MES30 and A-MAZE-N Smoker Questions

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by chicago dutch, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. chicago dutch

    chicago dutch Newbie


    First time posting here. I picked up a MES30 over Christmas and I've had some success thus far. I have a few questions though and need some expert advice. 

    MES30 - While cooking I notice black liquid dripping down the sides and from the ceiling of the smoker. Can I assume that's creosote? The MES30 only has a quarter sized hole to vent smoke. Should I install a larger vent or additional holes for ventilation? Where do I put the holes/ventilation, top or sides?

    A-MAZE-N Smoker - I have the 5x8 pellet smoker and it's great. When I use it I'm sure to not fill to the top, but I do light both ends. My issue is that at the 45 minute mark the pellets are all burned down. It only gives me 1.5 - 2 hours of smoke. Is that normal? Should they burn that quickly? 

    Thanks all, 

  2. bigd3077

    bigd3077 Meat Mopper

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Why light both ends? You'd gain more time just by lighting one end.

    Moving the AMNPS out of the smoker and piping the smoke in (mailbix mod or other) will also give you longer smoke times.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Are you filling the water pan water? If so, it's producing way too much moisture from steam and that could be what's causing that black liquid to drip down from the top of your smoker. Not sure if the black stuff is creosote; it could be carbon buildup because I get that inside my MES 30 as well. I wipe it off the ceiling because if brushed against it will fall down onto the food below.

    I leave the water pan empty but foiled over to catch drippings. Other people fill the water pan with clean playground sand and then foil it over to use as a heat sink. I tried that and found it made no difference as far as temperature stabilization was concerned. But I've been told that since the MES was designed to be used with the water pan in place it's best to keep it where it in place--empty or not-during a smoke.

    Only light one side of the AMNPS. I can get 5-6 hours out of just two rows, but it also depends on the type of wood pellets you're using and the cooking temp. I typically smoke at a temp between 235°-250° and I wind up having pellets left over which I need to separate from the ones burnt to ash. I just leave the unburnt pellets in the AMNPS until I use them next time.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
  5. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I fill my AMNPS to the top every time. It works better with a full load of pellets. Then at the end I simply separate out the unburnt ones and save them for the next smoke.
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Todd Johnson recommends that the rows be filled up to a little below the top just to avoid the possibility of the smouldering pellets in one row igniting the pellets in the adjacent row. For that reason I make sure there's some empty space above each row of pellets. This photo shows the correct way to load the AMNPS:
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dutch, morning.... You have an "Analog" MES 30..... It needs holes in the side walls near the top... maybe 2 each side 3/4" or so... drill the holes so corks can plug them if needed... Also a few holes on the sides near the bottom... same deal....

    The AMNPS is burning up FAST because of the heat... I can only assume you have a propane fired smoker... They need a needle valve to lower the heat...

    If not, move the AMNPS away from the heat... on the bottom, away from the heat, near an air inlet so it gets enough oxygen....
  8. Dutch , What model number smoker do you have? Is it as Dave thinks a analog Propane smoker or a Gen 2 Elactric?
  9. chicago dutch

    chicago dutch Newbie


    Thanks for all the replies. I have a MES30 GEN 2 Electric Smoker.

    Water – I have been using a water pan with a water/AJ mix. I had assumed water was a must to keep moisture in the air. So too much then?

    AMNPS – I usually cook from 225-250 and only fill the pellets about halfway to the top. I’ve also tried lighting from one end and it didn’t last much longer.  My AMNPS sits right about the heating element which it would appear is the problem. I’ll bump it up a level next time. Long term plan is to build a mailbox mod. 
  10. bigd3077

    bigd3077 Meat Mopper

    Mine went out at some point on my last smoke, but I did have the water pan in, with some water. I also did not microwave the pellet before using. Going to try those 2 things next time
  11. Hi guys,

    DaRicksta has the AMNPS filled right.The only thing I would recommend different is to pack the pellets in the hole before lighting. I don't know if it is necessary but on the initial burn you will burn about 1/2 to 3/4 of a inch of pellets. 

     Microwaving or just heating the pellets will insure that they are dry, especially in your case bigd. Southern Florida is humid as you well know. The pellets are like little sponges they drink water from the air. 

    Just to reiterate ditch the water in the water pan. Foil it over or do as I do and just leave it out. I use a 12x9 foil pan as a drip pan. I have no with heat or smoke distribution problem's. 

    You are both on your way to figuring the whole electric smoking thing out.. You will both have many great smokes. Please share them with us. We like to see great smokes.  Jted
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  12. bigd3077

    bigd3077 Meat Mopper

    If all goes as planned, I will give these tips a shot Sunday!
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just to support what Jted said, I always first light the wood pellets thru the hole in the AMNPS, burning the pellets about 1/2 to 3/4 inch like Jted says. I also place the propane torch underneath the AMNPS to light the pellets from below about the same amount of distance from the hole. This year I'm also going to try lighting the pellets with gelled alcohol to see if it's just as or more effective in lighting the pellets with less effort. I'll start a new thread with a full report after I try it out.

    I personally don't nuke the wood pellets before using them. Moisture absorption hasn't been a problem for me and I live in western Washington state.

    And although I've been lax with posting the Qviews, I agree with Jted: let's see some photos of the finished products![​IMG]
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I might be repeating things already said, but I don't want to read everything up there:

    For a Gen #2, I would remove the water pan, and put the AMNPS over the hole the water pan was in, so air can go by the AMNPS when it goes up through that hole.

    Put a foil pan under the hole to catch drips, if any come down the drip plate.

    Put a pan or something above the AMNPS to protect it from drippings.

    Fill the AMNPS to about 1/4" to 3/8" from the top, and light one end, and make sure you get it lit real good & deep into the bottom of the pellet row.

    MES needs no water, as long as you don't open the door too often!!

    Aside from not needing water in an MES, putting Apple Juice or Beer does nothing for the food. IMHO

    Also, Todd says to turn the chip dumper 180°, so I would do that in the Gen #2 also.

    By all means, keep the AMNPS away from any heating element.


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