General advice for my smoker

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by solidbob, May 13, 2015.

  1. solidbob

    solidbob Fire Starter

    Hi all, haven't posted very much lately. Smoking meats in NYC is very much a seasonal venture. I'm going to be doing some pork shoulder for a charity event at my local bar coming up and was hoping to pick y'alls brains on my smoker set up. I've searched through a lot of the threads and haven't come across my particular situation but close.

    I'm pretty confident in my rub and actually cooking the shoulders but I really want to up my smoke game and get a lot of smoke into these things. Right now, my set up is the MES 30 Analog with the mailbox mod. I have the mailbox vent going into the MES on the bottom right, right above the heat coils. There's probably about a foot and a half of vent pipe coming out the back of the mailbox into the MES.

    I'm also using the AMNPS with either pellets or dust. (I just ordered the 12" tube smoker to experiment further) Some of it burns better than others. i've generally had some luck keeping the pellets and dust smoking but I have had to do some relighting. So I'm looking for some advice on my airflow mostly. I keep the pellets/dust dry or microwave for a bit before lighting.

    I have my mailbox sitting on two cinder blocks, about 8" from the ground so air can get under it. Besides the mounting holes in the bottom, I drilled about 5 or 6 small (1/4"??) holes in the front door to get air in. I noticed a lot of you have bigger holes. Have you found this made a huge difference? Recommend 1/2" or 3/4" holes?

    As for the actual MES box - the analog box only has one pretty small (1/2") hole in the top right back for ventilation. Would you recommend making a bigger hole or another side vent on the top side? Would I get better airflow, maybe pulling the smoke out of the mailbox better? I see some of you have that 2" or 3" hole with the elbow vent on the side or top. You think this would help airflow a lot better than the one small hole?

    Inside the MES I have the water tray and chip box filled with sand to hold heat. I have both of those covered with foil to keep them cleaner. Using a pan on the bottom shelf to collect drippings.

    Here's a pic of my setup. Note: I shortened the vent pipe by probably half since this pic was taken.


  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If you only have the 1/2" exhaust then that is most likely your problem. The intake is being drastically restricted by the small exhaust so you aren't drawing enough air across the AMNPS
  3. solidbob

    solidbob Fire Starter

    Thanks! That's kinda what I was thinking. I thought it was odd that the hole in the top of the MES was so small. I think i might grab a piece of 3" vent and drill a big hole in the side of it. Since my smoke is coming in on bottom right would it be better to have the vent top left or at that point I'm not sure it would matter much. I don't want to put it directly on top of the MES. Maybe at the very top on the same side as the mailbox vent.

    Also, think those 1/4" holes in the front door of the mailbox are big enough? I don't want want too much smoke coming back out the front.
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    You definitely want the exhaust on the opposite side as the intake to move the smoke through the smoker. As for top vs side, if you put it too low on the side you could create a "dead" zone in the top of the smoker where the air doesn't move as well (but the side vent does work on my gen2 MES). 

    I don't have any extra holes in my mailbox but I know some others do. You will just have to experiment and see what works for you.
  5. solidbob

    solidbob Fire Starter

    Thanks. I'll give it a try. Appreciate the feedback.

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