MES 30 smoker not smoking... Not looking to do mailbox mod.

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Alaska_Guy

Newbie
Original poster
Jan 22, 2024
4
1
Hey all, I have been lurking for a while and decided to join.

I am from the Great North and have been smoking for 15 years or so. I have gone through a lot of different smokers, pellet grills, charcoal you name it. With the cold winters up here I wanted something insulated, easy to move in and out and just turn it on and use it. I currently have a old school American made Traeger Texas that has served me well over the 10+ years I have owned it... I have had to change multiple boards, igniters, fire boxes you name it.... The probe just went out and wont let me start it so I decided instead of messing with it in the 2+ wind drifts of snow at zero degrees to just buy a new smoker as I smoke every week.

Now that a little history is out of the way, I don't want to perform the mailbox mod... I was looking to just buy the masterbuilt smoke generator but apparently they don't ship here and are back order forever.

I have seasoned my smoker and it does fine if its turned all the way up. However, I bought this smoker specifically to do sausages in batches of 20lbs and I use a cure and smoke them around 180 currently on my traeger and they turn out awesome.

The downside with this MES is I can't seem to get the chips to light after the first initial startup. I currently have my MES30 set to 200 degrees and chips have been inside the unit for a good 10 minutes and no smoke.

1. Does anyone have a line on the attachment where I can buy it? I wouldn't even be against a used unit. I cook for church events and other things and without a smoker I am seriously down and out. I have an A-MAZE-N tube smoker, but it takes up too much shelf space. I can't seem to buy the 5x8" amzn square snake like unit anywhere locally either. I have a Smoke daddy on my traeger I could steal but really just looking for the Cold/Slow Smoker unit so I can have a set and forget system that just works.

Sorry for the long first post, thanks for the help!

***EDIT***
I pried the hot rod up a little bit so its touching the pan for the chips and set it to 200 degrees and I am able to get smoke now about 5 minutes after loading in cherry chips! I am going to see how long these cherry chips last.

I also pulled the chip unit about half way out to get better airflow to help the chips ignite a little better, we will see if that helps or hurts. I assume I will go through pellets quicker, but as long as I can get a good 20 min per load out I will be happy.

Gotta love technology, using my nest camera to watch to see when the smoke dies off so I know basically how long to set my timer every time to fill the side hopper with chips. :)

****EDIT****

Would still love to find a line on the smoke generator box they sell if anyone knows of a place with one in stock.
-Ken
 

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Have you verified your actual temps inside when you are set at 200° ? When I did use chips ( before smoke tube, and mailbox mod) I would have to have it up to about 210° before it would get smoke out of the chips. That was just to hot for doing sausage or jerky. Just a smoke tube could be a good option for you. Can burn chips, pellets, or dust.
 
Yes, I am use meater probes which tell me ambient and meat temperature. I have been using them for years in my other smoke and they are reliable.

At 200 degrees the ambient inside the cab was around 205. I slowly lowered the heat in the cabinet as I added chips, so far its been going good! IT is at 150, so they should be done shortly.

Here is a breakdown of what I did at zero degree temps outside. I was worried about chips not lighting or staying lit, so I went above what I would normally do for temp.

I waited too long on the last load at 5:14pm and should have just reloaded at around 30minutes after the initial last load because the chips didn't actually start smoking decent until around 5:30pm.

I am guessing 25minutes and reload each time and I would probably be good, every time before the last reload the smoke was getting thin but loading at that time the smoke continued to roll and there was no delays coming out of the chimney. The last load I waited for the smoke to actually stop and I had an actual 15min gap between no smoke being produced out of the chimney from 5:14-5:29.

3:34pm starting to smoke 200 degrees
3:54pm end smoke phase
3:55pm added chips - Turned heat down to 180
4:30pm smoke stopped
4:31pm added chips turned heat down to 170
5:13pm smoke stopped
5:14pm added chips to smoker (smoke didn't start again until 5:29)

Ice bucket is sitting outside to cool them here in a few minutes and then bloom.

For a first run, kind of playing and guessing I am going to consider it a win. Smoke worked the entire time and they are going to fully cook. :)
 
Hey all, I have been lurking for a while and decided to join.

I am from the Great North and have been smoking for 15 years or so. I have gone through a lot of different smokers, pellet grills, charcoal you name it. With the cold winters up here I wanted something insulated, easy to move in and out and just turn it on and use it. I currently have a old school American made Traeger Texas that has served me well over the 10+ years I have owned it... I have had to change multiple boards, igniters, fire boxes you name it.... The probe just went out and wont let me start it so I decided instead of messing with it in the 2+ wind drifts of snow at zero degrees to just buy a new smoker as I smoke every week.

Now that a little history is out of the way, I don't want to perform the mailbox mod... I was looking to just buy the masterbuilt smoke generator but apparently they don't ship here and are back order forever.

I have seasoned my smoker and it does fine if its turned all the way up. However, I bought this smoker specifically to do sausages in batches of 20lbs and I use a cure and smoke them around 180 currently on my traeger and they turn out awesome.

The downside with this MES is I can't seem to get the chips to light after the first initial startup. I currently have my MES30 set to 200 degrees and chips have been inside the unit for a good 10 minutes and no smoke.

1. Does anyone have a line on the attachment where I can buy it? I wouldn't even be against a used unit. I cook for church events and other things and without a smoker I am seriously down and out. I have an A-MAZE-N tube smoker, but it takes up too much shelf space. I can't seem to buy the 5x8" amzn square snake like unit anywhere locally either. I have a Smoke daddy on my traeger I could steal but really just looking for the Cold/Slow Smoker unit so I can have a set and forget system that just works.

Sorry for the long first post, thanks for the help!

***EDIT***
I pried the hot rod up a little bit so its touching the pan for the chips and set it to 200 degrees and I am able to get smoke now about 5 minutes after loading in cherry chips! I am going to see how long these cherry chips last.

I also pulled the chip unit about half way out to get better airflow to help the chips ignite a little better, we will see if that helps or hurts. I assume I will go through pellets quicker, but as long as I can get a good 20 min per load out I will be happy.

Gotta love technology, using my nest camera to watch to see when the smoke dies off so I know basically how long to set my timer every time to fill the side hopper with chips. :)

****EDIT****

Would still love to find a line on the smoke generator box they sell if anyone knows of a place with one in stock.
-Ken
Hi there and welcome!

I don't have a line on either but I can pretty much promise you that the AMNPS tray will not stay lit inside your MES30.
I've helped a number of guys with MES30's and this problem and they all had to go to a mailbox mod.
Now the MES40 has some guys that have had success with it inside the smoker but I have not seen it work with my own eyes so your mileage may vary.

I have a sneaky suspicion that you might have to build your own electric smoke generator since the mailbox mod with the AMNPS tray or tube is not an option.
I would assume you can get a proper element and rig it to a metal contraption along with a plug and be able to attach it to the chip hole via a 3inch duct.

I've never done it but I wonder if you put a lit piece of charcoal or 2 into the chip tray and load your chips that way and let the charcoal keep things going.
Another option is to make your own perforated tube/tray contraption that fits on the bottom bars of the smoker. The bars that hold up the heating element from dropping down to the drip pan.

Wish I had better info for you. Let us know what you land on so others in your area may benefit from what you find :D
 
I use a smoke tube in my MES 30. I added some U bolts to set it on an angle of about 45 degrees on the left side of the smoker. I open the chip loader about half way to get a good draft and get a good 4 hours plus of smoke
 
I read somewhere online (I can't find it now) about someone that modified their chip tray to have a couple of these...


... wired down in the bottom of the chip tray in order to be near or directly in contact with the chips.

As you have found, with that low of a temperature the factory heating element is not on long enough to generate the heat necessary to keep the chips smoking.

Just an idea I saw online. I now use the cold smoker attachment. You can also check ebay, craigslist, offer up, or facebook marketplace to source a used cold smoker attachment.
 
Thanks, for a first trial run... Only did 10 out of the 15lbs I have to smoke. It worked out well enough I plan to smoke the rest tomorrow.
 

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I read somewhere online (I can't find it now) about someone that modified their chip tray to have a couple of these...


... wired down in the bottom of the chip tray in order to be near or directly in contact with the chips.

As you have found, with that low of a temperature the factory heating element is not on long enough to generate the heat necessary to keep the chips smoking.

Just an idea I saw online. I now use the cold smoker attachment. You can also check ebay, craigslist, offer up, or facebook marketplace to source a used cold smoker attachment.
Are you using the Masterbuilt cold smoker unit? Curious if you have done sausage before/brats things like that? The sausages I did yesterday using cherry wood had quite a bit of smoke flavor to it... I can't image a smoke generator running the entire time how much smoke it would put off being edible. Especially since 90% of that smoke is white smoke. Curious on your thoughts.
 
Do this to your tube.Fits right in the bottom left, takes up no shelf space.
 

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Are you using the Masterbuilt cold smoker unit? Curious if you have done sausage before/brats things like that? The sausages I did yesterday using cherry wood had quite a bit of smoke flavor to it... I can't image a smoke generator running the entire time how much smoke it would put off being edible. Especially since 90% of that smoke is white smoke. Curious on your thoughts.

Yes, the Masterbuilt one. Of course, you can shut off the cold smoke generator and remove the chip tower from it at any time to cut off smoke generation. I've not done any sausage. I did a cold smoke of salmon lox, and used a 3" aluminum vent tube from the cold smoker to the MES to cool the smoke before it gets to the cook chamber, just like a mailbox mod does. Seemed to work OK for me. For hot smoking, I just push it up against the MES.
 
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Hi there and welcome!

I don't have a line on either but I can pretty much promise you that the AMNPS tray will not stay lit inside your MES30.
I've helped a number of guys with MES30's and this problem and they all had to go to a mailbox mod.
Now the MES40 has some guys that have had success with it inside the smoker but I have not seen it work with my own eyes so your mileage may vary.

I have a sneaky suspicion that you might have to build your own electric smoke generator since the mailbox mod with the AMNPS tray or tube is not an option.
I would assume you can get a proper element and rig it to a metal contraption along with a plug and be able to attach it to the chip hole via a 3inch duct.

I've never done it but I wonder if you put a lit piece of charcoal or 2 into the chip tray and load your chips that way and let the charcoal keep things going.
Another option is to make your own perforated tube/tray contraption that fits on the bottom bars of the smoker. The bars that hold up the heating element from dropping down to the drip pan.

Wish I had better info for you. Let us know what you land on so others in your area may benefit from what you find :D

It will with some mods. a MB Electric was my first smoker. I got tired of the "mild" smoke flavor (they do work though and beats oven-baked stuff) and since moved on, but this is what you can do:


With the easy-to-do mod, you will have some airflow in the smoker which will keep the pellet tray going. You can do the charcoal method as well.
 
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