What am I doing wrong? Help with MES 30 and A-MAZE-N smoker

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by steveaustin, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. steveaustin

    steveaustin Newbie

    I own a MES 30 and the A-MAZE-N (5x8 - 3 row) smoker. Overall, it's been good but I've had some issues with the four times that I've smoked with it.

    Some further background information. I have the wood tray and wood chip loader completely pulled out and the top vent is fully open when smoking with the pellets.

    Overall issues:

    1) I followed the directions and torched an end for 45 seconds (both ends on two smoke attempts). I try to let burn for 10 minutes but the flame has gone out every time on all four smoking attempts. I'll start the fire back up and get it going and sometimes it goes out and sometimes it will burn on. I've used pellets from three different companies and all three of them have gone out on this step. Also, I microwave the pellets for about a minute to try and get any moisture out of the pellets.

    2) Once I get the pellets smoldering they are burning/smoldering way too fast. Two attempts I've smoked with both ends going and the pellets has lasted maybe 2-2.5 hours. I think I got maybe 4-45 hours when I just smoldered one end. I need to figure out a way to slow this down or do I?

    Any help is appreciated!
  2. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    First, off don't pull your trays completely out. I keep them about 2 inches open.

    What type of pellets are you using?

    Where are you positioning the AMNPS?  I have the 30 inch MES. I align my AMNPS on the bottom left side BUT DON'T PUSH IT ALL THE WAY IN.   I was having the same problem as you are.  The solution was to place the AMNPS into the slot on the left side but have the front of the AMNPS aligned next to the open tray. Think about it, you need air to keep the AMNPS burning.  If you push the AMNPS all the way into that tight slot, air is not going to allow it to burn properly.

    Once I figured this out, I've never had a problem with the pellets burning out and I'm getting 3 - 4 hours for each side.

    I hope this helps.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Steve, morning and welcome to the forum..... Glad you stopped in.....   Did the AMNPS come with directions ?? Todd usually includes them and they should help you with the pitfalls others have experienced when first trying to use it....   I have found my AMNPS needs to be filled about 1/8" from the top of the dividers and fully filled at the corners to get a continuous smoke cycle....  Depending on where you live, altitude and humidity can be a factor.....   Please stop into "  Roll Call   "  and introduce yourself for a proper welcome from our members..... Enjoy the long smokey ride....   Dave
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you trying to keep a flame like a candle? or are you letting it burn like a cigar?

    It should not have a flame, it needs to burn like a cigar.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  5. steveaustin

    steveaustin Newbie

    You said "trays". Are you referring to both the wood chip tray and loader? Or one or the other? I thought the instructions said to remove the wood chip tray but I remove the loader too, which may allow too much air to get inside of the smoker.

    I've used "oak" from Todd and two other types from different companies. Same results regardless. I have a hard time starting them and the smolder too quickly once I get it going.

    I don't think the AMNPS is getting shoved all the way in. I do have it on the left side beside the wood chip tray area. Once it's going, it goes too well and the pellets smolder too fast.

    Yes, the AMNPS came with instructions. One problem is that I can't get the fire to burn for the 10 minutes that Todd calls for. I have to relight a corner or two during the initial fire phase. I might not have the corners packed well enough and that might be my problem. I'm in Charleston, SC, which is pretty much sea level and usually not humid in the late fall/winter.

    When I first start the pellets I burn it like a candle to get the embers going. My problem is that it won't stay burning like a candle for the first 10 minutes. The candle fire seems to always go out. When I put the tray inside of the smoker I always blow out the fire to smolder like a cigar.
  6. sound1

    sound1 Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds Like Too much air. Vent open, Tray out about an inch or so, same with the loader tray seems to work for most folks on the site.
  7. smoke king

    smoke king Smoke Blower

    I light it and let it burn for 10 minutes. If the flame goes out before then, I blow on it until it gets cherry red again and catches fire, and let it burn for a while longer.  But no matter how long I let it burn, I always I blow on it to make sure it is cherry red before placing in my MES. I think that is more important than the exact amount of preburn.

    But don't put it in the MES when the pellets are on fire. I did that once and it burned through the whole thing in an hour!
  8. tjohnson

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

    Good Answers guys!

    Too much air is making it burn too fast

    Try making foil deflector between the AMNPS and the chip pan housing.  This will slow down the air

    Do not remove the chip loader.  Only pull it out 2".  Use it as a draft control, and push it it to slow things down

  9. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    • Getting that hot cigar like cherry is very important, you can start gently blowing on the end a minute or two after lit.  What you are trying to accomplish is getting the whole end glowing hot, not just a portion of but the whole end.  Some times the flame blows out, that's ok because it will flame up again if you have it real hot,

    • So far this hasn't been mentioned and I can't explain why it makes a difference but it does.  The corner with the hot burning cherry needs to face the back wall of the smoker, if you are placing it on the two horz. rods.  I had problems just like you with the dang thing burning out, until I read somewhere about the cherry facing the back wall, since then no more burn outs.

    •  You need a cover, here is a one of my recent posts with pics of a cover.

    • Learn how to use the MES smoke system to get TBS (thin blue smoke), you never know when you need to use that built in smoke system.

  10. steveaustin

    steveaustin Newbie

    Thanks all!

    It appears that I have too much air flow (fuel) for the AMNPS. I'll put the wood chip tray back in and pull the wood chip loader a couple of inches out.

    Also, I won't worry about the flame burning out. I'll just concentrate on getting the cherry embers going!

  11. Use a coat hanger and make a little frame to hold a piece of aluminum foil. I keep the chip tray almost closed and the loader open about 1" or 2" at most. Burns great and not too fast.

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