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At the temps you’re gonna run, the smoldering sawdust in the maze will jump rows. If you keep the middle row empty, it cannot jump, so fill the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th rows, and light to 1st and last rows. This should get you about 3 years of smoke. When it’s done smoking, fill it up again and repeat.
My little gadget was originally designed for cold smoking, but guys have adapted it to use in their MES during hot smoking. I’ve been screwing around with it to adapt it to work for hot smoking, but skipping the middle row is the most simple to do.
Your MES is starved for air, so when you first start out, remove the chip loader and pull out the chip pan about 1 ½”. After your AMNS gets going and you get good smoke, replace the chip loader. You can slide the chip loader in and out to increase/decrease the air intake to your smoker.
Don’t use water in your water pan. The additional humidity really slows the AMNS and can keep it from smoking. If you do use water in the pan, keep and eye on it and if the thing stops smoking, you’ll know why. I inject my meat, so I really do not need water in the pan. You do need to use the pan, cuz it acts as a heat deflector, and also keeps much of the drippings off the AMNS. You should line your water pan and drip with foil for easy clean up. Also, you can make a little foil tent to keep the drippings off the AMNS. I would just move the meat to an area so it will not drip on the AMNS.
You can email me or even call me @ (952)412-0484 if you have any questions.