AMPS Not Working plus Temp Stalled on Pork Loins

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by brickguy221, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I smoked 4 slabs of Baby Back Ribs today and also smoked 4 Hormel 1 1/2# each Pork Loins. The results of both were....

    1. Baby Back Ribs .... I used Todd's Pitmaster Mix Pellets today in a 5 x 8 tray and raised so that there is air circulation under it.  I had 15 people and 11 people including myself, said "not enough smoke". Couldn't hardly taste any smoke on the ribs. I smoked for 4hrs 40 minutes. I filled 2 rows in the tray and it only burned 1 row and it just started to turn the corner for the second row when ribs were finished at 4 hrs and 40 minutes. 

    2. Pork Loins .... I had something happen that never happened before. I had the ribs in Smoker for 2 1/2 hrs and then I put the 4 Pork Loins above the ribs on the top rack. I used my Maverick to follow temperature. Used both probes. At approx 1 hr 15 minutes, my Maverick said 144 degrees on both probes. 30 minutes later it still sid 144 degrees, so I inserted my Weber Thermometer thinking maybe something was wrong with the Maverick, and my old Weber also said 144 degrees. Another 20 minutes later all still said 144 degrees, so the temp was stuck at 144 degrees for 50 minutes and not moving, even after I increased the MES temp from 230 degrees to 260 degrees, the temps stayed at 144 degrees on the Pork Loins. 

    I then decided to take out a Pork Loin and cut it to see if it was undercooked and it was done and on the verge of being over cooked...... So how is all of this possible? ... 144 degrees for 50 minutes without a single degree increase and yet the Pork Loins were done and almost over cooked.......

    3. AMPS .... I am disappointed in this thing. It didn't produce enough smoke on the Jack Daniels Pellets which in a way is understandable because I found out later that the Jack Daniels Pellets are made from the charcoal it is filtered thru and not the barrel wood that Jack Daniels Wood Chips are made from, so they won't smoke as much from teh charcoal..... 

    Ok, now what about the Pitmaster Mix Pellets???? .... Not enough smoke from them either per 11 of the 15 people present. It only used 1 row and just turning the corner into second row at the end of  4 hrs and 40 minutes. The smoke was thin and barely visible and the taste of ribs said that is way too little. I removed the ribs from smoker @ 4:45 pm and left tray in smoker. I returned at 6:15 pm to take out tray and clean smoker and it was smoking really great. Whole smoker was full fo smoke. It had used up almost another row of pellets in 1 1/2 hrs, yet only used 1 row and just start to turn the corner in 4 hrs 40 minutes prior to that. 

    While the ribs were smoking today, I even tried pulling the chip loader out to various amounts trying to generate more smoke with increased oxygen and it didn't matter whether it was all the way in or out one inch - two inches - 3 inches - etc, it had no effect on the amount of smoke. 

    Any suggestions before I put all of the pellets I bought up for sale and return to wood chips???  I had really high hopes for this AMPS thing and am now really disappointed in it.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  2.  I don't know what smoker you are using, but if you want more smoke flavor you have several options. Light both ends of your AMNPS, use hickory pellets or some other stronger wood, cook at a slightly lower temp so that they cook (smoke) longer are the first things that come to mind. 

     I went to the tube smoker because it smokes stronger when I want more smoke.

     Also making sure your pellets are dry (totally dry) makes a difference in how they burn as does air flow.

  3. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    If you are using an MES, you have an airflow problem.  Exact same thing happened to me when I did my first smoke.  This can be confirmed with only 1 row burning.

    You need to check your chip loader.  What model MES are you using?
  4. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    New 40" MES  Bluetooth

    I have the 5 x 8 tray elevated below water pan and to the left side and open to accept air all of the way around, top, bottom, sides, etc. I adjusted chip loader in and out various amounts. What should I have done to the chip loader?
    What did you do to eliminate the problem?

    Maybe Bear will be able to help here with this pellet thing as well as the Pork Loin Temps stalling problem.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Steam replaces the oxygen and the air in the smoker.... It won't smoke in a steam room....
    hoity toit likes this.
  6. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Your chip loader needs to be in the dump position, right in the middle of the point where it catches while pulling it out, and pushing it in.  Get on your knees and look into your smoker as you are pulling it in and out.  You will see that when the loader is set right in the middle, that an equal amount of air can flow in and out. 

    I'm nearly 100% sure this was an airflow problem or as Dave says, if you put water in your pan, it may have snuffed the pellets out somewhat.  I know that the other day when I used my AMPS while it was raining (94% RH outside), it actually went out, even though the chip loader was in the right position.  Humidity has a big affect on the AMPS.  The best thing to do when it's very humid is just microwave the pellets.  Takes 2min.   
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    As for the AMNPS----The first row is usually a little lighter than the rest, because it takes awhile to get going good. This is why I normally light my AMNPS about 1/2 hour to an hour ahead of time. You came back later & it was burning much better, right??

    However I get about 10 to 11 hours from a full load, which means about 3 to 4 hours per row, and you  had already been into the turn after 4:40 hours.

    If you want more smoke flavor, I would use Hickory (Like I do nearly 100% of the time). I only ever lit both ends once, and it was too much smoke, so I put the other end out.

    As was said above---Don't put water in your pan!

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  8. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Bear Im going to measure it this weekend, but I doubt the full AMPS tray only takes 11oz.  That seems like a stretch.  But it does seem to get 10-12 hour a smoke which is great. 
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    On your Pork Loins---Could it have just been a Stall---But you said it was over done. Did you measure it when you took it off. If it was at 144°, it couldn't have been over done.

  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I never measured how much fits in it & because I never cared. I just fill it to within 1/4" to 3/8" from the top.

    And like I said, I get 10 to 11 hours out of a full AMNPS.

    Somebody else will have to tell you how many ounces that is.

  11. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Bear, I watched the temp the whole time and it peaked at 144 degrees. It wasn't a case of Peaking at say 170 degrees and then dropping back. This is the first time I have ever had this happen and I have smoked a bunch of Pork Loins.  It read 144 degrees at 1.25 hrs and stayed there for the next 50 minutes until I took one out to check it as I knew something wasn't right.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  12. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Bear, I lit my MAZE the same time I turned on the smoker. It took Smoker 25 minutes to heat. Another 10 minutes by the time I put ribs in and then put the MAZE in, so it burned 30-35 minutes before I put it in. I haven't used water in water pan in my new BT. I did use water in my old Gen 2 as well as use wood chips in it but haven't used either in new Smoker.

    I am just wondering if the 4 slabs of ribs in rib rack could be blocking off the air flow somewhat?  It didn't have any effect on getting enough smoke in my old Gen 2 Smoker as I got plenty of smoke in it with same rib rack, but I was using wood chips there and they smoke really heavy when first dumped in the tray and block out even being able to see thru glass for a few minutes, thus the ribs got enough smoke.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  13. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I just start my smoker at the same time I put in my meat, put in my probe, and light the AMPS.  All in one go.  That way I dont have to touch it until it's done!  I guess preheating is better to minimize the initial temp fluctuations but with a pork butt, I dont think it makes a diffs. 
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I know I had problems one time when I had two 9 X 12 Foil Pans of Chick Thighs on the second rack. Temp was way higher below than above, until I put one of them on the top rack.

    Seconds later the heat evened out.  Never did that again.

  15. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    The ribs were in rib rack on second shelf from bottom shelf and reached within 2-3 inches from where top shelf is. The pork loins were on top shelf, yet I had an oven thermometer on top shelf and according to it, the temp was 5 degree less than the controller said.

    Just got an Email from Todd and he said to place the water pan on floor and the MAZE on a shelf where the water pan normally sits. My concern here is meat drippings getting on the MAZE and if I cover the top of MAZE, it will limit air flow??? He also said to pull out chip loader 2" and turn dump side down. He also said the air flow is more limited in the Gen 2.5 than it is in the Gen 2.0.

    I think I will take one step at a time and start with chip loader and go from there.

    You don't think the ribs/rib rack could have been blocking off the air flow from going up. It seemed to burn really well after I removed them from smoker.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you had the ribs in a Rib Rack, they'd be standing on edge, right? If that'e the case they probably weren't blocking anything.

    I think it just took longer than usual to get it going good, because like you said it was burning Great later.

    Do what Todd said, but I would do a lot more blowing on that Cigar-like Cherry, until you get that cherry big & deep under the pellets. That's still the most important thing. IMHO

  17. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    At 144° your loins were done, you should have pulled them and let them rest( carry over will raise the IT another 5° or so).

    Sounds like you have a problem with your thermometer.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like Cliff said, you could have quit the heat at 144° IT.

    However I don't understand how you got to 144° in 1.25 hours!!

    I just looked at my Stuffed Loin Step by Step, and with my Smoker at 220°, it took my Stuffed Loin 4.5 hours to get to 146° IT.

  19. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Cliff, Pork is done at 170 degrees and not 144 degrees.  If you want it almost where you "might" see and "might" not not see a wee-tiny hint of pink, then 165 degrees and if you want to see a wee bit of pink, 160 degrees .... At 144 degrees, pork is too red and even a hint of blood juice like a medium rare to rare steak. I agree the carry over will raise the IT approx 5*, but the center is still going to be too red at 144 = 5 for 149 degrees. I have tried 150* before and it was too red and once sliced, it had to be heated in microwave to get the red out and safe to eat. 
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
  20. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Bear, like I posted above in reference to Cliff's post, pork isn't done at 144*.

    These Hormel pork loins are small and not very big around and only weigh 1.5#. They are not like a large 4# or so pork loin. I have been smoking them in my MES for a bit over 2 years and they are completely done in 1.5 to 1.75 hrs max at 230-235 degrees in the smoker. When my wife used to do these in the oven prior to my getting a MES, they only took 1.5 to 1.75 hrs.

    Possibly your pork loins were larger than mine???
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015

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