A-Maze-N vs ProQ Cold Smoke Generators

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by pokey, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Greetings from Australia - I have one of 6x8 AMNS's purchased from Todd's australian dealer (Andrea at Misty Gully). I've contacted Todd personally first, not knowing that he had a dealer in this remote part of the world.[​IMG] Anyway, he pointed me to Andrea, got AMNS and couple of bags of dust suitable for AMNS and I was set. In the process I've become friend with Andrea, getting some very valuable tips and tricks regarding meat processing, smoking etc. Later on I bought new remote Maverick thermometer and some other bits and pieces of gear from MG.

    AMNS had burned thru almost 50 full loads, so far no problems, it works like a charm. I mentioned in one of my posts that I considered my purchase of AMNS as my purchase of the year - performance/buck ratio is colossal.

    After each smoking session I clean it with wire brush, soak it overnight in bleach solution bath and overnight bath in clean water. This thing looks like new, apart from light blue-ish discoloration around torch holes. I believe that with proper care AMNS could last for decades.

    One more observation (and this thread may not be the right place, but while I'm on the rant...). I believe that 6x8 design could be made even better!

    I’ve proven it to myself that it is quite important to have AMNS positioned that there is sufficient bottom draft. In one experiment (rainy, crappy day, nothing else to do, so lets play with the fire, right?) I've placed strips of AL foil on the bottom of the maze channels. After burn there was a layer of unburned dust all over the bottom. I noticed that unburned layer on the edge channels after every smoke, whereas the middle channel leaves only burned ash. See photo evidence (the middle is still unburned, but believe me, the middle channel leaves only black dust):


    I think that this is caused by bottom feet obstructing perforated holes over the length of the channel. If the feet were welded parallel with short side, the fire will "jump" over the feet across, rather than traveling along the whole length of each foot. That extra metal also dissipates cherry heat plus obstructs the bottom holes. Second benefit is that (according to my friend, mechanical engineer), it will help to "stiffen the assembly" as 6x8 is prone to warp on long diagonal axis. Thirdly, there is possible cost saving on material.

    Also, (I'm probably nitpicking here) if it would be possible to line up holes on bottom flange of maze partitions with bottom plate and then spot weld it, it would ensure better airflow thru the bottom plate. On my AMNS one channel has only one row of visible holes, the other channel has the flange aligned; has four or five rows of unobstructed holes.

    I know, it sounds complicated, but look thru AMNS against light and you'd know what I mean.

    All this to save a pinch of dust. Just kiddin'. It is about making already great product even better.

     Cheers and happy smoking...
  2. stwallace

    stwallace Fire Starter

  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That doesn't sound complicated to me, because Todd & I talked about that problem a while back. I think Todd has already fixed that on newer models. One of my newest ones has the feet in an "X" pattern. It solves both the blocked air flow problem you mentioned, yet it keeps the AMNS from twisting & warping from the heat.

    Good eye though!

  4. stwallace

    stwallace Fire Starter

    No wonder I was kind of confused, I must have the newer one..  I got the X too.  Worked fine.  Very small amount of dust left over.  Plus it doesn't get much air flow inside the MES.  I was actually wondering about that as well.
  5. Good to hear that. Are these changes done on 6x6 as well? Thinking of getting one for short cheese smokes, or give extra oomph and work as duo with 6x8 when smoking sausages.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I believe so, but I'll have to check with Todd. The X pattern was originally to keep them from warping, but I know it solved the air flow thing we noticed too.

    You're the first one to mention that, other than Todd & his testers.

    I'll check with him, but you can too, before you get a 6 X 6.

    I'll let you know as soon as I find out.

  7. Cheers mate.

  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  9. tjohnson

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

    Hey Laszlo!

    Thanks for the input!!!

    The AMNS has evolved quite a bit since the 1st 15 were sent out for testing in March/April 2010.  I took the recommendations from the guys testing, and incorporated most of them into the 6x6 and 6x8.  As more people used the AMNS, more ideas and comments came in.  Some were incorporated, and some not.  Every batch I had fabricated, included some minor changes, based on recommendations from customers.

    Some Customers were using my little gadget at high temps and it had a tendency to warp or twist.  I figure if my customers were using it this way, I needed to make a change to keep it from warping.  We came up with the "X" Pattern legs to strengthen the AMNS.  On the first trial run of the new prototype, I immediately noticed the 1st row burned a little faster and the sawdust burned more completely.  WOW!!  The light bulb went off!!!  The new "X" Pattern also increased airflow.  What a bonus!

    When the guys are assembling the AMNS, they're supposed to line up the holes, so they are not covered.  Some units, like the one Pokey received, had almost all the holes in the first row covered.  In a smoker with good draft, this may not an issue, but in a smoker with marginal draft, the AMNS just does not perform as expected.  On the latest batch, I even went a step farther, and eliminated about 2/3 of the divider leg that is welded to the base.  The only reason for the divider leg is to attach the divider to the base.

    The new "X" Pattern was incorporated in February/March, and included on all new 6x6's and 6x8's since.  The modification to the divider legs was just incorporated on the latest batch I had fabricated.

    Here's a pic showing the progression of the legs.  Left is the original design.  Middle is new "X" Pattern tack welded with a mig welder.  Right is the new "X" Pattern spot welded.


    Here's a pic of the change to the dividers.  Notice the welding tabs are much smaller on the version on the right,


    If a customer wants to send their AMNS back to me, I'll retrofit their AMNS with the new updated "X" Pattern Legs, and send it back to them with a 1# bag of Hickory Sawdust.  Customer pays for shipping to me and I'll pay for shipping back.

    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  10. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper


    You said "There are a few tricks we use, so the A-MAZE-N-SMOKER can be used at higher temps." What are the tricks? Enquiring minds want (need) to know! I want to recommend the AMNS to a friend who smokes in his Weber grill. He tends the temp carefully, but he doesn't get the smoke he'd like from the aluminum foil pouches or the cast chip boxes.

    Thanks in adbvance,

  11. tjohnson

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

    Keep the middle row empty, and the fire can't jump rows.

    Create a heat shield to deflect direct heat around the AMNS.  Place the AMNS in a pan or on top a tile.  Some guys use a small cast iron pan.

    Does this help?

  12. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

    More than some, Bear
  13. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

    More than some, Bear
  14. We are supposed to wash these things?   Dang...now I gotta clean it and the Mrs. will think she was right. It never ends!  [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  15. Hi.

      I have been looking for A-Maze-N Smoker in Sweden for a while, but the only thing I find is the Smart Smoker. Is that it? Shipment from the United States must be expensive for 6x6 "costs 59.50 USD and 6x8" costs 70.00 USD. Even the chips are on the high side, 14 USD for 1 lb. with one variety to choose from, beech. It's almost cheaper to go to USA and buy from you directly. Maybe on a vacation some time? The customs authorities might wonder when I get home if I have my bag full of dust and pellets.

  16. tjohnson

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

    Yes, the Smart Smoker is the name my dealer in Sweden uses.

    A-MAZE-N-SMOKER did not seem to translate very well

    It is the same as the A-MAZE-N-SMOKER

  17. smokin - k

    smokin - k Meat Mopper

    I own a AMZN Pellet and have never been happier. Burns dust and pellets. Inexpensive to purchase and inexpensive to feed. Buy yourself a ET-732 Maverick remote thermometer while your at it... Now that I'm done spending your money I will go back to work. USA all the way... I don't believe in any thing metric. Unless I'm buying a bag of.... LOL! Happy Smoking, Smokin - K
  18. hardslicer

    hardslicer Smoking Fanatic

    you had me at MADE IN AMERICA......plus anyone who has done business with Todd knows exactly what they will get....first class service by a business owner who cares  [​IMG]
  19. I got bored and read all 9 pages - I have to admit I had a good laugh. For the record I own a AMNS and although I only used it a few times I love it.

  20. checkerfred

    checkerfred Smoke Blower

    is it possible to use chips in the model that allows dust and pellets?

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