MES doesn't produce smoke unless about 250 degrees!?

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BarbaraLynn

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Original poster
Jan 20, 2019
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0
Northern CA
I'm new at this, is that normal? I have to keep adjusting the temp if I want the (dry) chips to smoke, then turn it down for "slow & low", then turn it up again to get some smoke.
I'd appreciate some input from other electric smokers, thanks!
 

smokerjim

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Jan 14, 2014
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not normal, usually will start smoking around 200 I think, give or take, are you going by the factory temp gauge, they are really not to accurate, is your pan sitting in the smoker right.
 
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GaryHibbert

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Jim's right about the factory MES temp settings. Get yourself a good dual probe remote therm.
I do all my low and slow smoking in my MES 30 at about 240 to 250, so that's never been a problem for me. The only thing I do at temps below that is Cold Smoke, and that's at under 100. I also burn pellets rather than chips in an AMNPS c/w Mailbox Mod.
If you want to solve the problem and smoke lower than your chips will burn, you can get an AMNPS (pellet tray) and use pellets instead of chips. Lot of good info here on using the AMNPS and also on adding a Mailbox Mod. Just do a search and you'll find a ton of info on both subjects
 
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johnmeyer

Master of the Pit
Nov 19, 2015
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Central Coast, CA
I too now use the AMNPS tray, but when I used the chip tray, I found that it was possible to insert the tray in such a way that it didn't get heated very well. So, make sure your tray is inserted properly. You should be able to get a fair amount of smoke from 200 on up. This is especially true in the winter where the electric heater has to turn on more often in order to maintain the set temperature and this means more energy to heat the chips.
 
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doughboysigep

Smoke Blower
Jan 16, 2015
94
24
Delhi, NY
Is it in the sun? I found that the sun (especially on back where thermometer is) makes unit heat up (just feel the outside) which keeps the heater form kicking on and burning chips. I've had mine at 240 and no smoke. Move to shade and no problem.
 
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BarbaraLynn

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Original poster
Thread starter
Jan 20, 2019
5
0
Northern CA
Jim's right about the factory MES temp settings. Get yourself a good dual probe remote therm.
I do all my low and slow smoking in my MES 30 at about 240 to 250, so that's never been a problem for me. The only thing I do at temps below that is Cold Smoke, and that's at under 100. I also burn pellets rather than chips in an AMNPS c/w Mailbox Mod.
If you want to solve the problem and smoke lower than your chips will burn, you can get an AMNPS (pellet tray) and use pellets instead of chips. Lot of good info here on using the AMNPS and also on adding a Mailbox Mod. Just do a search and you'll find a ton of info on both subjects
Thanks Gary, I'm going to check out the AMNPS! Also, love your tagline re dogs/antidepressant- so true!
 

BarbaraLynn

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Jan 20, 2019
5
0
Northern CA
Is it in the sun? I found that the sun (especially on back where thermometer is) makes unit heat up (just feel the outside) which keeps the heater form kicking on and burning chips. I've had mine at 240 and no smoke. Move to shade and no problem.
Thank you, Good tip, I didn't think of that!
 

BarbaraLynn

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Jan 20, 2019
5
0
Northern CA
I too now use the AMNPS tray, but when I used the chip tray, I found that it was possible to insert the tray in such a way that it didn't get heated very well. So, make sure your tray is inserted properly. You should be able to get a fair amount of smoke from 200 on up. This is especially true in the winter where the electric heater has to turn on more often in order to maintain the set temperature and this means more energy to heat the chips.
Thank you, I'm going to check that first!
 

doughboysigep

Smoke Blower
Jan 16, 2015
94
24
Delhi, NY
I too use a pellet unit (I have an A-Maze-N) from time to time. Mostly when cold smoking cheese, but have used it on days I can't get out of the sun or when I have to leave for awhile - don't have to keep filling chip tray. They are certainly handy.
 

Bearcarver

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Thank you, I'm going to check that first!


There's a bunch of possibilities.
Do you know which Generation MES you have?
The one has a chip drawer that can be pushed in wrong, keeping an extra piece of metal between the heating element & the chips in the drawer.
Do you have any pics of your Smoker, inside & outside?
And maybe a picture of the chip drawer, looking from above the removed drawer.

However, Like was mentioned above, no matter what the problem is, you would be better off with an AMNPS & some Pellets & Dust.

Bear
 

Bearcarver

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Here's a Pic of what could be your problem:

Like I said above, depending on which Generation MES you have, you might have this drawer.
Notice the big bottom flap of metal about 3/4" below the actual chip drawer.
When you slide the drawer in that bottom flap goes under the heating element---Not above.
Some people have jammed that bottom flap above the heating element.
That causes the heat to not be able to get to the chips in the drawer.
image.jpg


Bear
 
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daveomak

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Look to see if the chip tray sits directly on the element... It should... If there is an air gap, you are losing heat to the chips...
 

Murray

Smoking Fanatic
Dec 30, 2018
632
339
Grande Cache Alberta
Notice the size of chips in Bearcarvers (post #13), I’m using chips that size and getting TBS but not as much as I used to with the Little Chief. I found an old bag of chips that I had for the Little Chief and those chips where much smaller. I tried the smaller chips in my MES and I got more TBS than with the larger chips, unfortunately I don’t have allot of the older smaller chips to experiment with but next time I buy chips I’m going to look for smaller sized chips. I wish Masterbuilt threw in a bag of chips with the purchase of a new smoker, they would know the optimum chip size for maximum TBS in their products then customers could purchase chips that are similar in size. I got to admit that experimenting is fun and tasty though.
 

Bearcarver

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Notice the size of chips in Bearcarvers (post #13), I’m using chips that size and getting TBS but not as much as I used to with the Little Chief. I found an old bag of chips that I had for the Little Chief and those chips where much smaller. I tried the smaller chips in my MES and I got more TBS than with the larger chips, unfortunately I don’t have allot of the older smaller chips to experiment with but next time I buy chips I’m going to look for smaller sized chips. I wish Masterbuilt threw in a bag of chips with the purchase of a new smoker, they would know the optimum chip size for maximum TBS in their products then customers could purchase chips that are similar in size. I got to admit that experimenting is fun and tasty though.


Different sizes of chips are good for different things, in fact some guys like using Chunks more than chips.
However no matter what size chip or chunk you use in an MES, you'll never get the control & outright perfection of an "AMNPS" with Pellets or Dust, and for up to 11 hours without having to even touch it.

Bear
 

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