I need some help with the AMNPS please

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by socwrkr, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    Hi everyone, i'm new to smoking but had success last weekend when i just used chips with my 30" MES (1st gen).  I went ahead and bought the AMNPS, a bunch of wood pellets, a propane torch, etc.  I'm trying to smoke ribs now and it's going to be A-Maze-N if I don't throw all this stuff in the trash.  I've read extensively about the airflow, lighting time, etc.  It works for a bit and then seems to go out.  If i open the smoker when i see no smoke coming out from the vent, i can still see a very little amount of smoke coming from the pellets but am pretty sure it's not enough.  I've taken it out and re-lit several times... now i have both sides burning.  As a result, I also have no idea how i'm my 2-2-1 ribs are going to turn out since i've let out the heat so many times.  Anyways... sorry to crab but was wondering if you guys could just tell me if there is even a little smoke coming from the pellets it that is okay, or not enough (as i suspect).  I am not handy and have no interest in turning my smoker into an autobot (joking about all the mods you guys do to get this stuff to work correctly)... Any input would be appreciated - am hoping not ruin my ribs :(.

    Thanks

    p.s. vent is open all the way, chip loader is out, and chip drawer is pulled out 2 inches.  Had a very good cherry going each time before putting the chips in.
     
  2. catch-22

    catch-22 Newbie

    Where is the AMNPS located in the MES? Sounds like airflow issues.... I have the same rig and found I can't keep it lit on the bottom rails so I put it on the first rack above the water pan.

    On some days with no breeze I have had bad luck too - so I put a small fan blowing on low across (not into) the Chip loader and that gets the smoke going.

    Good luck!
     
  3. catch-22

    catch-22 Newbie

    Another thing I do is load the AMNPS and put it in without lighting it while the MES comes to temp. I put a few wood chips in just to get some smoke going. When the MES is up to temp I add the meat and light the AMNPS and put it back in. It seems to dry the pellets out a bit prior to ignition and helpful. I'm in Florida and it's really humid here.
     
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With a Gen #1 MES 30 or MES 40, the biggest thing is getting it lit really really good. Most of the time no robot games are needed.

    If needed you could drill a couple small holes below the bars on the left to get some air to come in right below the AMNPS, but try lighting it better first. I Spend 20 minutes to half an hour (off & on) to get it lit right. It's worth it to have up to 11 straight hours of perfect smoke once it's lit good.

    I aso never play the pulling out the chip drawer or removing the chip dumper either.

    Here is a Great thread to check out.

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/140859/how-i-light-my-amnps-w-video-link

    Bear
     
  5. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    Thanks for the quick responses! I have it just next to the chip drawer resting on what I assume is the heating unit. I do have a pan of water in and could move it above that. If it's smoking even a little bit does that mean it's okay..or do I need it going pretty good? I may try drilling holes after this smoke. ThaN ks again
     
  6. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    Bear - I actually watched that video on YouTube this morning.. wish I had a heat gun. Haha.
     
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That doesn't help either. I never put water in my water pan. I just cover it with foil & leave it in place empty. An MES doesn't dry things up like big old Fire Pits.

    Smoking a little bit is good. It should take about 3 hours to burn one row of pellets in the AMNPS.

    I often have to look real hard to see the smoke trickling out of my top vent.

    Bear
     
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't used one yet----I just blow on the burning pellet coals in a downward direction toward the unburned pellets to get the cigar-like cherry nice & big and deep into the pellets.

    They say you can use a hair dryer too, but if I can use my screwed up lungs to get it going, anybody can.[​IMG]

    Bear
     
  9. Socwrkr,  Where do you live?  I live at a high elevation (6000ft) and come to find out, the amnps doesn't stay lit over 5000 no matter what you try.  Todd sent me the amazn tube smoker and it works great!  

    as for the amnps, if it is still smoking, just not much, you could try lighting at both ends.  
     
  10. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    I live in Wisconsin so I don't think altitude was the issue. I did end up lighting both ends which both ended up burning out. I really felt I had gotten it good and lit but I guess I need to keep playing with it. My ribs turned out under smoked and not done very well because I kept opening the smoker door to re light the pellets. I'm sure there is a learning curve to this..
     
  11. Do the mailbox mod, better airflow, and if you flap the mailbox door to check on the pellets, you don't dump all the heat out of your MES.
     
  12. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    I hear what you are saying but I currently carry the smoker from the garage to outside and don't have a stand. Since I live in Wisconsin I don't want to leave it outside. It seems like a lot of work to get something working that hypotheticaly should just work (if that makes sense). That being said, does the mailbox have to be positioned below the smoker? And does it stay lit better?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  13. The mailbox does not have to be permanently mounted to the MES.  I have 3 inch flex hose going from the mailbox (which is resting on the ground next to the smoker) to the chip loader hole (which is slightly higher than the outlet from the mailbox).  A simple aluminum foil folded gasket keeps the flex pipe in place.  When I need to move the MES, I yank the hose and move it. 
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Keep playing with getting it lit good enough first. If you positively can't, then go to the mailbox as a last resort.

    It's so nice without the extra hassle of the mailbox. However if you must, you must.

    Bear
     
  15. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    Thanks again for the input. Im going to give it another shot today with some pork tenderloins. Just want to make sure...
    -warm up the pellets in the smoker first
    -no water in pan
    - amnps on first shelf not right on the bottom rods
    - wood loader all the way out (the cylander that you load the chips from the outside)
    - drawer pulled about 2 inches
    - vent open all the way
    - spend 20-30 min making sure pellets are good and lit with torch

    Am i missing anything?

    Thanks guys
     
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I guess it depends on the smoker, but with my Gen #1 MES 40, I just put it on the bottom bars, and GET IT LIT REAL GOOD, and open the top vent 100%.

    With mine I don't play any of those in & outs with the chip drawer & dumper. I just leave them where they belong.

    I coached a lot of guys with Gen #1 smokers & they were playing those games too, but once they finally got theirs lit real good, they smoked up a storm.

    The only problem should be with Cherry Pellets.

    Those games should only be for the Gen #2 unit.

    Bear
     
  17. catch-22

    catch-22 Newbie

    For good measure make a chimney with a soup can and stick it on the top vent. Helps with draft. A progreso soup can fits perfectly.
     
  18. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well.....??????

    Water in the water pan is most likely the culprit

    You don't need any additional moisture in a small smoker like the MES.

    Todd
     
  19. socwrkr

    socwrkr Newbie

    Hi. Thanks for asking! I've been meaning to post my results here....it worked! I was thrilled. Thanks to everyone for all of the help. I think you are correct about the water pan..I didn't use it this time.
     
  20. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thrilled is good!

    It's usually something simple

    Glad all worked out OK!!

    TJ
     

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