MES Smoker Questions

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by msujohn, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. msujohn

    msujohn Newbie

    I've owned my MES for about 3 months now and have noticed that I have quite a big range in temp's on the different racks? (I'm using a digital probe) as my basis for this. Is it normal for there to be such a big range (roughly 30 degrees) between the bottom shelf and the top shelf?

    Also, should I only be using the top 2 shelves when I smoke?

    I've noticed that when I preheat my smoker the temp on the MES is only off about 5 - 10 degrees. But, once I put the meat in it, the temp never seems to be close to accurate (as much as 45 degrees difference). Is this normal
     
  2. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I mainly use the top 2 racks and yes there is a difference especially the right hotter than left.

    I always have a full water pan to help that.
     
  3. msujohn

    msujohn Newbie

    Thanks for the reply. I've only used it 4 times and still learning. But have been amazed at how different the temp is top shelf and on the right side as well. I'll continue to find tune. Planning on smoking a pork butt this weekend (this will be my second time doing a butt).
     
  4. I have some questions too. If we want to replace the temp gauge what can we do. Could we drill holes in the sides and slide in thermometers? This way have a left & a right? or 4 holes and slide in 4 and have left top & bottm and right top n bottom?

    I agree the stock temp probe seems to vary when you check the internal chamber temp. Looking for an easy , cheap mod of temperature monitor/control.
     
  5. mph

    mph Fire Starter

    I bought a MES last month and used it 3 times. I probed all around it and the temps do vary quite a bit. I found the temp accurate where the MES probe is located. I'm not discouraged...I now know what I have. The only way to get close to a uniform temp in the "box" is with a blower. High temp motor, bearings, wiring, another potential device to fail. I'm happy to deal with what it is...set it and forget it. Having an extra probe next to the meat is better than trying to re-engineer the machine.

    Mark
     
  6. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You will also get about a 20 degree difference between what the MES temp says and reality depending on how you have the vent opened or closed.
     
  7. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    You should always have the vent wide open when smoking. The only time the vent could be closed is perhaps during preheating or if you wanted to cook without smoke.
     
  8. anyone care to offer a reply on my mod idea? is it as simple driiling holes and sliding in a temp probe or gauge or pocket therm?
     
  9. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No need to drill, just get a coulpe remotes and feed the wires down the vent holes and you can monitor anywhere you want by moving them around.
     
  10. bogview

    bogview Newbie SMF Premier Member

    Don't worry about it. Forgetabout it. It's going to be great. Just don't use too many chips. The MES is rediculously effecient on smoke and you can get too much smoke and worse yet creosote.

    There is always going to be temperature stratification. The cool air enters through gaps in the door seals. The heat off the heating element rises. Adding chips creates cumbustion and more heat. Bug hunks of cold meat bring the temp down. Don't worry. Put the heavy stuff higher up because it can take more heat. Don't put the big stuff on top if it is drippy and will mess up your other stuff.

    I tried a bunch of digital thermometers and they were all different and somewhat inconsistant. There were alarms and all kinds of stuff going on. Now they stay in the drawer. The results - Great. Did 15 racks of ribs, 2 big buts and a big brisket today. Turn it on, 3 medium hickory chips at a time every 30 minutes or so with a couple shots of mesquite and the MES will perform magic.
     
  11. bogview

    bogview Newbie SMF Premier Member

    Don't worry about it. Forgetabout it. It's going to be great. Just don't use too many chips. The MES is rediculously effecient on smoke and you can get too much smoke and worse yet creosote.

    There is always going to be temperature stratification. The cool air enters through gaps in the door seals. The heat off the heating element rises. Adding chips creates cumbustion and more heat. Bug hunks of cold meat bring the temp down. Don't worry. Put the heavy stuff higher up because it can take more heat. Don't put the big stuff on top if it is drippy and will mess up your other stuff.

    I tried a bunch of digital thermometers and they were all different and somewhat inconsistant. There were alarms and all kinds of stuff going on. Now they stay in the drawer. The results - Great. Did 15 racks of ribs, 2 big buts and a big brisket today. Turn it on, 3 medium hickory chips at a time every 30 minutes or so with a couple shots of mesquite and the MES will perform magic.
     
  12. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I too used to move the cuts of meat around from top to bottom and front to back. Trying to even out the temps. Now I just accept that some will finish first sitting right where they are and some will lag behind. As long as my average temp inside the box is around my target zone I don't worry anymore.

    And You're right about the MES being efficient with wood. A little goes a long way. You may see only a whisper of smoke coming out of the top wide open vent but just watch the oven cavity when you open the door the oven itself is roiling inside with thin blue smoke.

    I put a cheap $5 oven thermometer on each rack in use. I prefer to use the middle rack if I'm just doing a couple of cuts of meat. I stick an elcheapo manual probe thermometer in trhough the top vent. It always reads the hottest about 10f above the rest on average. Then One remote probe in each large piece of meat and I'm good to go. I see no reason to drill holes in my machine. I seldom if ever peek anymore. I check each thermometer quickly when I mop, which is seldom if ever anymore. By not peeking and fretting over the temps and things I am now turning out much better Q.

    You can't ignore temps because that is probably the most important thing about smoking in the first place but you also can't let it rule you either.

    Just my opinion but I'm never wrong. [​IMG]
     
  13. msujohn

    msujohn Newbie

    Just so I get this straight. You set your temp on the MES at 225 - 240 (lets say). You use a digital probe temp in your meat (obviously) and also on the racks to see the inside temp.

    But, what if your temp probe that is used to monitor the inside temp only shows 185 - do you keep raising the temp on the MES to get your inside temp up or do you just leave your MES at 225 - 240 and don't worry about it?

    I also am assuming that the top racks will be cooler not hotter, is this true?

    I have yet to smoke more than one thing at a time - still worried about the temp, etc.
     
  14. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The only place I notice a difference in the meat is in the right hand back corner. This is directly above the element. I'm experimenting with some baffles to help redirect some of this heat but it really isn't a problem. If your aware of it you can adjust to it. I haven't found the difference in the bottom rack and the top rack to be a problem. I would think the bottom rack is going to be a little higher temp but again... not enough to create a major problem. Just adjust. I use a Maverick ET73 and I go by the temp it shows me located in the middle of the 2nd or 3rd rack.
    Quit worrying and smoke somethin!
     
  15. bogview

    bogview Newbie SMF Premier Member

    240 Is a little high (imho). How about 210' - 220'.

    It's about slow cooking, and turning cuts of meat that used to be undesireable and cheap into delicious meals. I lived in Europe for many years. Our butcher used to laugh at us paying 50 cents a pound for his garbage when we bought freshly butchered ribs. They used to throw them away. Unfortunately word got out about the craft and the price went up.
     
  16. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just my way of doing things but I find that smoking most meats unless cured at 250 and there abouts works great. I do this more with the gas and the stick burner than the MES. The MES just isn't going to get to that temp until well into a smoke. I will do ribs at 210 t0 225 usually slowing them down midway.

    On is on and off is off with the MES. It doesn't matter if you have it set to 210 or 250.... if the internal temp on your probe is showing 180... then you havn'et gotten there yet and the element will be on. I find that in my MES the temps are well below my set cooking temp and hard to reach in the beginning.... obviously because there is a big cold... or many big cold pieces of meat sitting in there soakin up the heat. Further into the smoke the MES is able to reach set temps and that's when I'll set the MES to start cycling at a set temp. I always set it at 275 in the beginning to assure the element is always on.. once my internal probe (mine... not the one that comes with it) hits my desired cooking temp (well into the smoke) I'll set the temp on the MES to that cooking temp. This method has worked well for me. I just set it on 275 to preheat and leave it there until I get it where I want it. Really you don't need to do that. It won't make it smoke any hotter than if you set it on 225....250 etc... The temp inside the smoker is what is important.
     
  17. bogview

    bogview Newbie SMF Premier Member

    If the MES has not reached target temp, raising the target temp shouldn't change the element cycling interval. Just give it an hour to preheat before loading. This is not a high dollar unit. The thermoprobes probably vary from batch to batch. If the door had 2 latches, maybe the seal would be better causing a more uniform performance from one unit to another. It is what it is, and the bang for the buck is pretty good.

    I have three digital probe thermometers and two infrared shooters. Smokin used to look like a science experiment. Now they stay in the drawer and there is less to clean up. The MES is close enough. If the MES temp was that far off, It needs to get fixed.

    Curtis
     
  18. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    I just smoked some yesterday with my MES it is a replacement. I have been luky at 225 degrees. I have had good smoke flavor, and find the openig and closing of the damper brings the heat up and down once I reached target temp.
    I modified one of the big syringes from the Creole injector to fill the poppers. Crumbled loin in the beans. I will have to send the rest in another attachment
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  19. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    finished q view from yesterday
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  20. gruelurks

    gruelurks Smoking Fanatic

    Nice looking grub!
     

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