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OK, I'm at a loss... (smoke problems)


Joined May 29, 2010
I picked up an MES30 a couple months back. It was christened on an 18deg day and turned out a mess of perfect ribs, using chips and the chip loader. The next handful of smokes went fine--delicious ribs/butts that I'd have been happy to be served in a restaurant. Then, about a month ago, things changed...

The TBS disappeared and was replaced by thick, white smoke that left everything bitter with creosote. No matter what I tried, it kept turning bitter. Adjusting the airflow w/the loader door and vent didn't help, nor did soaking the chips or trying it with an empty water pan. Trying lower temps didn't work either.

Adjusting the tabs to get more space under the chip tray didn't help, either. If anything, it made it worse as I started to get flareups that caused loud pops as the pressure blew the smoke out the loader chute.

Soooo... I bought an AMS this week, hoping that it was the element was just getting the chips too hot too fast.


Within 20 minutes of the ribs going in, the TBS turned white and bitter.

Any ideas what's going on?

Suggestions are more than welcome as the ruined meat is getting expensive.



Master of the Pit
Joined Mar 14, 2011
You could try calling Masterbuilt or may try to just turn up the heat and see if it is something that needs to cook off. Good Luck


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Do you have the top vent fully open? Do you have a good therm on the grate so you know the chamber temp? What temp are you setting the controller at? Where are you located at? Has the weather gotten substantially warmer? We need more info to help you out.


Master of the Pit
Joined Feb 10, 2009
How much are you loading the chip tray? A few chips go a long way. If you can smell smoke then so can the meat,you don't have to see smoke to get smoking.Try doing some "dry" runs with no meat and differant amounts of wood chips to see what works. If you say you bent the chip tray and its not touching the heating element,maybe your just using too much wood chips. A amns will help with all your problems!!!! 


Joined May 29, 2010
Problem solved (err...sort of).  It turned out to be something in the rub I was using.  I have no idea what ingredient was reacting with the smoke/heat but, as soon as I threw in some ribs w/just salt & pepper, the white smoke disappeared.  I got another recipe from a friend (who may have originally got it here, he wasn't sure), and it's been fine.

It may have been one of the spices had turned since I'd bought it as my original smokes were fine.  I'm not, however, interested enough to really investigate which it was because I've spent enough on ruined meat.  I guess I'll just chalk it up to being one of my life's great mysteries...  =o)

Thanks for the input!

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