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refill the wood chips how often? (MES 230g)


Joined Aug 29, 2019
So tomorrow i'll be trying to make some ribs and a sirloin tip roast. The first few times i ran the MES 230G i was a bit confused on how much smoke i should expect from such a small amount of chips in the chip loader. I don't think i had enough smoke the last time, but I am worried in overloading the wood chip tray.

Those of you with similar models, what has been your experience with how often you need to add chips? every 30 min? 90 min? Of course the instructions say to just add more as needed, but since you'd have to open the whole unit to check the chips in the tray, there is the issue. I don't want to keep letting heat out. I guess the advantage is I have the glass in front so i should be able to not see the meat, if I can, then need more smoke and add chips? Seems like a no brainer, but want to do it right!

also assuming you likely don't want the top too vented to keep the heat/smoke in (unless it's spiking for some reason) how much smoke is enough? Any pics you've taken of your masterpieces in action would be appreciated! I am a bit of a visual learner :)

You all have been great with the responses. Excellent community. So glad i stumbled onto it. We all started somewhere right? Will be using Jeff's recipes tomorrow!

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
Welcome and congrats on the new toy.
The first thing you need is a Dual or more, probe Thermometer. One probe to measure the Smokers Actual Temp at the Meat. And one probe to measure the Internal Temp (IT) of the meat. Very few MES smoker probe thermometers are accurate and the Smoker Temp Sensor, is usually nowhere near the meat!.
Next, when Smoking, Leave the Vent Wide OPEN. You want the Smoke to Wash over the meat, not Linger. There are good and nasty flavored components in Smoke, so we like to keep things moving. On average, a small handful of chips, 1/4 cup, will generate smoke about 30 minutes. However, Not All Smoke is created Equal! When the chips start smothering, they give off White Smoke. White Smoke contains the most Bitter flavored components in smoke and we want to limit it. White Smoke Burns your eyes and nose. Next the smoke gets Thinner and Gray. This is cleaner burning chips and the smoke begins smelling Sweet. Third change, the smoke gets Thin and Blue! Now we are in the Sweet Spot for Flavor. This Thin Blue Smoke, TBS, Smells GREAT and gives the best Flavor to the meat. The last few minutes of the Chips life is giving off Barely Visible but still Great Smelling smoke. This type is also good. When you can't see or smell smoke, about 30 minutes or so, add another Handful and repeat until you meat is Done.
This using Chips is not bad on a nice day and smoking Ribs for 6 hours. But what are you going to do for an 8 Pound Pork Butt that gets smoked for 16 hours?
Most MES owners have purchased an AMNPS A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoke Generator. I long time member and Staff Member, Todd Johnson, had a MES too. He soon got tired of 30 minute chip reloads and came up with a Maze that you load with 100% Smoke wood Pellets, light one end and get Perfect " TBS " for up to 12 HOURS! Now that makes the MES Set and Forget. Check out Todd's Website and even give him a call to discuss the best option for your particular smoker.


Good luck with your Cook and keep the Beef IT to no higher than 140°F, Medium. Sirloin Tip get tough and Dry cooked much higher. Slice as thin as you can...JJ

This recipe is great with Beef...

Smokey Au Jus
1- Lg Onion,
4-5 Carrots,
3-4 Ribs Celery
3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

2 Tbs Tomato Paste,
1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)
1-2 ea Bayleaf

Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.

NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..

Kevin DeShazo

Smoke Blower
Joined Nov 7, 2018
I add chips every 30-45 mins, whenever I notice there is no longer TBS coming from the vent. I havent been disappointed yet.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Feb 27, 2018
Looks like JimmyJ has got you covered pretty well! If I were you I would ditch the chips and buy an AMNPS. Well worth the $30 investment. Save yourself the headache of dumping chips and worrying about the smoke output. However if you like using the chips every 30 minutes is pretty standard. Good luck with the ribs and roast!


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 15, 2017
Chef JJ and Smokin VOLfan pretty much nailed it. I would not be without my AMNPS A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoke Generator.


Joined Nov 20, 2019
what im having trouble with is the pellets, the smoke or flavor just doesnt seem to be the same to me,(used in the tube or the maze) i have not done any with chips yet i am looking to try that and see.
but the smoke flavor with pellets for me isnt turning out right i feel, its like its sweet and smell is just what it is doing smoldering not burning.

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Mar 22, 2013
what im having trouble with is the pellets, the smoke or flavor just doesnt seem to be the same to me,(used in the tube or the maze) i have not done any with chips yet i am looking to try that and see.
but the smoke flavor with pellets for me isnt turning out right i feel, its like its sweet and smell is just what it is doing smoldering not burning.
Is it burning to white ash or making charcoal black pieces?


Joined Nov 20, 2019
yeah its burning to white gray ash,
ive done the mailbox mod to it so ive tried opening the lid to that to suck more air, also just tried putting tube inside smoker, idk the smoke just isnt the same as wood or chips although i dont remember last time i used chips ive got to find some good ones to try that way

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