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New MES issue and questions

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by Murray, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Received a new MES for Christmas, first electric smoker so I’m still learning.

    Question 1) Kid’s bought me a Bradley bisquette variety pack to go with the smoker not knowing the MES instructions state “Never use wood chunks or pellets” The instuctions didn’t mention pucks but the manufacturer clearly states wood chips only. I went ahead and used the pucks broken in half, seemed to work fine. Am I going to do any damage to the smoker using the Bradley pucks?

    Question 2) So far I seasoned the smoker as per manufacturers instructions and did a batch of burgers watching the control panel closely, all worked as per manual. Did a 3 lb. pork roast yesterday and the MES 30” had a major glitch, on the forth or fifth smoking cycle the heating element passed the 225F cut off and temperature continued to climb to 287F, heating element on,until I manually shut it down. I moved the pork to the stove and continued the cook in the oven. While the roast was in the oven I tried to reproduce the high temperature issue but couldn’t, the smoker ran fine since the issue. Any thoughts what might have caused this temperature overrun?

    Outside temperature was -15C(6F) and needed to heat the smoker with a hair dryer to get rid of the error code and allow the unit to turn on.
  2. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    1. Buy wood chips to use if that’s the route you want to go. The mes isn’t made for pucks.

    2. Look into an amazn pellet tray or tube to use with your mes. It’s the best way to smoke with an Mes.

    3. Are you gauging your temp using the mes thermo? They are extremely inconsistent and you cannot trust them. Invest in a new thermo with at least two probes (one for meat, other for smoker temp).

    4. Once you get a new thermo try another smoke and see if your mes is really off and what it’s doing wrong. The. You can call them with the info they’ll need and they can send you whatever you need to fix the issue.

    Good luck
  3. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What I did with my left over Bradley pucks was to beat them down with a hammer into as near of dust as I was happy with. I think the few I have left I will dissolve with water, then dry the dust out for use in my AMNPS.

    Anymore, I'm a convert to Dust. It has the subtle smoke flavor I smoke for. And is easy to undershoot, then add a little more, like 1/2 hour more, until the item is appealing.
    I laughingly refer to my horde of Pellets as my 146 year supply. I bought a 40# bag of Pitmasters competition blend, and have lesser weights of Hickory, Apple, and Alder pellets. But I dissolve the pellets by adding some fresh filtered water until they are broken down. Then dry them, in my MES 30.

    That was a point that appealed to me about the AMNPS. You can use Pellets, or you can use saw dust. Which is very easily made from Pellets of your flavor choice.
    You can use various pans to dry the dust if you choose to try the method. But 1/2 sized Steam Table foil pans fit in the MES 30 perfectly. (And they are great for anything you'd like in a pan, like a Pork Butt, for example.)

    I know, you just got your smoker, and now we are talking about the things needed to make it work right. :emoji_rolling_eyes::emoji_unamused:
    I fought it probably as hard as anyone, maybe worse even. I fiddled and farted around, but finally came in line. And I did many other changes to make my new MES into the smoker my 50 year background told me I wanted.

    My MES was not capable of the range I wanted. I smoke cold to warm. MES smokers are great Brisket smokers. Balls to the wall, half a cow hunks of meat they cook and smoke great. Because the element is mostly on, so it burns the chips.
    My first smoke was some of my beloved Salmon. But at 200 degrees, the Salmon was cooked, and not enough smoke flavor.
    I knew it had to change. I'm stubborn, and I'm very inventive, so I took the longest way around the bush. The last thing I bought was an AMNPS tray.
    It should have been the first. :emoji_thinking:

    Acquiring an AMNPS does great things. First it separates the smoke production, from the temperature control requirements of your food. Second, it uses Pellets currently available damn near everywhere. Pick your flavor to try!
    Third, it opens the choice of Pellets or Dust. And you can mix pellets, Bradley puck pieces, or dust all together in the tray and it will burn.
    I'm also a shipping turd. I hate paying shipping. So I ordered my AMNPS through Home Depot and got free shipping. Sorry, but I'm not buying somebodies lunch.
    Buy an AMNPS first, pick a mild wood like Apple, Pecan, Alder. These will break in the Family to smoke flavor. Be sparing, be subtle, don't over do it.

    Nobody here at my home liked smoked anything. Guess what? Now that I have learned my lessons well from the Guru's here, the Family and extended Family are becoming fans. I actually am getting asked for certain things, smoked things.
    I just needed to learn how to tone it down.
    Recipes from here on SMF are wonderful and asked for for gatherings. And my Bacon is becoming one of the big hits.
    Thanks to Friends here who share, help, and guide.

    Get an AMNPS, Get a BBQ thermometer to monitor your cooks. Later, if you choose to, do a Mailbox Mod. Or a Temperature control refinement.
  4. smokerjim

    smokerjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    if you can disconnect your your controller, keep it in the house when its cold out until your ready to use it, the cold will affect these, not sure what mes 30 you have. mine does what your explaining I shut it off, turn it back on and reste temp and time and it runs fine then, my mes 30 is a couple years old,
  5. SecondHandSmoker

    SecondHandSmoker Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sonny makes the best Sawdust Casserole.
    It's a bit grainey but tastey nonetheless.

  6. What temperature will it top out at? At 287F and still heating I would have thought a safety switch would have cut in?
  7. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The mes will heat to 275 and then turn off the heating element. However as I stated earlier the internal thermo in the unit is junk. It’s not accurate at all, ever.

    If your unit heated to 275 and then Shut off it could have kept raising the temp a few more degrees but another 13 seems like too much. It’s possible your have a defective unit. But until you have tested it more (I’d suggest testing it without meat or smoke) you can’t call them because you don’t have enough info. It’s possible had you not shut your unit off it would have started dropping temp because the element shut off.

    If you don’t want to invest in an accurate, third party thermo you need to at least do a few more dry runs with your smoker to see if your temp is rising way past your set temp. Then you have some info to give masterbuilt when you call them.

    I own two mes 40’s and have for some years now. I’ve dealt with masterbuilt customer service and had them send me parts. I’ve modded both of my units because they are far from perfect. I know a thing or two about them.

    Good luck
  8. SecondHandSmoker

    SecondHandSmoker Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If I am not mistaken, the high temp cut off for electric smokers is 305 to 310 degrees.
    Now, at a setpoint of 225 degrees one would expect a 10-15 degree temp swing to be normal and no cause for alarm.
    However, a 62 degree temp swing is abnormal.
    With that said, without using a separate probe to accurately monitor the temp inside the smoker, we have no way of knowing if that temp swing was real or just noise.

    As Scott has explained, doing further testing with a separate probe will help nail it down if you have an issue with the controller.
  9. Thanks for the reply, I have tried to reproduce the overheat condition. Once the unit cooled down I set the temperature to 100F and let the smoker run 2 cycles, increased to 200F and let it run 2 cycles... up to 275F ran flawlessly. This morning I let it run for 3 hours at 275F, again no problems. I can’t reproduce the overheat. I run my smoker in a garden shed to protect it from the elements and a runaway smoker could burn the shed, no big deal if the fire didn’t spread to my neighbors garage then to his wood pile.... I will be getting a third party thermometer. Lots of good material on this forum regarding remote thermometers! The meat probe is within 2F compared to the oven meat probe so that’s close. Maybe I’m being too paranoid. Hopefully this overheat is a one time occurrence. Thanks again for your reply
    hillbillyrkstr likes this.
  10. Thanks, high temperature cut off 305-310F. If I hadn’t panicked sounds like the smoker would have shut down itself at 305-310F. Blew my chance to test the overheating shutdown feature. While testing the smoker it rises to 12F above the set temperature and kicks on 2F below the set point.
    (MES temperature readings from the controller)
  11. SecondHandSmoker

    SecondHandSmoker Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You're welcome. Yes, the smoker would have shutdown once it reached the high temp safety limit.
    You should still invest in a good separate probe set up. You'll be glad you did.
  12. Vettemn86

    Vettemn86 Newbie

    Does your smoker have the bluetooth option and were you using it at the time? I had issues with mine a few months ago where the bluetooth app would max the temp in the middle of the cook and keep climbing. I just stopped using it and bought a set of thermopro thermometers.
  13. Not sure if it’s “Bluetooth” but it has a remote control. No “Bluetooth” label on the smoker or remote. Was playing around with the remote at the time, wonder if that was my issue. I didn’t use the remote while testing the unit after the overheat and had no issues with overheating. Thanks for the input.
  14. Update: Masterbuilt sent me a new Power Control Unit, I’ve had about 10 smokes since installing the unit and no temperature overruns.
  15. smokerjim

    smokerjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    good to hear, happy smoking
  16. Think about what you’re getting for your money. Masterbuilt makes us a smoker, for, generally less than $300, that will produce meat off the shelf that is so good that the KCBS won’t allow it as a competition smoker. We, here on this board, do all sorts of unspeakably unauthorized modifications to them and they just work better.
    What’s more, when we break something they usually cover it it under warranty.

    How can a guy diss this company?