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Chip in the wood tray

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just bought a 30" Masterbuilt and am brand new to smoking.  My question concerns the smoke put out by my smoker.  

I have to restock the wood chips in the tray about every 20-25 minutes.  Is this short frequency standard?  I've also found that after about 3 refills, the smoke quits.  I tried emptying the chip tray, refilled it, and the smoke took off again.  Sounds as if I need to plan on emptying the wood tray after 3 chip replacements????  Also, a lot of the chips are not "burned" thru, they're just a bit charred or blackened.  I've tried reusing them, and they seem to work just fine.


post #2 of 10

Most of the MES crowd doesn't use wood chips.


They use a pellet smoker.




They give smoke for several hours without refilling.



post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hmmmm, Hadn't heard of this device.  Which one do you use?  I suspect it would be the 12" round one?  How full do you fill the tube with pellets?  Seems they should be down over the heating coil - and with the wood chip tray removed?  Also, does this affect the amount of water you put in the water pan?


Thanks for the info, I really do appreciate it.



post #4 of 10

I have used both the 12" tube and the AMNPS.  I use the AMNPS mostly because I think it takes less pellets, and I tend to do longer smokes like pork butts in my MES40.  For the tube smoker one end is open and you load and light through that with either butane or propane torch (I use a propane because I had it anyway).


I don't use water at all when I smoke.  But that is just me.  If you do a search for water or water pan, you will see it is one of the great debates of smoking.  Some people swear by using water, some say only a dry chamber.


You can also search for "Mail box mod" for how some people use their AMNTS/AMNPS.  Can also look up "Bear's Index" he has lots of how to's with amazing picture and shows how he sets up his MES with his pellet smoker as well.

post #5 of 10
20-25 minutes doesn't sound right at all. I have a 30" MES, base model nothing special. I use wood chips in the provided tray (until I get around to the mailbox mod) and a full tray will last me 2-3 hours easily with a medium heat, around 225-250 degrees.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Great info.  Thanks, Thanks, THANKS.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

HI juror,

I tried a search for both the AMNTS/AMNPS and the "mail box mod" and was unsuccessful.  How do I do them?





post #8 of 10

This is direct URL to the mfgr, but you can find it on other retail sites as well... also, they make the tray, a tube, some others... navigate the site to learn more and choose what you think will work for you.





Go through the links in this focused search result... you'll get TONS of ideas and pictures and recommendations.  Short version: get some type of metal box to use as an external smoke source, such as a mailbox.  Drill or cut an appropriately sized hole in your smokers main housing.. some put it on the side, some on the back... then attach the two with some dryer vent tubing, flexible or solid or both. 


This moves the location of where you are burning pellets/wood chips outside of the main smoker itself.  You can then check your wood and add more, relight, etc without opening the main door of your smoker and letting all the smoke and/or heat out.  You can also do cold smokes this way too, since you won't have to light your smokers burners, or turn on the electric element. 


Type this in a Google search:  mailbox mod MES site:www.smokingmeatforums.com


Good luck. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Jason for all of your help.  Just one more question, if I may/


How much smoke should be coming out the vent? Heavy, medium, trace?


Thanks again,



post #10 of 10

Well, I can only speak to my smoker.. a 30" Masterbuilt analog.  So I only have a small half inch vent hole in the top right, on the back panel. Given that, when mine is running perfectly, I have light smoke exited my little back vent, and slightly more (but maybe not enough to call it medium, but almost) from the top and upper right hinge area of the door. I have my door adjusted such that it seals, except for around there... since my analog unit doesn't have any additional venting for air in or out.  


And that seems to work great for me.  My only issue is that without a mailbox mod, I can only go as low as about 120-140 degrees and still maintain smoking wood chips. 


If you either have, or can install an adjustable vent on your smoker, I think you should shoot for smoke generation that is not excessive, but not so little as to be ineffective.  I know that is vague.  The idea is to have enough airflow to keep your wood smoking and lit, but not so much that it causes it to flame up and ignite, or go out.  You just gotta get a feel for it.  


I know that when I open the door to my smoker, before it all comes flying out into my face... lol ... it fully fills the smoker box completely.  My smoke doesn't move much in the box.. it kinda floats in there, circulating a little bit... and then trickling out the back vent, or up through the tiny door gap. 

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