New MES wood catching fire

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by birdman1099, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Hey Everyone....  I wass hoping that someone would have an idea what to do....

    I just picked up a new MES 30.  I have smoked a couple things and I noticed the meat was TOO smokey.  I did notice that when I first dump the chis onto the chip tray, almost immediately I get big billowing smoke out of the stack.  not the TBS I know to look for.  Well, this morning, I caught it.  I pulled out the side chip loader to see into the chamber, and the chips were on fire.  I know that is not supposed to happen.

    some specs on today:  I am running at 220 degrees and verified by a second therm.  Water pan is full. I did not soak the chips...

    Anyone else having this problem?

    Possible fixes?????  (I current have on a 7 lb Brisket)...
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  2. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    Check the chip tray to see if its touching the heating element if it is you can bend the tabs a little so there is just a touch of clearnce between them. You can also control the airflow with the chiploader by moving it out some for better flow.And make sure you have the top vent open too.atleast half way. Hope this helps just try to experiment with it some to see how it affects the smoke.
  3. Sounds like Les has you on the right path, give his thoughts a try and see what you come up with!  Keep us posted as to what you find and how you fix it as it may be of help to others with the same machine!  Keep up the good work!

    Your SMF Friend,

    Barry  [​IMG]
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Beat advise is to get an AMNS & forget the chip tray.
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Try the Les fix.

    If it doesn't work call them.

    There is a MES tech guy here too...

  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think Les might have it---Check if the bottom of the chip drawer is touching the element---Sounds like they might be tight against each other.

    Does your model have a half chip drawer or a full chip drawer? I'm guessing a full drawer.

  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How many wood chips are you dumping in your tray?

    You only need a very small handful and add about every 1/2 hour or so.

    Also, don't add chips until your MES is up to temp.  Sounds like the element is on steady and this may be causing the chips to burn up too fast.

    The chips are most likely NOT catching fire inside your chip, but once you open the door, oxygen causes them to flare up.  If they were on fire, you would not get smoke.

    Try fewer chips and adding more often.

  8. Great suggestions guys, and thanks for the replys....

    I have been running the vent completely open.  I fill up the side chip loader with about 1/2 cup of chips.  I will check the "element touching the tray" theory when this smoke is done.  I did soak some chips for an hour and put them in and it seems to have helped...
  9. billbfoot

    billbfoot Newbie

    Yes, I would think the soak factor is the most important thing here.  I've had great luck soaking my chips for 30 to 45 minutes.  I'm able to get a good consistent smoke for over 45 minutes, especially using larger chips.
  10. dougk55

    dougk55 Newbie

    Just got a new MES and was surprised that the instructions didn't say to soak the wood chips.  I'm guessing that falls into the "whatever works best for you" category - right? I'm leaning toward soaking them, just because that's what I've done with my old propane smoker...

  11. glasalle

    glasalle Newbie

    I am new to the forum, and just got my MES 30 today.  While seasoning the smoker (followed directions, with adding chips last 45 minutes), the chips burst into flames.  I have been reading through the forum to see what others have done to avoid the chips flaming.  Any quick tips welcome :)


  12. The advice given above is solid.  I actually adjusted the element down a touch off the chip tray, and I now soak the chips in water.  This seems to have fixed the problem.  I also believe i put some chips in while the element was Heating up the smoker.  I now understand why that is bad....[​IMG]

    Just play around with 'er...  you'll get it !!!
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The chip tray has to be touching the element in order for the chips to burst into flame. My tray is about 1/16" above the element (eyeball).  See what you can do to adjust the legs inward to support the tray. If that looks like it is not feasable call MES. They are great at customer support.

    I don't wet my chips at all. They don't catch on fire. My MES is about 1 month old.

    Best of luck, Dave
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I have an MES 30 for nearly two years, and an MES 40 for 5 months.

    I haven't soaked a chip in nearly two years, and the only time I ever had flare-ups was the one time my element got up against the bottom of the chip drawer.


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