Mailbox mod question

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NDIceMan72

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Nov 21, 2022
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4
North Dakota
Hey all, so I just got my 30” MES and have been searching about the mailbox mod. I’m gonna use an ammo can and I saw one thread where it was mounted directly to the chip loader hole on the side of the smoker. But I see most of the setups that the mail box is below the chip loader hole and plumbed up to it. My question is, does the box need to be mounted lower than the hole? I’d like to mount it right to the hole and call it good if that will work. I ordered up a pellet tray also for inside the box. What are your thoughts/experiences? Thanks
 

tallbm

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Hey all, so I just got my 30” MES and have been searching about the mailbox mod. I’m gonna use an ammo can and I saw one thread where it was mounted directly to the chip loader hole on the side of the smoker. But I see most of the setups that the mail box is below the chip loader hole and plumbed up to it. My question is, does the box need to be mounted lower than the hole? I’d like to mount it right to the hole and call it good if that will work. I ordered up a pellet tray also for inside the box. What are your thoughts/experiences? Thanks

I'm not 100% certain but I think you would want the tray to be at least a couple of inches below the MES hole. This way air suction comes from UNDER the pellet tray keeping those embers stoked from the bottom of the pellet rows (from below).

If the tray happens to be dead even it may not make a difference but your draft airflow may only be horizontal/parallels with the pellets instead of up and through the pellets from below.

The good news is you can still likely achieve this if you mount your ammo can to where the hole is towards the top of the can so that the pellet tray is sitting well below the MES hole. I would also leave the lit side of the pellet tray towards the far side of the MES hole so that the draft has to suck the air through the ammo can and the pellets helping the pellets burn towards the MES initially.

You will want your ammo can air intake holes to be underneath and on the side opposite of the MES hole

Let me know if this makes sense and I'm always game to draw up a little picture to help explain :)
 

NDIceMan72

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Nov 21, 2022
9
4
North Dakota
I'm not 100% certain but I think you would want the tray to be at least a couple of inches below the MES hole. This way air suction comes from UNDER the pellet tray keeping those embers stoked from the bottom of the pellet rows (from below).

If the tray happens to be dead even it may not make a difference but your draft airflow may only be horizontal/parallels with the pellets instead of up and through the pellets from below.

The good news is you can still likely achieve this if you mount your ammo can to where the hole is towards the top of the can so that the pellet tray is sitting well below the MES hole. I would also leave the lit side of the pellet tray towards the far side of the MES hole so that the draft has to suck the air through the ammo can and the pellets helping the pellets burn towards the MES initially.

You will want your ammo can air intake holes to be underneath and on the side opposite of the MES hole

Let me know if this makes sense and I'm always game to draw up a little picture to help explain :)
Here are some pictures of the one I saw on here doing a search awhile ago. The hole is towards the top of the box and his vent is on the back. I’m not sure if it would be better for the vent to be on the bottom or the back side. Also attached is a pic of mine. Literally just got it the other day, seasoned it and smoked some chops with apple wood chips tonight. They were good, but I don’t want to be having to add chips all the time. I do pulled pork and brisket quite a bit. And during the winter after deer season-jerky, country style sausage, summer sausage, cheese, etc.
 

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tallbm

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Here are some pictures of the one I saw on here doing a search awhile ago. The hole is towards the top of the box and his vent is on the back. I’m not sure if it would be better for the vent to be on the bottom or the back side. Also attached is a pic of mine. Literally just got it the other day, seasoned it and smoked some chops with apple wood chips tonight. They were good, but I don’t want to be having to add chips all the time. I do pulled pork and brisket quite a bit. And during the winter after deer season-jerky, country style sausage, summer sausage, cheese, etc.
Thanks for providing the pics!

I think it would be fine. Having the vent/holes on the bottom would be key to me.
Then a 1/4-1/2 inch hole at the top of the door to help keep smoke moving through the box as it builds up (learned this from daveomak daveomak I think).
nUHxJyR.png

The good thing about drilling holes is they can be covered up with some foil flue tape easily if there are too many :)

Now if you want to help reduce creosote you can somewhat pull apart a scotch-brite steel scrubbie and put it in the MES hole where it won't fall out:

I think you will be fine and will be able to tune out any issues you come across. Tuning is a part of every smoker setup no matter what so nothing out of the ordinary there :)
 
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mr_whipple

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Jul 3, 2021
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All good advice above.. only thing I would say is make sure you get the powder coating off of the inside of the can. It is nasty if it gets hot and will not do nice things to your food.
 
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NDIceMan72

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Nov 21, 2022
9
4
North Dakota
Thanks for providing the pics!

I think it would be fine. Having the vent/holes on the bottom would be key to me.
Then a 1/4-1/2 inch hole at the top of the door to help keep smoke moving through the box as it builds up (learned this from daveomak daveomak I think).

The good thing about drilling holes is they can be covered up with some foil flue tape easily if there are too many :)

Now if you want to help reduce creosote you can somewhat pull apart a scotch-brite steel scrubbie and put it in the MES hole where it won't fall out:

I think you will be fine and will be able to tune out any issues you come across. Tuning is a part of every smoker setup no matter what so nothing out of the ordinary there :)
I was just thinking one of those Scrubbies might act as like a filter to minimize the creosote getting into the smoker. My pellet maze tray will be here tomorrow, so I’m gonna prep the box today and get it ready to go so I can play with it tomorrow and figure it out for Thursday. Gonna be smoking a Turkey for thanksgiving
 
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NDIceMan72

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Nov 21, 2022
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North Dakota
All good advice above.. only thing I would say is make sure you get the powder coating off of the inside of the can. It is nasty if it gets hot and will not do nice things to your food.
Good call. Was planning to strip the whole box and repaint the outside black to match the MES. The box is olive green currently
 
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tallbm

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A "burn out" of your box aught to solve the paint problem inside. People do it with barrels they use for smokers. They just run fire in it where the flame burns all the inside paint and substances away.


I wouldn't be standing there outside inhaling it but you get the idea. A little burn out with maybe some lit charcoal flaming in there and burning all sides inside and I'm guessing you are ready to go.
 

zwiller

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Honestly, I don't think the location matters but makes sense logically for hole to be above if you can, I couldn't. Mine has holes punched in the bottom.

20221030_104856_resized.jpg
 

jimmyinsd

Smoking Fanatic
one other tip I can add, get yourself a few of those flat sheet magnets and use them as dampers for your intake on your mailbox/ammo can. this way you can control the rate of burn, I tried foil tape, had a little issue with it not burning fast enough to maintain combustion, took a little tape off and then on a breezy day it ended up starting the pellets on fire and burning through way to fast, so I went to the magnets so I have an adjustable vent now. calm days more air, breezy days, slide the magnet over the air inlets a little.

also, for your turkey, if you dont do it already, spatchcock that sucker, I would also recommend a nice brine, but definitely spatchcock it.
 
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dr k

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I think the longer design of the mailbox where the air comes in at the door/hinge then the maze elevated on a rack or stilts etc gets air over and under the burn up to the rear 3" hole with the bottom mailbox mounting holes and corners sealed so all air passes the burning pellets and maze for a great airflow vs a vertical rise from bottom holes in an ammo can straight to the upper 3" hole that may be a path of least resistance from closer holes to the upper 3" hole. Some people had turned ammo cans into swiss cheese on the bottom to get air to pass the tray to the 3" hole missing the tray and straight to the upper hole. A longer run of air past the maze to the upper hole has had a quicker learning curve or none at all. I never had to drill holes in the door of the mailbox since plenty of air comes in at the lower hinge and the two pencil mounting holes closest to the door on the bottom is at the edge of the maze with the lighting hole. I drilled a center hole in the bottom of the mailbox just air coming in at the door hinge and the three holes infront of the three maze rows. It all burns to ash.
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tallbm

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Maybe I’ll do a 3” elbow and mount the ammo can to the stand so it has a longer draw distance into the smoker.
I do that with my wall hanging mailbox mod:
full?d=1507243376.jpg

These day i use a piece of "worm tape" to help fasten it to my mailbox mod.
When I cut the hole in the mailbox I traced a circle and then drew lines across the circle so it looked like a pizza with slices.

I used my dremel to cut along the lines and bent the triangle slices upwards so that my 3" elbow joint fit inside the triangle slices.

I then bent the slices flush with the elbow joint and used foil flue tape to make it air tight and help hold to the elbow joint.

Finally, i used the worm tape to tighten the triangle slices (under the tape) around the 3" elbow so it was all one piece firmly held in place. Boom done!
The image doesn't show the worm tape, that addition was made sometime after I took this picture. I hope my explanation makes sense :)

One really nice feature of my setup is that it is all one whole component that I can add and remove to the MES hole at will. This really helps when a flame up situation occurs. I just make sure to wear an oven mitt and I grab the 3" joint and pull it away from the MES and move to the concrete area of my back porch. I can then handle the flaming pellet situation more easily with out the smoker getting flames and heat in it. Works like a charm! :)
 

chopsaw

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Maybe I’ll do a 3” elbow and mount the ammo can to the stand so it has a longer draw distance into the smoker.
I used a crimped start collar at the mailbox . Holds itself in place , no need for all the tape . That with a 3" elbow and a length of straight you can dial in the distance between the source of smoke and the smoker if needed .
 
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NDIceMan72

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Nov 21, 2022
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North Dakota
Got her done and fine tuned. Works great! 6 holes on the bottom, 2 in the back and 2 in the lid all with magnets so I can regulate the air flow. Also put a stainless scrubby pad in the hole to stop the creosote. Doing a 6lb brisket flat today! Thanks for all the help guys!
 

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tallbm

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Got her done and fine tuned. Works great! 6 holes on the bottom, 2 in the back and 2 in the lid all with magnets so I can regulate the air flow. Also put a stainless scrubby pad in the hole to stop the creosote. Doing a 6lb brisket flat today! Thanks for all the help guys!
Excellent work!

Yeah you did the homework and tuning and boom, best carefree smoker performance you can have!

I look forward to seeing the brisket. If you haven't done many, and you plan to wrap it, I would highly recommend you don't wrap until the Internal Temp (IT) is 180F.
Most of that wrapping at 160-165F IT is because people want to push through the stall. I care about the flavor 100x more than powering through the stall and I just plan the time to let it go through the stall.

I also don't wrap brisket at all at because that gives the best flavor in my opinion.
If you have briskets down then ignore everything I'm saying and do your thing. Just didn't want a new electric smoker to attack a 1st time ever brisket attempt and it turn out disappointing :)
 

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