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MES Not producing smoke

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by swesch, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. swesch

    swesch Newbie

    I've used my MES on three or four occasions.  Most of those were to smoke chicken on high heat (275F).  No problem--lots of smoke.  I also did ribs with no problem, I can't remember the temp I used.  Today, I set out to do a pork shoulder at 215 for 6 hours.  By this I mean that I set the smoker at 215 on the temperature guide on top (I don't have an oven thermometer for my smoker yet.) 

    The smoker just didn't make smoke, even though it was hot and the pork is cooking.  I turned it up to 230 and got smoke for a while, but it exitinguished when I added some more chips.  I tried turning it up again but still no smoke.  The pork does seem to be cooking.   Any suggestions?
  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    30" or 40" MES

    What happens is the MES heats up quickly, and does stay on long enough to ignite the chips.  Bearcarver staggers his temps to keep it smoking.  He'll most likely be along here soon.

    Some guys put a piece of charcoal in the chip pan to keep the chips burning when the heating element goes off.

    I own the 40" MES

    You should be running your smoker at 250* + because you need to get your pork shoulder past above the 140* internal temp in less than 4 hours.

  3. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    As above you will only make smoke when the heating element is on and for a short period of time after.  The unit is insulated pretty good so if your outside temp is warm and or your in the sun you will get less smoke. 

    Make sure your top vent is wide open whenever using it.  If you need to generate more smoke, I will pull the woodchip tray slightly ajar, or leave the door just cracked.  I just hook the door and don't seal it.

    I usually do my butts at 230.

    Hope this helps.
  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Ok, This must be something to do w/ the new  style units .my 800 watt 40" once i turn it on ,preheat it and load the meat never shuts off .i get smoke from about 175 -185 till i quit feeding it chips .
  5. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    My ears were ringing---My name must have been mentioned.

    That staggering temperature thing I used to do to keep it smoking was only on cured stuff that didn't have to get through a danger zone in a certain amount of time.

    I don't have a lot of trouble with mine smoking above temps of 200˚ or more.


    The only thing I can add is, if it stops smoking, you can run your heat up an extra 10˚. Then once it gets there, drop it back those 10˚ plus maybe another 5 or 10˚. It should smoke good because the element will be on longer to get up that high. Then it will drop back for awhile & stop smoking (unless you open the door for a bit). But then it will again be on long enough to get the wood smoking again. Keep doing this as long as you want smoke.

    Another thing is If you only put a couple chips in, it'll smoke quicker, but chunks will last longer, so I like to put a couple chips in to get smoking quick, and as soon as it is smoking for a few minutes, drop a small chunk or two in. The chunks might keep smoking even when the heating element is on.

    You could also look and see if your MES is one of those that can get the upgrade on it.

    But the absolute best thing you can do is what I did. Get yourself an "A-MAZE-N-SMOKER". That should solve those smoking problems.

  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I wish they had a switch to go from 800 watts to 1200 watts.  1200 for quick recovery, and 800 watts for normal heating.  Masterbuilt is providing an upgrade kit for the 30", but really need to do some work on the 40" to produce more consistent smoke.  In the mean time, I sell more gadgets!![​IMG]


  7. swesch

    swesch Newbie

    It's a 30".  Thanks for all the information and suggestions!
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I agree with Bear 100% - get an A MAZE N SMOKER and you dont have to worry about it ever again. I no longer use chunks in my SmokinTex at all and it pumps out great food with the AMS. $30 and you are done
  9. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Todd  you have a great product and it serves it's users well.

     You have one of the few products on the site that i have never heard a complaint about.

     In my mind that means alot more than all the reviews on line. I trust my smoking ,brothers and Sisters not to steer someone wrong.

     If i ever decide to get into cold smoking or need to get more smoke than my 40 will make ,Your product will be the first thing i purchase.
  10. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    Gentlemen..I've been in contact with Darryl (MBTechguy) and he just sent me an upgrade kit for my 40"!!! .I believe it is the same  kit as the 30" model.I let everyone know how the install goes and the result of the new chip holder.I'm pretty sure this kit will eliminate all of our lack of smoke issues.I'll still use the AMZN for long smokes.When I initialy contacted masterbuilt tech support, they informed me that the kit was only for 30" models but Darryl cleared that up and was pro active in sending me the kit. Anyway..I'm very happy with masterbuilt tech support.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good old Darryl swoops in and saves the day again !

    That's great BobbyGee!
  12. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I wonder if some of these companies read what we post. I mean, I would trust what you guys tell me about a product and their customer service over any review I read. Well, I didn't pay attention when y'all said to stay away from that GAWD AWFUL FOODSAVER but, lesson learned!

    Glad to hear that fella Darryl stepped up to the plate. We need more folks like him taking care of customers!
  13. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't used the chip drawer on my MES. Not once. I bought an AMAZEN when I bought the smoker.

     I have considered getting one of those adjustable vent covers,take out the drawer and

    put the vent cover there. Seems like the AMZEN does better with the drawer halfway out.
  14. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Your 30" should be smokin' up a storm compared to the 40"

    Does it qualify for the upgrade kit from Masterbuilt?

  15. I too have issue with my MES producing smoke. So I purchased a AMNPS per a million recommendations.

    I cant keep my AMNPS lit in my MES 40".  Doesn't seem like it's getting enough oxygen.  I get it lit on both ends and let the flame burn out itself. 10 mins in the smoker - its no longer producing smoke.  

    Any ideas or tips? 

  16. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    1. Be sure that your AMNPS is raised off the bottom of smoker a few inches and not sitting on the botton tray.

    2. Pull chip loader our 2" and turn the dump side down.

    3. Be sure top vent of smoker is wide open.

    4. Some pellets smoke better than others. What pellets are you using that aren't smoking?
  17. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    A bunch of guys are having issues with the MES 40 BT.  I'm going to seriously test it on Saturday morning with vids/pics to make a final conclusion. 
  18. The AMNPS is always on the bottom rack with plenty of air flow 360°

    I've gone so far as to completely remove the chip loader to achieve maximum oxygen flow

    Top vent is wide open

    I've used a variety of pellets from the ones provided by AMAZEN to some that I've gotten from Academy (for pellet smokers)
  19. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Most people here have said the issue is how you're actually lighting it.  You have to really make sure that cherry is burning at full blast before putting it in the smoker.  Can you upload a video to show us how you're lighting it?
  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    You already had some good suggestions above, but the biggest thing is that you get it lit really good.

    I don't use a heat gun, but I keep coming back to it again & again for up to 20 minutes, blowing down & in toward the unburned pellets, driving the red burning coals deeper & deeper into the row.

    You can't just let it burn out in 10 minutes & expect it to be lit properly. That red cigar-like Cherry glow has to be deep under the pellets to be lit properly.

    Here is a link to a good Thread on lighting the AMNPS:


    Note: If you're using Cherry pellets, you're best bet is to mix the Cherry with something else, because Cherry is a problem keeping going by itself, no matter what you do.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015