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New MES owner, Sams version

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
As I type, I'm seasoning the new MES.
1st impressions:
* Unit was ordered online via Sams Club, I didn't get a good price the price has climped due to gas prices, no point in waiting the price may just get higher.

* The MES came slightly damaged, rear panel near electric cord has slight buckle, obviously dropped on that corner. Inside unit is great, rest of outside fine. I took pics, to email to Sams, however if I return unit the next may be even more damaged. With July 4th coming I want to be ready to serve some fine smoked fixins, so going to use this one.

*Simple assembly, most of the parts look well made, however some could be a slighly heavier grade metal. I don't like how the wood chip tray/holder, doesn't have it's own bracket to make sliding under electric element easier and smoother.

* The door seal on lower left if open or looking at closed door lower right, is not sealing properly. Because the gasket is one continuous strip, when rounding that corner the strip bulges out more than in the straight runs, thus when the door is closing the seal strip in that spot is pushed to the inside rather than between the door and the box flange.

Several areas on the door seal gasket is not glued down.
Can someone recommend the proper gasket cement or glue that can withstand the temperature, and ok for cooking?

I bought the Sam's version because I wanted the extra width, I like ribs and don't want to roll or cut racks to get them to fit.

I used to sell products to Sheetmetal shops, and to get a insulated cabinet with a hinged sealed door custom built would cost a lot more than the Sams club MES. So even if the MES fails in 2 years, the cabinet can easily be modified to keep on smokin for years.

I'm looking forward to using and playing with the new MES!

If anyone has ideas for making metal racks so you can put 3 or 4 racks of ribs per shelf, please comment.
post #2 of 11


Congrats on your MES. I got mine May 15 and had similar a gasket problem. They sent me a new door. Look at the chip loader and if there are 2 welds on each side holding the handle you are ok. If only one you will probably break the welds. They sent me a new one with 2 welds on each side. Also, do you have a Sam's close by? They have reduced the price here to 267.00. You can also buy a 3 year extended warrantee for 39 dolars a great insurance policy.

They have excellent customer service, just spoke to them today, very friendly.

I have done many smokes in the last month and have posted QVIEWS (pics) of them all. If interested you can do a search for ronp100343 all thread, not posts and see some actual pics of the MES in action.
I think you can buy vertical rib racks at the store that might work.

It does a great job.

Let me know if you need anything, been there done that. You can also PM me.

Good luck!

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Im in Calif. I've been checking Sams stores in my area for 2 months and none stock the MES.

The door for now is fine, the gasket though needs glue for the spots that are not glued. The turn causes the gasket to bulge out and partially miss sealing, however it isn't leaking in that spot at all, yet.
post #4 of 11
I have the exact same problem with the seal, and when I called customer service, they said I only needed a new seal, and not a new door. They siad there should be a clip every 6 inches on the bottom, not just one in the middle.

Will wait and see when I get the new seal.

Also I am having trouble make a good smoke ring with wood chips. I am trying some wood chucks tonight that have split to fit inside the hole. Hopefully it comes out better.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Can some MES owners post pictures of the stands they have made for their MES.

I'm thinking of making a 12" high stand with casters, but I'm worried about wind. During seasoning the MES was under the eve and the house quickly got smoke smell inside. So I pulled the MES a few feet away to get better air circulation thus no smoke under the eve. The MES is now on a make shift stand, but I'm worried that a good gust of wind could knock it off.

Also I'm not sure the abilities of the digital control unit are very good. I set the temp for 275 and the unit seems to be constantly above 285. I have opened the door several times, so the unit may be trying to get back to heat and mess up the element on / off cycles.
post #6 of 11
Well, it took 2 calls and 2 different people before they sent the door. The first person told me it was supposed to leak to prevent blowing fire in my face. icon_evil.gif My door didn't have the holes where the clips supposedly went in, so a new gasket would not have worked without drilling out a rivet where the clip goes. They just sent the whole door, kinda a waste. BUT, I just looked at the new door and I only have clips at each end and one in the middle like the old one minus the rivets, not every 6 inches like they said. It does get confusing. Maybe the new gasket will work.

So far as the smoke ring goes, I don't worry that much about it, but learned here if you add 1 charcoal with every chip load it helps, which I do now.
Good luck!
post #7 of 11
Here are some pre made rib racks from Ace hardware that I'm going to order today. You can get free shipping to your local ACE store.

I took the feet off and had the bolts TIG welded to casters . Easy to roll around now. Installed 2 # 10MM nuts on each one to level.
post #8 of 11
Thanks I will try the charcoal. The lump wood didnt help, so I will try charcoal next time. Do you ge a nice smoke ring with the charcoal?
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Monday will be 1st opportunity to use the MES, picked up 2 packages of baby backs from Costco, so that is 6 racks of ribs, plus will do 2 whole chickens.

My previous smoking experience was on my weber kettle, lots of tending and tweaking to keep temperature right. I've done pork shoulder, ribs, brisket, checken, etc. The method I used was similar to http://www.smokenator.com/images/SmokenatorTop.gif the "smokenator.
But without the smokenator, I took a heavy duty baking tray, cut it so the length would fit when inserted in the row on cooking grate just after the flip up part of the grid, long enough to go through the charcoal grate. You have to cut a 1/4" slot down the middle to go through the top grate. The heat shield length was just long enough to allow the kettle lid to, so it was above the cooking grate.

In addition I used a digital temp probe to monitor temperature. Removing the lid to add charcoal or wood was a chore, because getting back to temperature required constant tweaking and observation. I did a lot of 11 to 15 hour smokes, and felt like I was doing serious work.

I am really looking forward to using a real smoker the "MES".

I do wish there was a way that the wood could last 4 or 5 hours without over smoking.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
In an effort to get longer wood burning times.

Has anyone tried removing the wood chip loader, making a cap that inserts and seals the 3" wood loader opening.
First start the smoking normally using small wood chips then remove the loader drop in big wood chunk or two, put opening cap in place.
post #11 of 11
I would think if you make a cap, you had better drill three holes like the loader has for air intake. I was told that's where it gets it's air from. Make sense?

Good luck on your smoke.
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