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Converting a MES 30 Elite Analog to full time snack stick machine

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ok, I've been pondering this for a while. 

 

Some time back I picked up a huge, as it 7 1/2' tall McCall proofer/warmer that I intended to convert to a mega snack stick and smoked sausage making machine.  I liked this particular unit as it was inexpensive (like $85 with the auction fee and taxes), all stainless inside and out, the heating element was at the top of the unit, air is pulled from the top of the cabinet and forced across a finned heating element by 2 fans and then flows down a channel on one side of the cabinet with louvers to evenly distributed the heated air around the interior of the cabinet.  Should have even heating and no danger of a grease fire as there is no way for the drippings to hit the element.  Only problem is where to put it.  The dang thing is too tall to go under my garage door so storing it there and rolling it out to use is not an option and I'm out of room on the covered porch (plus the wife said it's too big so that was the end of the put it on the porch campaign).  So it has been sitting in storage since I bought it.

 

Then I recently saw the MES 30 Elite Analog that N4YNU added extra racks to in this thread:

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/250183/mes-30-sportsman-elite-analog-electric-smoker-rack-mod

 

Photo of his rack mod.  He has done other mods to the heating element and smoke stack since but this gives you the idea I'm working with.  This is my goal in adding more racks.

 

 

I already own a Auber Instrument PID "in a box" controller that I bought to run the element in my e-WSM mod.  The e-WSM does a great job on sticks and smoked sausage, I just need more real estate.  I was looking at modding the e-WSM and adding racks but by the time I bought the racks and had the frame I wanted welded up I was looking at a $100+ mod.  So the $170 MES 30 Elite Analog was starting to look attractive.  Here is my PID controller. It will be plug and play with the MES 30.

 

 

So this weekend I was checking out the "going out of business" sale at the local Gander Mountain.  They had the MES 30 Elite Analog for 20% off which brought the price down to $132.  I bought one.  Here is the stock unit with no mods after simply running wide open for about 2 hours to burn off any shipping oil.  It held 375* no problems in 70* ambient heat (temp by Thermapen - the dial thermo in door is off by 25* over 250 - shocker).  Since I'm looking at cold smoking, snack sticks and smoked sausage, I only need to get to the 170-180* range so I think I'm covered.

 

 

All that open space up top is just screaming "please add more cooking racks to me!"  The mod will add 3 more and I also ordered 2 more racks for the open rack space at the bottom (total of 8 racks when done).  That little white light you see at the top right of the interior is the only smoke exhaust port.  I'm also going to add a real adjustable smoke stack on the top and use this opening as a temp sensor probe inlet (will plug with a drilled and slit silicone plug).

 

 

Air inlet looks a little on the small side also,  I may end up opening it up later.

 

 

So this is the stock from he box unit.  Here is a list of the mods I'm considering....

 

1) add 5 more food racks and do the mod N4YNU posted here:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/250183/mes-30-sportsman-elite-analog-electric-smoker-rack-mod

 

2) add a real smoke stack - adjustable model from a Lowes Master Forge gas smoker, again like N4YNU did here, but I'm going to put a wide baffle about an inch below the bottom of the stack,  I want to spread the in flow to the stack out over a larger area and more from the sides of the smoker to combat the natural tendency for the air to flow straight up and out the stack:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/250505/mes-30-sportsman-elite-smoke-stack-mod

 

3) place a cut section from a stainless steel "hotel pan false bottom" for steaming above the heating element.  Purpose will be to more evenly distribute heat and smoke over a larger area via it's size (as a metal radiating surface) and via the holes in it. If I pull the rack for the smoke box and water pan, I should be able to find and cut a hotel pan false bottom unit to slide on the mounts for the existing rack above the heating element.

 

4) close off whimpy 3/4" exhaust port on back of smoker with a slit and drilled silicone plug (use for temp probe wire inlet)

 

5) use Auber "plug & play" PID controller to regulate 1,500 watt element and control temps

 

6) use AMZNPS tray for smoke source, may require opening up larger air inlet on the bottom (larger hole or more smaller holes).  I also intend on building a heat shield to sit slightly above the pellet tray and shield it from the heating element.

 

7) depending on results of pellet tray and smoke stack mods, I may raise the heating element like N4YNU did in this post:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/251326/mes-30-sportsman-elite-heating-element-mod-for-amnps-repositioning-and-airflow-improvement-mod

 

8) may add insulating door gasket to stem leakage of smoke and better seal unit.

 

9) may drill out the top rivets and pull the top off so I can slide in rock wool insulation and insulate the body.  As is, the unit is a double wall, uninsulated (dead air space) shell.  It looks like after drilling rivets for the top I can slide in sections of rock wool.  Same for the door, drill rivets and insulate.

 

So the part collecting begins.....

post #2 of 9
That's a great idea! I see sticks, cheese, fish, and all sorts of other smaller items going into that one.

As you know, the Auber controllers are hard to beat. Looking forward to seeing where this ends up!
post #3 of 9

Dward - I'm really interested in that idea of sliding in the insulation.

 

Please let us know in detail how that works out.

 

Would be a great improvement for the Analogs.

 

 

Your plan for a baffle shelf under the vent sounds great.

 

 

Also, link below is a very neat professional way to nipple through the double wall airspace for your vent.

 

Much nicer than flanging a nipple w shears or whatever ---

 

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/ductflanges.php

 

 

 

Marc

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marctrees View Post
Also, link below is a very neat professional way to nipple through the double wall airspace for your vent.

 

Much nicer than flanging a nipple w shears or whatever ---

 

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/ductflanges.php

 

 

 

Marc

 

Thanks for that link.  I can see that working great with the smoke stack mod by using it to flange from the inside and sleeve the opening into the smoke stack keeping the air flow out of the now hollow shell between the inner and outer body.  With a 1" height, it should extend above the outer body and into the stack. I'm also thinking of using rivet nuts instead of self tapping screws to mount the new rack supports. 

 

As to the insulation, I will probably run it a couple of times "as is" with just the dead air space between the inner and outer shells before I make that decision.  But on the other hand, I need to decide before I put in more permanent fixtures like the rivet nuts.  I can unscrew everything currently on either the inner or outer shell to give the insulation a clean path to slide in and reinstall everything much neater afterwards.  I would probably convert the existing screw holes to rivet nuts as well as that eliminates the chance of a screw stripping out of the thin metal body.

 

It looks like if I drill the rivets out of the top outer section and lift it off, I can just slide in panels of rock wool insulation down between the wall sections and then cap it with a panel on top before reinstalling the top with new rivets.  I have not seen an assembly diagram showing how the unit is put together, but that is how it looks to me.  Guess I'll have to drill it out and see what I have to work with.

post #5 of 9

May I suggest..   exhaust vents on the side walls near the top of the smoker body..   maybe 4 each 1" ports...   that will do 2 things...   distribute the exhaust to all sections of the smoker body for uniformity...  and prevent condensate from dripping back inside on the meats....

 

Think about air inlets at the base of the walls of the smoker body also...   maybe 2 each 1" ports, on opposite sides... 

 

Think about having the AMNPS inside a mailbox mod type install...   maybe have the smoke enter in the center of the floor of the smoker body through aluminum duct work...  

 

Having the AMNPS inside a heated smoker can alter the burning rate and make uniform smoke a small problem...   also, they may burst into flame if they get too warm...  

 

I love the idea of all the room you will have...  wish I had it in my MES 30...  Sausage, sticks, bacon, hocks....   no end to what you will be able to get done....

 

Have you seen the pasteurization tables I have posted...  you can get "safe to eat" sticks without cooking to 165 deg. F by following the table of "time and temp"..

I cook my sticks at 145 ish for 24 hours..    they get to 130-135 for a few hours and then they are safe to eat...  no melting fat, no fat out.. 

great texture... 

 

...click on pic to enlarge...

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

May I suggest..   exhaust vents on the side walls near the top of the smoker body..   maybe 4 each 1" ports...   that will do 2 things...   distribute the exhaust to all sections of the smoker body for uniformity...  and prevent condensate from dripping back inside on the meats....

Think about air inlets at the base of the walls of the smoker body also...   maybe 2 each 1" ports, on opposite sides... 

Think about having the AMNPS inside a mailbox mod type install...   maybe have the smoke enter in the center of the floor of the smoker body through aluminum duct work...  

Having the AMNPS inside a heated smoker can alter the burning rate and make uniform smoke a small problem...   also, they may burst into flame if they get too warm...  

I love the idea of all the room you will have...  wish I had it in my MES 30...  Sausage, sticks, bacon, hocks....   no end to what you will be able to get done....

Have you seen the pasteurization tables I have posted...  you can get "safe to eat" sticks without cooking to 165 deg. F by following the table of "time and temp"..
I cook my sticks at 145 ish for 24 hours..    they get to 130-135 for a few hours and then they are safe to eat...  no melting fat, no fat out.. 
great texture... 

...click on pic to enlarge...

I like this chart. Thermoworks discussed a log 7 bacteria reduction with holding temp/duration for poultry. With instant pasturization at 165*f. Probably because it was poultry whether the meat was intact or not? Crispy skin aside it was like holding a chxn breast at 155*f for 9 min. To get the same log 7 bacteria reduction when the breast instantly hits 165*f. I have no problem with breast meat with a slight pink hue having the same pasturizing results as cooking to 165*f without having so much intracellular fluid cooked out of the protein sheaths, allowing them to form strings (stringy over cooked poultry.)
-Kurt
post #7 of 9

Dr. K....  here's a poultry pasteurization table....

 

Temperature........

...................... Time

°F (°C).............. 12% fat

136 (57.8)......... 81.4 min

137 (58.3)........ 65.5 min

138 (58.9)........ 52.9 min

139 (59.4)........ 43 min

140 (60.0)........ 35 min

141 (60.6)........ 28.7 min

142 (61.1)........ 23.7 min

143 (61.7)........ 19.8 min

144 (62.2)........ 16.6 min

145 (62.8)........ 13.8 min

146 (63.3)........ 11.5 min

148 (64.4)........ 7.7 min

150 (65.6)........ 4.9 min

152 (66.7)........ 2.8 min

154 (67.8)........ 1.6 min

156 (68.9)........ 1 min

158 (70.0)........ 40.9 sec

160 (71.1)........ 26.9 sec

162 (72.2)........ 17.7 sec

164 (73.3)........ 11.7 sec

166 (74.4)........ 0 sec

Table C.2: Pasteurization times for a 7D reduction in Salmonella for chicken and turkey (FSIS, 2005).

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

Dr. K....  here's a poultry pasteurization table....

Temperature........
...................... Time
°F (°C).............. 12% fat
136 (57.8)......... 81.4 min
137 (58.3)........ 65.5 min
138 (58.9)........ 52.9 min
139 (59.4)........ 43 min
140 (60.0)........ 35 min
141 (60.6)........ 28.7 min
142 (61.1)........ 23.7 min
143 (61.7)........ 19.8 min
144 (62.2)........ 16.6 min
145 (62.8)........ 13.8 min
146 (63.3)........ 11.5 min
148 (64.4)........ 7.7 min
150 (65.6)........ 4.9 min
152 (66.7)........ 2.8 min
154 (67.8)........ 1.6 min
156 (68.9)........ 1 min
158 (70.0)........ 40.9 sec
160 (71.1)........ 26.9 sec
162 (72.2)........ 17.7 sec
164 (73.3)........ 11.7 sec
166 (74.4)........ 0 sec
Table C.2: Pasteurization times for a 7D reduction in Salmonella for chicken and turkey (FSIS, 2005).
Thanks Dave! Did you put all your tables in a forum?
-Kurt
post #9 of 9

I can't remember...    but I will do one now....   Great idea......

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