Has anyone preheated their AMNPS with pellets before lighting?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by meaturmaker, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. I have a new MES30 and of course, I'm using the AMNPS.  I've had two good smokes (pork butt and turkey breast) so everybody is happy (even the wife).  I have tried to do as much research as possible with regard to the use of these tools so I think I'm good shape but I do have a quick question.  During my last smoke, I decided to light the other end of the AMNPS at about 1 hour into the smoke.  I was amazed at how quickly I had great "coals" - seemed like a minute or two.  The reason for lighting the other end was to create more smoke and it worked like a charm.  I realize I still have some more tweaking to do but the results were interesting nonetheless. 

    So my question is, does it make sense to preheat the AMNPS with the pellets while you're bringing the smoker up to temp - then light the pellets?  It sure seemed like having warm pellets helped the process. 

    Think I'll give it a whirl next time. 
  2. gotbags-10

    gotbags-10 Smoke Blower

    Never preheated mine before. Sounds like maybe the pellets had a chance to dry out a little more during the first hour of the smoke and thats why they started so fast. Only guessing of course. I nuke my pellets for a min before i start mine and they take right off. Maybe try that to compare
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No doubt that would help. I haven't had trouble starting mine, but I keep my pellets in air tight jugs.

    I know Todd sometimes recommends nuking the pellets before putting them in the AMNPS.

    I also know that some people who tried that had good results.

    "Tailgate" was having problems keeping his going, and he nuked some pellets for about 90 seconds & that seemed to solve his problems.

    It's probably not so much that you "warmed" your pellets, but you also dried them in doing so.

  4. tailgate72

    tailgate72 Smoke Blower

    As Bear was saying,

    I was haveing a bear of a time keeping mine going (HaHa). Talked to Todd alot and talked to bear a alot more. Tried this and tried that, end result was just as Bear said. I nuked them for 90 seconds and it was the ticket to an excellant smoke.

  5. Really didn't have trouble lighting them - followed Todd's instructions to the letter and everything worked fine.  Since I'm using a cherry/oak mix things to tend to take their time but it was super quick when the pellets were warm/hot.  I am careful to keep pellets in a cool dry place but the idea of drying them out by preheating seems to make sense. 

    Will try nuking or preheating in the smoker - just gives me another excuse to play with my toys!
  6. tailgate72

    tailgate72 Smoke Blower

    Too funny and I can totally relate.

    Good luck

  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I do a lot of smoked nuts so I have lots of the empty jars that I get from Costco. The 2# packages fit perfectly into the mixed nut jars and they store great that way.
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It makes sense if they were hot & dry they would light better. Next time I make sausage I'm going to put the loaded AMNPS in the smoker during the drying stage. Then pull it out & light it for the smoke stage & see if it lights easier. I think you may be on to something.
  9. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

    I keep mine in juice jugs and the only problem with lighting either dust or pellets was the wine barrel pellets.


  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All great ideas above!!!

    Nice collection, JC !!!

  11. tjohnson

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

    Yea, Nice Collection!!

    Pellets are 6% - 8% moisture when manufactured

    I suppose they could gain a little moisture, but not much

    Just checked my sawdust supply, and it ranges between 6% - 9%

    Pellets are coming in at 8%

    Preheating pellets would dry them and they would burn even better

  12. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    yes.. I would agree with the pre-heating... gets em up to kindling tempurature
  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am not a pellet user yet.  I keep my dust inside where humidity is low year round and have no problems.  In the summer here everything is fine.  In winter, I even have to bring my charcoal into the garage and in cabinets.  Humidity is a killer, and we have humid winters.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  14.   I took some time and dried my pellets in my dehydrator for a few hours.


    Then stored them in plastic peanut jars to keep them dry so they are ready to use.


     Here is my stash.


    smokin papallo likes this.
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    That should make them real dry!!!

    Now I'm wondering if they could actually get too dry-----Flare up??-----Nah, I guess not.

    Shouldn't be a problem.

  16. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I nuke them for 60 seconds & they are fine. I also started them with the little Weber cubes. Just take a small chunk off the cube, about 1/4 of it & put it in front of the hole on the AMNPS, then load the AMNPS up & start the cube with a match or lighter. It will get the pellets going quickly. I let it burn for about 10 minutes and blew it out & it was ready to go. Todd has been working on this for a while, but this last week was the first time I have tried it & it works like a charm.
  17. tjohnson

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

    I've never dried my pellets before, but today, I decided to try drying them

    I'll admit that it makes a difference in how the pellets burn.

    I'm never too old to learn!

  18.  The reason I tried drying my pellets is that I was having trouble with my AMNPS not smoking to suit me.

    It turned out that I was not getting it lit well enough, but tried different things to see what worked best.

     I took 5 trays of pellets (about 2 Lb) spread out in single layer and weighed them trays and all. After

    4 or 5 hours in the dehydrator they weighed about 2 oz. less.

     Now as long as I am using these pellets I know moisture is not the problem if they aren't burning well.

    I have not had a problem with flare-up so far, but I did have it try to jump a row once when I filled it too


  19. hiram

    hiram Fire Starter

    I've tried every thing to keep mine lit, even used a small 13 cfm computer fan blowing on it , always goes out 1/2 way down the 1st row.

    Tomorrow I'll load it up and stick it in the MES at 250 for an hour on the rack by the burner then try lighting it, heck I've tried everything else.
  20.  Hiram, you're not pulling your chip loader completely out are you? If you are that will cause it to go out

    due to lack of air. If your pellets are dry and if you are getting it lit well to start with airflow is the only factor

    left. Try pulling the chip pan out about an inch and the chip loader out about an inch and a half. Make sure

    top vent is wide open. Should burn well. If not call or write Todd and he will help you work it out.


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