???? about MES 30 and AMNPS vs chip tray

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by gitnby, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. New guy here!  

    Have done a lot of smoking over the years, but mainly on my Dad's old home-made barrel smoker.

    Just got the MES 30-model # 20070411 as a gift, along with some Amazon gift cards.

    After spending several hours on this forum, I decided I had to have the AMNPS, so I used the gift cards to buy one on Amazon.

    Many of my initial questions have already been answered by reading the various threads, but I have a few more, if some of you are willing?

    1. is the 20070411 the old generation model? I assumed it was? after reading about air flow for AMNPS, I hope it is!

    2. For shorter smokes(2 hours or less), does the chip tray still do the job? Any hints on making it work better? Can you use the AMNPS along with the chip tray, or dies air flow become an issue with the chip tray all the way in?

    3. Other than Todd's pellets, which I do plan on buying, what other brands that are available at Wal-Mart, HD, etc are any good?

      I know people that use and like Traeger, but I hear several of you say that they are not good quality.

    4. suggestions for the first smoke? turkey, pork butt, etc?

    5.Any other suggestions for using this smoker would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I have an MES 40, so I can't chime in on all your questions.  But I'll tackle what I can.  

    2. For shorter smokes(2 hours or less), does the chip tray still do the job? Any hints on making it work better? Can you use the AMNPS along with the chip tray, or dies air flow become an issue with the chip tray all the way in?

    The AMNPS works so well that since getting it, I've never been tempted to use the chip tray.  For shorter smokes I just load up 1 row of pellets.  

    3. Other than Todd's pellets, which I do plan on buying, what other brands that are available at Wal-Mart, HD, etc are any good?

      I know people that use and like Traeger, but I hear several of you say that they are not good quality.

    I'm sure there are other brands to get, but Todd's are some of the best quality.  Most others use a lot of filler wood with only a small amount of the advertised type of wood.  Todd's Pitmaster's Blend is incredible, and my most used flavor.  Plus it makes my garage smell great.

    4. suggestions for the first smoke? turkey, pork butt, etc?

    Pork butt is extremely forgiving, and a great first smoke.  Just be prepared for the temp to stall in the middle.  That freaked me out the first time it happened.  Turkey also comes out great in the MES.  I like to brine mine for a few hours first.  Then just season with some salt, pepper, & a little poultry seasoning.  It's the best I've ever had.
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have an old style MES30, I have used big pits and little pits since I has a boy and done electric smokers for over 30 years. Before I get into this, let me say the views I share are mine. And we all know what opinions are like, right?

    The MES in my opinion works perfectly fine as designed. There is no reason for any additional modifications to smoke any meats. The reason for the axillary smoke generator is to make the MES more in line with what the abilities of a fire-burner. You are giving it the ability to function as either, but since its not a hot dry fire smoke you can smoke fine as it comes out the box. I believe if you research this site that even Jeff says that after approx. 140 degrees the meats begins to lose the ability to assume smoke. Using the accepted norm of the 220-230 degree heat achieving an IT of 140 doesn't require a 12 to 18 hour smoke. The chips used, if used as an electric smoker is set up, will easily take you thru 1.5 hours of smoke easily. In most cases that would be plenty of smoke, actually you can even over smoke the food.

    The aux. smoke generator is great for cold smokes and smokes that are going to require long low temps like pulled pork, maybe a brisket, but remember that the smoke enhancement diminishes after 140 degrees IT, so the longer you smoke, the more you are just wasting the wood. (I can hear the Guru's about to descend upon me!)

    For a normal electric smoke, you close the vent and allow the smoke to stay in the box with the moisture. If its a dry heat like a fireburner you have to mop or spritz or add water trays to help with the moisture content. The electric does this automatically. And by trapping the smoke in the smoker, require less. You will not see a smoke ring like with a fire burner, but you also do not have to worry about moisture and tending the pit. By keeping the vent near closed you will maintain the temp in the smoker easily although you will not achieve that thin blue smoke that is seen when the fireburner is working at max. efficiency.

    All that said, I recommend a fowl for your first smoke, its easiest and least expensive to start with. And its dang tastee! I recommend a minimalistic approach. Nothing fancy, learn what the smoke will do for you before trying to make it better.

    I am sure all chips or pellets are basically the same and will work, but for my 2 cents, I always stick with the girl I brung to the dance. Why have to diff rent people to praise about when one guarantees to be right?

    You got an electric for convince I assume, invest in a good remote temp sensing device so you can enjoy it. That way you can keep the door closed. very important with electrics.

    My biggest suggestion, enjoy the smoke. Seriously you can not hardly mess it up except but early withdrawal. It is supposed to be a stress free cooking, every time you start to worry about something, sit down relax and wonder about how good life is.

    The only other suggestion is, and we all think its silly, take notes. Write down what you do so that next time you'll remember what was good and bad about the last smoke so you can attempt to make it better. It would be a shame to get the perfect smoke and NOT remember how you did it.

    Enjoy the smoke, and good luck. (BTW not everyone is as long winded as I am)
  4. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    Great points!
  5. TromaRon and Foamheart - good comments.

    If you are using the AMNPS, you will probably need to open the vent for air flow.  I open the vent when I used the chip tray too.  Lots of debate on that.  Best thing is...it is hard to mess it up with a MES.  

    I did a pork butt for my first smoke.  Since then, I have done ribs, spatchcock chicken, wings, more pulled pork and pork chops.  All were fantastic!!  I do not use the chip tray anymore - only the AMNPS.

    Pitmaster's Blend in the AMNPS is amazing!  Get some right away.

    Have fun and happy smokin'!
  6. Okay! Did my first smoke on the MES 30.

    Having zero confidence, I decided to start with chicken wings. Used chip tray with mix of hickory and apple. Soaked the chips for 45 minutes.

    Used the water tray with a 50/50 apple juice and water.

    Did them at 225 for 2 hours, then threw them on the grill to crisp them up and slather on some sauce. ( I had read others say the skin gets rubbery if you don't)

    Did 1/3 with Sweet Baby Ray's, 1/3 with Frank's Hot Sauce and 1/3 naked.

    They were absolutely delicious!

    Only 2 issues, really.

    The chips seemed to burn up pretty quickly. Only got about 15-20 minutes of smoke from each handful I put in the chip loader? Had to empty the ash try twice, although probably would have been ok just doing it once.

    The skin was still a bit rubbery, although the flavor was unbelievable!

    Next time I'll leave them on the grill a little longer before saucing them, I guess?

    Got the AMNPS today, will try it this weekend.

    Some folks say to microwave or "bake in the oven at 250" the pellets first, others say not necessary?

    I'm in SW Missouri and it do get humid here!

    Some say to open the chip tray an inch or so, others say take it out completely?

    Most say to pull chip loader out a bit to create a good draft.

    Any suggestions from others who have the same or similar model?

    MES 30" with the top control and window-Model # 230070411

    Was thinking of doing some pork tenderloins this weekend with apple chips and Pappy's Garlic & Herb seasoning.
  7. the zil

    the zil Smoke Blower

    I love my AMNPS with my MES 30. First thing I had to learn was to be patient with the lighting process. Light it up with a torch and let that flame gently burn for at least 10 minutes before you put in the MES. I don't tinker with the chip hopper or anything to enhance airflow. If I light the AMNPS well and let it sit, undisturbed, on the cement for a good 10 min with the flame burning it will smoke like crazy. Maybe I have a lucky setup that I don't have to tinker with the vents.

    Try smoking the cheese with the AMNPS. you can transform cheap store brand cheese into gourmet creations with little effort. If you can wait the 3-4 weeks for it to mellow.

    Just relax & enjoy the process. Patience is key. Lol, people even like my mistakes. They think I'm cooking with magic. Lololol

    Oh, and don't forget the photos. I'm too lazy to take notes so I take photos and create a Facebook album for each smoke. In the comments of the photo ill record notes or ingredients. So, I have my log plus all of my friends get to drool at my creations and think I'm some kind of expert. That makes me giggle
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  8. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      Welcome Gitnby, Glad the wings turned out good. Maybe a little longer on the grill to crisp it up!  In most cases the exhaust port should be wide open. Remove the chip tray when using the AMNPS and the chip loader. This aids I air flow. As suggested, take notes!  Happy smoking!

  9. Got my amnps in the mail yesterday while I slept (work nights). So I will be trying it out this weekend for the first time. I too have the same smoker as the op. Funny little side story about my package was that my kids opened the box before I got up and left it sitting on kitchen table. I did not notice it at first and then when I did I asked my oldest daughter (13) had that come in the mail this morning and she said yes it is something and it has bags of hamster food in it too...... Lol. My kids thought the wood pellets were hamster food. Thank goodness they did not try and feed some to their hamsters.... Lol.
    gimmeharmony likes this.
  10. LOL!  That is hilarious!

    I have been told to only pull the chip tray about two inches and to not remove it as the tray does aid in the heat deflection for the door.  For better draft, I do use a small fan and rest it on the chip loader handle pulled out a few inches. 

    As said with the AMNPS - light it up well and it will do a great job.  If you overload the pellets, the burning will jump lanes and you will not get as long of a smoke. 

    I am not an expert - just love to tinker.  Have fun and enjoy the process!
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It depends on which model MES you have, as to what kind of games you have to play.

    I have the 2nd gen MES 40, and I have never removed or pulled anything part way out.

    All I do is light it properly & set it on the little support bars to the left of the chip burner assembly. Works Great.


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