MES40 Temp Control...

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Mar 6, 2011
NE Ohio
Yesterday I got my ET-732 digital thermometer. Did the boil test two times and came up with the same results. Food probe 212° and the barbecue probe 214°. Today I checked my MES40's temp control and accuracy with it, to see how close the temperature readings in the MES40 are compared to the ET-732. I took some readings at set points 150, 225 and 275°.  At the 150° set point on average the 732 read 5° higher, at the 225° set point 25° higher and at the 275° set point it was 23° higher on average. Temperature swing from set point was fairly tight. The MES' meat probe seems to be off 5-10° also but I still want to do a boil test on it. This was all done with the MES empty and the damper wide open. The 732's food probe, the MES' meat probe hanging in the middle of the smoker and the 732's barbecue probe clipped to the bottom of the top rack.

Last Sunday I smoked 3 slabs of spare ribs and 2 butts with a combined weight of the butts at 17lbs. Used the 3-2-1 method for the ribs with a 235° set point. When I took them out they were nowhere near to being done. Finished them in my oven at 250°. Finished the butts in the oven also by choice. The first time I used the smoker I thought that it ran low in temp because I put a cheap oven thermo in the smoker that I thought was fairly accurate. I ended up smoking those ribs with a 250-255° set point in order to get my oven thermo to read 225. The ribs came out awesome. So now I'm a little confused with these temps and results. The only thing I can think of is that the butts, because of their size, weight and temp, pulled some of the heat away from the ribs? Anyway now that I have a good digital thermometer I'll have a better understanding of what's going on inside the smoker as far as temps go. I just don't want to get anyone sick and/or waste time and money.

Any thoughts?
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Did you have your water pan full or empty? A smoker that isn't properly preheated and loaded with cold meat can take quite a while to stabilize temps without the water pan full of hot water thus adding to your cooking time. I fill mine  with boiling hot water in cold temps to help with the recovery time when i open the door to load the smoker or to check things inside. If you move the probes around in your smoker you will find spots that are warmer and cooler. I trust my chamber temps from my maverick and adjust my digital readout on my MES accordingly if needed throughout the smoke.
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It could also be the ribs were a little meatier than average and just took a little longer to cook. The 3-2-1 method is really just a guideline, sometimes it's perfect and sometimes you have to make an adjustment to the cook time. 
The temp of my MES is off 20°+, but the food probe is within 5° of my Maverick ET-732.

I set my MES at about 200° to get 225° on my racks.

I smoke My Ribs at 225° for 3 hours, foil for a couple hours and then finish on the grill

I smoke My Pork Butts @ 250° until they hit 165°, wrap with foil and finish in the oven.

Works for me!

Joe, There are a couple things I have noticed that we have to take into consideration.

One is that different places in the MES have different temps. The MES sensor on mine is below center, to the right, on the back wall. This will be a different temp than most places you put the food, or places you put the remote probes.

Second is the remote meat probe seams to be more accurate in meat than it is in air. Don't know why, but it seems to be, It could be that the meat probe only measures the tip of the probe, and that might be affecting the accuracy of measuring a large area of air.

Third is that the remote smoker probe is much more sensitive than the built in MES probe. This causes it to run up faster & farther , before coming down, than the MES digital. 

My ET-732 gets closer to my MES readings after they have been set at one steady temp for a good amount of time.

These things & other things get together to make the remotes different than the built in MES therm, and it is doubtful that a new control unit would help. However, if someone's MES is reading 275˚, and the temp from an accurate remote  is much less than that, I would definitely go for a new control unit, because this can keep you from getting the full use of your MES. If the temperatures are the opposite, like mine is, you can just calculate the difference and act accordingly.

I do believe you have it figured out. The mass of the 9# butts will consume a lot of btu's. IMHO, the more you fill the MES, the longer the cooking time. 
I do believe you have it figured out. The mass of the 9# butts will consume a lot of btu's. IMHO, the more you fill the MES, the longer the cooking time. 

I didn't mention this earlier, but I had thought about that. I think that would only affect the cooking time, if it caused the smoker to not get to the set temp.

If it is set at 235˚, and the smoker has the cojones to get it there & keep it there, it should not affect the time it takes to cook the contents.

However if it is set at 235˚, and it takes it forever to get to 235˚ because of a huge load of cold meat, and every time it cycles, it coasts 15˚ or 20˚ below the set point, before it starts rising again, that would make the cooking time much longer.

Thanks for your help guys, I appreciate it!


Yes I put apple juice in there (aprox. 3/4) prior to the preheat and loaded everything after it came up to temp. I did the same thing the first time I smoked... had to add more juice so I brought it up to 212° so I wouldn't put a big load on the smoker. From now on I'll preheat whatever liquid I put in the water pan before the preheat.


With more time on the job, I'll have this smoking business down to a science. I should have known that they were running behind just from the look and feel of the ribs when I took them out for the foil. I'm learning. Maybe a pocket digital thermo would help also.


That's one thing I didn't understand and still don't really, how guys can load their smoker all at once with all types of different meats that smoke at different temps, and have everything cook properly. That's the reason on my first smoke I decided not to put the chicken in there also.


I've noticed that there's at least one hot spot in my smoker on the upper right side. (I wonder if a small recirculating fan would help with any temp variations?) I'll be putting the thicker ends of the ribs to the right from now on. Also noticed the different sensitivities/reaction-times of the temp probes in both, the maverick and the MES.


Thinking about it a little, that was the only thing I could come up with at the time that made sense to me. I don't remember how long I had everything out of the fridge at room temp prior to going into the smoker, but maybe I could have left everything out a little londer. Could someone give me a safe time frame?

LOL.... well, I'm ready and going for a trifecta porkoff. Loaded up at Sam's after work today with another three slabs and 17lbs of butt. I'm more confident this time going into battle with my new weapon, The ET-732 Automatic Remote Sensing Porkulator. lol..... huh???

Todd, do you sell temp probes for the 732? Would like to get an extra set in the near future.
I think a number of guys have tried small fans in their smokers, but I don't know the results.

I know I wouldn't want to blow ashes from the chip drawer, or ashes & dust from my AMNS, onto my food, so it would have to be very very small.

Others here know a lot more about that than I do.

Todd, do you sell temp probes for the 732? Would like to get an extra set in the near future.
I don't stock the probes, but you can get them from Maverick @ (732) 417-9666


If you search for MES Hot Mods you will find a mod that our old friend, Ron P, among others, have used to solve the hot spot in the MES smokers is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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