Electric Smokers and Smoke (or lack thereof)

Discussion in 'Grilling Tips' started by redclaymud, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. I've got a Masterbuilt 40" that looks identical to the MES 40.  My biggest complaint is not enough smoke [​IMG].

    Maybe it's my choice of wood.  The hickory chunks I normally use in the WSM won't fit in the chamber so I use handfulls of apple or cherry wood, refilling the small chamber three times during a smoking.  Maybe there is a better choice of wood to use.  My family won't let me near an ax to dice up the hickory wood since the last time I used an ax was not pretty.

    I've noticed Bearcarver did some slip in modifications to his MES40 unit by adding an AMNPS pellet tray and some homegrown covers at the bottom.  Anyone else have ideas on how to add more smoke, short of buying this AMNPS gadget?


    Ron Groetsema..
  2. smokinal

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


    It sounds like your using chunks, if you are use dry chips. You will have to add chips every 1/2 hour or so to keep the smoke rolling.
  3. tjohnson

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


    You can try using smaller chunks instead of chips

    They will smolder longer, and not burn up like chips

    It's just the nature of electric smokers to have to add chips

    At least the MES 30 and 40 have a chip loader

  4. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    Just get an A Maze N smoker.....it'll solve all of your MES smoking issues.  Trust me, you'll love it.
  5. slownlow

    slownlow Smoking Fanatic

    Your masterbuilt 40" is the MES40    MES = masterbuilt electric smoker.

    And I agree with Flyweed just end the hassle and get a A Maze N smoker.
  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    He is absolutely right on this. Get the AMNPS (pellet version) it will allow you to use both sawdust for cold smokes and pellets for hot smokes. 
  7. I shoved in some hickory chunks tonight and got a good strong smoke for about a half hour.  Now I can't get the dang wood feeder out of the contraption and I haven's seen any smoke for a good hour.  I probably should have used hickory chips instead. 

    I also tried a big piece of hickory on top of the wood pan but not a great deal of success with that.  It has blackened underneath but not smoked of any consequence.  Am I stuck here?  Is there an alternative so that I can use real wood chunks?
  8. I'm ticked now.  That lump of hickory I shoved in the smoker is keeping me from adding new wood chips to the fire.  I want access to that burn box.  It's been three hours and I still can't pull that wood feed tray out.  As small as it is, a pop up lid to the burn box would be perfect.  Particularly when you know you screwed up and need to add more chips for smoke.

    Lesson learned.  Wood chips only until I figure a way to rip that bad boy open.  I will find a way.

    Urrrrgggghe..[​IMG]   I want smoke.
  9. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    can you open the unit and pull out the chip tray? That would be the only access other than the chip chute.
  10. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I hear your frustration as I had some similar problems until I added my AMNPS.  Do yourself a favor and order one ASAP!!
  11. Yep, opened the front door and tried to move that big old hickory chip with a flat head screw driver so that I could open the wood shoot.  Everything but that chunk was ash.  Even tried to divide it.  I couldn't fully pull out the tray but I did have access enough to add in a few apple chucks which took flame almost immediately. 

    So my take on this unit is the smoke chamber is next to useless and the AMNPS system appears to be the way to go.  I like that I won't need to monitor the dang thing all night.  Just hate to learn that something I bought on faith is not quite as advertised.  Heck, I live in the south.  I could have bought a used oven and put it on my front porch and added the AMNPS smoke box.  Same thing in my mind and at a quarter the price.

    To say I'm disappointed in this unit is an understatement.  .
  12. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I found that it produced decent smoke with wood chips but with the AMNPS you don't have to monitor it and always add chips. 
  13. I'll never use wood chunks in this unit again.  Three hours and I still can't pull out the wood tray. 

    I've tried the unit with a lump of charcoal and chips, a lump of hickory and chips, and a burning lump of charcoal and chips.  Chips always win . . . mainly because I can't pull out the wood feeder until the biggest and hardest piece is dust. 

    I've thought of doing a double or triple layered half tray of hot charcoal and hickory and laying that at the bottom.  It might be too much direct heat, but with the water pan and if I keep my meat to the right, maybe the right heat to get the smoke into things..

    Before I set fire to this unit.  Has anyone tried what I'm suggesting?  What were the results?

  14. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    yep, at least you've learned your lesson NOT to use lumps or chunks....Masterbuilt recommends chips.  I have found (in my 4 years of MES ownership) that chips burn and smoke just fine, but just don't last long.  So the MES does do what it advertises to do, but you'll still be A LOT better off with the AMNS...just load it, light it, and forget it......it'll smoke for a very LONG time.

  15. flyboys

    flyboys Smoking Fanatic

    I also have owned and used an MES for a while, and like Flyweed said, Masterbuilt says not to use chunks.  I can go for a little over 30 minutes with a full tray of chips.  Like the others have told you, get the AMNPS or AMNS.  I have the AMNPS and it works great in the MES.  With that, you can really pretty much set it and forget it.  Your other option if you still want to use chunks would be to get a charcoal fueled smoker, like a brinkman or a weber smokey mountain.
  16. The AMNPS is now on Santa's list.  Thanks for all your input and allowing me to battle this out in my own mind..[​IMG]
  17. there's also the Smoke Shack...takes chunks and mine burn for about two hours of tbs...
  18. I've already ordered the AMNPS unit and 30 lbs of pellets which should do me until spring.  I'm hoping it comes in tomorrow since I've got meat to smoke.

    I hadn't heard about the Smoke Shack.  Send me their web site address and I'll look it over.
  19. I just received my AMNPS unit from UPS at 4:30 tonight.  Todd is a man of his word and then some.  I'm looking forward to giving reviews of the AMNPS.  I'll be preping the meat tonight.  The smokings will begin tomorrow.

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