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Just got MES 30 2.5 gen (I think). Where do I put my AMPS?

bennyshaik

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Joined May 22, 2013
I just picked up a MES 30 on sale at Lowes for $169 and best I can tell, it's a 2.5 gen. Seasoned it and my first try with a whole chicken is just wrapping up now so we'll see how it goes. I have noticed that in my 3 hour smoke I've had to load up wood chips like once per hour. This just isn't going to work for when I wake up at 3am to throw on a pork butt. I bought the damn thing so I can go back to sleep (unlike my UDS)!

1. So my two options are to put it a. on the drip pan on the left side or b. on the bottom rack on the left side?

1. If a. Just put it on top of the drip pan? There aren't any rails for it to sit on to the left of the heating element. Does it need to be elevated at all somehow (like on a drying rack)?

2. Is it too hot in a 2.5 gen such that it'll prematurely light the row closest to the element?

3. If b. How do I prevent juices from falling on it (if it's below the water pan, that would block drips I'd imagine)? Anyone have pictures of a fix?

4. When I've got all that sorted out, do I remove the chip tray and the chip loader to increase air flow?

Thanks! I'm hoping to get all this working well without a mailbox mod, at least for now.

[edit] Here's what the inside looks like with a bonus pic of her maiden voyage, a cherrywood-smoked whole chicken. 3 hours at 250 to 165 (my electric probe read 270 most of the time while the smoker was set to 250, but that's ok):


 
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bennyshaik

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Joined May 22, 2013
OK, I've set her up the way Bear does with the AMPS sitting on the bottom rack and half a roasting pan on top of it for drips. Today is the first long smoke...pork shoulder's been on for 6 hours now at 225. The AMPS stayed lit without an issue, BUT it just used up all its fuel and I had to reload. Is that normal, as in during a hot smoke should I only expect 6 hours out of it? The only other times I've used the AMPS with my former set up was for cold smoking, and it would burn for 12 hours.
 
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goldmine1965

Smoke Blower
113
12
Joined Nov 9, 2015
 
OK, I've set her up the way Bear does with the AMPS sitting on the bottom rack and half a roasting pan on top of it for drips. Today is the first long smoke...pork shoulder's been on for 6 hours now at 225. The AMPS stayed lit without an issue, BUT it just used up all its fuel and I had to reload. Is that normal, as in during a hot smoke should I only expect 6 hours out of it? The only other times I've used the AMPS with my former set up was for cold smoking, and it would burn for 12 hours.
that sounds excessive. you should get 3-4 hours per row. Did you have the tray or chip loader pulled out some? May have got too much air and burned up. Happened to me before.
 

bennyshaik

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Joined May 22, 2013
 
that sounds excessive. you should get 3-4 hours per row. Did you have the tray or chip loader pulled out some? May have got too much air and burned up. Happened to me before.
I had the chip loader fully out, worrying about it going out due to not enough air flow. I just put it back in so we'll see how much better I do on load two. My pellets are also several years old and have been stored in a humid basement so as a precaution I hit them with 1:00 in the microwave before lighting. Might have something to do with it too.
 

dr k

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Joined Mar 22, 2013
OK, I've set her up the way Bear does with the AMPS sitting on the bottom rack and half a roasting pan on top of it for drips. Today is the first long smoke...pork shoulder's been on for 6 hours now at 225. The AMPS stayed lit without an issue, BUT it just used up all its fuel and I had to reload. Is that normal, as in during a hot smoke should I only expect 6 hours out of it? The only other times I've used the AMPS with my former set up was for cold smoking, and it would burn for 12 hours.
You should get up to 4 hours per row so something went wrong. That's a great thing about a window. If you can't see your food, then there's way too much smoke. Sometimes it's hard to judge by the smoke coming out of the vent. The main reason I use the mailbox mod is for safety since I'm not using it as intended and keeping the smoker closed unless I foil the food or it's done and I'm removing it from the smoker. Then the side effect of being safe is a lighter. drier, higher quality smoke. When an entire Amnps burns up that quickly it should scare the hell out of you. I'm interested to hear how the food turns out. Thank God it didn't ignite and burn up the smoker or worse. A ruined piece of meat is cheap. Smokers are expensive.

If your not generating smoke in a propane or electric smoker as its intended design calls for, then there's no need to cook your smoke generator along with your food. Pipe it in.
-Kurt
 

bennyshaik

Newbie
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Joined May 22, 2013
You should get up to 4 hours per row so something went wrong. That's a great thing about a window. If you can't see your food, then there's way too much smoke. Sometimes it's hard to judge by the smoke coming out of the vent. The main reason I use the mailbox mod is for safety since I'm not using it as intended and keeping the smoker closed unless I foil the food or it's done and I'm removing it from the smoker. Then the side effect of being safe is a lighter. drier, higher quality smoke. When an entire Amnps burns up that quickly it should scare the hell out of you. I'm interested to hear how the food turns out. Thank God it didn't ignite and burn up the smoker or worse. A ruined piece of meat is cheap. Smokers are expensive.

If your not generating smoke in a propane or electric smoker as its intended design calls for, then there's no need to cook your smoke generator along with your food. Pipe it in.
-Kurt
Good points. Mailbox may come down the road, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. There definitely wasn't a fire in there...the temp inside never spiked like a fire would generate. I just checked (normally I wouldn't open the door, but today is a test run) and in 3 hours I've got 2 inches left on the first row on my second pass. Might have just been that I underloaded it or overloaded it so it jumped rows in my 5:30am coffee-less fog. And we'll see soon how the food turns out in a few hours...it *looks* right so far and is progressing through temperature (in the stall now) at a similar pace to my old leaky UDS  which had TERRIBLE temperature control.
 

dr k

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Joined Mar 22, 2013
Good points. Mailbox may come down the road, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. There definitely wasn't a fire in there...the temp inside never spiked like a fire would generate. I just checked (normally I wouldn't open the door, but today is a test run) and in 3 hours I've got 2 inches left on the first row on my second pass. Might have just been that I underloaded it or overloaded it so it jumped rows in my 5:30am coffee-less fog. And we'll see soon how the food turns out in a few hours...it *looks* right so far and is progressing through temperature (in the stall now) at a similar pace to my old leaky UDS  which had TERRIBLE temperature control.
If you decide to do the mailbox mod, you can make it as simple as you want with great results. This mod was
 

jmorey

Newbie
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Joined Aug 25, 2017
Sorry to resurrect and old thread, it seemed to be the newest available that had as relevant of a topic.

So i've been looking through all the MES 30 / AMNPS threads trying to figure out where it fits. I am new to all of this and just got my MES 30. It looks the same as the picture the OP posted. I saw a couple different photos where people were able to fit it in the drip tray right next to the heating element and there is no way mine will fit down there. It is about .375" off from squeezing in there. Although it seems like a great place for it to go, if it would have been a little skinnier...

So those who put it on the lowest rack, do you just not use that rack then, or do you often put something next to it on the rack?
 

Bearcarver

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Sorry to resurrect and old thread, it seemed to be the newest available that had as relevant of a topic.

So i've been looking through all the MES 30 / AMNPS threads trying to figure out where it fits. I am new to all of this and just got my MES 30. It looks the same as the picture the OP posted. I saw a couple different photos where people were able to fit it in the drip tray right next to the heating element and there is no way mine will fit down there. It is about .375" off from squeezing in there. Although it seems like a great place for it to go, if it would have been a little skinnier...

So those who put it on the lowest rack, do you just not use that rack then, or do you often put something next to it on the rack?
If yours looks like the one above, then just put the bottom rack in & put the AMNPS all the way on the right of that rack.

The bottom rack is too close to the heating element anyway for food.

Then pull your chip dumper about 2" to 3" out & rotate it 180° to get more air flow. If it smokes too much, like Benny's did, push the chip dumper back in. Don't remove the dumper entirely.

If you get good air flow & smoke, no Mailbox is needed. I get an average of 10 hours from one load of pellets in my AMNPS, and I have never tasted any creosote or bitterness in 8 years, with my AMNPS in my smoker.

Bear
 

jmorey

Newbie
24
26
Joined Aug 25, 2017
 
If yours looks like the one above, then just put the bottom rack in & put the AMNPS all the way on the right of that rack.

The bottom rack is too close to the heating element anyway for food.

Then pull your chip dumper about 2" to 3" out & rotate it 180° to get more air flow. If it smokes too much, like Benny's did, push the chip dumper back in. Don't remove the dumper entirely.

If you get good air flow & smoke, no Mailbox is needed. I get an average of 10 hours from one load of pellets in my AMNPS, and I have never tasted any creosote or bitterness in 8 years, with my AMNPS in my smoker.

Bear
Thanks for the follow up, I didn't realize the bottom rack wasn't useful for cooking. I will try that location and see how it goes. Mailboxes are pretty cheap, so if I go that route it won't be that big of an issue.
 

Bearcarver

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Thanks for the follow up, I didn't realize the bottom rack wasn't useful for cooking. I will try that location and see how it goes. Mailboxes are pretty cheap, so if I go that route it won't be that big of an issue.
Some use the bottom rack but many don't.

I like Low & Slow, and if you use the bottom rack the timing isn't the same. Bottom rack would be done much sooner, unless you juggle them around during the Smoke.

Actually most of my Smokes are either one rack or 2, but never the bottom rack.

For a 4 rack MES, I prefer:

1 Rack----#2.

2 Racks---#1 & #2.

3 Racks---#1, #2, & #3.

Bear
 

jmorey

Newbie
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Joined Aug 25, 2017
Some use the bottom rack but many don't.

I like Low & Slow, and if you use the bottom rack the timing isn't the same. Bottom rack would be done much sooner, unless you juggle them around during the Smoke.

Actually most of my Smokes are either one rack or 2, but never the bottom rack.

For a 4 rack MES, I prefer:
1 Rack----#2.
2 Racks---#1 & #2.
3 Racks---#1, #2, & #3.


Bear
Awesome advice. Thanks.

Just did the seasoning heat up etc with mine. Had a frantic message from my wife that she was at the grocery store and forgot her wallet, so since I had to drive over there and I bought a pork shoulder while I was at it. Sadly won't be around the house to do it tomorrow. Soon...
 

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