Wood chips burning/selling like a campfire

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by eternalfocus, May 31, 2015.

  1. Hey guys. I have a Masterbuilt Bluetooth Electric Smoker and the past several times I've used it, the wood chips burn and the smoke coming out the top smells like a campfire and not like the flavor of the wood. I've cleaned the entire unit (specially the wood tray) but it has still been happening every time I smoke. Any suggestions?
  2. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Perhaps you are putting too many chips in at a time. Just a handful or about 1/4 cup of chips should give you some nice smelling smoke. Or you can look into getting AMNPS and get hours and hours of sweet smelling smoke with little to no fuss.
  3. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I am considering getting na AMNPS as it appears to be the best way to go. I have a few questions about it.

    1. Are there instructions with it about how many pellets to put in it for the length of time a person is going to smoke?

    2. How much ahead of time does it need to be lit prior to putting it into the smoker?

    3. When done smoking, how do you put it out to stop it from smoking?

    4. Do you simply just lay it on the bottom of the MES or do you put something on the bottom of the MES and lay the AMNPS on that thing?

    5. Which type of pellet holder is best to get, the tray type or the tube type?

    Sorry guys for all of the questions, but even though I have been smoking in my MES for 2 years, I am still learning and new at some things, especially of things I have never heard of.
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  4. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    No problem at all for the questions. That's what this forum is all about. So I'll do my best to answer.

    1. Each row of the tray lasts anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on smoking temp, how much oxygen is getting to it, etc. something you will learn as you use it.

    2. I usually light it about 15-20
    Minutes before I want to smoke something. Probably takes less time
    Than your MES takes to get to your target temp.

    3. Just like a charcoal grill or smoker if you close off all the air intakes or vents it will starve the pellets of oxygen and stop them from smoking. You can then save the unused pellets.

    4. Depending on which version of the MES you have you lay it towards the bottom. Search around the forums for the placement in your particular version.

    5. As far as I know the AMNPS is designed for the MES. You can check with Todd Johnson the owner of the company. He's a member here and really helpful. bearcarver is also your go to guy for smoking with an MES! Search threads by these two members and you'll be in good shape!

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  5. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for information Worktogth ...

    One more question ... When you light it, do you do this and insert it into the MES the same time you turn on your MES to begin heating it up to smoke something?
  6. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    No problem! I usually put it into the smoker right when I'm ready to cook so the smoker is already up to the temp I want when I put the lit tray in the smoker.
  7. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks again ... You have been a big help ... I just have to decide whether  to get the tube or the tray type. 
  8. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic


    Good choice to go with a pellet burner. I have a 5x8 AMNPS tray. I use it mostly in mailbox mod, search that.
    Burn time varies on temp, humidity, pellet type. Lighting and keeping it burning can be a challenge. I load my tray and place it inside my electric for 45-60 minutes during smoker pre-heat. This drives off excess moisture from the pellets. Some guys microwave them, bake them etc. There are a lot of threads on this subject. Todd is also around and is great at helping his
    customers. Just be patient with learning how to use it. I can get 16+ hours of smoke out of a full tray.

  9. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks a bunch RadioGuy ... You guys have all been really helpful tonight and I really appreciate it.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Brickguy, I've begun lighting my AMNPS with gelled alcohol because using a propane torch became a real pain. I usually fill 2-4 rows of the AMNPS with wood pellets depending on how long the smoke will be. I spread the gel on top of the pellets about an inch back from the hole, I spread it on the hole and then underneath the tray like I did on top. I set the now-burning AMNPS on the ground for about 20 minutes to make sure it's fully lit and going strong. By that time my smoker is usually at the setpoint or close to it. When I pick up the AMNPS I blow on the burning end to get a good, red cherry. If a flame reignites I blow it out just before placing the tray in my MES 30 on the two rails to the left of the wood chip holder. I insert the AMNPS burning side towards the rear wall because it seems like it burns better in my smoker like that.

    The amount of smoke time you get with the AMNPS is dependent on different factors: the temp you're cooking a and the type of wood pellets being used being the primary ones, in my opinion. I found that oak pellets burn faster than mesquite and Todd's Pitmaster's Choice blend.

    The last time I smoked (which was a brisket), at about the 10-hour point I noticed that smoke was no longer rising from the top vent. When I looked inside the smoker I saw all the pellets had turned to ash. I had foiled the brisket and it had gotten all the smoke it needed so at that point I didn't worry about refilling and relighting the AMNPS for the final hour of unfoiled cooking.

    As for tube or tray I guess that's personal preference. I've only had the 5x8 tray.
  11. I don't think it has to do with how many chips I'm using since it happens whether I fill the wood tray or just put in a couple pieces. I've reached out to Masterbuilt and am still waiting to hear back.

    I've heard good things about the AMNPS but I think my wife is getting me the cold smoking unit from Masterbuilt that attaches to the MES unit. I've heard it works for extended hot smoking as well - not just cold smoking. I'll give that a try and see how that works
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A number of people like the MB cold smoking unit. Personally, I didn't want to buy something I had to attach to my smoker and also had to plug into a wall outlet. With the AMNPS it fits right inside my MES 30 Gen 1 and can be used for both hot and cold smokes. This setup works for me.

    As for the wood chips flaming up, it could be the heating element in the wood chip holder gets too hot but then you'd see that reflected on the controller temp display. It's been so long since I used wood chips in my smoker I can't really help you troubleshoot the problem.

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