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First smoke this weekend! MES / A-MAZE question.

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by Arizona13B, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    Going to do my first smoke session this weekend, seasoned last weekend.

    From my searching on this forum I came to the conclusion that I needed to get the A-MAZE pellet smoker tray. This seems like a obvious answer, but I just want to make 100% sure. Where does the smoker tray go ? I am assuming i just remove the original smoker tray and put this one in..... I just want to be sure ?

    As far as the tray goes is it recommended to pack as many pellets into the tray as possible? Also what's the lighting procedure to get the smoke going ?

    Thank you all for the help and knowledge on this site from a baby smoker. :-)
    orionrid and SonnyE like this.
  2. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    To begin with, leave your smoker as it came. You can modify it later if you choose to.

    Many just put the AMNPS on the bottom rack.
    Lighting is simple and well explained. But you put pellets in the rows, not over filled, and light one end.
    Each full row gives ~ 3-4 hours of smoke. I get 11 hours out of a full tray.
    I simply use my propane soldering torch, set very low, to ignite the pellet end. Once lit, the pellets smolder along for hour after hour of smoke.
    One of the beauties to me of the AMNPS is it can burn Pellets, or it can burn Dust (Sawdust). Pellets are self explanatory.
    Saw dust burns cooler, and for me, lasts ~2 hours per row. (I've become a dust convert, and only use dust anymore.)

    You will (if not already) run across the Term "Mailbox Mod". Many here use a mail box modification to customize the smoke production for our MES smokers. Two immediate advantages are separating the smoke from the smokers oven.
    You never have to open the MES to check your AMNPS. So the less you are lookin, the more you are cookin.
    Like an oven it the house, likewise if you open your MES to look, it has to recover the temperature to get back to cookin.

    I was stubborn and did many trips around the mulberry bush before I got my AMNPS. Don't do that. Get you an AMNPS and grow from there.

    Welcome to
    orionrid likes this.
  3. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    Thank you so much for the reply! I appreciate the in depth answer.

    I have seen one of the mailbox mod threads here, and read a bit about it, but didn't understand they "why." . But now it makes sense.
    orionrid likes this.
  4. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's mine, if you're interested.
    You'll see I'm rogue with my development. I didn't use a Mailbox.
    But, I'm not the only one.
    The bottom line is it works great.
    For me, it made a lot of sense because some of my smoking is what's called Cold Smoking
    (Cheeses and Nuts, Salmon and Bacon, for instance.)
    I also modified my MES 30 after one smoke of salmon. I knew I would need to in order to bring it into the range I need.
    My MES is an oven, that is also a smoker. And I added capabilities to control the temperature below 100 degrees (cold smoking is below 100). I can control mine down in the 60-70's where I get my desired results.

    Much to learn here. Come on in, the waters fine.
    orionrid likes this.
  5. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    When doing a mailbox mod is there any chemicals I should be aware of ? Or just give it a good cleaning with soap and water ?
    orionrid likes this.
  6. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My mailbox gets to about 120* in the shade with the Amnps inside and is cooler than a regular mailbox in the summer sun. I did nothing to it before using it. It'll get covered on the inside with creosote anyway.
    orionrid and chopsaw like this.
  7. PAS

    PAS Smoke Blower

    What model MES do yo have? There are several versions each a little different
    orionrid likes this.
  8. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    orionrid likes this.
  9. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    Decided I probably won't smoke my first this weekend, will give it another week so I can research more on this site.

    Plus I'll have more time available next weekend.
    orionrid likes this.
  10. PAS

    PAS Smoke Blower

    Get a measurement on the lower left of the chip box where the 2 rods cross over. Perhaps the AMNPS will sit there.
    I haven't seen that model before.
    MASTERBUILT 20070411.jpg
    orionrid likes this.
  11. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I spent a couple of days running mine with nothing in it just to watch how it runs and get familiar with it.
    Once I began down the path of a "Mailbox Mod", I actually removed all the chip feeder and associated sheet metal of it. (It doesn't work anyway, so I removed the 4-5 screws and set it aside.) That left me with the heating element, and a nice clean 3" hole for my adjustable 3" elbow to plug into.
    That elbow connects to 96" of heavy Aluminum dryer vent hose (for cooling and condensing out crap).
    Pre-heating your MES gets it going circulating air through it, and consequently drawing in smoke from the "mailbox".
    orionrid likes this.
  12. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If it makes you feel more confident, then yes, wash it inside and out.
    But like Dr. K said, it is going to get crapped out with creosote and tars.

    There's dirtier crap in the smoke than the box.
    If you are concerned with manufacturing oils, cook it in your MES for a few hours to make sure they are burned off.
    orionrid likes this.
  13. normanaj

    normanaj Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Besides getting an AMNPS or AMNTS a dual probe therm is a must have.One probe for smoker temp and one for food temp,the built in probe and temp readout on the MES are notoriously inaccurate.
    orionrid likes this.
  14. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    I have an electric tempature probe already, however I may look into getting a new one as the one I have now is probably 5 plus years old.

    I am going to do the mailbox mod here shortly, looks easy and also makes sense...

    When I was on this site a few weeks ago I saw a post but can no longer find it... Someone posted a word document here for tracking the smoking session (ie outside tempature, what wood type they used, how long it took to get to tempered, overall flavor, etc....). Wondering if anyone knows where I can find that again? Tried searching but keep coming up empty handed.
    orionrid likes this.
  15. I think this is what you are looking for

    Attached Files:

    orionrid likes this.
  16. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    It wasn't the exact one I was looking for, however it gives me some standard data to use on mine. Thanks !!
    orionrid likes this.
  17. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    Can aynone think of other variables I may be missing to log each smoke session?

    Attached Files:

    orionrid likes this.
  18. SmokinVOLfan

    SmokinVOLfan Smoking Fanatic

    Don’t hold off on your first smoke. Light that sucker up this weekend and have some fun!

    You could spend weeks maybe even months on here reading and driving yourself crazy trying to perfect it and make sure you are right. You will gain tons more experience if you just give it a whirl.

    Toss in a pork butt or a chicken grab some beers and enjoy smoking. You will find out what works and doesn’t in no time at all.

    Btw I have an MES40 and put my pellet tray on the bottom lower left corner with the chip chute half way out in the dump position. Usually don’t have a problem keeping it lit.

    Good luck!
  19. Arizona13B

    Arizona13B Newbie

    Yeah you're right. Doing my first one sooner is better, I am sure by the time I'm done I'll have a whole list of questions!