I purchased a new MES on black Friday, upgraded from an ECB. I smoked a butt at Christmas, not much smoke flavor. The wood tray got loaded with black chips (looked like charcoal) no ash. Since then I have tried a few things to get it to smoke more. I've tried the following: Checked that wood tray was installed correctly (heat shield under element) Higher temp 250 deg Soaking chips Less chips per load Vent 100% open Called Masterbuilt, they suggested running the temp to 275. (Defeats the purpose of low and slow) but I tried that too, no luck None of these worked, the remnants of the chips reminded me distilled wood experiment from high school science class. That made me think that the wood box is not getting enough oxygen to smolder or burn the chips. I rigged up my air compressor to add a slight flow of air into the chip loaded for me next test. It worked, the chips smoked great and burned to ash. With this info I thought about drilling out the holes on the left of the wood tray and on the chip loader. Anyone have hear of a similar issue and know how it was remedied?