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Newbie question..MES not smokey enough?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm a new owner of a MES 30" smoker with window and meat probe(model 20070110) Any comments to my concerns will be appreciated.Thanx in advance.
Anyway..I used it a few time so far (ribs and pork butt),they were moist and tastey but I'm a bit disapointed with the lack of strong smokey flavor.I'm use to using a barrel griller with an attached firebox,but keeping the temp up was a major pain.
I noticed an oddity regarding my smoker and I'm also concerned I'm doing something wrong..
1-The chip loader and chip holder capacity appears to be cut in half on purpose by a piece of metal that is welded.I can barely fit a small handfull of chips into them. I saw a similar MES model at Lowes that did not have that limitation.Why did the manufacturer change this? I'm assuming I got the latest version because on masterbuilt website there are videos showing the same chip loader/holder limitations.
2- Once the chips turn black they no longer smoke..Am I supose to empty out the chip holder whenever that happens to reload? If that is the case, I'll have to do that ever hour because of the lack of capacity issue above.Correct? Kinda defeats the purpose of the chip loader.
3- When you smoke your suppose to keep the vent fully closed.Correct?
post #2 of 20
When smoking you want your vents open to allow the smoke to kiss the meat and carry on out the vent providing a continous supply of fresh smoke. I don't have a unit like that but someone will be along to give some suggestions
post #3 of 20
1: If yours has that chip loader it is the newest model. Mine is the 40" and that is the same loader mine has. I am not sure why they reduced its size.

2: I empty out the Ash from the pan each time I add chips, with the new model and the 1200 watt element temp recovery is not a problem. Your chips should turn to ash when they are done burning.

3: Open your top vent ½ way and try that. It should allow the chips to completely burn and you should get a good smoke flavor. I always apply smoke the entire time the food is in the smoker but that is just how I like it.

I also have a A-MAZ-N-SMOKER cold smoker that I sometimes use and it allows me to smoke for up to 8 hours without refilling the sawdust. I use it in my MES it just sits on the lower shelf. It works great for both cold and hot smoking.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanx beer-b-q. Hmm ..interseting..So the chips in my holder should actually turn into ash,not blacken wood chips that does not produce smoke.That could be my issue.I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.I soaked them in water before use.Any thoughts?
post #5 of 20
Do Not Soak them leave them dry and Open the Top Vent at least half way open... with it closed you are shutting off the Oxygen and that is why they stop smoking...
post #6 of 20
I realize you may be having other problems that I think Paul addressed but also remember your looking for Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) which is a light blue or no smoke at all just the smell of the smoke. If you can smell it so can the meat. If the flavor is not strong enough then go to a stronger wood like mesquite.
post #7 of 20
I sort of had the same issue when I was getting used to my 40" 1200 watter. It incinerates the chips pretty quickly. I do not soak, and actually started to reduce the number of chips going in. I add them every 20 minutes for three hours (well, depending on what's smoking), and empty the chip tray after 1 1/2 hours. That's normally plenty of smoke without getting a creosote flavor. Oh, and keep that top vent wide open. The stronger element can handle it.
post #8 of 20
That model has a serious problem.
Here is a link to what we ended up doing. It tells of the problems, the suggestions (which didn't help at all), the response from Masterbuilt (PDT_Armataz_01_33.gif), and how we solved the problem:


post #9 of 20
I have the older smoker and everyone has helped already but one thing i think helps is the smoker gets seasoned over time and helps produce the smoky flavor.
post #10 of 20
My older model works fine too.
The newer model has an extra piece of metal between the element & the chip drawer. The one my son had wouldn't even smoke dry wood at over 200˚.

It sounds like BobbyGee is having the same problem.

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
BearCarver hopefully I wont have your problem! Fingerscrossed. I'm going to try opening my vent and hope the problem was lack of oxygen.But I would like some clarification from the masses..The wood chips are suppose to turn to ash,not blacken chips,when they completed there smoking destiny, Correct?
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanx for the help BC.I'm thinking I'm having a different problem from your sons'.I can create smoke,just not alot,hopefully opening the vent takes care of my issue.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Also while I'm at it..I would like some clarification from the smoke masters on what to expect when the smoker is operating as it should...After the chips have fullfilled their smoking destiny..what should be remaining in the chip holder? Ashes or blacken chips?
post #14 of 20
Ashes. Blackened chips are nothing more than small pieces of coal. Bearcarver is spot on. From the get-go Masterbuilt has had vairous problems with the chip tray and it's ability to effectively burn chips. Due in my opinion to mass construction the chip trays do not always get close enough to the heat element. The very first thing every new MES owner should do is check this and make any bends/tweaks necessary to get efficient heat to the chip tray. I'm amazed they added more room for error in this area by adding another sheet of metal between the tray and the element??? When the MES is working properly you should have no trouble at all getting smoke/smokey flavor out of it. In fact I find when using hickory it is just the opposite, I have to be careful not to add too much smoke.

Edit: And while I'm at it I think the reason they halved the chip tray is because people were filling it all the way up with chips and with stronger flavored woods like hickory and mesquite that can put some bitterness on your food with a quickness! When working properly a very small handfull every hour or so is all you need. My guess is they tried to make it easier for the inexperienced smoker to be successful right out of the gate.
post #15 of 20
Pure white ashes. Also open the top vent wide open.
post #16 of 20
I was amazed that all that is left in mine is light white ash.I have never seen a smoker use up the wood so well.I smoked some stuffed chicken breasts on mothers day and it smoked like a...smoker. biggrin.gif
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanx guys for all the info! It is much appreciated.Now I know i should leave the vent open, and I may need to tweek the chip holder to be closer to the heating element and when it's all done all I should be left with is white ash. With this info, I'm prepared for war and victory will be mine!
post #18 of 20
The extra piece of metal is supposed to go under the element, not on top of it.

Adjust the vent for the amount of smoke that you want. In my experience though, if it is opened too far you will get the bitter billowing white smoke that you don't want. If the vent is opened all the way you will lose too much heat and the element turns on too much and burns all the chips at once causing a bitter smoke.

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

problem solved

FYI- Opening the vent took care of my lack of smoke issue.I used a small handfull of dry chips,placed them in my chip holder than started the smoker.In about 15 minutes they started to smoke,temp was about 100 at that point.There is a piece of metal in between the bottom of the chip holder and the heating element as BC stated but the smoke lasted a good 45 minutes anyway and was left with only white ashes.
post #20 of 20
Good problem solved.PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
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