A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker pellets dont stay lit.

Discussion in 'Pork' started by manmeat, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. manmeat

    manmeat Newbie

    I bought the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker preset with hickory pellets. It seemed to burn for a long time when I used it the first time on Ribs. But now when I try to smoke with the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker in my 40 MES, they dont seem to stay lit long. I microwaved them, opened the side chip loader a bit, i use a torch and let them smolder for 15 mins. I just can't get them to stay lit for very long and im not getting any smoke ring. I know I saw some posts in the past about this but I cant find them. Any ideas guys? Thanks.
  2. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I can't  see you location.  Do you live at higher altitudes? If so, using dust rather than pellets may help. 

    If at lower altitude here are a few things to check. 

    Even though you microed your pellets that may still have absorbed water in them. Perhaps nuke them longer.

    Look at your tray. The bottom should be clean. Give it a good scrub with a wire brush. It needs good air circulation from the bottom. 

    Make sure your top vent it open all the way and you hopper tube is pulled out about 2 inches. 

    Hope some of this may help not knowing your particular circumstances. 

  3. are you getting enough oxygen?
  4. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I actually need to do a post on this.  I had a huge issue last year with a ~50% success rate if I was lucky.  This year I'm 3/3 and Im doing another butt tomorrow.  So far zero issues.  Its too soon to tell, but if I go 5/5 then I will report back with my findings and I would say that the change is statistically significant.

    I have no real explanation for the change.  The only things Im doing differently:

    1) My smoker is in a horizontal shed vs on my porch

    2) I poked a hole in my lower tray which was covered with foil, allowing proper airflow (I refoiled at some point and forgot)

    3) I microwave my pellets for 3min (same as last year), but this time I put them in at the same time I start the smoker.  I dont leave them burning outside while I wait for the smoker to reach the right temp.  I light them, blow on the cherry, make sure it looks good (you really need a good cherry and blow down), and then I put them immediately in the smoker (which takes ~45min-1 hour to reach stable temps).  That way if they go out or are not burning properly, I will know it before I go to bed.

    4) For smoke #3, I switched pellets.  I used Todds old pellets for smokes 1 & 2, but because the pellets had been sitting for a year in my utility closet, they were nice and dried out.  I think last year I was using moister pellets, their feel was different.

    So I cant pinpoint the change, or say just yet if the change is statistically relevant vs year, but Im feeling very positive vs my results last year (geeeez I hope I dont jinx it, /hit delete button HAHA).  

    If I had to chose one, I would say it was the pellets.  They definitely felt different last year.  I'm using the Pitboss pellets now and they are larger/look drier.  

    Either way, its so nice to get a good smoke using the tools you bought for their intended purpose.  Its gives me such satisfaction.  Its so easy to use the MES 40 + AMPS combo if you can get it to consistently work.  Its genius.   
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
    tjdcorona likes this.
  5. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Oh and for reference, I posted a vid somewhere of me using a hair dryer to try and get my pellets burning properly (and they still went out......).  Thats how hard a time I was having.  But this year its running like a fine tuned machine.  Love it. 
  6. manmeat

    manmeat Newbie

    I will have to try all these suggestions lol.............thanks
  7. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    I have the same problem - but Im the guy that cant get wood to catch fire!

    I see some replies, and I will try each of them, but right now, Im soaking chips getting ready if the below doesn't work
  8. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    Hello Frustrated fellow MES smokers.....

    the Amazin Pellet smoker advice -

    To work it right - ive struggled and discovered...... -

    Microwave pellets for 2 minutes - keep an eye on them though, they could burn. This gets rid of residual moisture.

    Make sure the bottom of the device has clean air holes each time

    Pull out the chip loader on the side of the smoker so that the loading chamber has air flow

    Remove the chip drawer - this allows the air flow needed to get air to the Amazen pellet smoker.

    Without all this - the frustration will build to the point of throwing it away!

    Thanks to all for the advice - this is what worked for me.
  9. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I had the same problem with the AMNPS in my MES 30--it simply would NOT stay lit.  Finally, as a last resort, I did the mailbox mod.  What a difference.  Not once, since then, have I had my pellets go out.  The AMNPS now works perfectly.

  10. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Im 4/4 now :)
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  11. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    What I got to keep it going is taking out the water in the smoker! Think about it - no matter what you do, the pellets soak up moisture and will not burn. No water tray, smoked for 8 hrs!
  12. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is great advice TJ  My experience is the same.  Folks often think the water is to retain moisture. It's actually used to retain heat in the unit.  ....And if you cook the meat to the proper internal temperature it won't be dry.  Simple right? 

    But... Many units need something to retain heat and help with wide temperature swings while smoking.  An example would be using an electric smoker in the winter months. The element goes on and off...  So the body of water heats up and steadies the ups and downs of the the smokers temperature.

    So.. What to use to help even out those temp swings without adding so much moisture to the unit that the pellet tray won't stay lit?  I use play ground sand in my water pan.  Stays dry. And retains the heat just as well as water without killing the fire in the AMPS.

  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had problems....    dried the pellets for 2 hours at 275.... worked very well... no problems.....

    Now I found a new solution  .....  no drying the pellets...... 

    I put legs on the AMNPS...  this allows for better air flow through the bottom....  

    4 hour complete burn on what you see......    No drying...   I'm totally convinced this works.... 


    .. ..

    bdskelly likes this.
  14. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    I have had the smoke work for a while, but....

    Im going to move on to the mailbox idea for awhile. Lately Im cooking more meat in there and I need the space - mine is the 30
  15. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    ok -so this is the mailbox version....can I see the tube hookups please? Im going to go this route.
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    The aluminum elbow that enters the smoker will protrude through the wall far enough to add something like a big soup can to move the smoke to the center of the smoker....    The chip chute and other stuff have been removed....   The chip pan is reused to add a thermal diffuser and heat shield...  I think it's important to leave the chip pan in place..    It also makes it possible to add some additional flavor chips while smoking...

    .. ..
    bdskelly likes this.
  17. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    Thanks Dave - this gives me some good ideas.

    I will work on something and post in the next month. My idea is to make more of a box with a tented "ceiling" - smoke will rise to this point where it enters the tubing to the smoker - always creating an upward movement- im an engineer, so Im sure Im overthinking this and it wil lcost too much - but that's the addiction of this hobby!
  18. tjdcorona

    tjdcorona Meat Mopper

    The problem is with the mailbox - all we need would be something a lot less expensive than the AMP
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You need to be aware of recirculating smoke...   It is short on oxygen....  pellets like oxygen to burn correctly....     They don't like burning above 5,000 ft. elevation so that should help you a bit...
  20. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Nice tutorial buddy.  I'm using this one for my cheese for the holidays. point. b

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