Originally Posted by Stayhot
Do you do anything special with the pellets prior to lighting it?
No. Some people do pre-heat them, in the oven, or with a heat gun, but I don't think that is necessary unless they have gotten damp during storage.
Here is my method for lighting:
Video: Heat Gun Lighting AMNPS - No torch used
It is similar to the video Bearcarver linked to, except I use the heat gun to first do a preheat of the chips that are close the lighting area, so that they are both dry and hot. I then crank the heat gun up to full and use it to actually get the chips lit. Because of all the super-hot air going over the chips during the ignition process, the chips near the area that actually lights get very dry and are ready to smolder.
I still sometimes have it go out, but this almost always happens in the first fifteen minutes of the smoke, and I think this happens when I get impatient and put the AMNPS into the smoker before it has had a chance to smolder outside for the full ten minutes.
So, to repeat, the one key, whether you use a butane torch, propane torch, heat gun, or some combination, is to let the tray smolder, outside the MES, for at least 8-10 minutes. You want to get a big chunk of chips creating smoke, and have it ignited top to bottom. Then, when you are ready to put the AMNPS into the MES, pull the MES chip tray out about 1/2 - 1 inch to let a little air from the chip loader holes to waft over to the AMNPS, which you should place on the rails to the left of the chip loader, if your model is built that way (there are different versions, and some don't have the rails). Also, make sure the drip tray is pushed all the way forward (I stated this incorrectly in my video, but "fixed" it by putting some text over the video to explain what should be done). You want to do this so the drip hole is not covered. The air coming up from this hole helps provide additional oxygen to the AMNPS.
I hope this helps.