MES 30 Smoke Problem

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cekkk, May 7, 2014.

  1. So far I'm doing a lot of slow cooking and very little smoking!  I consistently have difficulty getting my chips to keep producing smoke and at the end of a smoke I never have just ash in the pan but mostly half charred chips.  It does not matter whether I'm using store bought or twigs.  I was just about to buy an AMNPS but they apparently are just for pellets/sawdust.  Could I use chips in one, or is there some other product out there?  Or is the answer to get a torch and have them flaming when put in the tray?  I need answers fast or I'm going back to drinking!  [​IMG]  
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Best to do----AMNPS with Dust and--or Pellets.

    I heard of somebody trying chips in it, but last I heard he gave up & went to pellets.

    The AMNPS was even designed for the Gen #1 MES 30. It fits perfectly in that smoker.

  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    An AMPs is a great suggestion but ...... the chips should work.

    First how often do you open the door?

    More than once and hour is wayyyyyyy too much.  An electric is made to never open the door. when you open the door you let the smoke out and cause the heater to run excessively to return the unit to its setting. An Electric recovers heat slowly, I have read somewhere that each time you open the box it add 15 mins to regenerate the heat loss. I find that slightly excessive but even it its 10 mins. if you only open the door once and hour on a 12 hour smoke you've added 2 hours to your cooking time. PLUS you are letting moisture escape. You don't need to mope, spritz, or sauce with an electric. If you keep the doors shut the moisture stays inside where your meats appreciate it.

    So all the smoke you didn't get, are the chips burned or unburned after the smoke?

    If you are seeing unburnt, you are not achieving a clean burn, if its all burnt you are achieving combustion which means you are getting too much air and need to regulate the  vent. The vent is an never ending discussion here on the boards. If the vent is completely open you will use more chips, closed less, its best in the middle after the indication you are getting good smoke.

    What flavor wood are you using?

    There different types of woods which impart stronger and weaker or milder strengths of flavor. Usually classified as hard and soft smokes depending upon the meats.

    What is the position of your vents?

    This is a long discussion. I use full open to start then cut back to about 1/2. In the old days there was NO vents, I like the vent idea, makes it much easier yto keep from over smoking.

    Are you starting your MES at 275 to heat the box then reducing to the cooking temperature?

    Remember this is electric, you are heating chips thru two layers of steel to get to smolder. The heating abilities are much the same as an electric range as compared to a gas. Gas is instantaneous but hard to maintain accurate temps., whereas electric is slow but very accurate.  It doesn't happen in 10 mins. Set it high, walk away, check in 30 mins., reduce the boxes temp to your cooking temp, and reduce the vent to 1/2. You should see much smoke before you regulate it, then just a little afterwards. If you see the smoke, it ain't flavoring.

    All or any of these can be a problem for smoke.

    My biggest problem was in the beginning, I was a peeper. I could not leave that door closed. An electric is not the same as a fire breather and has different rules to use. Although the Chinese manual doesn't help too much...LOL

    PS:: One more thing too many chips can hurt your smoking ability. If they are not cleanly burned and you add more looking for more smoke, the new chip can't get to the steel plate to get hot enough to start the smoldering process.

    I sure hope you get it figured out. I have worn out three electric smokers prior to my MES30, and I really like their convenience and economy. Its like the plug and play of smokers...LOL
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Foamy---You might be making it sound too easy. The way you described, I gave up on a long time ago, and I'm not at 9,000', like cekkk is.

    He may even have trouble with an AMNPS at that elevation, even with the top vent all the way open.

  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just hoping that something there might help him. I just remember always wanting to look inside or mop or spritz like it was a fire breather. Hoping it would be something easy.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---I didn't mean what you said was wrong, but when I see 9,000 '  elevation, a whole new game seems to show up. Saw it often.

    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  7. I really appreciate all the comments guys.  I just pulled the chip tray and took a picture of the remains.  If I can figure it out I'll post it.  Some was burned black, some was not completely burned.  But I didn't have any more than would cover the bottom of the tray.  I may not have used enough over the four hour smoke. 

    I did heat it up to around 280 per my Mav, having set the temp control to around 270, before putting chips in.  I should add, I've begun putting chips in the cylinder and putting that on the stove until I get them smoking real good before putting them in the smoker.  After putting the ribs in I had a real good smoke going as the smoker cooled down.  After that I added a few chips twice but never saw smoke again.  But it was blowing pretty hard on the deck, so if there was a thin smoke it may not have been visible.  I started with mesquite, later adding cherry and a bit of hickory if I remember right.

    I'm not one to open the door until near the end.  Having said that, today I did just that, about every 40 minutes to brush on a mop I made.  But that's a first.  It was "fun" and that's my goal these days.  If it ain't fun, it ain't gettin' done.  And I was surprised at how quickly the temp recovered.  Of course, it wasn't so cold, about 60 today. 

    As for elevation, it's a factor in many things, not the least of which is simply breathing again after spending five months in AZ.  But water boils at about 195f, which means regular 8 minute spaghetti takes 13 minutes.

    So what, try the AMNPS?  Would it be helpful to start the sawdust/pellets with a culinary torch?
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try an AMPs it does work. You should not need to preheat the chips. Just add 'em and they will light themselves when the heater comes on and the others are used up.
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  9. Will try it, Foamy.
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bear had you taken care of, I just hate for anything to not be able to be used as intended. Bear just bumped it up to work better automatically. He knew what he was doing, I just had to ask the basics.
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A culinary torch is Great for lighting Dust, as are the cheaper Butane torches.

    However for lighting pellets, a propane torch works a lot better----Butane is kinda wimpy for lighting pellets.

  12. Yep propane torch is the way to go.    I also have a MES 30

    Today I was smoking some snack sticks, started out at 100 degrees, ramped up to 115, added wood chip, unsoaked.  When I cranked it 15 degrees a bit later, I noticed no smoke coming out of the unit, so I got down, removed the chip loader, and took a look at the chips, they appeared to be the same as when I put them in there, unlit.  So I went and got my propane torch, lit it and got the chips in the tray flaming.  I then put the chip loader and put it back in the smoker.  About 1/2 later, I added more chips, only these ones were lit while in the chip loader.
  13. I forgot to follow up.  On that smoke I set the smoker temp to its max while preparing the ribs, and my maverick showed it well over 300.  In the past I've just used a few chips thinking I wouldn't smother them.  But for the first time I completely filled the wood chip cup with commercial chips and some of my mesquite.  For the first time I got good smoke and great ribs (well, country style).  The ash tray at the end had about 50/50 black and white ash, the first time I've seen white ash.  The other day we brought home half of a half of beef so I've got a 4+ pound brisket to smoke.  Also picked up a case of pork spare ribs with that order and you can figure out for yourselves what we'll be eating for Memorial Day dinner.  Thanks for all the help guys.
  14. This problem may have been solved already or not but I've been having the same problem. I read a thing somewhere else about this issue. They said the problem was, the element wasn't close enough to the wood tray. There is a small tab screwed into the element tray. I took off that tab, picked the element above it and replaced the tab. Now the element is just almost touching the tray and I have more smoke than I know what to do with. Good luck.

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