I don't know that this is what the big boys say, but this is what work'd for me. Thought I would put it all together here in one thread for reference.
Its a std 5x8, AMPs. Its a great product that is stupid silly easy (most of the time).
Note the prefered position to use the AMPs, the two rails next to the chip tray/fire box. Check out that white ash, that means it it burnt perfectly.
I had some problems, being in South Louisiana when the air is humid and heavy. I don't know what it was but here is what I started doing and it works great in my MES30 nearly all the time.
I kept reading about folks thinking they neeeded to re-engineer the egg for better air flow. I found that better air flow helpped mine, I assume so since it burned so nicely after. All I did was move one of the grates on top of the firebox and then place the tray there. It was more inline with the suction and discharge. Which insured the best airflow.
But lets start at the begining.
Make sure the tray is fairly clean. Incomplete burns, spilled juices, etc. can cause some holes to plug, the more open the holes the better the air flow. If you press the perferated area against a wall or box, you can no longer achieve the desired flow. So the most area available the better you'll like it.
The AMPs is not over flowing with pellets. This accomplishs two things, for some reason it lights and burns better usually, secondly it guarantees the smoke not to jump to the next row. Save trying to FILL it up, till you are better aquainted with the AMPs.
I always allow some time to lite it, you are going to depend upon it to smoke for you for hours. You can afford a bit of time to ensure its running right before using it. Light the end with a torch or whatever you feel comfortible with. Let it burn out in the open where there hopefully is a slight breeze to start the pellets. Let it burn. Note the good airflow all around the AMPs, inside, outside, up, down.......
Its starting to smoke, its NOT ready... patience grasshopper.
Now after a few mins, its smoking as it should. 5 mins in the air starting is worth 30 mins in that closed up smoker. Speaking of that closer up smoker.........
Suction and discharge, air flow.
We all know what the discharge looks like but where is that pesky suction?
Yeppers, thats it, the reload tube. But its not the entire bore. Thats why you have to use your head here.
Look at the end of the reload tube for the suction.
Those three little holes. Its what lets all the air in, due to the laws of phyics you can take no more out than you can put in.
So to help with this delima, No I didn't drill more holes, but I did do something almost as silly.
I unlocked and pulled the reloader tube out sightly. Why was this silly you ask? Because if you attempt to use chips in the chip tray in this position and they flash, they will shoot that tube out into the yard. Its pretty cool. But when using pellets it is the best position. I try not to use both pellets and chips together mostly because the chips get all the air and the pellets dwindle. But if the chips are not too dry it is possible,
Insert the AMPs tray, crack open the reloader, open the discharge vent fully. Walk away for a full 30 mins. and let the box attempt to take a draft and draw the air/smoke thru the box.
Everytime you open the box, you disrupt the airflow!!
WooT!! We have indication of a good draft 30 mins later.
This is where the entire world varies. You either love the Cowboys or hate them.
Heres what I do, you can decide for yourself. I regulate the discharge vent. Why? Because regulating makes the chips last longer, give a better chance for a complete burn, and you use a bit less electricity holding the unit up to temperature. Mostly because I have regulated a vent all my life smoking (except on an analog which has no vents).
I usually readjust the vent to about 1/2 closed. Remember the size and quanty of the suction holes, If you can't pull it in, you can't pull it out and we are looking for that clear or blue smoke.
This could actually be closed a bit more.
There are mods you can do to change your box. Some are very good and most practical. But this is as basic as it gets. So far it works for me and thats all that matters.
I didn't discuss pellets, there are good and bad as you'll no doubt learn, Todd has so far had excellent pellets and if they are slow burn or fast burn they will tell you when queried.
Last but not least. Don't expect the MES with pellets to cold smoke, warm smoke yes, cold smoke no. Not without mods. there is not enough draft thru the unit with no heat to carry it to maintain the smolder.
Thats it, mine works and thats what its supposed to do. Its a real minium investment especially if you can catch Todd in a sale.
Hope something here will help you with any problem you might have. But I am sure you'll be enjoying it with a small amount of aclimation to the process.