Tomorrow is my "Coronation Day".

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by insight, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    I need some confidence building here. I have been all over the thread (and many others as well) in which a forum member with an MES is have smoke-generation issues.

    Using my new MES 40" with an ambient temperature of 72 degrees and dry hickory chips.

    In the process of doing a second trial break-in and I am noticing that there is very thin blue smoke....hard to see, but quite visible with my Mag-lite. It seems that the semi-burned darkened hickory chips are creating a buffer from the newer chips that are loaded and creating less smoke than the first load. Hmmmm.

    Now, I am very inexperienced at this.... so the small amount of smoke I am seeing is either enough for proper smoking OR because I have no water OR meat absorbing heat energy in the smoker, the element will cycle more with grub and water and thus giving me more smoke. I just don't know if that is a normal observation or not.

    The reason I am mentally masturbating over this is tomorrow is my first smoke....Coronation Day. Dang right I am nervous about this. Silly, I know.


    Bought a rack of pork ribs, Emeril's rub, and some Sweet Baby Ray's sauce for a sweet grill finish....I hope.

    I have been looking through the archives for weeks now and have learned a ton of stuff from you guys and I am extremely impressed with your knowledge and most of all....those Q-view pictures.

    Any advice on my "lack of smoke" observations would be appreciated. I humbly await any sage advice or insight that may make me a proud owner of my first nice rack of ribs by this time tomorrow night. Thanks in advance, fellas.

  2. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good luck Rob, as long as you can smell it you are smoking.
  3. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you have some smoke coming out but hard to see it is perfect, you sure don't want white smoke billowing out of the smoker though some is perfectly fine and normal but like Ron said, if the wood is burning and you smell that sweet smell you will have smoke flavor.
  4. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    No smoke for the past hour at 225. Took out the chip loader, same thing. Starts to cycle at 223 and cuts off at 225! WTF is going on here?

    And I bet there is nothing wrong with this unit as well! Maybe because it is empty and without water???? Dang!
  5. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just open the door for a few min and it will cycle back on. You need some load in there to keep it burning.
  6. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    Hope that is the case, Ron. Appreciate you hanging in there with me. Most of the chips are not burned, many are darker, and a few on the bottom are black.

    I hope the load explaination will truly be the answer. This is damn near depressing! LOL

    Hope this newer model was designed to do the job without constant opening of the door to prompt more element cycling!
  7. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just wait till there is no smoke before adding more. I am certain the no load is the problem.
  8. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    From your mouth to god's ears. Don't want no trouble manana! I wonder if anyone else got anxious and did a second and unecessary 225 degree break-in with no load and no water in the pan only to be let down with smokis-interruptis! [​IMG]
  9. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    Now, if an MES was an empty refrigerator, would it cycle less because it doesnt have to work too hard to keep stuff cool......just as an MES has to work harder (more cycling, more smoke) to keep making food,,,and a water tray warm? Hmm.. Food for thought? Anyone with a good grasp at physics here?
  10. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you see just a whisper of smoke coming out of the MES top vent thats plenty, the smoker oven is full of smoke. Open the door and you will see that that is the case. It roils around in there with only a tiny bit coming out of the vent.

    Also when you add more chips just give the chip loader a couple of good shakes this will mix the old with the new giving plenty of smoke.

    I don't worry about smoke I add wood about two or three times during a 6 hour smoke. I have done lots of MES smokes and if you can even see the smoke you get a nice smokey taste. If you want a bit better smoke ring and want the wood to burn a little faster add some small chunks of lump or briquettes to the chip tray.

    It is better to add just a small amount of chips at a time rather than a lot. The MES will give plenty of smoke with a small amount of wood. It really is quite a wood miser.

    Good luck on the smoke.
  11. kevin13

    kevin13 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    You can always place a piece of charcoal into the chip pan. It will smolder and generally keep the chips burning during the heater cycles.
  12. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    1st smoke with my new MES was about a week ago, with outside temps hovering around 10 degrees.

    I started with soaked hickory chips per instructions, and got NO SMOKE! Dumped out the wet chips and added in dry chips. Lots Of Smoke!

    Added chips to the loader about every 1/2 hour and emptied the chip pan after about 2 1/2 hours, while checking on my meat.

    If I closed off the top vent too much, the smoker actually "Backdrafted" through the small holes in the loader.

    I'm gonna try the charcoal trick as suggested by Kevin.

    Place a 12"x12" tile in the right rear corner(Ron's Idea) and you'll keep the temps in the box more even. My tile cracked, so I replaced it with a 12"x12"x1/2" piece of granite. Without the tile, everything on the right side got done way to fast!

    Good Luck!

    Todd Johnson
  13. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    Appreciate the encouragement guys. I will post my progress throughout my "deflowering".
  14. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I sounds like you are alittle nore then nervous here. Some the first thing you do tomorrow is get the smoker ready and then grab a beer. Now for the smoker but for your nerves. You justthrow that meat onto the grates and let it go after a while give you chip pans a joogse you know a shake and then you will have some more smoke. I do it all the time. Then later replace the chips and keep on going till you foil and then quit with the chips.
  15. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    This is all so perplexing as I don't have any of these problems with my 30 inch MES (not the new one). Never empty the chip tray until the next time I use the smoker. Put chunks, chips and discs cut from oak and tangerine limbs and they all smoke like a chimney when first added. Lots of white smoke bellowing out before it dies down to TBS and wood is burned to white ash. I looked at my heat element and it's just about 3-4 mm below the chip tray rail so the chip tray is maybe a 1/4" from the element. You would think the higher wattage element would burn hotter but on the other side of the coin it will burn for a shorter time before cycling off. I would try to get the tray closer to the heat if possible. You could also try removing the chip loader after dumping wood which would let in more air increasing circulation through the smoker and allowing for better combustion and would let some heat out so the element may burn longer.
  16. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just use a small amount of chips, maybe an eighth of a cup i size is plenty. If you build up to thick a layer of chips it doesn't smoke as well.

    If it's warm out just leave that chip loader slightly ajar, and this will increase the draft effect.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  17. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    Awwwwwwww Yeahhhh! The Florida boys are chiming in! Yeah, dude, the beer sounds real good about now...err...well after a late breakfast, of course [​IMG]

    I have never smoked a thing in my life other than using a smoke box in my Weber gas grill (and we know that ain't real smoking). That said, I though it was time for a modification...even though I have never actually used this unit in practice! WTF am I doing????

    What I did was to disassemble the entire chiploader, supporter, and chip tray unit in order to see if I could remove the "standoff tray, (ST)" if I would need to in the future.

    Well I removed the entire unit via the 2 screws that held the thing up against the right wall of the unit. Then I removed the 2 left-sided set screws that held the ST in the unit and saw that the right side of the ST had 2 rivets instead of the set screws. I removed these rivets because as long as one set of fasteners are in place, that ST ain't going nowhere, no-how.

    I placed the chip tray in the now dismembered unit and it fits and sits great WITH/ON the bottom of the assembly flanges perhaps 2mm from the heating element.

    I will now have the ability to have it both ways as well as having the ability of quickly removing JUST the ST (yes, during a smoke) if I run into a no-smoke issue this first go-round with the ST where it was designed to sit.

    I have a feeling that this mod will not be needed with some load in there as well as water as Ron so astutely postulated, but I felt this would be a prudent mod...just in case.

    The way this ST has been originally screwed in (not really aligned with the flange it is supposed to sit on), there is nearly 1/3 inch of space between the element and the bottom of the chip tray.

    (I also did try venting by removing the chip loader for 30 minutes, and still tons of unburned wood in a 3/4 full chip tray at 225 degrees...NO SMOKE)

    Trial and error will tell. Whew!! [​IMG]
  18. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i've gotta agree with mballi - you've got this way too high up on the pedastal, dude!

    calm down and enjoy the ride!
  19. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    I will....I will...promise. I think the smoke will calm me down...sorta like what happens to bees. ;)
  20. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Did you try a piece of charcoal in the tray?

    Others say it this trick works.


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