Older 40" SS MES Recovery time and mod?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by pantherfan83, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    Yesterday, I tried to smoke 20 lbs of chicken wings. I added water from the tap as hot as I could get and set it on 225 to preheat. The outside temp was in the mid to upper 20s. The unit was inside my garage with the overhead door open. Although it wasn't at all windy, it was shielded from the wind on 3 sides. About an hour later, I came back and the temp was 219. I opened it up and added the wings. By the time I finished and closed it back up, the temp read 110. With no smoke, I closed the vents completely and came back 30 minutes later and the temp to my shock was 98. I wasn't sure if this was because the cold chicken was holding the temp down or if the MES wasn't functioning correctly, but I did a hard reset just in case. Came back to check it 45 minutes later and the temp was rising, but painfully slow. Decided to open the vents and go ahead and add some wood chunks. Smoked for 2 hours and at the end the temp was still only up to 177. I was very frustrated to say the least. I usually only smoke sausage and start out with low temps and ramp up over several hours, so I hadn't previously noticed any issues such as this. I sauced the wings and plan on finishing them on the grill tonight, so by the time they are served, they will be fully cooked.

    Has anyone tried using one of those electric charcoal starters as a supplemental heat source to help get the unit up to temp? I saw the cool mod that DaveNH did (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...hlight=element), but I was thinking of something that would be a little more crude that I could add in when smoking in the winter and remove in the summer. I would just use it to get the temps up to where I want it after opening the door, then unplug.
  2. jsdspif

    jsdspif Meat Mopper

    I think you should take the back off and look at the terminals on the heating element . I bet they are about gone.
  3. mgwerks

    mgwerks Smoking Fanatic


    Same symptoms mine had, so I did the wiring mod before it failed altogether.
  4. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah. I think I will. Still thinking about adding a 2nd element though.
  5. I've also read that if you had it plugged into an extension cord - rather than directly into an outlet - the additional resistance will reduce the current and the heat output of the element. Could that have been an issue?
  6. If it is not the element wiring, I would add some thermal mass.
    In my case I put 4 6x6 natural marble (1/4in thick) tiles in the water pan (covered with foil.
    Another option is to put some fire bricks in the bottom.

    Either way they will help the recovery time, esp when you add a lot of cold meat.

    Agree that you could allways add an additional coil/heat plate that you use just to get the temp back up. Then turn off to let the internal element maintain at temp.
  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As the others said the rewire mod, if yours is an older MES.

    Here is the link to DaveNH's excellent post on his supplemental heat element mod. Besure to read through the whole thing.
  8. insight

    insight Meat Mopper

    I'm out.


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