Newbie to Electric Smoking. MES leaks!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by smokergal2, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. smokergal2

    smokergal2 Newbie


    Just purchased a Master Built 30" Electric Smoker, the newer model with the controls up front on the top, a glass window, a built in drip tray, and cinnamon red, of course.  Yes, I am a gal!  I wanted to become proficient fast, as I was having a large family dinner and wanted to serve a variety of smoked meat.  I practiced on a pork loin, chicken leg quarters and I even smoked some salmon.  I called Master Built on a daily basis and did loads of research on time, temp, basing, prepping, etc.  The more I read, the more confused I became, so I thought this forum might offer me access to the guys with the know how!

    I have figured out that MES stands for Master Built Electric Smoker and the CS lady at MB said to stick with videos and suggestions that are particular to my make and model.  That said, EVERYBODY DOES IT DIFFERENT!  and I am just going to have to feel my way through this. 

    I fixed brisket, chicken legs and bratwurst (smoked separately) for my dinner and everything came out fine.  However, I have had some issues with my smoker and thought perhaps someone else may have some suggestions.  I live in a humid climate and my smoker sweats, or at least there is clear, water-like liquid that pools at the bottom front legs of the smoker.  The built-in drain tray does work and it is not clogged because I can feel my fingers touch from the inside through the bottom, but I still get puddles.  I have the vent about half way open and still see steam running down the inside of the glass window.  The CS at MS said if cleaning the opening of the hole in the floor of the smoker didn't fix this, then the seal on the glass door was bad and I would need to send it back.  NO!  It is way too heavy for me to handle that.  Anybody else have some suggestions?  My 30 days with QVC are running out!
    tymidga likes this.
  2. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    Does your MES leak smoke around the door? If not the gasket is probably Ok.

    Are you using water in the water pan? If so try a smoke without water in the pan. It wont hurt anything.

    Are you running your upper vent half way closed? Most poeple will tell you to run it wide open, to get good air flow through the smoker, that may cut down on condensation.

    Just a few suggestions!! Hope that they help!!

    When you get a chance stop by Roll Call and introduce your self to the forum.

    Keep Smokin!!!

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  3. tymidga

    tymidga Newbie

    Are you adding a lot of moisture by soaking the wood chips or putting water in the water pan?  How cold was it when this happened?
  4. smokergal2

    smokergal2 Newbie

    FYI, I live in Dallas and it seems like it is never cool here and it is usually humid too.  Yes, I had water in the pan, soaked my chips and had the vent half open, so per all of the suggestions I have received, I will omit soaking and use only a little water in the pan and open up the vent.  If it is a dry type of meat, I will try injecting or spritzing.  I made country ribs and they turned out very tough.  Too long?  Too high a temp?  Who knows?  Could not find a good recipe for this type of rib, which really not a true rib cut anyway.  (Got that from someone's video!)  If anybody has had success with these meaty guys using an electric smoker, please tell me how you did it!
  5. tymidga

    tymidga Newbie

    I have a MES40, I don't put water in the pan and I don't wet my chips.  Just my guess, but I think you are introducing too much moisture and its condensing on the glass.
  6. smokergal, don't use any water in the water pan. If you must put something, put sand and cover it in foil to act as a heat sink. The MES will create moist Q without opening up the door at all. This is a large reason why there is a chip tray that doesn't require you to open the door. An electric smoker doesn't rebound as fast as a gas or stick burner in terms of temps. I would also suggest getting the AMNPS from Todd. I've added this piece to my MES30 and all I do is set the temps and get the smoke going and it'll rock on for 10 hours uninterrupted. 

    I've got nothing on the ribs, someone else will be along soon.
  7. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have the MES 40 with window. Leave the vent open, no water in the pan. I would recommend getting an AMNPS Keeps a good flow of smoke without adding chips.As for the ribs they were most likely under done. You can check them with a tooth pick when inserted it will go right in.

    Welcome to SMF post some pics of your smoke.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  8. ladygt

    ladygt Fire Starter

    Try all the techniques offered here asap. If you still have problems, return the unit before the 30 day trial period is up unless you want to do repairs yourself.  Actually, you have until 1/31/15 to return it. I purchased one through QVC just like yours and it was defective right out of the box.  We were undecided if we should exchange it for another but after reading many posts about this particular model having problems, it was returned without an exchange.  QVC should have included a label for the return shipping for UPS so you can have a will call pickup so you don't have to deal with a heavy box.   Unfortunately, you do have to remove the wheels to put it back in the box. Read through the Electric Smoking section researching the unit you have to help you decide if you want to keep it or exchange it.  There are lots of them.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  9. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Get a Generation 1 smoker if you must have Masterbuilt. You might look at Smokin-it or Cookshack. SI is a little more expensive and the CS is a lot more. The SI units have a 3 year warranty built very solid.
  10. [​IMG]   Good evening and welcome to the forum, from a very nice and cool day in East Texas. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything. 

                Lots of MES members on here, someone will jump in with some more help

  11. ladygt

    ladygt Fire Starter

    QVC sells the Generation 1 smokers.  I saw the demo on Sunday.
  12. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    Here in Ohio what they sell as country ribs are actualy cut from the pork butt and basicly need to be cooked to the same IT as you would a butt! They really don't tender up till you get them up to an IT of 195 or so.
    Keep Smokin!!!
  13. Wolfman1955 has a good bead on the country style ribs( AKA pork steaks) that are cut from the shoulder.  I like to smoke the country style ribs to add to other dishes and to make burnt ends. They are good but a little chewy cooked to 170 or 75, but at 175 you can clean up the bones and fat and cube the meat into 3/4x3/4 pieces and Cook to near 200,by cooking to a higher temp you break down the fat in the muscles and have country style burnt ends.I put all the pieces in a foil pan glaze and re rub. At this point you can pick out some pieces of nice meat for baked beans. Below I  will give you my  easy but very good baked bean recipes.  When the ribs are cleaned of big fat and bones with the meat cubed open your Beans.

    Beans Bush makes a lot of varieties I like the country style or one of the grilling beans.

    brown sugar 1/3 cup per 16 oz adjust you volume by how much you use.

    Drizzle 1 table spoon of molasses per 16 oz of beans.

    1 table spoon of your rub.

    dice up 1/2 a green pepper and a sweet onion. Cook to a tender state and add

    Put your meat in and stir.

    Put the beans in the smoker an stir every hour till your burnt ends are finished. 2 or 3 hours.

    This is the cooks prize getting to check on the ends by tasting for proper texture.                Jted
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  14. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I learned not to use wood chips in my MES 30 Gen 1. I only use wood pellets inside the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker.  When I was using wood chips, I quickly learned there's no need to soak them, and my MES owners manual never said to soak them. As for the water pan, I followed the advice of others and stopped using water altogether. I filled the water pan with clean playground sand and then foiled over the pan a few times, then started leaving the water pan empty and foiled over. I saw no difference in how it affected interior heat so I leave the water pan empty all the time. The foil serves to protect the inside of the pan from drippings.

    I think you should hold off on the injecting and spritzing until you get the basics down. What are the basics? Smoking a pork butt (aka pork shoulder) roast--the same cut the country ribs come from) or a beef brisket. Heck, try smoking some baby back ribs. For the roast and brisket, your goal is to cook it to a specific internal temperature (IT), which is where a really good thermometer with at least one probe comes in. A good internal temp for both meats is 190-205 degrees. The cooking temperature--or set point--is a matter of personal preference. Most people set it at 215-250 degrees. How long to smoke the meat? Until the therm shows the IT is where you want it. Depending on the weight and size of the cut, this is typically 6-12 hours.

    Your country ribs came out tough because they were undercooked. Pork shoulders and briskets have lots of fat. You want to trim the hard fat but leave enough of the soft fat so that it will render when cooking. This rendered fat is what turns the meat moist, tender, and juicy, even if the exterior is black and crusty (also called "bark"). But the "secret" to producing great "Q" is in the rubs and sauces you use, whether store bought or homemade. There are tons of recipes out there for rubs and sauces. I prefer homemade and I make up a big batch of my favorite rub and keep it in an airtight container in a cool place. My wife typically makes up the sauces but, in a time pinch, my favorite prepared BBQ sauces are anything by Stubbs (Stubbs is gone but he left behind great sauces, marinades, and charcoal) and Guy Fieri's Kansas City BBQ Sauce. I haven't been a Fieri fan in years but I needed some quick and easy sauce for the Kansas City-style baby back ribs I was cooking to accompany my homemade Kansas City-style rub and this worked beautifully. But everyone has their own pet rubs and sauces. The great Aaron Franklin (Austin, TX) only ribs his beef brisket with salt and pepper and smokes it over seasoned post oak. People line up for hours to buy it.

    For recipes, I recommend you subscribe to Jeff Phillips' (creator of this site) newsletters; I haven't tried his recipes but I've adopted his 3-2-1 method (with variations) for smoking ribs. His book seems to be good although I haven't bought it. The two books I own are "Smoke & Spice" by Cheryl and Bill Jamison, and "Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Barbecue" by Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe.

    There's a lot more to learn about smoking and these groups are great places to learn it all. Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  15. smokergal2

    smokergal2 Newbie

    Thanks I will quit soaking chips, spritzing, and plan to marinate meat or inject, then turn it on and leave it alone! Everyone seems to distrust the probe that is wired in to the MES so I will be investing in a more reliable one. The water pan on my model is more of a little pot with a drp tray that drains into it. If it overflows the the mess is supposed to flow throw the floor tray into a tray that slides out from under the smoker. This setup might not lend itself to sand in the water bowl.
  16. You can buy more expensive but if you want a thermometer with a stainless steel cover on the  probe that is replaceable check out this one from Thermoworks. It will be closed out so get a spare probe for 6.00 That is a deal.

  17. smokergal2

    smokergal2 Newbie

    Smoked a pork loin with dry chips and only a little water in the pan.  No spritzing and vent wide open. I had no leakage and no moisture on the inside of the window.  Problem solved! Thanks everybody!!

    I will be investing in a better thermometer for the smoker and for the meat, as the more I read the less I trust the data from the MES equipment.  I was worried that the  loin was going to be dry as it took way too long to come up to temp. After five hours it had only reached 159 degrees, but I went ahead and removed and wrapped it.  It was only a little dry.

    Thanks again!

  18. Hi, just a few words about you pork loin cook. By smoking it to 159 you certainty cooked it to a well done state. Most pull it at near 145 and expect a little carry over in temp. I personally like to pull them at 147 that is near med. At 159 you should expect it to be dry. Here is a link to a loin receipt to check out.

    Jeff's web site is loaded with information and his famous 5 day Q school that comes by e mail and it is free.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Glad we could help. That's what it's all about here. You're also going to find out there's varying opinions on the best thermometers but you will be able to find an excellent one at an affordable price. My wife and I own two high quality instant read therms. For smoking, I love the Maverick ET-733. I bought mine from Todd Johnson/A-MAZE-N Products here:

Share This Page