MES etc use with AMNPS... don't be dumb like I was

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by jlcnuke, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Fire Starter

    First off I want to say that what I'm about to describe was my fault, and only my fault. It was not due to a design problem by either Masterbuilt or A-Maze-N.

    That said, here's the story...

    So, I wanted to do an overnight smoke. I also didn't want to tend it so I planned on using my 5x8 A-Maze-N pellet smoker for my smoke source. I preheated the smoker with the 5x8 in the bottom left like I had many times before, then lit the pellets. Then I put the meat in.

    ~15 minutes later, walked by and noticed I wasn't getting any smoke. Thinking (on a Friday night that might have involved some alcohol) that it might be that the pellets were too moist, I used my butane torch again to heat the first line up and re-light the end.

    ~15 minutes later... still no smoke. Thinking maybe it was a "lack of oxygen" problem (since I'd read that some people pull the chip tube out a bit) I pulled the chip tube out a little bit... 

    ~15 minutes later, still having the same problem... take the chip tube out...

    ~15 minutes later, still can't get pellets to stay lit... might have had a beer or two in that first hour... think about what else could be stopping the pellets from burning and come up with "ash tray full could block airflow"...

    Outstanding deduction on my part by the way, it was full and, once emptied and left out of the way so it wouldn't block airflow... there was plenty of airflow... well... plenty to cause the entire thing to flame up, burning the inside, the aluminum pan I had above it, the door, and in general just put a 1-2 foot flame in the bottom of the electric smoker.. pro-tip: the smoker will make a new noise if you turn it into a flame fired smoker, but it won't turn out well for the smoker..

    The seals around the door melted, the inside buckled near the flame, and smoke and heat from the fire buckled the back panel and let smoke through there as well. Here's the best pic I have of the aftermath:

    So, don't do what I did... a direct path for air into the smoker is not good since you want the pellets to be smoldering, not turning into a bonfire.

    On a side note, I discovered the fire extinguisher we had near by in case of a fire... didn't work. Fortunately I had a water source close by to extinguish the fire quickly and I was watching it relatively frequently as I spent less than 10 minutes away from it after removing the ash/chip tray and coming out to the fire inside it. I have since replaced all the fire extinguishers with ones recommended by my brother (volunteer firefighter for years in two different states).
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  2. essexsmoker

    essexsmoker Smoke Blower

    Ouch. Sounds like and expensive lesson!
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just a thought. I had a fire when I removed the chip tray but it was because a pool of grease caught from the coil not being covered by the chip trays lower shield. The whole bottom drip tray lit and ignited the pellets in the maze. I caught it right away and there was no damage...JJ
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What ash tray?
  5. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I'm thinking he meant the chip tray after the chips turned to ash. I guess the overload of ash from a previous smoke wasn't dumped out and that may have restricted air flow to the Amnps and wouldn't stay lit!?
    - Kurt
  6. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Fire Starter

    Yeah, I call it the ash tray because I only touch it when I'm getting rid of ashes. Chips I put in via the tube when using chips.
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK. That makes sense.
    When I was using chips I emptied the tray after every smoke. I've been using the AMNPS with wood pellets exclusively for over three years.
  8. redsmoke

    redsmoke Fire Starter

    Oh this kind of made me chuckel. Oh this is inline with something that would happen to me.

    Well I'm sure it was grease that cought fire and started the disaster. Good thing it didn't burn up anything else

    Well I can tell you the new version I purchased at SAMs club is very nice and the smoker I have like yours is now just sitting on my deck taking up space.

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