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How to get A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER to work as advertised???

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

It seems like it would be a great!!! advantage if it only worked half as well as advertised or even a bit less, but the "best" I've been able to get out of the 5x8 I bought:

 

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNPS5X8

 

was about 2.5 hours which burned about 1/3 of the first section. That was using pellets that cost a lot less than the ones from a-maze-n. So I thought maybe the trick is to use their pellets which I tried a couple of times since, but they only keep burning about 40 minutes at best. The first ones would burn a short distance beyond the area I originally lit with the torch and let burn about 10 minutes before blowing out. With the a-maze-n pellets they haven't burned any distance beyond what was originally lit but instead as soon as that section is done burning it's over and nothing burns beyond that little section. It doesn't come anywhere near the supposed 12 hours, or 8 hours, or 6 hours, or 4 hours. I fill the a-maze-n smoker to just below the top of the walls and am using a Masterbuilt 20070910 smoker at an elevation of about 1070'. To try to give it some air circulation I've been leaving the cylindrical wood chip dumper out of the smoker for the short period of time before the a-maze-n pellet smoker goes out, and I've been putting the a-maze-n pellet smoker on the low rack beside the wood chip ash tray. Is there some step I'm missing, or doesn't it really burn for 12/8/6/4 hours at a time?

 

Thak you for any help about this!
David

post #2 of 14

My first question, have you lite the 5 x8 and allowed it to burn at least one line from the tray outside the smoker? That will tell you what you can rule out easily. if it burns which I am guessing it will, it eliminates the possibly of bad pellets. Different pellets smokes at different speeds. 

 

If it burns fine outside the box, it means you probably have an air flow problem. Are you running your MES30 with the discharge vent open? Are you pre-heating your box before adding your tray? You should not need to pull the reload tube on the MES30. Not even crack it.

 

When ever you lite the AMP's initially, let it burn. 20 or 30 mins.is ok to ensure a good burn.

 

Between the lower grease drip opening and the designed 3 holes in the end of the reload tube, there should be plenty of suction. So I would guess you are not drawing a draft.

 

Preheat the box to 275 then reduce to your smoking temp when you add your meat.

 

Make sure the vent is full open in the begining you can regulate it after drawing a draft.

 

Don't expect everything to work immediately. This is an electric stove and not a gas. Its very precise but slow to respond. 

 

IF none of the above helps, heres where I place my 5x8.

 

 

Above is the normal placement. Below is where I put mine, its sort of rocky (unstable) but it works for me.

 

 

 

If that doesn't solve the problem, you'll at least have eliminated the usually problems.

post #3 of 14

Could be slightly damp Pellets. Some guys find Nuking them 90 seconds helps. Some put the pellets in during the warm up to 275 and then light them. Knock on Wood! In my MES 40's, I have never had a problem getting 10 hours, except once got 4 hours but I left the Loader out and was getting too much air...JJ

post #4 of 14

Oh and make sure you have a pan, I use these:

 

Aluminum Foil Steam Table Pans, Half Size (30ct.)  from Sam's you get 30 for 6.00

 

Place them on a grate between the meat and the AMPs. Its catches all the juices that might drip and wet your pellets during the smoking.

post #5 of 14

Call Amazen Products and talk to Todd.  He will be able to give you some more ideas.

post #6 of 14

Yep.  Contact Todd.  He's very helpful and willing to problem solve with you.  I love my AMNPS and I have no problems.  

 

However, I DO microwave my pellets for about 90 seconds (more for a full tray), any brand.  I remove the chip tray.  Pull the chute out about 2".  I have a 3" right angle/elbow on my MESs.  I NEVER use water but I keep the pan in there.  

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your suggestions! I'll try microwaving the pellets and move the 5x8 up to the next rack after letting it burn 20 minutes or so. Should I leave the top vent completely open the whole time? And I don't understand about the 275 warm up...I've just warmed it to the temp I want to cook at which so far has been 250 or 225. What is the benefit of warming it to 275 and then letting it cool back down? I don't understand the advantage or the proper method of doing it.

 

Tonight I want to try some fish, Swai, two fillets about 1/3 pound each. Can anyone suggest a temperature and time to try for this first attempt?

 

Thank you people again for your help!!!

David

post #8 of 14

I have a 12" tube and I haven't had any problem that others describe. I use a blow torch to light, holding it on the pellets for about 30 sec until the flames hold. Let it flame for about 30sec. then blowout.   

post #9 of 14

I don't agree with letting it burn for 20 minutes.  That would burn most of the first row!  5 minutes is all I let it burn before I blow it out and put it on the bottom of the smoker.  I also (respectfully) disagree with putting it on the next shelf up.  If you microwave the pellets, remove the chip pan, pull out the loader 2" and keep the vent fully open on top, you shouldn't have any issues.  

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfreel View Post
 

I don't agree with letting it burn for 20 minutes.  That would burn most of the first row!  5 minutes is all I let it burn before I blow it out and put it on the bottom of the smoker.  I also (respectfully) disagree with putting it on the next shelf up.  If you microwave the pellets, remove the chip pan, pull out the loader 2" and keep the vent fully open on top, you shouldn't have any issues.  

If you remove the chip pan then you can't use the smoker as it is intended but will be depending entirely on the AMPs? I'd like to be able to use both, and especially since using the chips in the chip pan is what's gotten me any decent results at all so far. Does it have to be one or the other? What does removing the chip pan do?

post #11 of 14
IME warming the unit to a higher temp allows all the innards to get to a common temperature that hold longer than the temp of air does. If you warm to a bit higher temp, when you open up and load, you will have a slightly more stable temp and the vagaries (I'll leave it to you to read more about this - Search on "PID" and you'll get lots of info) of the power switching mechanism of the MES will not cause the temps to swing quite as widely as they might do otherwise.

I hope others who have done this will jump in with their experience and ideas, too.

As for the fish, I don't know. What I usually find is that slightly higher temps work best for fish, but I haven't done a lot of it in my MES.
post #12 of 14

The idea is that if you use the AMNPS, you don't need to keep loading your chips every 20-30 minutes.  It gives you constant smoke. It's a convenience thing. Removing the chip tray allows for more air flow so the AMNPS keeps smoking.

 

I personally don't see any point in doing both, but it's not hurting anything.

 

IMHO, your consistent results are more of a result of keeping a consistent temp, not necessarily how much smoke you put on the meat.  

 

I guess you have an excuse to do some more smoking!

post #13 of 14
I stole this idea from Bear and it works. During the ten minutes I let the flame burn, maybe every two minutes I blow into the start of the maze where I lit it. This makes the first few pellets glow like hot coals. This seems to make a huge difference for me.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

I microwaved the pellets for about two minutes all together and could feel the humidity when I opened the door. That made all the difference; they burned great and I had some trouble putting them out after a couple of hours. Cold smoked the fish for 1 hour and then cook smoked at 250 degrees for 30 minutes from JJ's suggestion in a previous thread and it turned out great! Best thing I'm managed to pull off so far :-) 

 

Thank you folks for your help!!!

David

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