, the thighs were juicy as all getout and mighty tasty. I've smoked them many times before on an electric smoker, and IMHO the pellets gave it a more subtle, yet "real" flavor. The MRs. liked the 2 trial units so much I ended up smoking the rest of the 8-pack.

                  She did comment that they didn't look very appetizing. I left the skin on (and smoked them skin side up to retain moisture), so when we peeled off the skin it was almost raw-looking.

                  I'm wondering if next time I should throw them on the gas grill on high for about 1 minute per side, crisp it up and give it grill marks?

                  Comment


                  • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
                    ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
                    Editing a comment
                    So a few things here, 1. the temp the MAK regulates at is where the thermocouple is (the newer models have a roaming thermocouple). I have found you will get more enjoyment out of your cook if you ignore your 3rd party probe, set the MAK and trust it. 2. Skin on chicken for smoking without a lengthy period at heat will yield rubbery skin. As to the pink "raw" look, for poultry, especially dark meat, you will get pink meat when smoking. If you cooked to internal probe temp, it was done and safe.

                  #12
                  My go-to approach for chicken on my 2-star is crank up to 400. Usually takes under an hour and the skin is just amazing. I'm sure less smoke flavor than lower temp but tradeoff is worth it for me. Have tried adding smoke tube a few times with good results as well - bbqrs delight is great for that but make sure to use flavor pellets in tube and fuel pellets in hopper!

                  Comment


                  • willxfmr
                    willxfmr commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You can also use wood chips in a smoke tube. My go to method is to put one piece of charcoal in the bottom of the tube, and then fill it up the rest of the way with the chips of your choice. Light the charcoal with a plumbers torch, and stand the whole thing up vertically with the charcoal on the bottom. The charcoal will keep the chips smoldering, and prevent any bridging of the chips in the tube.

                  #13
                  Wow, thanks, all great suggestions.

                  When smoking I generally toss the skin afterwards, I only keep it on to keep in moisture.

                  Comment

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