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Can anyone provide some tips and tricks for keeping the A-MAZE-N pellet tray lit in my electric smoker?

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I can't get the pellets to stay lit consistently. I think I've had one smoke where it stayed lit the entire time, which was a short cook (about 3 hours), but other than that I've had the pellets die out after about an hour or so.

Yesterday, I had a bit of a different issue. I did only one row of pellets, which should have lasted about 4 hours and the entire row burnt out to ash in less than 2 hours.

Here's what I currently do:

Removed the wood chip tray where the ashes go and put the pellet tray next to the heating element. Not sure if this matters, but it's a very tight squeeze since my electric is 30", so the tray is touching the heating element, even pushing it a bit to fit in the space.

Pull out wood chip loader about 2-3 inches, making sure it's in dump position

Preheat pellets with smoker for about an hour

pack pellets in tray

Light for 45 seconds, let burn for 5-10 mins

Blow out flame

Put tray in with lit side against back wall - didn't work. Trying facing front next time

Top vent completely open, water pan still installed with no water or any liquid inside of it.

If anyone could provide help in any way, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited:

kilo charlie

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I don't know about the tray.. I thought that was for dust?

Anyways.. I have a tube and have no issues with it. I definitely don't dry out the pellets before using them.. I just dump them in and light them and snuff it out and let it smolder - usually get 4 to 5 hours out of the 12 inch tube.
 

zwiller

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Try leaving the chip loader out altogether. I did this a long time. The chip thing is kinda funky and done wrong it actually does not provide any air flow at all. I think you need to be like 1 1/2" or so.
 

Brokenhandle

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I know Bearcarver Bearcarver has all mes 40 smokers and he made it work. Not sure if you can on a mes 30 or not. Best bet is to do the mailbox mod...

20210201_140735.jpg


Then the tray goes in the mailbox. Your one row probably burned so fast from being too close to the burner and started back on fire. As far as not staying lit... not getting enough air or try nuking your pellets for 2 or 3 times at roughly 40 seconds each time. Also cherry pellets don't burn well by themselves.

Ryan
 

SmokinAl

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I think BrokenHandle has the right answer. With the mailbox mod you get plenty of air flow, plus you get cleaner smoke. I use both the tray in my Smoke Vault & the tube in my Lang firebox. I also nuke the pellets for 1 minute & stir them up & nuke them for another minute, but don’t have a MES.
Al
 
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Joined Jul 4, 2021
I know Bearcarver Bearcarver has all mes 40 smokers and he made it work. Not sure if you can on a mes 30 or not. Best bet is to do the mailbox mod...

View attachment 505607

Then the tray goes in the mailbox. Your one row probably burned so fast from being too close to the burner and started back on fire. As far as not staying lit... not getting enough air or try nuking your pellets for 2 or 3 times at roughly 40 seconds each time. Also cherry pellets don't burn well by themselves.

Ryan
It seems I'm just delaying the inevitable, so is there a mailbox mod tutorial that you recommend?
 

smokerjim

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Yep mailbox is the right move, I have a mes 30 and tried everything to keep tray lit, did the mailbox mod and never looked back. Some people do have luck keeping them lit inside but for a couple bucks and an hour of your time you'll have no problems. Just type in mailbox mod in the search and it will pop up.
 

Brokenhandle

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Search for mailbox mods here on the forum... it should come up with a bunch! It's been so long I don't remember any special ones that really stick out. Also it helps to keep the tray elevated for better air flow. I think daveomak daveomak used a couple of u - shaped bolts under his to keep it elevated.

Ryan
 

browneyesvictim

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Yup. Me personally I have not done the mailbox mod so it does take a little fussing with the pellets. I nuke my pellets (alot!- almost to the point of them igniting) to dry them out. How they are stored to keep dry and out of humid environments is important.
Pull the chip tray out completely and the chip loader out to allow more airflow to draft in from that hole. Top vent always open.
Once I can get a real good draft going in the cook chamber good it puffs a long real good. But when cold meat goes in, I have noticed it will draft backwards out of the dumper hole! The mailbox mod will make it draft much better.
 

normanaj

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I initially had problems with the tray in my 30 and went with ubolt modified tubes burning dust. This worked so well I never did get around to doing the mailbox mod. If you click on the link in my signature you'll get the full scoop. In the end the mailbox mod is probably the best route.
 

smokeymose

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A mailbox setup is the way to go. I use a tube and A-maz-n pellets.
Never nuked them, just started and let them burn for a minute or two then blow them out and close the door.
I do leave the smoker door open until I see I'm getting a good draft. Never had them go out.
I went outside the box a little, though. Larger pipe and the mailbox is on a stand with holes in the bottom.
mailbox 1.jpg mailbox 2.jpg sausage.jpg
 
19
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Joined Jul 4, 2021
A mailbox setup is the way to go. I use a tube and A-maz-n pellets.
Never nuked them, just started and let them burn for a minute or two then blow them out and close the door.
I do leave the smoker door open until I see I'm getting a good draft. Never had them go out.
I went outside the box a little, though. Larger pipe and the mailbox is on a stand with holes in the bottom.
View attachment 505616 View attachment 505617 View attachment 505618
What kind of mailbox should I be looking at? My main concern is any coatings on the inside of the mailbox that I would not want burning and being absorbed into my food.
 

smokeymose

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What kind of mailbox should I be looking at? My main concern is any coatings on the inside of the mailbox that I would not want burning and being absorbed into my food.
I got mine at Home Depot I think. Cheapest one they had, steel, painted on the outside but not the inside.
You don't want galvanized....
 

smokerjim

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Mine is galvanized, hasn't killed me yet. I dont think it gets hot enough to get the bad gasses.
 

Brokenhandle

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I bet most of the cheaper mailboxes are made out of aluminum anymore.

Ryan
 

daveomak

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Add a mail box so heat from the element doesn't have an effect on the burning of the pellets or dust... Elevate the tray so it can get adequate air from all sides....
The 2 lower holes allow air to get to the bottom of the tray... The single top air inlet stops the air in the MB from recirculating... recirculating air is VERY low in oxygen... The pellets will go out...
Steam inside your smoker will put out pellets if the tray is inside the smoker..
Having a MB solves lots of problems... The BIG deal is... Creosote condenses inside the MB and NOT on your food....


Mailbox mod hooked up.jpg ..... LEGS 4.jpg

My hams don't have that black layer of creosote.. Same with the turkeys....

HAM 005.JPG



1627324497779.jpeg
 

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