AMPS in MES 40" first impressions (3/5)

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by jay41, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. For the longest time I had debated between the AMPS and the accessory Masterbuilt offers to provide continuous smoke to my hot smokes. I love my MES 40" (second gen), I've made some amazing meals in this thing and have had rave reviews on the outcomes. However, the loading of the wood tray every 40 minutes or so had become cumbersome. Especially since I like to take this camping to prepare meals for a group of people. Again, tending to the smoker so often to load the chip box became a hassle. 

    Based upon the reviews on Amazon, people raving about it on this forum, and my need for portability, I decided to purchase the AMPS 5x8 over the Masterbuilt accessory. I heavily researched the best means of lighting and keeping the AMPS lit on this forum. I followed them to a T. I wont lie, it initially worked great. It had some of the best TBS I've ever gotten from my MES. Having maintained nice smoke for two hours, I joined some friends for a couple of hours of some pool time, thinking it was going well and it would continue to do so. I  was mistaken. Despite following the lighting and venting recommendations, not to mention how well it was going for the first couple of hours, I had the false hope I was golden. 

    I came home and the thing was completely out. Yes, I microwaved the pellets, took a propane torch tp it for 1 minute, let it burn for 20 minutes, even used a hair dryer to fan the flames, had the cigar-like cherry on it, removed the water tray placing the AMPS on top of the hole, pulled out the drop tube for the wood as well as the chip holder as recommended, made sure it was covered to avoid getting drippings on the pellets. Still, it went out.

    I will say, while it is lit, it produces beautiful TBS. But again, like using the chip tray, you stil have to babysit it.

    Since I've spent money on this thing, I will continue to use it since it buys a little more time than feeding the chip tray. HOWEVER, for anyone wondering what to do, and considring the mods, and the cost of the mods, that have to be performed just to get this to perform at a reasonable level (mailbox mods are cool, btw, but still limits portability), you would  be better off spending the extra $15-20 for the Masterbuilt accessory. 

    Maybe my opinion will change as I use this, but so far, I have the impression I just bought into hype rather than actual performance. If I end up getting better results, I'll be happy to change my opinion. However, even as I type this, I can tell it's starting to go out again.

    So, my official review of the AMPS 5x8 is a resounding MEH. 
  2. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the review Jay - I've been wanting to get an AMZNPS for my MES 40 BT. I haven't had the smoker too long and haven't done any smokes longer than 4 hours to date but I can see that a long smoke would be a pain with the little side loader for chips. Do you have a link for Masterbuilt's accessory? - I can't seem to find what it is you're referencing.... Thanks
  3. Krooz, I'd be more than happy to. If this link doesn't work, just look up "Masterbuilt Cold Smoker" on Amazon. Considering I just had to re-light the AMPS again, which requires opening the smoker which, subsequently, extends the cooking time further, I can't say enough to go with the Masterbuilt. Yes, it's $20 more, but when you consider having to buy a torch to light the pellets and the steps  you have to take to make the AMPS work somewhat as advertised, I'd say the Masterbuilt cold smoker ends up being the better deal. Here's the link:

    Again, if I get better results in the future, I'll gladly change my stance and eat my words. However, at this time I don't feel the AMPS lives up to the hype I've seen here and read elsewhere.
  4. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Cool, thanks. Wasn't quite what I pictured in my head but will be checking that out. The AMZNPS sure has a lot of fans but a lot have struggled with it as well. Nothing's ever easy!
  5. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    My affair with the AMNPS has been somewhat bitter sweet, but more sweet than bitter. Hang in there and give it a few smokes before throwing it out.
  6. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Not to stir the pot but I have had great success with my ProQ cold smoke generator. While I only recently got my Masterbuilt I have used the ProQ in my Big Greens Eggs for cold smoking cheese for years. Recently I made 5 lbs. of Texas Hotlinks as well as 5 lbs. of snack sticks in the Masterbuilt and the ProQ provided smoke for the entire 8 hours. I have no affiliation with this product. The ProQ can be found here.®-PQCSG-009-Cold-Smoke-Generator/dp/B005OHSKAQ
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  7. I had marginal results with the AMNPS 5x8. I switched to the 18" tube and the mailbox mod and have had great results.

    I've used it for "standard" hot smokes (pork butt & brisket) and not so hot smoking (bacon @ 95 deg).

    The mailbox mod will make for a little more gear to pack when camping.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  8. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

  9. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    mummel- I've been following your trials and tribulations..... sounds like a rough time and it's slowing me down from making a purchase. The little tray in the MES hasn't been bad since I haven't done a long smoke yet but I'm getting the itch to do a butt soon. I hope you stumble on a cure..... 
  10. twoalpha

    twoalpha Smoking Fanatic


    It would be helpful to know what brand and flavor of pellets you are using in the AMNPS?

    I too have the MES Gen 2 and have had them go out after a period of time after doing all of the "right things".

    I have added the 3" elbow, after removing the factory vent, and this seems positive on my unit.

  11. I'm not 100% ready to give up on it yet because it did work so wonderfully while it was actually lit. My next attempt is the elbow in place of the vent. What about completely removing the chip loader as well? Even with it pulled out a couple of inches and turned down into the "dump" position, it appeared that air flow could be limited. I'm trying to think of simple solutions to make this work because I need to look at the portability aspect as well. As I said earlier, my smoker isn't kept in one place. Even at home, it's stored in the back of the garage and then moved outside to smoke.
  12. Oops, I forgot to replyabout the brand of pellets I used. I ordered teh AMPS off of Amazon and the pellets were included with the AMPS when I ordered but wasn't from that company. They were Traeger brand pellets.
  13. twoalpha

    twoalpha Smoking Fanatic

    Having never used the Trager pellets I can not say that this is part of your issue. Maybe someone here can shed some light on their use in an AMNPS holder.

    You might want to pose this as a new questioin on the forum and see what response might come.

    Finding the balance on air flow is what you are looking for.You might also try opening the chip draw an inch or so as a simple trial along with the chip loaded pulled out some or even more.

    Hope this helps.
  14. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I nuked my pellets for 3 minutes yesterday and used a hair dryer.  It managed to stay lit for 3 hours for my 3-2-1 ribs.  Im glad it worked, but it's been a serious hit or miss.  There was a lot of wind yesterday so I suspect it helped with air flow.  I will use the same prep on my next smoke and report back. 
  15. mike pawluk

    mike pawluk Newbie

    I bought the AMPs and have had a hard time with it. I would light it and let it go for 20 minutes and get that cigar-lit cherry on it. I removed the chip tray and the feeder tube. Bought a small fan to blow into the feeder tube chamber with the top vent wide open. Did not work. Taking  Jay41's idea and ordered the Masterbuilt accessory.
  16. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Below is the best Thread for lighting your AMNPS:

    The important thing is to get that Cigar-like cherry glowing deep into the bottom of the burning row, by blowing the heat down & into the bottom of the burning pellets.


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