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First use of MES 40 is a disaster

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
icon_evil.gif My wife picked me up the MES 40 from SAM's last weekend and I have been dying to try it. I ran it twice this past week to season it and everything looked good. It came up to 275 and held it for 3 hrs with no problem. So today i invite my family over for some baby backs, I figure that's an easy way to start. I planned on doing the 2,2,1 and put the ribs on at 1:00. Well the unit wouldn't get over 175 for the first hour, then held at 195 for the second hour, I was not sure what to do? I left them on another hr and the unit got up to 200 for the 3rd hour. I pulled, basted, and foiled then stuck them in the house oven at 275 trying to get them up to internal temp. So i figure an hour at 275 should finish them we'll see. I can't figure out what the problem was, now the unit is up to 225 empty but that's it. I guees this will be going back to SAM's.
post #2 of 13
out of curiosity, what was smoker set at and did it preheat to that temp??? just reading your post makes me think it possible that smoker was set at 225 and ribs put in before preheat. cold food will keep temp down until it quits acting as a heat sink. 225 should be a good temp to smoke at lo and slow for ribs. just a thought.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes I pre heated to 225. I guess I should preheat to 250 or 275 to anticipate the temp drop? But after 3 hours I would think the temp would get above 195?
post #4 of 13
I agree, did you preheat and let the ribs come up to room temp or just toss em on cold, and 275* in the oven might not have helped. Don't give up, just keep tryin, I was one who had been smokin' for many years and thought I knew it all just because I smoked brisket once a year for an annual event. This place has helped me more than you can imagine.
First have you checked the actual temp in the smoker from an outside source, (digital thermo) or are you going strictly by the readout on the unit?
I own the smaller MES and it runs about 11 degrees different than what the built in readout says it is.
Also MES supposedly has great customer service so that might be another avenue.
If you do ultamately dicide to get rid of the MES find something your more comfortable with but don't give up and give it a go with that.
Keep smokin
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
The ribs were room temp when I threw them on. The 275 in the oven was a last ditch effort to get them up to temp before they dried out. After three hours on the smoker at between 170 an 195 the ribs were cooking but not enough. The internal stemp was only 130. I thought the same thing about the thermometor so I ran out and bought one, stuck it in and got the same temp as the display readout. The ribs are actually looking real nice right now, I'm going to finish them on the grill to crisp up some sauce on them.

I like the MES, itsef , I'm just concerned I might have a bad heat element?
post #6 of 13
Did you leave the chip loader in the unit? That has holes in to control air flow. Also to get up to temp, you can close chimney 1/2 - 3/4 at first.
post #7 of 13
that sounds like mine with the terminals on the wires hooked to the heating element disintegrating after about the third time I used it .At times it would reach temp or fluctuate and then it died and there was no terminal left on the wire . I think they're made of brass or cheap steel and when they come over from china maybe some of them get some salty air on them and starts corroding the terminals on the wires and then the heat finishes the corrosion process after a certain period of time ? Just a thought . There was a recent post with pictures not too long ago. I just got "female appliance terminals" from the hardware store , crimped them onto the wires , and I have probably used my unit 50 times since then , sometimes 12 hours at a time with no problems. Just a thought.
post #8 of 13
I havent had temp problems as bad as your describing, but again I have seen several posts on here that have talked about how great the people @ Materbuilt are about correcting any issues you might have.
post #9 of 13
i have the 30 inch unit, if i plan on eating around 4-5 pm and doing 2 slabs of bbs, i usually start around 10 am, no preheating during summer, set temp at 220, usually takes an hour or so to get there, add a charcoal briquette to chip holder when first starting as someone recommended several months back along with wood chips, add split chunks of wood about every hour after that. at 3rd hour, i open door and spray ribs down with apple juice etc. and several more times before they are done. make sure the meat isnt touching the temp sensor in left rear panel around second shelf from top. if you did more than 2 slabs, 3 hours sounds a little too quick, try 5-6 hours before you give up on your unit.
post #10 of 13
Sorry to hear of your luck. Things can sure get out of whack when one tries to smoke for others. Practice will get you there. Good luck.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well it ended well

So the Ribs came out delicious. Could have been a little more moist, but they were fall off the bone good. I used the rub recipe from the MES manual, and I think I used too much for my liking. It was a little overpowering. The fatties turned out great. Once I pulled the Ribs the unit went from 195 to 250 in 30 minutes. I understand 6 racks of ribs is a fairly large load, but there is no way it should keep keep the temp under 200 for 3 hours.

I did keep the chip loader in place, and plugged the unit directly into the wall, I did start with an extension cord, but after the first hour and the temp staying at 170, I slid it across the deck ad plugged it directly into the wall, 2 more hours went by and the unit was only at 198.

I guess I will look at the connectors today to see if I can spot anything.

Thank you to everyone for their help!
post #12 of 13
Somehow I missed this thread, so hope a late reply is of some use.

I have the 40" MES from Sam's too, and have had the same problem with getting to heat. I think I have used the MES about 6 or 7 times, and twice it had the problem of getting to heat. The 1st time was the extension cord, the 2nd was 10 racks of ribs on 4th, and that was scary because 70 miles away people were expecting those ribs. The 3 uses since have been small quantities of food, so not a good test.

However here is my current procedure:
1. Preheat MES to 270, no water pan. Be sure and spray the racks with pan if you want easy clean-up. No extension cord.

2. While preheating boil water, I have a electric hot plate for outdoor use that I use.

3. Throw wood chips in some water and let soak during preheat. BTW I found a neat little scoop $2 at walmart, I use for the wood.

4. Get meat ready to go into MES.

5. I used to load water, meat, wood. The racks already in MES. As I said I have only been smoking small quantities since the 4th, so only using two racks most of time. Now I keep the racks I intent to use out of MES during preheat, and put meat on those racks, when ready I then load in MES. The idea here is only have the MES door open the absolute minimum time, to keep heat/temp up. To help, I have a prep table setup next to the MES with everything ready to go.

*I used to load water pan at same time, now I load water pan about 15 minutes prior to loading everything else, again I do this very quick so the MES doesn't drop much in temp.

The temp drops to around 180-200, provided I keep door open to a minimum.

At this stage, you really want to absolutely keep the door closed, no peeking! That also means you need to be careful when you load the meat everything is in the MES the way you want it, meat, water, temp probe if using one, etc. I have had the temp probe fall off the rack when pushing another tray in, and not notice this. Then having to correct this by opening the door. This can add another 30 minutes to getting MES up to cooking temp.

4. I now do a hard reset, (turn off digital control, unplug electric cord). I reset the MES to my desire temp usually 225, and set cooking times. My thinking here, this serves two purposes. 1st, when the MES failed to get to temp previously I did hard reset sometimes two and the MES finally got to temp. So now I just automatically do the hard reset when starting the smoke. 2nd, I want to make sure the heating element is on, I have no clue how fast the sensor when detecting the temp drop turns the heating element on. So by hard reset, I know for sure the heat element will be on and working to get to my set temp.

5. The 1st hour of my cook I check the MES and Taylor every 15 minutes to make sure the MES is working properly and achieving the desired set temp.

I know a lot of this is obvious, but I thought a detailed description may help new MES owners.
post #13 of 13

Close The Damper Dude

I just did a test tonight. After 45 minutes It was up to 275'. 3 empty racks, empty water pan and damper closed 3/4 with 1 small piece of Mesquite Lump. I wanted to see if I got any smoke with the lump after using it once before wth not so good results unless I added chips. Well, after a while I got nice thin smoke for quite a while.

Now after 1 1/2 hours it s holding 275' -280' just added another lump and still getting smoke.

I think the answer here is when preheating, is to close the damper down, it's there for a reason, hell, close it all the way, to keep the heat in and allow the internal walls absorb the heat, not to allow it to go out the chimney. Leaving it open would be like pre heating your oven with the door open.

I just did a test on that also, opened the door and got a 10' temp drop and it turned the element back on.

Hope this helps.

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