Amnps question from a newbie

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fishinchik, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. First let me say howdies.  My first post but I have been reading for months. 

    I searched and read alot of post on the AMNPS and have a basic understanding, but I'm still encountering issues.  This is my second attempt using the pellets and I'm having a different problem this time.  

    First time was a turkey breast.  I microwaved the pellets for a minute, lit and put them in smoker.   Tray was sitting on lowest rack right above the water tray.   The tray loader was closed and chimney vent open.   Pellets went out very early.  Didn't even burn 2 inchs into first row.   I finished the smoke with chips instead.

    This time, I'm trying my first pulled pork (following the basic pulled pork sticky thread) and my pellets are burning up like wild fire.  2hrs in, I had to reload the pellet tray and that's NOT normal from what I have read.   I did my shoulder fat side down like the post said to, which seems to be dripping down onto the tray causing flare ups.    I tented the tray with foil and now it's gone out again. 

    I'm also noticing a big variation in smoker temps.. (possibly from the flares?).  It's set on 230 but have seen it climb as high as 275.  What am I doing wrong?    Internal meat temp is already up to 135 and it's only been in the smoker for 4 hrs.  10lb bone in shoulder I was expecting to take 12-18hrs.  Any suggestions??

    Thanks all.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Get it as far from the heat source as you can, and keep a drip blocker above it.

    Getting it lit properly before you put it in should keep it from going out on you.

    Light it real good with a torch. Then when the flame goes out, blow on the hot coals, toward the unburned bottom pellets, until it flames. When the flame goes out, do it all over again. I have done this up to 20 minutes, before putting it in. It's worth it to have 11 hours of perfect light smoke without touching it.

    BTW: To be safe, you should get your meat from 40 IT to 140 IT in no longer than 4 hours, so I wouldn't consider 135 IT in 4 hours cooking too fast.

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  3. It's working!  The foil tent I think fixed the flares and now I have what I do believe might be my first ever TBS!  Woots! [​IMG]

    Thanks Bear.

    Shew,  just saw the IT reply.  That's a big relief!    It's at 153 now.   Temp set at 230.   Door closed until time for next spritz with juice.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Glad you're doing good now.

    Below is how I do it. I would have showed you this before, but I didn't know you had an MES.

    Note the foil pan cut in half, above my AMNPS, keeping the drips off of it.

    Also the thing on the bottom right is an aluminum plate wrapped in foil. It is tilted upwards toward the middle to direct the heat from the element toward the middle. Without that, much of the heat runs from the element, straight up the right side, and right out the top vent, which is also on the right side.

    Hope this helps you & others.


  5. PERFECT!   I learn best from pictures!  Thanks so much Bear.   I don't have mine set up exactly the same but I'll move it next time I have to spritz the meat.  Pic to follow.
  6. I think it went well once I figured out the pellets.  lol   Thanks oodles!!!

    13 hrs total in smoker counting foil time,  then in foil and towel in cooler for 1.5hrs before pulling.   VERY moist and fell off the bone with ease.   I do think next time I'll trim the fat cap down some.  Have seen pros and cons of trimming in various post but for my personal taste, think I'd rather have more bark.  Lost alot of the bark to fat and skin.   *grin* gives me an excuse to smoke another one soon.
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    First, the butt looks really good!!! Congratulations!!!
    If you want better bark then skip foiling it while in the smoker. When you foil it basically braises the meat and the juices trapped in the foil will soften the bark and the foil prevent additional bark development.
    I'm glad you got the AMNPS figured out. When I first read you put it right above the water pan I thought that was the problem. The humidity from the water will slow it's burning and can put it out. Most people with MES's have either done away with the water pan or filled it with sand for better temp control.
    Here's a thread about lean trimmed butts smoked in a dry chamber that produces amazing bark. I adopted this method awhile back and it has taken my pulled pork to a whole new level.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    That butt looks GREAT!!!

    I noticed you said you originally had your AMNPS above the water pan, but you didn't say you had water in it, so I didn't mention it.

    I never put water in mine, but I never remove it either, because the instructions that come with MES' say to never use it without the pan in it.

    You can put sand in, but I would cover the sand with foil to avoid the mess. I just foil my empty pan, and it works fine.

    If you want to get your rub into the meat, yet get the benefit of the fat basting your meat:

    Trim the fat off, score your meat, and put your rub on.

    Then put the trimmed fat in a foil pan, with holes punched through the bottom.

    Then put that foil pan above the meat----It will drip down on your meat, basting it.

  9. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks great, FC!  Its always good to have Bear in your corner when your smokin'!  That's some real tasty PP ya got there...[​IMG]
  10. looks great. glad the AMNPS is working for you. i love mine.

    happy smoken.

  11. Bear... I have to give credit where credit is due.. this one goes in your success stories.  If you hadn't stepped in to help, I'd still be out there trying to keep pellets from flaming up or going out on me. 

    The waterpan was empty, and now I see why so many ppl wrap their pan in foil.. I have a fun job of cleaning baked on juice ahead of me this morning.  haha   I am clueless on when to fill the pan and when not to because there are so many opinions on here.  I figured I'd have to learn that by trial and error.    When I did the turkey breast, I did fill it,  but with the pork shoulder I didn't.  I assume it's to keep the meat moist?   Wouldn't brine have more influence on that than the waterpan?   I agree on the not using it without the pan in a by the book kinda girl. 

    Good idea on the placing the fat above the meat. I think I lost alot of flavor on this one or I had my expectations too high one. It had a good bark but most of it came off with the skin and fat cap during the pull.  I don't taste the rub heat at all on this one so thinking that was because it all was on the fat and skin.  

    I'm still trying to figure out rack placement too.  That shoulder was almost 10lbs so I took the top rack out and had it on 2nd rack over to the left side of the smoker (read that the right side is the hottest)  Until you showed me the picture, I didn't have a clue I could use foils to direct the heat.  TY! [​IMG]    because I had been stressing over how to keep something huge away from the direct heat line up that right side. 

    S2K9K-  I read that thread you shared and I am going to try one that way.  I do love the bark.. yum yums. 

    Thanks to all!     For a first attempt with pork, I consider it a win, but with room for improvement next time.   Today's smoke is going to be Dutch's Wicked Baked Beans to go with the PP.  It will give me a chance to try these new things I learned too. 
  12. rgacat

    rgacat Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Looks like someone will be eating very good today. Great job. Just goes to show everyone all you have to do is ask the question and someone will be along to help. Isn't this site and members great.

    Ronnie G.
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


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