I think I had an uncorrectable STUPID ATTACK

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by hondo, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    I bought a MES. It is the analog one with legs. Looks pretty good but while I was assembling it I noticed that there is no chip loading tube like I saw described here. Turns out this one requires you to put the chips in through the door. I thought they all had the side loading. This would not be a problem except that I also bought the cold smoker (not so cold maybe) so I could get longer smokes. I have not received the cold smoker but expect it in a day or so.

    So, the cold smoker will not be able to be attached to the smoker as designed. I now have a $60 cold smoker I can't use. I can send it back for a refund no problem just have to fight with ebay. The seller did nothing wrong, They described the unit perfectly and I got what I ordered so I hate to send it back. Plus I don't want to send it back, I want to use it.

    Now for the smoker, I could return it and buy the digital version because the cold smoker only fits the digital version of this smoker. It will cost me more but I can handle that.

    However, the reason I bought the analog version is because of the issues I have heard with temp control on the digital ones. Therefore I assembled my own PID controller with relay that will keep the temps dead on eliminating the need for the electronics on the digital version. The analog version of the smoker has a 1500 watt heating element -vs- a 800 watt in the digital. I like the additional wattage.

    So if anyone can assist me I have a plan.

    Does anyone see any reason I can't just cut a hole in the side of this thing and attach the cold smoker permanently to the side of this smoker? I can cut the hole to any size I want as I have the hole saws.

    I can use the PID to control the temp in the smoker and use the cold smoker to deliver the smoke and not use the smoker chip tray at all.

    I assume I would need to increase the diameter of the hole used for the smoke to be vented. The hole is only half inch. I can resize this as large as I want and use a ball valve to be able to adjust the exhaust for heat retention.

    Other than it being a bit of work, does anyone see any reason this will not work? I would rather use the money I would spend upgrading (if you can call it that) to the digital on the parts to modify this one and use this higher wattage heating element.

    Also for those that have one of these, how well does it work in the winter? Would there be much benefit in taking it apart and adding insulation?

    Thanks for any advise anyone can give.
  2. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would sell it (even at a small loss) and buy a pellet tray or tube.  However if you want to try and cut the side of the MES analog, here is my thread where I totally deconstructed a MES analog to insulate the body and do some other mods.  It has photos of the MES analog internal construction that might be helpful....


    Here is a photo of it in use after seasoning. First is a moderate temp smoke of some sliced jerky and the 2nd is a hot (250*) smoke of thick cut pork chops.  The pellet tray will also work with no heat for a true cold smoke.  I built this mod mainly for jerky, snack sticks and sausage at those mid range (150-175*) temps.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  3. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just had another thought.  For cold smoking there you could use the unit you have coming and attach an aluminum flexible dryer tube to the side outlet.  You may have to put something under the smoker legs to raise it up, but then you could run the dryer tube to the grease drain area in the bottom.  I would enlarge it like I did with my MES analog mod (I did it for more airflow in). Also maybe glue some magnets to the dryer tube for a quick connect to the smoker base and the cold smoke generator.

    This might let you use what you ordered, but IMO a pellet tray or tube would be much easier.  But this might give you an option.
  4. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter



    I have been going through your previous post on insulating and modding your smoker. Looks kinda like what I would do (eventually).

    -As a Sidebar----------------------------------

    Just for the people here that may go visit that thread and decide to insulate their smoker there is an inexpensive way to get the insulation. In the past I have gone to a metal scrap yard and purchased a discarded oven, tore it apart and got the perfect and clean insulation out and then sold the scrap oven back to the scrapyard. The insulation in the oven is rated in excess of the 500 degree cleaning cycle the oven has so it is perfect for the smoker. Total cost $5 or so. I have explained what I wanted to do and have been allowed to get the insulation for free without ever taking the oven off the property and just doing the work there.

    ------------------------------------------------------ Back to the subject-

    You say to get a chip tray, the smoker has a chip tray, are you suggesting a different tray? Would the chip tray or the tube keep the smoke rolling if the element is not doing much? That is the reason I went for the Smoke Generator (Cold Smoker) option in the first place. I like the suggestion of the alternative way of attaching via the drain hole.

    I am open to solutions but have my solution mapped out in my head and it "seems" like a pretty good plan. I have built a lot of smokers over the years and my way makes sense to me.

    I am aware that just because it makes sense to me is may not the way to go. I am here looking for the second or third right answer.

    Let's see where this ends up.

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can put a hole in the side or bottom of the smoker for the cold smoker to hook up to...   Don't forget to add exhaust holes.... 

    The PID will do a great job of controlling the heat..  Much better than the original controller.... 

    One way to add exhaust....

      4 each 1" holes top and bottom...   use a step drill...    They can be covered, if needed, with refer magnets...   When smoking meat, you can't have too much fresh air.....    makes for great smoke flavor.....

  6. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    Good Suggestions.

    Would anyone with the digital version of this smoker do me a favor and post the location of the chimney hole and the diameter?

    After reading the entire thread by dward51 (Thank you), I have convinced myself to proceed with my original plan. I will cut a hole in the side to allow the cold smoker to slide into and I will cut a larger exhaust hole and use a ball valve to adjust exhaust flow.

    I have read up a bit on the smoke tray and the tube and think I prefer exterior access to the loading and monitoring of the fuel.

    If anyone is interested I can post photos when the project is complete and give a report on if it was a mistake or a complete success.

  7. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not a "chip" tray, a PELLET tray or PELLET tube.  They burn flavor wood pellets to generate smoke. The pellet tray can also burn flavor wood sawdust, but the tube cannot.  I use a 5x8" Amazn pellet tray in my MES Cutsom SS. This is the tray I have, and a photo of the tube style as well.  There is an older "tray" that only burns sawdust but it's not that common anymore.  The 5x8" AMAZN Tray is easy to find even at local stores now.

  8. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is the AMAZN pellet tray loaded with sawdust:

    This is the older style sawdust "ONLY" tray, note that the pellet/sawdust version above has 3 runs for pellets or sawdust and the sawdust only version has 5 runs (see photo below)

    The difference is the sawdust only dividers are pretty much straight up, and the pellet version dividers are tapered triangle shape to prevent the fire from jumping the dividers.  The pellets burn more like a small log and the sawdust basically smolders.  This is the pellet tray (which works with both pellets or sawdust):

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  9. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    Well, I have committed to modifying the smoker to fit my needs. I will start a build thread under "Electric Smokers" if anyone is interested. I will call it Bob's MES 30 Analog build.

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