Bad smoke in 30" MES

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Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
Hello all.  I have friends with smokers and have loved the food they have shared.  So I bought myself the 30" MES with the digital control on top rear and the steel door.  Loved the concept of adding chips without opening door, digital temp and timer and the price was right.  Now I need help.  I have tried to educate myself online as much as possible.  I have followed recipes and techniques I have read about.  With the exception of a Christmas chicken and duck, my results have been poor.  My last two attempts were 2 chuck roasts and venison jerky.  All of my attempts have had a bitter taste and black, black meat.  I have tried everything I can think of.  Vent open or closed.  More chips, less chips.  3 different kinds of smoking wood.  The jerky was on the smoker for 8 hours and I used only 4 pieces of hickory, each about the size of a matchbook, and not all at once either.  It came out dark black and bitter.  I have read about creosote problems, but how do I correct this in my smoker?  I cannot achieve TBS as I have read about. I have read about the AMNPTS as a solution, but I would like to be able to use the MES the way it was designed.  Any opinions would be appreciated.  Thanks.
Chances are you are oversmoking. Vent open all the way and pull out the chip loader a couple inches to keep good airflow. Forget using water in the pan and just go real light on the chips / chunks. A common error for new smoke cooks is to keep heavy smoke going constantly. Food coming out of your smoker undersmoked is still good to eat. If you oversmoke well, already found out.
Keep at it, you'll get there and be smoking like a pro in no time.
I personally think if ya follow geerock's advise ya will be happier with the results. We'll all help ya as best we can but a few of the most important things I have learned is ask questions when ya need help, don't overthink it and HAVE FUN. Good luck and let us know how things are going.... WHB
I had only used wood chips a few times with my MES30 before I bought a AMNPS.  I didn't ever ruin the meat though.

Did you try soaking the chips before throwing them in the loader?  Those small chips tend to burn up too quickly if you do not.  Small wood chunks work better, but I would soak those before using them as well.

Was the smoke white and billowy?  If so, that might have been the problem.

If you ever decide to take the plunge and pick up a AMNPS, the only problem you might initially encounter will be keeping it going.  It isn't much of a learning curve and some people have posted tips on that problem on here.  I love mine.  It is great for long hot smokes like brisket and it converts the MES30 into a cold smoker as well.

Either way, don't give up and good luck!
Thanks for all the input and suggestions.  I have been in contact with Masterbuilt CS and they are helping me also.  I also have tested the temperature of the unit and when set at 250, I got 300+ on my temp probe.  Not sure what they'll do about that.  Waiting for a response.

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