MES Smoker mods

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mbogo, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Howdy Y'all-

    Thought I'd share my experience with my 30" MES...  Like most other folks, I discovered that the basic design is inherently flawed- no call for heat = no smoke. NO good. Especially in the warmer months. So I bought the AMNPS- great product, but it just doesn't work as well as it should in this application. I had to keep relighting it, obviously starved for oxygen in there. AMNPS says to remove the chip loader, and open the drawer. Well, then most of the heat from the element goes out the hole where the chip loader goes. And the AMNPS is below the fresh air inlet, which simply won't work well.

    So, knowing I wouldn't be using the MES chip burner ever again, I set out to come up with something that would (should!) work.

    That being said, I'm sure this voids any & every warranty, UL listing, blah, blah, blah....  Too bad, I need TBS!!

    Here's what I did, and it seems to be working perfectly:

    I removed the entire chip drawer assembly, and the wire rack support, and moved the wire rack up to allow for air to come in underneath the AMNPS.

    Then I made a heat/grease shield to protect the burner, and and screwed that to the back wall (only on the far right side as the wiring for the element is in there.)

    I also wanted a grease shield for the AMNPS, as the water pan would not be covering the back left corner, so I made a small triangular piece to cover that.

    I've noticed that once the draft gets going, it pretty much went up the back wall, and out the vent, so I made a small baffle up there that will hopefully allow the smoke to spend some more quality time with the meat-

    Then, I capped off the opening for the old chip loader.

    Now, I had to come up with a new air inlet. Not knowing how much air would be required for the AMNPS, I kinda winged it. I was going to order a rotary-type adjustable damper online, but I need to do a pork butt tomorrow. (On sale @ Rainbow for $.99/ lb!!), So, I went through my junk & found a 2000# stainless ball valve, (which is probably worth more than the smoker), and installed that to the front of the AMNPS, hoping to avoid too much draft right into it.

    I'm doing a dry run right now, and I've had perfect TBS for 2 hours, w/o having to relight. Ball valve all the way open, so perhaps it needs a 11/2" instead of the 1"- Not sure if the smoke is visible, but it's there-

    Will post more pics tomorrow as the Pork gets happier!!
  2. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks like a good thing to me...Nice job..
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    All the stuff you did looks like it will work good.

    My AMNPS works perfectly in my MES 40, without doing anything, including removing the dumper & pulling out the drawer.

    The AMNPS needs to be lit properly, so it won't go out.

  4. Hi Bear,

    I actually looked pretty thoroughly at your setup before doing this, your foil pan over the AMNPS inspired the little shield I made. I think the 40 " has enough extra height so it breathes better.

    I've tried just about every variable there is, and I still had to keep relighting for the first couple hours. And as I wasn't going to use the original chip system, I figured why not!!

    Doing some chix in there right now, it is burning absolutely perfect.

    I love your posts & recipes, you Sir, are Da Bomb!.... Gonna try some of your mini-loaves on Sunday, can't wait!!

    Thanks for the input,

  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for the kind words, and like I said, the mods you made look good. I only mentioned how the AMNPS won't go out in an MES 40, if you have it lit properly, for the benefit of any MES 40 owners who read this thread.

    You could be right about the MES 30. My AMNS worked good in my MES 30, but I sold it before I got an AMNPS.

    I'll be watching for the Chix and Mini-loaves. Just yell if you have any questions.

  6. Well, the results are in. The chix was so good forgot to take pix. I did masnage to get a few of the pork butt, though.

    Here it is after resting overnight. Standard Jeff's rub w/ mustard.

    Got the AMNPS fired up with apple:

    I saw this somewhere on these forums, (Was it you, Bear??), and thought it was a great idea. trimmed off all but a real thin layer of the fat cap, then scored what remained. (I did this before the rub and rest), then put the fat in a foil pan above the meat with a about 6 small holes punched in it.

    Ran the MES @ 225 for about 6 hours, then probed the meat. IT of 156 at this point. Kept it smoking for another couple hours, then just let it cruise to 200 IT. 7.5 lb roast took 10 hours. Pulled foiled, and into a cooler for as long as I can stand it. (about 1/2 hour, max!) The fat basting is incredible, still got a wonderful carmelized crust, but not the hard, blackened one. Mama had it in shreds in about 30 seconds with the Bear Paws. 

    It's Din Din!!!

    I may make one small change to my MES mod, at one point I had to almost shut down the intake due to too much draft, as the AMNPS jumped into the middle row. Perhaps a small deflector in front of the inlet hole to minimize turbulence.

    Now I have to go peroxide the dog, as she had a meeting with a skunk today. I will be making an appointment with him too, asap........

    Happy smoking!!
  7. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    That PP looks delicious, Mbogo!  Good job on the mods in you MES, sounds like those are gonna work like a charm for you.

  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Great, Mbogo!!!  Nice Bark, yet juicy!!!

    Yeah, that Fat basting drip pan was my baby.

    My Old Buddy, "SmokinAl" came up with putting the fat trimmings on a rack, above the meat, so I tried it too, and liked it, except as the fat pieces render & shrink, they fall through the grill all over the smoker. The foil pan with holes punched in solved that problem.

  9. Thanks Bear, it was really incredible, so juicy, and the smoke penetrated really well. I like a heavy smoke, so all good! my best PP to date.  Great idea Sir- 

    Thanks Red, Half the fun is in the experimentation- There's so much good info on this site, thanks to all!!

Share This Page