Ive had my MES Gen2 (30", no window) for awhile now, I like it but it never gave enough smoke beyond the first 30 mins or so. I bought an A-Maze-N pellet smoker 5x8 tray and for its first use, I smoked up a pork butt last weekend. It was only a 4lb butt, but took almost 14 hours for it to hit 200 degrees internal temp, smoking it at 220.
Anyway, I have some questions about the A-Maze-N contraption. It came with 1 lb of apple pellets already pre-loaded in the tray. I followed the instructions to light it, let it flame for 10 mins, blew it out before inserting into the smoker. I pulled the chip loader out 2" and put it in the dump position. I pulled the chip tray out 1.5". The smoke went out within the first hour.
I re-lit, and this time put the chip tray all the way in (still left the chip loader out 2"), then I went to bed and let it smoke over night. When I checked in the morning, it looks like it smoked for a few hours, but the drippings from the meat got on the pellets and killed the smoke. I cleaned out the wet pellets and relit, it seemed to smoke the rest of the way.
I read somewhere that some of you microwave your pellets for 2 mins before smoking to help them smoke better. Would that help?
How do I keep the meat drippings from falling on my pellets?
I thought about putting a pan under whatever Im smoking, but wouldn't that keep the smoke from penetrating and imparting smoke flavor on the meat, or at least to a lesser extent?
Where do you guys put the A-MAZE-N pellet tray?
for this first smoke, I put it on the bottom rack, which sits about 2" above the grease shield, and set it right over the hole where the water pan used to be. Is that the right spot? Or do you guys put it on the bottom of the smoker?
Do you take the water pan all the way out of the smoker?
If you set the pellet tray on the bottom of the smoker, do you lift it off the drip pan some how to allow more air flow?
Sorry for all the questions, any help is appreciated, pics of your setup is even better!
(BTW, the pork butt took longer than expected but was super tender with good flavor, just not enough smoke.)