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Need some more smoke

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have an electric masterbuilt, I am having trouble getting it to continue to produce smoke at 225-250 F. It has been going now for an hour or so and it will only produce good smoke when I crank the temp up past 300F. Suggestions????

post #2 of 17

don't know anything about your smoker, but you want a thin blue smoke, some call it ninja smoke.  You can hardly see it.   What you do not want is big white smoke.  Hope that helps

post #3 of 17
I had the same problem with my MES 30, just buy AMNPS smoke generator from Todd, one of the sponsors on here. TBS everytime, up to 12 hours continous. Great service from Todd, too.
post #4 of 17

I don't have your smoker, nor do I use electric.  Are you sure it's not producing smoke?  As stated above sometimes it's almost invisible.  Does it smell smokey?  If so, I'd say carry on it'll probably turn out great.  Hopefully someone with a masterbuilt will come along and offer other advice.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin.

post #5 of 17
Preheat to 180ish. Put your meat in. Crank to 250, and put chips in. That should give you an hour of good smoke. Unless its a brisket or shoulder I don't see the need of more than an hour of chips if your smoker is well seasoned.

Or buy the amnps and have no worries.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok guess I was un-clear on how much smoke I should be seeing, thanks for the help guys in calming a newbie smoker down. 

I will be purchasing AMNPS here shortly thanks again everyone!

post #7 of 17

Whoa, there.  Give your smoker a chance to show you what it can do.  Try different woods along with amounts and times on different products before purchasing additional equipment.  See if you can get the desired finished results with what you have, that's what counts.  Keep good notes as they will be invaluable in making adjustments later on.  

 

Maybe the following will help.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/139474/understanding-smoke-management-updated-5-18-13

 

Tom

post #8 of 17
Some of the masterbuilt models did have a problem with the chip trays. Masterbuilt customer service put out several fixes for certain models for this issue. Yours may be included. But, as some said, if you are expecting constant billowing white smoke.....don't. Its not what you are looking for. With my mes I've used small chunks instead of chips to produce a longer and more flavorful thin blue smoke. Having said that.....I have the amazn dust and pellet trays that allow the mes to be a true set and forget. Hours of smoke without reloading the mes chip tray. Best of luck.
post #9 of 17

I have a MES30 and use it quite frequently.   I have also had concerns that I wasn't getting enough smoke from it.   Here is what I have found out about my smoker over the last two years:

 

1. If the heating element isn't on and hasn't been on for some time, it probably stopped producing smoke.  Quite simply, the wood chips need a heat source to burn as they won't sustain burning for long on their own.  If the smoker is "at temp" and the heating element not on, it ain't smokin'.  That is sort of a give/take with my MES30.  The insulation is great and will hold temp inside even when it's below freezing outside.  The dowside is that it will sit there on a warm day and not run the heating element for long periods. That said, over the course of an entire cook it usually produces enough smoke during the heating intervals to get the job done.  So, over the entire time, not much to worry about.  Some ways to combat this is to incrementally raise the cooking temp as one fella suggested above.    Pre-heat to somewhere around 180 then when you put whatever it is in the smoker, raise the temp to 200 and toss in some chips.   Once it hits the 200 mark, raise to 225.   If you care to step it up to 230-240 after that..go ahead.

 

2. Don't oversoak your chips.  Or as I have taken to doing, don't soak them at all.  If you really feel compelled to soak them, I would recommend more just giving them an extended rinsing as opposed to a real soaking.  I only wet my chips if I am having troubles with flare ups, which doesn't happen often.

 

3. Use small chips, not chunks.   I take it a step further and mix in a healthy dose of the dust that I use with my Amaznsmoker with the chips.  A good large 3 fingered pinch or two per  1 handfull of small chips.

 

4. Don't stress on it.   Like I mentioned in #1, over time the MES puts out enough smoke to get the job done (in most cases).   If you are one of those that likes a strong smoke flavor you may not get it just running normally, but it will get a smoke flavor though the meat.   As others have stated, a lot of times you won't see the smoke, but if you sniff over the vent on the top you will get a smokey smell.  That's all you really need. 

 

5. If you do want a stronger smoke to your creations, which I do on occasions, I just crack the door a bit to drop the temp inside the smoker down enough to kick the heating element back on.  It's kind of a pain to constantly have to go out and kick on the heater, but it works.  Also, I will pull out the half burnt chips and replace them with new chips/dust.  These tend to burn more redily and produce more smoke.   I don't often follow this step, but if i feel like I really want to have a powerful smoke flavor, I will.

 

Good Luck!

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Puppy View Post

I have a MES30 and use it quite frequently.   I have also had concerns that I wasn't getting enough smoke from it.   Here is what I have found out about my smoker over the last two years:

 

1. If the heating element isn't on and hasn't been on for some time, it probably stopped producing smoke.  Quite simply, the wood chips need a heat source to burn as they won't sustain burning for long on their own.  If the smoker is "at temp" and the heating element not on, it ain't smokin'.  That is sort of a give/take with my MES30.  The insulation is great and will hold temp inside even when it's below freezing outside.  The dowside is that it will sit there on a warm day and not run the heating element for long periods. That said, over the course of an entire cook it usually produces enough smoke during the heating intervals to get the job done.  So, over the entire time, not much to worry about.  Some ways to combat this is to incrementally raise the cooking temp as one fella suggested above.    Pre-heat to somewhere around 180 then when you put whatever it is in the smoker, raise the temp to 200 and toss in some chips.   Once it hits the 200 mark, raise to 225.   If you care to step it up to 230-240 after that..go ahead.

 

2. Don't oversoak your chips.  Or as I have taken to doing, don't soak them at all.  If you really feel compelled to soak them, I would recommend more just giving them an extended rinsing as opposed to a real soaking.  I only wet my chips if I am having troubles with flare ups, which doesn't happen often.

 

3. Use small chips, not chunks.   I take it a step further and mix in a healthy dose of the dust that I use with my Amaznsmoker with the chips.  A good large 3 fingered pinch or two per  1 handfull of small chips.

 

4. Don't stress on it.   Like I mentioned in #1, over time the MES puts out enough smoke to get the job done (in most cases).   If you are one of those that likes a strong smoke flavor you may not get it just running normally, but it will get a smoke flavor though the meat.   As others have stated, a lot of times you won't see the smoke, but if you sniff over the vent on the top you will get a smokey smell.  That's all you really need. 

 

5. If you do want a stronger smoke to your creations, which I do on occasions, I just crack the door a bit to drop the temp inside the smoker down enough to kick the heating element back on.  It's kind of a pain to constantly have to go out and kick on the heater, but it works.  Also, I will pull out the half burnt chips and replace them with new chips/dust.  These tend to burn more redily and produce more smoke.   I don't often follow this step, but if i feel like I really want to have a powerful smoke flavor, I will.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

Everything you said is right on!!!

I learned all of that 4 years ago with my first MES. I did all of the bumping of temps & opening the door to get the element to get hot often enough to make smoke.

Then Todd invented his first AMNS, and I've been on Easy Street ever since!!

 

 

Bear

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Puppy View Post

I have a MES30 and use it quite frequently.   I have also had concerns that I wasn't getting enough smoke from it.   Here is what I have found out about my smoker over the last two years:

1. If the heating element isn't on and hasn't been on for some time, it probably stopped producing smoke.  Quite simply, the wood chips need a heat source to burn as they won't sustain burning for long on their own.  If the smoker is "at temp" and the heating element not on, it ain't smokin'.  That is sort of a give/take with my MES30.  The insulation is great and will hold temp inside even when it's below freezing outside.  The dowside is that it will sit there on a warm day and not run the heating element for long periods. That said, over the course of an entire cook it usually produces enough smoke during the heating intervals to get the job done.  So, over the entire time, not much to worry about.  Some ways to combat this is to incrementally raise the cooking temp as one fella suggested above.    Pre-heat to somewhere around 180 then when you put whatever it is in the smoker, raise the temp to 200 and toss in some chips.   Once it hits the 200 mark, raise to 225.   If you care to step it up to 230-240 after that..go ahead.

2. Don't oversoak your chips.  Or as I have taken to doing, don't soak them at all.  If you really feel compelled to soak them, I would recommend more just giving them an extended rinsing as opposed to a real soaking.  I only wet my chips if I am having troubles with flare ups, which doesn't happen often.

3. Use small chips, not chunks.   I take it a step further and mix in a healthy dose of the dust that I use with my Amaznsmoker with the chips.  A good large 3 fingered pinch or two per  1 handfull of small chips.

4. Don't stress on it.   Like I mentioned in #1, over time the MES puts out enough smoke to get the job done (in most cases).   If you are one of those that likes a strong smoke flavor you may not get it just running normally, but it will get a smoke flavor though the meat.   As others have stated, a lot of times you won't see the smoke, but if you sniff over the vent on the top you will get a smokey smell.  That's all you really need. 

5. If you do want a stronger smoke to your creations, which I do on occasions, I just crack the door a bit to drop the temp inside the smoker down enough to kick the heating element back on.  It's kind of a pain to constantly have to go out and kick on the heater, but it works.  Also, I will pull out the half burnt chips and replace them with new chips/dust.  These tend to burn more redily and produce more smoke.   I don't often follow this step, but if i feel like I really want to have a powerful smoke flavor, I will.

Good Luck!

So much for set and forget!
post #12 of 17

Depending on what year and model your MES is, there very well could be a problem.  Do a search for "retro-fit kit" for MES.  I found out mine was one of the smokers that did indeed have a problem with not putting out enough smoke.  I contacted the company and they promptly and very courteously sent me the kit and it makes a world of difference.

 

That being said, I'll be ordering the AMNPS more for cold smoking but may end up using it as the primary smoke source for the MES.

post #13 of 17

My experiences have led me to believe that smoke color or concentration is not much of a factor when dealing with bitterness, tingling or numbness in the mouth after eating smoked food, etc. Stale smoke is what will kill your meal. I've had instances where I had heavy mesquite smoke flavor on brisket, and it never turned bitter...it was such a heavy smoke flavor that I almost could not eat it, but bitterness was not a part of that equation. It was good smoke, just way too much for my liking at that time.

 

Most of us here on the forums have been preaching thin blue smoke like it's gospel. The color and density of your smoke is not an issue for the average backyard smoker, and different smoke can be used for different applications. If you're new to smoking, yes, thin blue smoke is probably what you want to achieve UNTIL YOU decide it's time to step it up a bit more. If you're on a long smoke with pork shoulder or beef brisket and you don't want a heavy smoke flavor, here again, thin blue smoke is probably your best approach, but if you get periods of heavy smoke, or thick white smoke during this brisket or butt smoke, you won't ruin your prize dinner...you'll just get a bit more smoke than you would have if you kept it thin and blue.

 

I've laid on some pretty hard-core smoke to birds recently (I mean white, and long running) and didn't find any issues with the pulled meat...smoke was not bitter or harsh, and the skin had a superb color. What you do want to avoid is burning meat drippings giving off a grey/black smoke (gives a grilled taste instead of smoked), or black smoke from flare-ups of wood or fuel.

 

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what proper smoke is, and what it is not, in the world of BBQ and smoked meats. Thick white smoke plays just as important of a role in certain applications as thin blue smoke does...there are differences in what is in each type of smoke, and each has beneficial characteristics regarding the flavors from resins produced by certain species of wood and smoke color/density. Finding that prime smoke (wood species and smoke color/density) for a certain cut of meat is the fun part.

 

Carry on, fellow smoker!

 

 

Eric

post #14 of 17

I have and now use a MES30. I have much larger homemade pipe pits, got the MES30 for the convience. Course I have yet to see the blue smoke from an electric pit.

 

My first suggestion, from my old military days,, FIT = first indication of trouble. Have you verifiyed your pit temp? if you are using and external senor also  have you checked its calibration? Always start with the most simple. I have, as we all have, read of the Woes of the digital electronics from MES, I guess I got lucky. 'Course I guess I just put the Mojo on it for sure.

 

Now I have another question here for the big guys. I see you all agreed with soaked chips in an MES? I was wondering why? The chip tray is small to begin with and you have an auto loader. On a 6 hour smoke I only half load it twice, at the start and near the end and have no problems with smoke, ( I do use less smoke that most you can add more but bitter is not better). Mine smokes like a weed, course I usually keep the vents near closed and I don't peek. I have tryed the MES with hickory, pecan, mesquite and oak so far. And have similar results from all. So please, I am wanting to learn.

 

I sure everyone knows already but I use the pecan shells. They are simple to aqquire, and have that same sweet smoke. I also have a huge huge pecan tree in the back yard.

 

Your pit is also still new, the more you smoke the better seasoned it will get. Whats that mean for you? It means you'll need less and less smoke. Sometime if you have an old smoker just cook a chicken with charcoal and see if that flavor doesn't still come thru. I find that espically predominate in a pipe pit. I'll blame the poris density of the carbon steel.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by geerock View Post


So much for set and forget!

Actually, I find mine to be pretty much set and forget.   I mentioned a lot of those items simply as ways to increase the smoke output if you really wanted to.   I'll run it 15-18 hours for pulled pork with no more attention than adding a handfull of chips 2 or 3 times.

 

You have to remember, this is a unit that sells for roughly 200 dollars.  It's not exactly the cadillac of smoking machines.    IMHO for the cost you can't beat it....you just have to keep that perspective.

post #16 of 17

the question is, how do you get the thin blue smoke??

post #17 of 17

Here is how I got smoke at lower temperatures for less than $10.

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/81764/cold-smoke-generator-for-the-mes/40  

 

brian bb2u2@hotmail.com 

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