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No top vent on my MES - Question about cutting one in

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I scored a barely used MES on Craigslist for $80. This one doesn't have a vent on the top. I'm thinking about cutting one in. It seems that most people on here leave their vents open for taste and health issues. I can't imagine that it would be good to have the same smoke trapped in there the whole time.

Is there wiring in the top of the MES?

What size of hole saw should I use?

Anyone else done this before?

Also, I was under the impression that they used rivets on the back, because I remember reading people's recommendations to drill out the rivets and replace them with screws so you can access the inside for repairs. This one has screws already. The guy I bought it from said he didn't modify it, that's how he bought it.

Thanks in advance for your input.
post #2 of 14
Are you sure you got a MES? They come with top vents, I run mine wide open all the time. On the 30inch model the vent circle is about the diameter of a soda can. Of course only 1/2 of that is actually open so a hole with the area of 1/2 a soda can would be about right. You need the smoke to boogey right on thru the smoker and not sit still creating harmful creosote. biggrin.gif

PS the wiring on mine is all in the back nothing on the top. Is there no vent at all in your smoker? Seems really odd.

I have to admit that upon further thought I really don't know if the 40Inch MES has a vent on the top. So take what I said with a grain of salt.

Calling all ronp's calling all ronp's we need clarification here.
post #3 of 14
Can you post a pic?
post #4 of 14
That was fast Ron, You have good hearing. icon_cool.gif
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

The guy said he bought it at Scheel's. He said this one was $20 less than the one with the vent. He also said the reason he was selling it was because his wife did not like the taste of smoked food. I'm guessing the lack of a vent had something to do with that.

It is a Model ESQ30B
post #6 of 14
The older one did not have a top vent. There is no wires in the top as far as I know,but i would say a 1 inch hole should do. If I am wrong other people on here who are well educated will let you know.
post #7 of 14
Does it have a wood chip door In the side of it? that looks exactly like mine but without a top vent, I do not see how it can work properly without a vent.

Ok looked at the pic again, it has the chip loader. I am baffled as to why they would sell one without a vent.

I'm pretty sure all wires are in the back and not the top. Vent is on the top near the right hand side near the back.
post #8 of 14
Here's a link for the manual for that smoker. The manual clearly shows a top vent.

Also, in the 2nd pic that you posted, you can see an outline of where it should go.
post #9 of 14
The hole on mine is 3'. But remember it is not a full 3' because of the vent adjuster.

I'll bet you can call Masterbuilt and get that part then cut your hole acordingly.

Good luck.
post #10 of 14
As beretta92_fs2003 posted, the original MES's did not have top vents, I owned 2 of them. Also they had magnetic seals on the door instead of a door latch and rubber seal.

I would think you could cut a hole the diameter of a can of tuna, seal a tuna can into the cabinet and design a venting set up through that.

Besides the door seal and no vented exhaust there is nothing wrong with the old style. I was able upgrade my old ones for the new style through warranty at no cost. If I was not able to do that I would have modified my old ones. Be sure and let us know how it goes with modifications and you did get yourself into a good electric smoker for a fair price.
post #11 of 14
Do you have a old weber by chance...flatten out one of their baffles and cut the hole accordingly. or any other damper you can find. If it is a little over sized you can just close it alittle.
post #12 of 14
The first masterbuilt I bout was that exact model. I used it for about 2 years until I reallized the flaws with no vent. That machine also quit working a while back so I ended up ordering a new one. As I did that i found the info on this site and it happened just to be the wire in the heating element so I fixed it.

I also did put in a vent. I used about an 1 1/2" cut out tool. I would not use one of these cut it was exteremely tough with the wall being about 2 inches thick. I then followed the information that is on this thread.


This worked extrememly well and I use it frequently. Let me know if I can help at all.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for their input. Now I just gotta decide how extravagant I am going to get with cutting in a vent.

I did a rack of spares today (cut in half). They came out pretty good. Since the door doesn't seal worth a darn when it is hot, I just used a large cheap F clamp with a quick release button on it and set it on top of the smoker to keep the door closed. It worked pretty good. Not sure if I'll bother with putting in the angle iron to keep the seal from buckling or not like others have talked about.

I opened the door somewhat frequently, usually just a little, but a few times all the way. And I didn't use too many wood chips just to be safe. The ribs were good and moist but still had some bark on them. I was afraid that there might be too much steam trapped in there with no vents. Not particularly smokey, but that is fine. Better than being yucky tasting. I think once I get the vent situation taken care of, this thing will do me well. I enjoy my grill with the smoker side box, but that is a lot of work and constant temps can be tough. So it's nice to have an alternative.
post #14 of 14
You know a Cookshack only has a small hole at the top and bottom of their residential smokers. They claim this helps retain the moisture in the meat. People who use a Cookshack say they only need 2-3 chunks of wood or so for a long smoke
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