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Drilling holes in MES 35B? (Bear?)

tlordb

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First off, I'm a newbie, so bear with me. I have an new MES 35B (analog)... cheaper model. I just bought the 5x8 AMNPS and my plan is to remove the water tray and put the AMNPS in its place which is slightly higher and adjacent to the heating element. I'll put a disposable drip pan above it on the bottom rack. I keep reading about people having trouble keeping the smoke flowing without proper air flow and I'm not against drilling some holes in the unit to remedy this, but I have some questions.

1) Where exactly should the holes be drilled in a unit like this (bottom, top, sides)?
2) How many holes and any specific pattern?
3) What diameter holes?

I want to create air flow without screwing up the internal heat too much. Keep in mind that I'm in a colder climate in the winter (I'll be smoking in 35 degree F temps this weekend). Any tips or tricks would be helpful.

I'd rather do this without a mailbox mod or anything too advanced at this point, but I'll take any and all advice. I haven't tried the AMNPS yet, so I don't even know if its an issue, but the MES 35B is pretty much a sealed box with a non-adjustable 1" (?) vent on the upper rear right wall vertical to the heating element. I can't imagine there's much air flow in these units.
 

mike243

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If you already have the tray or a tube I would try it first before drilling holes, a tube is supposed to be better in a lower oxygen environment like a pellet grill so it may work fine, Walmart sells the tube around here for $19.99 so are easy to pick up and can always use them on the gas grill if you decide to go a different route.
 

smokerjim

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like mike said, did you try your tray yet, is your top vent wide open, did you pull your chip loader out a few inches for more air flow, I would really rethink the mailbox if it won't stay lit inside your smoker, it's the best thing I did for my mes30. make sure your pellets are dry and well lit before you put it in your smoker. don't put water in the pan. as for the tube yeah it will work but my personal opinion it gives off to much smoke for the mes. again that's my opinion. worst comes to worst you could always use the chips for this weekend until you figure out your amnps tray. as for the holes i'm not much help there but i'm sure someone will be around. good luck
 

tlordb

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No, I have not tried the AMNPS tray yet and that’s the plan prior to any mod. The vent on my unit is not adjustable. It’s one 1” diameter hole. And this model does not have a chip tube. You have to open the door to load chips by hand into the chip tray.
I’m just looking for the proper way to drill holes if it comes down to that.
 

smokerjim

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ok got ya. yeah without the chip loader the mailbox might not be the answer. I know there are some people on here that drilled holes in there units i would say you would have to drill some next to where your putting the tray and maybe a few more on top. i'm sure someone with more knowledge of this will chime in.
 

daveomak

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Using a step drill..... 7/8" holes in the 8 locations shown.... If necessary, refrigerator magnets will plug the holes when it is windy...

MES Analog.jpg
step drills.jpg
 
Last edited:

Bearcarver

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I was going to suggest trying a couple holes near the bottom, on both sides first, before drilling a bunch of holes. See how it works---If you need more drill a couple more.
However I would drill more smaller holes, due to the bugs that will move in a 7/8" hole---Mice Too!!!! Mice only need a hole the size of a Dime! So I would definitely make the holes smaller than a Dime.
Also, if you're going to use a Fridge magnet to cover the holes when not in use, I would keep your holes close together, so one magnet could cover multiple holes---Like maybe 8 holes of 1/4" Diameter in a group of no more than 1 1/2" square in size.

Bear
 

tlordb

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All great advice. Thank you all so much. I’ll update this weekend. Thanks for all the help.
 

Winterrider

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You may also want to try using dust in your tray instead of pellets. I had a lot better luck personally keeping dust lit compared to pellets before my mailbox mod. Good luck and let us know as it may help others with their issues.
 

tlordb

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Joined Jan 4, 2020
Smoked some pork tenderloins today. I tested the AMNPS this morning before the cook and found that it generated smoke just fine in my Masterbuilt MES 35B without any modifications whatsoever, so this may have been a wasted post. Moral of the story, test it before you make any mods. Tenderloins were delicious by the way. Thanks for everyone's help.
 

Bearcarver

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Smoked some pork tenderloins today. I tested the AMNPS this morning before the cook and found that it generated smoke just fine in my Masterbuilt MES 35B without any modifications whatsoever, so this may have been a wasted post. Moral of the story, test it before you make any mods. Tenderloins were delicious by the way. Thanks for everyone's help.

Exactly!!
We have guys building mailboxes, or telling people to build them, before the guy even buys his MES. I tell them "Try it with the AMNPS inside first, like I did". Been working Great for 9 years, and my Mailbox is still at the end of the driveway, right where my mail man likes it to be.
If it doesn't work right, after all other fixes fail, then build it, or in your case, "Drill it".

Bear
 

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