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I can't keep my pellets lit

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by smokinfatman, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. I have the latest version of the MES 40 and I also purchased a AMNPS 5x8 to go with it because I didn't really want to sit around and fill the chip loader with chips every 20-30 minutes to get a deep smoked flavor that I like best.

    As the title of this thread suggests,, I can't seem to keep my pellets lit, I use a propane torch to get them started burning and then after about 10-15 minutes they have just plain petered out.

    As you can see, I have tried from both ends and they just smolder like they are supposed to for a while then nothing.

    I have tried setting up the MES like has been suggested here on another thread, pull out the chip tray, and then leave the chip loader tube out about 2 inches,, and it still failed.

    My only other thought would be that the pellets I have are moist, even though they haven't been in a place that would allow them to draw moisture.

    Is there a trick I am missing here?

    Is there a method of drying out the pellets before I start a smoke session?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you have the Gen #2 MES, remove the little water pan from the stupid slanted drip pan. Then put the AMNPS over the hole you took the pan out of.

    Then put a foil pan on the floor under the hole to catch drips.

    Also put another foil pan above the AMNPS to keep drips out of it.

    This should get air flowing through that hole & around your AMNPS.

    As soon as you get your pellets, put them in empty juice jugs with wide-mouth caps.

  3. Yep. tried all that.  Cept for the juice jugs.

    I cant help but think these pellets have already drawn up moisture and need to be dried,,, like in a kiln if I had one.

    Any thoughts about how to draw the moisture out of them??
  4. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Microwave them.

    Put some on a plate and microwave them for 30 seconds.

    Stir them around and do another 30 seconds.

    Or put them in the smoker while it is heating up then remove the pellet tray and light them.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  5. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You need more air. Be sure to pull out the chip loader a few inches and open the exhaust vent all the way. I actually removed theexhaust vent and put in a cheap 3 inch elbow with a damper. Never had a problem again with the AMAZN. You can also dremel out the factory exhaust to double the vent area. That works well also.
  6. I did all that, and still had dead pellets.

    At this point I gotta believe its wet pellets.

    But as soon as the weather breaks (really cold and rainy here), I will be trying some more ribs for my dad.
  7. Humm,, never thought to nuke em like that.

    I will try that the next time I smoke.

  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Fatman........ where do you live....  and what elevation.... and humidity......    If your location was in your profile, we could give you better answers....

  9. mike johnson

    mike johnson Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have started putting my pellets in the AMNPS and then placing it in my oven at 225 deg for about 30 min. before lighting. Since I started doing this I haven't had a problem.
  10. I live in Kansas, near Kansas City the home of GREAT BBQ!  [​IMG]

    The humidity has bee a bit much here lately, so I am pretty convinced its wet pellets.
  11. I think I may just try the microwave thing the next go around before putting them into the AMNPS.

    Our oven in the house doesn't work.  Someday I will get a chance to remodel this house.  I hope....
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Preheat the pellets in the smoker....   I run my MES at 275 for an hour or two prior to smoking the "sterilize" it....  the pellets dry nicely during that period.....

  13. markk

    markk Smoke Blower


    I have the exact same problem with my new MES and the pellets, seems like I am always relighting it during a smoke. I am beginning to think the chip loader would be less trouble. I have tried all the tips I read in your thread with the same result as you seem to have had. I look forward to seeing what resolves the issue.
  14. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Did either of you try this---Guaranteed to work:


  15. Not sure if anyone's mentioned this, but every so often, I need to resort to the setup below, in order to keep some air flowing. Depends on our weather as to having enough of a breeze in the insulated box of the MES30.

    Good luck and smoke on...:grilling_smilie:
    gimmeharmony likes this.
  16. mike johnson

    mike johnson Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMO the fan is not needed. Just pull the chip loader out another inch. Heat rises causing the air to draw in through the bottom.
  17. If you have no breeze, as is often the case in my garage, the fan works wonders. I don't need it all the time, but when I do, especially on a long smoke, I like to make sure the air is flowing in the box. Works great for me.:biggrin:
  18. little smokey

    little smokey Smoking Fanatic

    I had the same issue with my MES 30 and microwaving my pellets sometimes for a minute and a half does it for me.  Just don't go too long, got the in-laws camper a nice smoke smell when I was preoccupied outside LOL.  
  19. grizsmoker

    grizsmoker Fire Starter

    Hey geerock any chance you could post some more info and a picture or two of your vent modification. I am having some wind issues and I think this would help me out.