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Pecan wood igniting in MES

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by dairyman, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. dairyman

    dairyman Fire Starter

    I have a bunch of pecan wood that I cut up into small chunks to use in my MES 40". But they keep igniting in the chip tray. Is this normal for pecan? I have orange wood that I have cut the same size but have had no problems with those. Will foiling the pecan prevent it from igniting? Thanks.

  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I have the old style MES 40 .I Only use chips  so haven't had this problem .

     the chips have to ignite to at some point because when i go to empty the tray it's all ashes.
  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When you put the tray back in and close the door, the air/oxygen is reduced and I bet the pecan chunks will smolder rather than ignite.  I'm not a big believer in soaking the chips, but give it a try.

  4. dairyman

    dairyman Fire Starter

    The chip tray is in with door closed when it ignites. There's about a ten inch flame coming out of the chip tray inside the MES. I'm gonna try foiling them and soaking them.
  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    This was an issue for some earlier models, and the made the pan smaller.  When you would open the door, the chips would back draft and flare up.  I've never had it happen to me, but I have had it backfire and scare the crap out of me!

  6. carlos mol

    carlos mol Newbie

    I am having a similar problem. I have yet to cook anything but everytime I fire it up starting with the seasoning process it has had ignition of the chips, big ole flames that do not go out. I tried to let it smother but there is a grease hole in the bottom to supply a steady stream of air. I also just put an additional meat thermometer in a potato and it is sitting at about plus 30 degrees over what I set. I am going to plug the grease hole and see if that helps and lower the temp to be about 220 degrees actual (190 degrees on the smoker thermostat) I have a bunch of stuff to cook Saturday as well as this next week. I did buy the amazing smoker but find it crappy that one should have to resort to that with a brand new unit. I know this forum thread is pretty ancient but maybe someone can shed some light on this situation. I wil post results of the new results.
  7. try closing the upper/exit vent and soak the pecan chips?   i only had a flare up once but that was my falt opening the door allowing oxygen in.  
  8. steve k

    steve k Fire Starter

    I had this problem in a Cabelas 100 electric smoker, and I solved it by using a 10" cast iron fry pan and a cast iron cover drilled with 1/4" holes drilled as vents.  I'm very happy with this set up and have used it about 100 times.  It starves the chips of oxygen, so no flame, but you still get the smoke.  If you remember high school science, it "distils" the wood this way, rather than igniting it.  I imagine a smoker box would work the same way.  I don't like to soak the wood, either.  I find that it just delays the flames, the wood has to dry out before it starts to smoke.  I don't see the point.  And yes, I do use chunks, chips, and saw dust of my own making.  I have a couple of apple trees and a peach tree, I used to have two peach trees, and I'll be burning that dearly departed tree for years.  
  9. There's too much oxygen getting into the smoker.  If that's cut/snuffed down, it will not flame up.  Somewhere, it's getting too much air.  Seal it off.
  10. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pecan is not a dense wood, so does tend to ignite sooner than other woods. I would try the foil approach and poke a few holes in it.
  11. netbbq

    netbbq Smoke Blower

    Some one has offered to get me pecan husks.  Was thinking that they could be "crunched" up and used to generate smoke.  Anyone done that?
  12. domapoi

    domapoi Smoke Blower

    Have you made sure that the door adjustment on the latch is tight enough. They come from the factory a little loose in my opinion. You should make sure there is a good amount of pressure on the door seals so as not to let too much air in thu that way.
  13. I have one of the newer MES 40 units, and smoke primarily with Pecan chips, vent 100% open.

    Normally smoke temp set 225-230, and never have had major chip ignite issues of the magnitude you are describing.

    One thing I do notice is the size of your chip, compared to what I've been using. (Your's are MUCH larger).

    Have you tried breaking down the size of those chips, and see if you have the same ignition issues?

    My thinking is: smaller chip, smaller fire upon ignition.

    Once in awhile, the smaller Pecan chips I use will ignite, and I'll notice a puff of smoke back firing out of the chip loader door, but no noticeable flame inside the smoker, and still maintaining TBS.
  14. I know this is probably against what you have heard, but if everything seems to be closed properly and making a good seal try adjusting the exit vent, it will slow down the air flow and your chips wont ignite
  15. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When you open the door, a rush of air comes in and the chips can ignite

    Called a "Backdraft"

  16. steve k

    steve k Fire Starter

    You're right about that backdraft thing.  I was using Jack Daniels oak barrel chips sold at many stores, opened the door to check and WOOSH!, freaked me out.  I thought it might be alcohol fumes igniting after evaporating from the wood.  Probably a better idea to vent the smoker a little before opening the door, if the vents have been closed for the cooking stage. 
  17. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It happened to me, and I about wet myself!

    Thought the thing blew up!

    I don't think it happens with chumks
  18. I have had mine burp a few times, but never had a flare up like that, the burps are kinda funny
  19. hyde

    hyde Newbie

    I use pellets in mine. They smoke forever
  20. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    How long has your wood been cut and how was it stored? If it has been drying for a long time the moisture content may be very low. I had that issue with some hickory that had been down for a long time. It would flame on no matter what I did. I gave up on it.