MES not producing enough smoke.. help pls!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by husker3in4, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    Im hoping you guys can help me. I have a MES model#20071415 that I got last year. It has the digital panel to control temp, the meat probe and the vent is on the side of the unit, near the top. Anyway, my problem is that I cant get it to produce enough smoke. I can put pellets or chips in, and the first load burns just fine, making good smoke. But after that, anything I put in there just turns black and does not smoke. It seems the only way to keep it smoking is to open the front door, pull out the chip tray, empty it, put it back in, close the door then add more chips. All of this would lose heat, and just not be efficient, especially since the unit is designed to have chips loaded thru the side.

    Otherwise I think it works pretty good, I just need more smoke and smoke flavor. Anyone else have this issue? Can anyone help?
  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  3. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    I was considering getting one of those, but my point its more of the fact that I dont think my MES is working correctly. Surely they didnt design it so that it only burns the first load of chips? anyone else have this model?
  4. twoalpha

    twoalpha Smoking Fanatic


    Did you have the vent open all the way? If not try opening it.

    Where you using the water pan? Most MES uses would also tell you that water in the pan is not needed.

    Chips in my MES work good but have switched to the AMNPS for less attention time and better overall smoke,

    Keep Smokin.
  5. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    ​Try putting an elbow on the will get a better air flow.

  6. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    I have run it with the vent open, closed, and half way, it doesnt seem to make a difference.

    I always use a water pan, wouldnt the meat dry out if you dont put water in it?
  7. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I don't use any water in my MES30, as it's a small unit & really doesn't need the added humidity. After the initial billowy, thick, white smoke burns off after a few minutes of loading chips I get the nice, thin, blue stuff I'm looking for, it's just hard to see. I keep my damper almost all the way open & chip loader closed. I only use the wood chips it calls for, but some will swear by the pellets.

  8. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Does an elbow get more air flow than just adding a straight tube like a can with both ends cut out or something similar without the elbow?

    In other words, I have a 40" BT MES with the vent on top, so if I place a bean or similar can with both ends cut out over the vent will it get increased air flow? 
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  9. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    So for u guys that dont use water, do you not put the water pan in at all? or do you put it in but without water?
  10. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I use the pan, but no water.

    I put foil in it to act as another grease-catch.

  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The MES was designed to be used with the water pan. It acts as a heat disburser and also to catch grease drippings. Like Tumbleweed1 that's what I use it for. I foil it over but with the pressed against the inside of the water pan bottom.
  12. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    I tried a rack of St louis cut ribs earlier this week without water in the pan. So I left the pan in there like you guys said, but it was dry. I left the vent half open. to  my surprise, the ribs were just as tender as they always were! the downside is, it didnt help with the lack of smoke issue. The first batch of pellets I put in there made alot of good smoke, but every time I would add them after that, they would just turn black and not burn. I tried chips as well, still no dice. I would even open the front of the smoker, dump the chip tray, and put fresh pellets or chips in there, they just dont burn after the first batch :(
  13. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    What temp are you smoking at? If you are smoking at a low temp and the unit is holding the temp well then the heating element might not be running enough to get the chip tray hot enough. Masterbuilt has built an attachment to burn the chips separately for this reason. If the element isn't on the chips will not burn. 
  14. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic


  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did you read my post(s)? I smoke 3 racks of SL ribs using wood pellets in the AMNPS and all three turned out moist and tender. I foil over the empty water pan and keep the top vent wide open.

    The trick with the AMNPS is to load it up for more than you think you might need. I filled up two rows which I knew would be too much for a 6-hour smoke. At the end when I removed the tray I just separated the unburnt pellets from the smoking ones. The smoking pellets typically burn themselves out within 20-30 minutes. I never have to augment the pellets with wood chips. But I've got a MES 30 Gen 1 and there's plenty of airflow inside them.
  16. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    Bmaddox, I thought this might be the case, which is one of the reasons I thought opening the front door of the smoker to replace the chips/pellets in the chiptray would help. Opening the door should cause enough heat loss for the element to kick on and stay on long enough to get it smoking again, but no dice. What is the device that Masterbuilt has made?

    As for the A-maz-n smoker, the whole point of the post is to see if there is something wrong with my smoker, or if everyones Masterbuilt (as least of my same model) isnt producing enough smoke? While I realize I may  have to spring for it, it just seems silly for someone to have to buy something extra to smoke, which is pretty much the sole purpose of the Masterbuilt smoker in the first place.

    What really made me wonder if mine was having a problem is that my older masterbuilt electric smoker produces smoke just fine and the set up is pretty close to the same.
  17. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Masterbuilt makes a cold smoking attachment that is about $60 that has its own power supply to burn the wood chips.

    Is it smoking when the red heating lighting is on? Have you tried buying new wood chips to make sure you didn't get a bad batch? 
  18. husker3in4

    husker3in4 Smoke Blower

    Yeah, the red light comes on after I open the door to change the chips/pellets. I know its kicking on and off, its just frustrating that this problem wasnt caught in production and solved. I cant be the only one having this issue.

    I know I can get an A-maz-n smoker tray for about $30 that is a manual light, or this cold smoke attachment for $60 that you speak of.

    I kinda just wish the smoker did the main purpose it was built for. Does everyone have this smoke problem with these smokers?
  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You've got a Gen 2, right? There are a variety of smoke/heating problems with it. I don't have that model so I have no advice to offer you. A number of guys who own it have learned how to make it work for them by adding mods.
  20. Hello from Texas Coast,

          I use the MES 30" Digital smoker and use the Amazen Smoke Tube for long smokes like Brisket but if I am doing something simple and sorta quick I attach a small output fan to the Chip Tray Handle. I turn the handle to the Unload position and attach the fan, I have also enlarged one of the holes so the fan air can blow into chip tray area.

    The fan pushes just enough air into chip tray area to assist with smoke, but not too much.

          I have attached a simple photo which should help, I think I bought the fan a Target, very small, very cheap!

    Hope this helps with the smoking issues!

    Happy Labor Day!

    Retired John!

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