Flip The Heating Element?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by 1ptbuck, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. So after my first smoke in my new MES 30 I noticed the infamous hot spot on the right side. After research I find this is caused by the element and the exhaust both being on the right of the smoker. My question is....has anyone tried flipping the P shaped element over to reposition the heat to the left side? It looks like it's just bolted in with two screws and would be easy to install "backwards" thusly creating a little crossflow of heat and maybe help with the hot spot? have an AMNPS so no chip tray is needed and I guess all you'd need would be a heat deflector above the element similar to one of DaveO's mods.

    Thoughts? I've never changed an element so maybe this can't be done as easy as it looks??

  2. [​IMG]  I just put sand in the water pan which helps some. Then I use the hot and cooler spots to my advantage. 

    Happy smoken.

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    DO NOT TRY THAT !!!!!!! On the left side bottom, of the MES 30, there are electrical components under the floor..... You could fry them..

    I put the chip tray back in mine for thermal mass... I can still put chips in it for a short smoke with different woods...

    The inlet extension helps move heat to somewhere neat the middle... all of this stuff has "seemed" to work well.... especially the dimmer switch hooked to the heating element.....



    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  4. Thanks, David. My main use for the MES is going to be sausage. Everything else I'll do in my BGE so I was just trying to figure out how to use ALL the space. I had it pretty packed with snack sticks the other day and parts of them got way overdone. If I have to avoid the hot areas that limits my capacity.

    EXACTLY why I thought I better ask. :) it LOOKED like a good idea tho.

    Ok, next question. Will the mailbox mod help a little with the air circulation and thus even out the temps a little? I know there's not any real air being forced in but maybe what draft there is would help? I'm assuming that's why the extension on the inside of yours, Dave?
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The extension helps by not overheating the bottom of the smoker... the chip pan with the water pan filled with gravel helps that condition also... I even use mine without the water pan when I have long stuff in there.... like this turkey... but the turkey was smoked at 160 ish... not too hot then it went in the oven.....

  6. During a recent riblett  smoke I checked the temps on the same level about 3" from the left and right sides and only had 4 degrees of difference This truly surprised me but the smoker had been on for over 3 hours and about 2.5 hours with meat in it.

    Don't believe your controller.

    Use 2 probes you trust and see what your box temps are at about 2 hours into a smoke with meat in it.

    By simulating the true cook you will find out how your temps are.

    No matter what you find you will always have different Temp from one rack to another. That's just the nature of the beast. Smoked meat is very forgiving. Use a interior meat probe to cook by and just use your controller to give you a vague idea of the box temp. I hope this does not confuse you . Jted

  7. Thanks, JTed. I thought I had the temps sort of figured out. I moved my Mavrick probe around while seasoning since I knew the controller was going to be off. Thre wasn't that much variation from spot to spot but about 13 deg. Between the probe and controller but that all changed when I loaded it up with snack sticks. The right side of some of the sticks got almost ruined. I only had time for one cook and I had it pretty stuffed so I think I had it a little overloaded. Next time I will change it up a bit.

    I'm learning and do appreciate a source of info like SMF. Thanks guys.
  8. With thin meats like snack sticks  I have found that you may need to rotate them , this will cost you up to 30 minn but the end results are worth it.  Jted
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Or instead of doing the metal work at the top, you can put a simple deflector in the bottom to guide the heat from the bottom right to the middle of the smoker. (Like in the pic below)

    That way the heat goes up the middle through the smoker instead of staying on the right all the way up to the vent or any kind of extension at the top.

    You could also move your top vent from back right to back left, like the brand new MES smokers finally are now.

    Smoker loaded, and waiting for my AMNS. Deflector in bottom right:

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  10. Appreciate it, guys.

    I think I'll try the tile next time. At the 130-170 temps I'm working with my guess is it should help a good bit. Also going to fill the water pan with sand. I didn't have a chance to pick any up last time.
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I briefly used clean playground sand in the water pan of my MES 30 and found it made not one bit of difference in heat stabilization. I just leave the water pan foiled over. I've never checked to see if the right side of my smoker is hotter than the left but I'll find out this year. The easiest workaround for that is to just flip the meat around on the rack, just like you would in your kitchen oven if you're cooking a roast or a turkey. Kitchen ovens have hot spots, too.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with Rick on the sand. I guess if you open the door a lot it could help get it back to heat, but I don't open my door much at all. I also always figured in the North, it would take a long time for the smoker to fight the ice cold sand in your water pan to get it to temp. So I just keep my water pan foiled for easy cleaning.

  13. If you put any more than this in it your top to bottom temps are going to be way off because you are blocking the heat.

    I don't find it to be a problem. I just plan on the bottom rack getting done a little faster. You can always rotate the racks

    if you want them all done at the same time. I am getting to where I use my BGE less and less. Maybe that means I

    Have to many smokers.

    Happy smoken.

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Does it block much heat on that, David??

    I would have thought there was enough space between & around the outside for the heat to flow through, but I never had that many in at once.

    If I'd have been there I could have eaten every other one to give you more space in between!!

  15. I haven't put a probe top and bottom to see the difference in the temp. But their is about 30-45 min between bottom and top times. You could probably get a couple more per rack. I do around 10 LBS at a time and it works out pretty full. 

    I have seen how you have your stuffer set up for naked SS. Half way threw the last batch I changed from left to right to front to back. It worked a little better for me that way.

    Next time I do a batch you need to come on down and get every other one. That leaves me the other half [​IMG].

    Happy smoken.


    PS [​IMG]  didn't mean to [​IMG]  [​IMG]
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Me Too!![​IMG]    [​IMG]   1ptbuck-----

    I can't think when I'm drooling![​IMG]

  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    WOW! Just WOWZA!!!
  18. Again, I appreciate the advice. I did have the thing pretty stuffed with SS and I'm sure that was part of the problem. As I said, first time out for mine so I still have a lot to learn. I didn't want to open the smoker too much so I had some over cooking problems before I took my first peek. Now, I'll plan a rotation and i'm sure the next batch will be a lot better. Kinda wished I'd just gotten the MES 40 so I'd have more room. After tasting the SS, my "dabbling" in making some sausages is turning into more than just an experiment. :sausage:

    And hey, no problem with any hijinx, errrrr hijack.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    B TW:  I had a Buddy in Vietnam from WV, only he always called it "West BY GOD Virginia!!"

    Great Guy!![​IMG]

  20. I look forward to seeing a Qview of your next batch.

    Happy smoken.


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