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MES Charcoal box add-on

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have a smoke daddy i built and dont get me wrong, it works. It actually works too well to generate smoke. I dont even use the air pump. Last week i was making a batch of jerky and got to thinking about the differences between blue smoke, subtle white smoke, and too much white smoke. So i removed the center piece in my smoke daddy and put some glowing red lump charcoal in and dropped a chunk of apple wood and put the cap on. And for awhile i got a really nice subtle, steady trickle of blue smoke. Only proble is there wasnt enough lump charcoal inside to keep that chunk of apple wood smoking.

 

I came to the conclusion i need a bigger container to hold enough lump charcoal to keep a chunk or two of wood smoking. So i thought i would ask some of the experts here at SMF if anyone has done any add-on mods to their MES30/40's that use charcoal and chunks of wood. All the mods i read about seem to use the AMNPS with pellets and im looking to use solely chunks of wood.

post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

I couldn't wait for a reply. I used some stainless steel buffet serving trays as the box. I cut a 3 inch hole in the top tray and i tiny drill hole on the other side for back draft. I cut a slot in the bottom try for bottom draft and also to insert a electric charcoal starter. Seems to work very good. One chunk of wood gives about 30 minutes of subtle blue smoke. I just need to put some handles on the top tray and bottom tray so its easier to remove without risk of getting burned.

 

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have not worked with chunk wood before, just wood chips. Should i soak the wood chunks in water before adding to the charcoal? Would it help make the wood chunk smolder longer and slower?

post #4 of 15

 I don't know why no one has answered yet but soaking wood is not as beneficial as some may think....everyone has their own opinions but if you soak it it will help for a limited time until the water evaporates off which is approx. 5 minutes so no, for me I just use to throw the chunks in without soaking....

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mystakilla View Post
 

 I don't know why no one has answered yet but soaking wood is not as beneficial as some may think....everyone has their own opinions but if you soak it it will help for a limited time until the water evaporates off which is approx. 5 minutes so no, for me I just use to throw the chunks in without soaking....

I've never seen on TV or in a Steve Raichlen video anyone soaking wood chunks before putting them in a smoker. You just place the wood chunks directly on the charcoal if you're using a non-electric or non-propane smoker. If you're using just wood in your firebox you wouldn't soak the chunks either. You're not even supposed to soak wood chips before placing them in a MES.

 

However, your smoker box is very inventive and a cool idea. I just prefer to use my MES 30 just the way it arrived except I use wood pellets in an AMNPS instead of wood chips.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
 

I've never seen on TV or in a Steve Raichlen video anyone soaking wood chunks before putting them in a smoker. You just place the wood chunks directly on the charcoal if you're using a non-electric or non-propane smoker. If you're using just wood in your firebox you wouldn't soak the chunks either. You're not even supposed to soak wood chips before placing them in a MES.

 

However, your smoker box is very inventive and a cool idea. I just prefer to use my MES 30 just the way it arrived except I use wood pellets in an AMNPS instead of wood chips.


After awhile of using the charcoal box smoker i noticed that the chunks have to be somewhat small otherwise too much smoke builds up. I might just buy an AMNPS and see how much smoke it produces. I just feel like am trying to achieve something impossible. I think the MES is too small to keep a long steady subtle smoke. I am hoping i am wrong and this AMNPS works better theneverything else ive tried.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by IburnedIt View Post
 


After awhile of using the charcoal box smoker i noticed that the chunks have to be somewhat small otherwise too much smoke builds up. I might just buy an AMNPS and see how much smoke it produces. I just feel like am trying to achieve something impossible. I think the MES is too small to keep a long steady subtle smoke. I am hoping i am wrong and this AMNPS works better theneverything else ive tried.


I've got a MES 30 Gen 1, the smallest smoker that Masterbuilt makes. I have no problem 11-12 hours of TBS from the AMNPS. But the AMNPS was designed for my smoker so that's to be expected. I've done no mods to my smoker at all. I don't even pull out the wood chip loader. From the photo I can't tell which MES you own but it looks like it isn't a Gen 2. The AMNPS should work fine in your smoker without any mods.

 

By using lump charcoal are you trying for a smoke ring or do you feel you needed more heat to generate the amount of smoke you want from wood chunks? As I said the AMNPS provides all the smoke I want. I'm looking for smoke to enhance the flavor of meat, not to overpower it. It's also important to remember that many times the smoke flavor grows stronger after the meat has been refrigerated for a few days. Same thing happens to cheese.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
 


I've got a MES 30 Gen 1, the smallest smoker that Masterbuilt makes. I have no problem 11-12 hours of TBS from the AMNPS. But the AMNPS was designed for my smoker so that's to be expected. I've done no mods to my smoker at all. I don't even pull out the wood chip loader. From the photo I can't tell which MES you own but it looks like it isn't a Gen 2. The AMNPS should work fine in your smoker without any mods.

 

By using lump charcoal are you trying for a smoke ring or do you feel you needed more heat to generate the amount of smoke you want from wood chunks? As I said the AMNPS provides all the smoke I want. I'm looking for smoke to enhance the flavor of meat, not to overpower it. It's also important to remember that many times the smoke flavor grows stronger after the meat has been refrigerated for a few days. Same thing happens to cheese.


I just ordered The AMNPS with a 12"X24" Qmatz.  The Qmatz are worth every penny with meatloaves or anytime you smoke so people like me without dishwashers can soak a grid liner in the sink,  Instead of an inflexible 12"X19.5" rack.  You'll always have to clean the racks but the pieces stick to the Qmatz and let the smoke through.  I get one everytime I order from Todd.  They are 25% off.  I've have had great results from my 12" AMNTS but my mom wanted something for my Sept. B-day.  So The AMNPS/Qmatz was it.

-Kurt   

post #9 of 15
Do you have any holes drilled in the upper pan for air flow.... I would drill a 1" hole, opposite the flex duct end, in the upper pan....
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr K View Post
 


I just ordered The AMNPS with a 12"X24" Qmatz.  The Qmatz are worth every penny with meatloaves or anytime you smoke so people like me without dishwashers can soak a grid liner in the sink,  Instead of an inflexible 12"X19.5" rack.  You'll always have to clean the racks but the pieces stick to the Qmatz and let the smoke through.  I get one everytime I order from Todd.  They are 25% off.  I've have had great results from my 12" AMNTS but my mom wanted something for my Sept. B-day.  So The AMNPS/Qmatz was it.

-Kurt   


I ordered Qmatz from Todd last year but have yet to use them. I got them specifically for smoking cheeses to keep them from sinking into the rack tines but I haven't smoked more cheese yet. Still on the to-do list. Smoked meatloaf is a real interesting idea but making meatloaf remains my wife's department.

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

From what i can tell by online pictures, I have a 1st Gen. My problem is i want less smoke. When i do have thin blue smoke it doesnt last long and goes out if i dont constantly tend to it. I thought a solid chunk would give me better results but eventually the big chunk started to produce too much smoke. Not thick white or yellow smoke, but too much blue/white smoke.

 

I drilled a 1/4 inch hole ont the other side of the 3 inch hole. Wouldnt a 1 inch hole make even more smoke?

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by IburnedIt View Post
 

From what i can tell by online pictures, I have a 1st Gen. My problem is i want less smoke. When i do have thin blue smoke it doesnt last long and goes out if i dont constantly tend to it. I thought a solid chunk would give me better results but eventually the big chunk started to produce too much smoke. Not thick white or yellow smoke, but too much blue/white smoke.

 

I drilled a 1/4 inch hole ont the other side of the 3 inch hole. Wouldnt a 1 inch hole make even more smoke?


The Gen 1 was designed for wood chips, not wood chunks. I can see why a chunk would produce an overabundance of smoke. But then Masterbuilt insists the Gen 1 was designed for wood chips, not wood pellets. For most of us, the AMNPS works just fine in Gen 1 smokers, producing TBS over an average of 11 hours.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Not sure why it matters if the 1st Gen was not designed for wood chunks when im using an external charcoal box shown in the pictures above.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by IburnedIt View Post
 

Not sure why it matters if the 1st Gen was not designed for wood chunks when im using an external charcoal box shown in the pictures above.

 

It doesn't matter.

 

The AMNPS works great in an MES 30 Gen 1 as it should since it was designed for and tested with that unit quite thoroughly.

 

I'd imagine your chunk smokebox will work well too though. It will just take some trial and error dialing it in.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by IburnedIt View Post
 

Not sure why it matters if the 1st Gen was not designed for wood chunks when im using an external charcoal box shown in the pictures above.


I was strictly talking about placing wood chunks in the wood chip tray inside the MES.

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