It's been a few months since I posted on SMF.
Many have added there input on wood chips and how much.
Someone mentioned what type of wood is a factor. I agree, presently I use hickory some mesquite, and almond.
Currently I start with a 1/2 to 2/3 cup of wet wood chips, after they get going I then pull the wood/tray/tube completely out and put in a 2 or 3 wood chunks 1x1 or 1.5x1.5 with tongs and replace the tube. The reason I pull the tube, if you load chunks that may be too big when dumped they may jam and prevent the tube from being able to pull out. I get around 1 hour of visible smoke this way. Notice the word visible, there is residual smoke still in the chamber even though the wood is consumed, the ash is still smoldering and the cooking area is most likely filled with smoke. I allow about 30 minutes for residual smoke to still be flavoring the meat, so on my 2/3 cup wood chip then 2 or 3 wood chunks I get about 1 to 1.5 hours of smoke. However I try to add either more chunks or chips every hour or so. You have to be careful about putting too much wood in the MES and generating creosote.
The 1/2 cup or more of chips has been strained by a 1/4 inch mesh wire ladle
. This is to keep the chips more or less a uniform size so I usually get consistent amounts of smoke.
No one has mentioned preheating your MES, I have written about this before, personally I preheat the MES at 270 for about 1 hour to completely heat all the metal components in the cabinet. In the winter add another hour if you are smoking outside. Why is preheating a factor? Because the electric element will work longer when the MES components are cold trying to heat everything, thus you will burn more chips or wood. After a several smokes you will notice that the MES heat/temperature recovery when the hatch gets opened is much better after many hours of smoking compared to the longer time necessary early in a smoke. If you preheat you will have better heat/temp recovery and hold temp better, thus use less wood, and use a more consistent amount of wood.
While the MES is preheating soak the chips and chunks (soaked is my preference). When your ready to add the meat that will drop the temp 80 to 90 deg. I keep the controller set to 270 add my wood chips and there is smoke in a couple of minutes if not sooner. When I have smoke I reduce the temp to 225 usually.
I use a remote probe to keep track of the internal cabinet temp. However so far my MES has been fairly close to the controller reading.