Foil Tray in MES 40 Question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by lowcountrygamecock, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. lowcountrygamecock

    lowcountrygamecock Smoke Blower

    I have always used one of the foil pans from Sams in my MES 40 to catch drippings.  Someone mentioned on here the other day that the pans may block heat.  It got me thinking that my last batch of ribs had a slightly different color to them like they didn't get as hot as usual.  They were done in the appropriate amount of time and were good but they didn't look "right."  After reading that it made me wonder if that might have been why.  If I remember right had foil pan on bottom shelf, 2 butts on the second shelf and the ribs on the shelves above that.  Does anyone use pans or do you just let the tray in the bottom catch all the drippings?  Personally I like the pan if I can make it work because it makes cleanup so much easier. 
  2. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have an MES30 that I bought on craigslist that didn't have the stock water/drip tray so I had no choice but to put a foil pan on the bottom shelf like you do.  I have had no ill effects from doing so.  I learned the hard way that it was necessary because I forgot the foil tray one day and the rib drippings caused a grease fired when they dripped on the heating element.
  3. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    A foil tray over the burner will affect the heat (how much is hard to say without having a thermo above the tray to check). I cover everything in foil on my MES. It takes a few minutes, but it makes cleaning it easy and I'm not changing the "design" of the unit by adding a tray or pan.

    If you are blocking the heat from reaching the temp sensor you can also cause problems my forcing the heating element to run hotter than it should be.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I always use a dis' pan, in both of my MES40's, with no issues. If the ribs got done on time and the therm you monitor temp with said the temp was right...The pan had no impact other than keeping the MES clean. I also frequently put a pan of Beans on the bottom rack, that has no effect either. As long as the pan does not go wall to wall you will be fine, nothing bigger than 10" X 15"....JJ
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm sure that was one of my comments you're referring to:

    I one time had two pans of chicken thighs on the second shelf, and there was no space between them, and only about an inch on each end & another inch in the back. This screwed my heat flow up pretty bad, until I realized what was causing it & moved them around.

    A pan is fine on any shelf, but I would recommend a couple inches of space on each end, some space front & back, and if you have 2 pans on one shelf, some space between them too.

    Note: This could also be a problem with meat packed on one shelf, without space around & in between the pieces, but the meat won't smoke right anyway if the pieces are touching each other.

  6. I always try to make sure the is air flow all around each piece of whatever I'm smoking

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The racks in a '40 are 12" X 19" hence nothing bigger than 10" X 15". I typically use a 9" X 13" as they are available in grocery stores. You will save a bunch of $ buying a 100 piece Case at big box stores, online or restaurant supply outfits. Full racks of ribs hang over the edge a bit but no big deal. Another option, for ribs and brisket packers, is you can load up the top two racks with meat and stagger two pans, edge against opposite walls of racks 3 and 4. They can be empty or Beans in one,'Taters or Corn in the other...JJ
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All great advice by the Chef !!!

    I used 9" X 12" pans, because I bought a case of 250 from a local Restaurant & Janitorial Supply place. 

    LOL----Hard to believe we have a store like that in little old Macungie!!

  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It's much better to simply foil over the existing drip pan on the bottom of the MES.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That is easy but I use the  drippings, especially in Beans. Plus my pan is conveniently located to place the meat in, rest, pull and serve without any fuss...JJ
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's a good idea. I'm lazy, though. When I smoke ribs or a brisket I'm opening up a can of Bush's Grillin' Beans--Smokehouse Tradition, of course--and heatin' 'em up in a saucepan. I never use the drippings because for me it's enough just to successfully smoke the meat the way I had planned.

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