MES Gen2 and A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (tray)

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by husker3in4, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Fire Starter

    Ive had my MES Gen2 (30", no window) for awhile now, I like it but it never gave enough smoke beyond the first 30 mins or so. I bought an A-Maze-N pellet smoker 5x8 tray and for its first use, I smoked up a pork butt last weekend. It was only a 4lb butt, but took almost 14 hours for it to hit 200 degrees internal temp, smoking it at 220.

    Anyway, I have some questions about the A-Maze-N contraption. It came with 1 lb of apple pellets already pre-loaded in the tray. I followed the instructions to light it, let it flame for 10 mins, blew it out before inserting into the smoker. I pulled the chip loader out 2" and put it in the dump position. I pulled the chip tray out 1.5". The smoke went out within the first hour.

    I re-lit, and this time put the chip tray all the way in (still left the chip loader out 2"), then I went to bed and let it smoke over night. When I checked in the morning, it looks like it smoked for a few hours, but the drippings from the meat got on the pellets and killed the smoke. I cleaned out the wet pellets and relit, it seemed to smoke the rest of the way.

    I read somewhere that some of you microwave your pellets for 2 mins before smoking to help them smoke better. Would that help?

    How do I keep the meat drippings from falling on my pellets?

    I thought about putting a pan under whatever Im smoking, but wouldn't that keep the smoke from penetrating and imparting smoke flavor on the meat, or at least to a lesser extent?

    Where do you guys put the A-MAZE-N pellet tray?

    for this first smoke, I put it on the bottom rack, which sits about 2" above the grease shield, and set it right over the hole where the water pan used to be. Is that the right spot? Or do you guys put it on the bottom of the smoker?

    Do you take the water pan all the way out of the smoker?

    If you set the pellet tray on the bottom of the smoker, do you lift it off the drip pan some how to allow more air flow?

    Sorry for all the questions,  any help is appreciated, pics of your setup is even better!

    (BTW, the pork butt took longer than expected but was super tender with good flavor, just not enough smoke.)
  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think this is job for Super @Bearcarver  to answer. The man is an authority on MES generations 1 & 2 and I think he's building his knowledge base on the Gen 2.5.
  3. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the reply, how do I get this fine gentleman to share his knowledge?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    On the gen 2 it is recommended to put the AMNPS on the slanted drip tray over the water pan hole then place the water pan on the floor to let the air flow up through the hole. Then you can put a small piece of foil on the bottom rack to keep any drippings away from the AMNPS.

    (just a disclaimer this is not how I use mine since I have a mailbox mod but seems to be the general consensus for the gen 2). 

    On another note, are you using a separate thermometer to check the temp readings on the MES? My gen 2 never reads correct and the amount that it is off actually changes as the smoke goes on. 
  5. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If you ask it Bear will come. [​IMG]
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bear is most likely busy with something today. He regularly browses SMF. I tagged him so that he'd be sure to see this thread. At Masterbuilt's request Bear tested and reviewed Gen 2 smokers. He also was one of the guys who helped Todd Johnson with R&D when he was developing his AMNPS.

    You can also email Todd through his website at From my recent personal experience, he tends to answer his email more quickly than PMs here.

    I recently saw a thread where a guy posted photos of an AMNPS stand he rigged by himself. Bear gave some feedback in that thread. Can't recall what the name of the thread was but I saw it last week. You can try a search in SMF for it.
  7. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Da Bear is out in the woods gathering all the berries and misc food he can find before the snows set in and before he goes into hibernation for the winter ... [​IMG]  
  8. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Fire Starter

  9. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Fire Starter

    I posted a pic with my last post, is it not showing up for anyone? I will try again..

  10. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I believe that is how Todd recommends placing the AMNPS in a gen 2. You will probably want to put something above it on the lowest rack to keep the drippings off it. 
  11. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    That is how I understand it also. I "think" he also recommends placing the water pan on the floor directly below the opening the MAZE is sitting over.
  12. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Fire Starter

    So I did a little test with the racks and positioning. I put some foil on the rack to protect the AMNPS from drippings, but if I put the rack in the lowest position (First pic), it leaves no clearance above the AMNPS, and thats probably not good for airflow, Im guessing the pellets would go out. the second picture shows the rack on the second lowest position, which would work, but it also wastes alot of room for meat. What is suggested here?.

    Lowest rack position:

    Second lowest rack position:

  13. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I would do a test run with the rack at the lowest setting. As long as you aren't completely covering the AMNPS it should still get enough air from the sides and bottom to work. 
  14. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Or you could set the bottom rack on top of the track instead of in it to get an extra inch of clearance. 
  15. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Fire Starter

    I could do that, but if I put meat on that bottom rack, obviously on the side of the rack not covering the AMNPS, will it get enough smoke?

    Also, has there been a consensus on if the chip pan should be pulled out a bit on the MES Gen II smoker?

    Or just the chip loader?
  16. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If the AMNPS is burning well it should fill the entire smoker with smoke. You can always close the exhaust a little to try and keep some more smoke in. As for the chip loader and tray, you will have to experiment with it. Every smoker is different based on altitude, humidity, wind etc so you will have to find what works for you. 

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