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The MES and hot outside temps...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I would imagine that most electric smokers, when used outside, would exhibit this problem....In using my MES, I find that the hot ambient outside temp prevents the smoker's heating element from cycling enough to keep the woodchips burning. I've used a piece of charcoal in the chip pan, but that doesn't always fix the issue. For those that have experienced this, how did you overcome this? Would a smoke generator such as the Smoke Daddy be the solution?

If this has been covered before, I apologize. I've been doing alot of searching and couldn't find the specific topic addressed. Thanks for any info.
post #2 of 16
Smoke Daddy is one option.

I just leave the door cracked open, I hook the latch, but do not close/seal it. I also leave the chip shoot pulled out just a little.

Except on the very hottest days this works fine.
post #3 of 16
Another way to get more circulation in the MES is to remove the chip loader. I often do when my wood is first starting to smoke and it's bellowing heavy white smoke. This increases the spead at which the smoke moves through the smoker.
post #4 of 16
Which MES do you have?
If you have the MES 30", the 30" elements heat up the internal cabinet fast and thus will not stay on long enough to keep the wood chips going.
Read Illini's comment, he owns both the 40" & the 30".
He solved the 30" problem with something he made similar to the "Smoke Daddy", an external smoke generator.

I have a 40" and I have no problem with the MES cycling off due to high outdoor ambients. I did a 8.5 lb pork/butt last Monday in 100+ heat and the MES performed flawlessly.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yep, it's the 30". Looks like I need to get a smoke generator.
post #6 of 16

I don't know about it just being hot outside, but I suspect the sun has an effect. I set mine up outside my garage earlier this year on a warm and very sunny spring day. I set the smoker to 100 to dry some sausage before smoking it. I came back an hour later to check on it and the MES was saying the temperature was like 150-160 (can't remember the details, but I posted on it at the time). I double checked and the temp was set to 100. I'm sure with it reading at/above 150, the element wasn't coming on at all. It seemed to me that the sun shining on the SS was causing the temp gauge reading to be way off. I moved the unit to just inside my garage where it was in the shade and the temperature stayed at 100.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Panther...you make a very good point and that's what I originally thought was the issue, so I moved it underneath my deck where it was shaded and had the same issues.

After reading Illini's comment provided by Deltadude above, I think I'm dealing with the "efficiency" of the 30" Masterbuilt to retain heat and it just tends to be a bit more noticable when the ambient temps are high as the problem isn't as pronouced when I'm smoking in 40 degree weather.

I'm not at all displeased with the MES except that the element doesn't cycle enough to keep the wood burning....a Smoke Daddy will fix this.
post #8 of 16
Have you tried charcoal?

When I start up my MES, I add 5-6 charcoal lumps to the bottom of the wood container. Thereafter, I add about 1 lump every hour. This creates, I believe, a nice hot base, so that when you add wood, even if the element is not cycled on, the chips will burn from contact with the charcoal.
post #9 of 16
I don't understand why the element isn't coming on if it is set at lets say 270. Even if the radiant heat generated in the unit by the sun beating down on it and the outside ambient temp is at 110.... the element still has to cycle to keep the temp to.... lets say 225. I have to say that I've not experienced this problem with my 40". I've smoked with it in the day with the sun shining down on it with no problem creating smoke. There may be another problem with the unit... Regardless of how effecient the MES is at retaining heat... it can't stay at a smoking 220 degrees even in the sun without the element kicking on enough to keep some smoke goin. My unit actually takes hours with the elements on to reach 225 - 250.

I'm also thinkin that if your wanting the element to kick on to add smoke, maybe you can open the door and let it cycle to temp again.

I have a smoke daddy and I like it but I use it when I know I'm not going to be around to add wood. Not because of any problem with the MES generating heat. Just a thought but there may be another problem.
post #10 of 16
My MES sits on my open back porch facing due west in west central Florida. So it's hot. I have no trouble with my 30" MES buring wood chips or chunks if set to 225 or higher. It's when I have wanted to smoke lower between 140-170 for jerky for instnace that I've had a problem not getting a complete burn.
post #11 of 16
I just did a batch of jerky and I set the MES on 180. When I put the wood in the unit I opened the door to cool it down so the element would kick on. It did an awesome job. Plenty of smoke. I did this about every hour for the first 4 hours. If your wanting to smoke at a lower temp... I'd leave the door cracked so that the element is stayin on or leave the chip tray out so it's pulling more air. Might be a solution.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I probably should have clarified, I don't experience this at higher temps such at 225+, it's more at the lower temps that the element doesn't cycle enough to keep the wood chips burning. I've tried the charcoal and it seems to work ok, but still requires some adjustment.

I'll try leaving the door cracked or removing the chip loader to see if I have better successes this weekend. Thanks for all of your suggestions.
post #13 of 16
That's exactly how I handled it. Thanks
post #14 of 16
One thing I caught myself on last night doing jerky in 95* heat. I set my MES to 165* and was not getting any smoke. I had not cleaned out the chip drawer in a while & the newly added chips were sitting on the burned/smoked chips & not getting hot enough to smoke. I cleaned it out, started over & worked fine. Just a reminder to check the chip drawer & empty it, if yer not getting smoke.
post #15 of 16

Cool Wrap

I also had the same situation. The element won't heat up the wood pan if the
internal temp is where it's supposed to be... A simple solution I do on hot summer days. I take a beach towel, soak it wet in the swimming pool, wring it out and wrap it around the MES once every 30 minutes or so. It cools down the smoker right away and the smoke starts risin'... Hope this simple solution helps. The garden hose works even better- the water's cooler!
post #16 of 16
wow I must have really lucked out, I have never had a problem with my 30" MES, even when smoking jerky. The only problem I have had is too much smoke when I first started smoking in my MES. My MES is always in the shade so that probably helps...
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