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Query -- AMNS & MES

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by dale5351, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I've used my AMNS in my MES for cold smoking a couple of times now.  Some questions just occured to me.  Should I leave the chip box in or take it out? 

    How about the "round" thing used to put chips in?  When it is in and turned, it does seal that area somewhat against smoke getting out.

    Should the AMNS be near the bottom or the top?  I'd think near the bottom for smoke to rise -- but thought I'd ask anyhow.

    If using ice to keep cool, near the top or near the bottom?   I'd think near the top since hot air rises and cold air falls.

    Any other hints for this configuration?
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    If you are not using the MES for heat then take it all out and put AMS in the bottom and the ice can go there too - just not on top of the AMS -
  3. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Scarbelly -- any opinion on whether it is better to have the ice high, or ice low?
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    In my unit - a SmokinTex I no longer use any ice at all since converting to using the AMS. If your outside temps require  it I dont think it matters where it is in a MES. The idea is to cool the box and heat rises and cool air sinks so maybe you can make a case for the upper part of the chamber but I like my cheese at the top where the smoke has to pass by it to exit so for me if I needed ice it would have to be in the middle
  5. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    And of course, we have to make sure that the condensation on the water/ice pan does not drip into the AMNS.

    On the smoke I have going now, I started with a tinfoil pup tent over the AMNS.  After about four hours, my ice block had melted and the pan had a lot of condensation on it.  I was not getting enough smoke, so I relit the sawdust, and started an additional burn in the center.  Then I took the tin foil tent off and laid it on a rack above the AMNS to protect it from drips of cheese oil and or water drips.
  6. stephenh

    stephenh Fire Starter

  7. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Stephen.

    I'm doing my third run of cheese tonight.  The three are peach, oak wine barrel, and oak bourbon barrel. 

    I just discovered that if I do a three-way light, i.e. both ends and in the middle, and no ice -- the temp shoots up to 100+F.  So even with outside temp of 70 or so, I either need ice or to only light one row of the AMNS.  

    I've experimented with placement of ice / cheese.  AMNS has been at the bottom sitting on the chip box, but shielded from the cheese by tinfoil.
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    This is just what I have done.

    I have an AMNS that fits to the left of my chip drawer in my MES---That's where I put it, on the bars.

    Before that, I used to put my 6 X 6 on the floor in a foil pan ( and I still will when I use that one), all the way on the left, away from the heat source.

    When I use no heat, I leave the chip drawer in & the chip dumper, as I like to keep things simple. If it works why have a different way for heat than for no heat. Plus I don't want to lose smoke or let creatures in the hole.

    If I use ice, I put jug/jugs of ice in the water pan at the bottom position, where the water pan belongs.

    Like Scarbelly, I like to put my cheese at the top to get a lot of smoke. I like to put my meat as high as possible too, to get more smoke, and get away from direct heat.

    I think that's about it,

  10. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I have the 6x8 AMNS.  It does not fit next to the chip box -- misses by about 1/4 inch.  My MES is more than four years old.  How old is yours?  Perhaps the size changed slightly between models -- especially when they cut it down to half wide.

    If you look at the pictures in another thread, my first cheese smoke in this group of three had dark spots on the top of the cheese.  I had thought that this was oil that had come out and then absorbed more smoke than the cheese surface.   I now believe it was caused by drops of water which came from the condensation on the bottom of the water pan -- which I had above the cheese.  In the third smoke in this group, I had the ice & water pan below sitting on a rack.  The cheese did not get spots.  That is good evidence that either the ice needs to be below, or the cheese needs to be shielded.
  11. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I just checked -- The AMNS does not fit next to the chip box by only 1/8 inch -- about the width of its wall.   To put it there, it would have to be tilted and I doubt that would be good for it.  Also, it does not fit on the drip pan -- again the chip box is in the way.

    Looks like my only choices are on top of the chip box (but that only if the water pan is not in its proper place) or on a shelf somewhere.
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    That's right, that doesn't fit to the left of the chip box. The space to the left of mine is about 5 5/8". If you remove your bottom drip pan, and replace it with a foil pan, it will fit in the bottom (I would put it all the way to the left). The reason it doesn't fit on the stock bottom drip pan is the tilt. It fits in until you slide it almost all the way in, because you have to lift the front to get the tilt block in. 

    I would not put it on top of the chip drawer. 

    Hope that helps,

  13. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Bear.

    Think I understand how you are saying to put it.  I'll give that a try next time I go out there.
  14. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I've gone out to my MES and fiddled around with putting the AMNS under the chip box like you said.

    I figured out that It would go under if I put it on the right hand side.   In fact I could put it in with the drip pan there if I pulled the pan out a little bit, put the AMNS on top, and then slid the drip pan and the AMNS back.   The AMNS ends up under the chip box.  If cold smoking, I would probably remove the chip box and the chip box feeder to allow more air in -- as Todd suggested in another thread.
  15. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    Check this out. Go to the third picture---under " All Rolled and started in smoking".

    The empty drain pan is keeping any drips from falling on the AMNS. I have it as far to the left as I can to keep it from being directly under the MES element, because those are needing heat to bring them to 160˚ internal.

    The big foil pan is replacing the stock drip pan on the bottom floor:


  16. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I see what you mean.    I'll experiment some more.   I was thinking in terms of cold smoke, not warm smoke. 

    I have found out that at 160F the MES does not produce smoke in the usual way.  Chips just sit there and say "You talking to me!" without doing anything much.   So for that application, you would need both heater and AMNS.
  17. stephenh

    stephenh Fire Starter

    Hi Dale,

    Okay, here are the results of my attempt at smoking peppers (jalapeno and serrano).  I started them by cold-smoking them while I smoked a batch of cheese (posted separately).  After I pulled the cheese off, I started heating the MES to a temperature suitable for dehydrating (@140 F). I used a dry water tray, since I wanted to dehydrate, not steam the peppers.  It took about 18 hours to get to where they were thoroughly dehydrated.  I kept smoke going for a while at first, primarily to use up the chips already in the Big Kahuna.  When it went out, then it was just the heat and residual smoke working.  Pictures are below.


    Jalapeno is on the left, serrano on the right.


    I only tried a few serrano peppers.  The majority were jalapeno peppers.  They shrink a lot in dehydrating.
  18. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I tried to smoke some red jalapenos a while back.  They were in a temp of 140 for 2 hours, but then I decided that the MES was producing no smoke to speak of.  Whipped out the AMNS and let it finish the job.  By then, the jalapenos (split and seeded) had shrunk down to little red leather -- and never really changed from that.  I also did one single whole one, with same results.  We did grind them up and they make a nice addition to things, but not much smoke flavor.

    Next time, I'll do like you did -- cold smoke first and then apply heat to dehydrate.