How to use the A-maze-n Pellet Smoker [AMNPS]

Written by Alex J Fierro

Unsure how to use the Amazen Pellet Smoker or how long the AMNPS puts smoke out? Find out here!

NOTE: This is part 2 of a 3 part blog series. If you haven't already read the intro on the system and how to prep the pulled pork and ribs, check it out.

Now we will begin with our smoke source. I am using wood pellets from Amazon. CookinPellet's "Perfect Mix". They've got good medium flavor, burn great and they're 33 bucks shipped for FORTY POUNDS from Amazon. Each cook like this one takes ~1lb so 40lbs should last you quite a long time!

CookinPellets 40 pound PERFECT MIX

I'm going to burn these in an A-maze-n Pellet Smoker tray. The AMNPS is just an amazing little gizmo. You just put in up to 1lb of pellets into the tray and they burn 10-12 hours. If you want less time, you only fill up 2 rows (like the photo). But for a big hunk of meat like my butt (SPOILERS: especially because I'm not "foiling"), you will want to fill all 3 rows. These put out a great amount of smoke, not too much. If you want intense smoke flavor, you can light both ends (and get 5-6 hours total time), but I think it's almost too much smoke. Especially for only 1 butt and 1 rack of ribs.

How to use an Amazen Pellet Smoker

OK, now for the smoker itself. I'm using a Masterbuilt 40" Electric Smoker. When you talk to your elitist barbecue friends, they will say "OMG, no charcoal??" Yeah, I know, I know. But hear me out. I like both. I am using electric because it's reliable and foolproof. And the use of the AMNPS removes the biggest problem with electric smokers, the babysitting. Using the MES' standard built in wood chip loader, you need to add in wood chips, a handful at a time every 20-30 minutes. It's a pain in the butt! With this method, you can let it do its own thing. Literally leave the house, go get breakfast, go shopping, and come back later.* (NOTE: I'm not responsible if you burn your house down; use common sense.) On the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, you punch in the temperature and let it maintain the heat perfectly. Heck, it even has a remote control so if you look at the temperate on your remote and you're running hot/cool, you can punch a button from 300' away and let it do its thing. Don't get me wrong, I love charcoal for smoking and I love the WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain). But I am really digging the MES. I don't get many weekends to do this and when I do, I still have a few errands to run anyway. With the WSM, I need to tend coals and worry that if I need to take my eyes off it for a few hours, I will see that I had a flare up and I've been at 300+ degrees for an hour. FML. Maybe it's because I'm a noob who can't tend fires. Both methods (charcoal/electric) are good and have benefits/drawbacks. Haters will hate on both. Knock yourself out.

A look at the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker 40 inch model with window

Set the MES to "220" and let it heat up. This takes about 10-20 minutes for my 40". Run the probe for the BBQ temp on the Maverick ET-732 and hook the transmitter. Now light the AMNPS. Using a butane/propane lighter, get one end "cherried". This is important. Get it good and lit. Like really, really lit. Blow on it like a cigar to get it going. After you think its lit, blow on it and it should ignite into fire. If not, it's probably not hot enough. This is a big mistake new users make. Oh yeah, and use a glove to hold the AMNPS, it gets hot!

How to light the Amazen Pellet Smoker

Put the AMNPS anywhere in the bottom of the smoker. For my model, most people put it above the water dish all the way on the bottom (below the pan to collect pork drippings). Because I am not cooking a lot of stuff this run, I just threw it on the bottom shelf. Oh, and put some foil on the shelf above the AMNPS so meat drippings don't hit the hot pellets. I forgot here and added it in after I took the photo. For the MES, you will need to remove the chip tube loader at least partially and the chip tray partially. This allows for enough air to get in and keep the Amazen Pellet Smoker lit. Most of the people complaining that the pellets don't stay lit forget this step! I remove the whole tube and leave the top vent wide open. The MES will maintain its temperature just fine. Don't worry.

AMNPS will not stay lit

As for smoke, this is the kind of smoke you want. You do NOT want tons and tons of billowing smoke. It'll taste nasty and lots of smoke coming out the vent means your meat is not absorbing all that delicious flavor. You're going for what the pros call "TBS" or "thin blue smoke" here. (it'll usually have a grayish-blue hue).

That beautiful TBS is why you will love your AMNPS. You will never over smoke and never have to worry about babysitting your smoker again!

The best part is still to come! Be sure to check out the final part 3 with when to pull the meat and all the beautiful "money shots".