A little different MES 40 smoke question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tombigbee, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Just acquired a MES 40 Gen 1, and have seen the many comments about insufficient smoke. When seasoning it last night, I thought the amount of smoke when running at 275° was perfect. I used the side loader with the prescribed amount of chips.

    My problem is that amount of chips only produces smoke for 20-30 minutes. My whole purpose in ditching wood and propane units was to find one I can leave unattended for hours, not minutes.

    I have also seen the generally favorable reviews of the Amazen products, but have also noted issues with keeping them lit, and even a couple of complaints about too much smoke from them.

    So, I'm considering using the Masterbuilt cold smoke unit. Can anyone tell me if it would supply approximately the same amount of smoke as I had last night when using only the standard MES 40 arrangement? And, is there any adjustment available with it? I simply do not want too much smoke, but do want a supply that will last several hours.

    Thanks for any and all advice.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The perfect set-up is an MES 40 with an AMNPS.

    Most of the problems you read about were people not using the AMNPS properly, and the bigger percentage of those complaints were in the MES Gen #2.

    If you have an MES 40 Gen #1 (like I have), and learn how to get it lit properly (like most of us eventually did), then you can set your MES Gen #1 to the proper temp, and put your properly lit AMNPS in your smoker. Then it will smoke perfectly for up to 11 straight hours without touching it.

  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You can extend the smoke time by using small chunks. Longer lasting and better smoke flavor than what is usually dried out flavorless chips. Thr AMAZN products work well with the gen 1 units, though and will give you many hours of nice smoke using, dust or pellets.
  4. Thanks for the advise. Going to try the AMNPS using pellets. If it works properly it will suit me better than having that cold smoker box sitting off to the side.

    Bear, care to expound on the art of lighting one, and keeping it lit in an MES40? Where do you place it in the smoker?  I assume when it is used that the internal chip tray, etc. will not be, correct?

    Thanks again for the help
  5. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Light it with a torch and hold the torch on it for at least 60 seconds. Then let it sit outside of the smoker for 10 minutes just burning. After that blow it out and put it in your smoker. Done deal.

    It's all about getting the pellets hot enough for that first minute and then letting them burn for a bit (10 minutes) before blowing them out and placing it in the smoker.

    And finally I'll agree and disagree with bear on his post. While it really is a mes 40 (gen 2) problem I've read about plenty of people (including myself) who've lit the AMNPS properly, let it burn long enough before blowing out and placing in the mes only to have it work whenever it feels like it.

    I've had them work until it hits the corner (even though I piled the corners high) and go out. I had it go out half way through the first row, and part of the way down the second row. No rhyme or reason.

    From my experience with the gen 2, and the AMNPS I can tell anyone it's a 50/50 chance. Sometimes it's worked well, other times it's gone out at any number of random spots. That's why I did the mailbox mod and it fixed everything. It's 100% success rate with this mod and the AMNPS.
  6. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm using a plain propane torch in a stick burning offset, lighting small-split maple as kindling on top of a basket of charcoal. Yes it takes about 60 seconds, sometimes less. Fast, easy and clean.
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here's a thread that starts out with a video by "ScooterMagoo" on how to light it with the assistance of a heat gun, and in Post #2 you can read how I do it:



    I always use Hickory too, which is one of the easiest to keep smoking. If you want to use Cherry, you have to mix it with something that burns easier, like Hickory, Oak, Maple, etc...

    I've coached a lot of people who were ready to give up, but they kept listening & trying, and most of them mastered it.

    Those same people are now telling others how to light it properly.

    Some think they have it going good, and it goes out halfway down the first row, or on the bend, and if it wasn't wet, or it wasn't Cherry, and it goes out, it was probably still because it really wasn't lit good enough.

    You can tell if it's lit right that it will never go out on it's own when you do a short smoke, and put a lot more pellets in than you needed, and you try to separate the pellets to get it to stop. Even after you separate the pellets, it will continue to smoke for a half hour.

    People that don't take the time to learn to light it right give the AMNPS a bad name.

    Note: People in high altitudes could have trouble getting an AMNPS to stay lit.

  8. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I lite it the same way as I always do for the mailbox mod or actually putting it into the mes. Never once gone out in the mailbox but it's 50/50 in the mes. That's all the proof I need.

    No knock on the AMNPS at all. I think it has something to do with airflow, or moisture, or a combo of the two in the mes (gen 2).

    When you don't change a single thing and it goes out in the smoker but doesn't in the mailbox something is going on in that smoker that's causing that pellet smoker to go out. Nothing to do with the way it's lit.
  9. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    And no disrespect bear. I know there are plenty of first timers who just lit it quick and chuck it in the smoker. Then they wonder why it went out. But I'm sure plenty of people with a mes (gen 2) have gone dozens of rounds with the pellet smoker and had sporadic results.
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Absolutely---I agree----The Gen #2 is a POS, and one of it's problems is air flow, and that stupid slanted drip tray is not the only air flow problem---it's just the biggest one!

    I feel bad every time I see somebody buy an MES Gen #2 !!

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  12. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Todd actually posted to stack them high in the corners to stop it from going out bear. That's where I got that trick from.

    I understand the "cherry"and the fact you want it to burn underneath and not just on the top. While I didn't type this down (my bad) I've spent plenty of time blowing on that damn pellet smoker. Did it today and it's been lit and working flawlessly since 10am.

    I'm sure some learned and others didn't and gave up and then ran the AMNPS name down on the forum. That's the way of the world and probably what's going to cause the end of the world as well. But when I consistently read about mes gen 2/AMNPS issues im sure more of it than not has to do with the smoker/AMNPS combo rather than just pure ignorance. Coincidence I think not.

    Again no disrespect. I'll sell someone on the AMNPS with a gen 2 mes all day long. But only with some kind of outside smoke box mod.
  13. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    The gen 2 has given me my share of headaches for sure. But with this mailbox mod and a good thermo monitoring the "real" temp inside the smoker it really works well.

    I can't speak on the first gen model as I've never used it. From what I've read the past few years it certainly seems like the one to buy.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm not disagreeing with you. I was given an MES 40 Gen #2 to test & found it to suck, and told them such. I won't even sell it cheap to anyone, because I couldn't live with myself. It's a POS.

    Does that explain my feelings about the Gen #2 ????

  15. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Hahahaha yes sir!

    I've learned to live with it after figuring out how to use it. I guess I'd think it was a POS to if I had used a first gen mes.

    I really use my Sfb more than anything but I'm highly considering a rectec or a yoder you have any experience with either of them?
  16. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Also sorry to hijack this thread. Lol.
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I know Zero about any smoker, except the MES.[​IMG]

    We didn't Hijack this thread----I think Tombigbee enjoyed ever word of it, and probably learned some things about things he was asking about.

    Later Guys----Movie time for me & the Missus!!

  18. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Hahahaha yeah he probably did learn a bit.

    Enjoy your movie with the missus. If I was you I'd watch jaws. Greatest film ever made.
  19. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I had both the gen 1 and 2. Loved the AMAZN generators in the 1. Nothing but trouble in the 2, even with opening up the very restricted exhaust port. The problem was that a lot of the gen 1 owners were singing the praises (and many continue) because they have not had experience with the gen 2 and aren't aware of its shortcomings. I actually went to a smoke daddy for the mes, but basically all I use now from the mes is the cabinet. Electronics replaced by an Auber controller. Another one they sent me I married to the exhaust port of my Traeger. Auber on that one also if I want to supplement the heat from the pellets. The gen 2 really killed the formerly great partnership of the mes and AMAZN. But the mailbox mod is still an option.
  20. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Mailbox mod works great, it's cheap, and easy to do. Nothing but praise for it.

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