Help - New MES30 Owner - Advice from Owners on Chips Burning Too Fast

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by blaw, May 23, 2015.

  1. blaw

    blaw Newbie

    HI Smoking Meat Forum,

    I recently upgraded my MES analog to the digital MES 30 (1st gen) and am very happy with it so far. Because it's working better than my analog, the chips are actually smoking, but I think they're burning too fast. I've read a lot of different posts saying "if you can smell the smoke, the meat can too", but I want to make sure that black smoke doesn't mess up the meat. 

    Can any experience MES30 owners give me advice on how I should be loading chips, and what type of smoke I should be concerned about? I'm looking for thin blue smoke, but want to know the tricks of the trade from the masters.

    Thank you in advance,

    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Add about 1/4 cup of chips every 45 minutes or so..... too many chips = too much smoke....
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What temperature have you been cooking at? The higher the temp, the more smoke produced and the faster the wood chips burn out.

    I no longer use wood chips but when I did I basically followed Masterbuilt's suggestions. They suggest a cup of wood chips to start with but I'd go with 2-3 handfuls total. My experience was that I needed to add chips every 20-30 minutes. If I waited longer than that I'd stop seeing smoke coming from out of the top vent.

    From this forum I learned about the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker. You'll see me recommending it a lot here because it's better than using wood chips. I fill up 2-3 rows in the tray with wood pellets, light it, and I get thin blue smoke (TBS) for up to 11 hours or so. No need to keep filling up the wood chip loader all the time. Most of the experienced MES owners use it or the other two variations which use pellets and/or dust.
  4. blaw

    blaw Newbie

    Thank you for your responses Dave and Rick,

    I've been cooking at 225-235 generally. I was using the MES analog model before I got the MES30 digital, and I think that since the chip pan is closer to the heating unit the chips are getting hotter a bit quicker. I've been hearing that every 20-30 minutes is the way to go. 

    Most (if not all) posts for MES's tend to mention the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker. I looked on AMZN and it looks pretty great. I'm seriously considering purchasing it.  Because many recipes suggest to only have smoke on the meat for 3-4 hours, do you find that 11 hours of smoke (on a pork shoulder for example) over-smokes the meat? Is there good flavor in the meat from using the pellet smoker?
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I usually fill up 11/3 row of pellets... about 4 hours or so.of smoke.... You don't have to fill up the whole thing... that makes it nice...
  6. You're going to want to do something to supplement the MES's base smoke generator, which almost everyone feels is inadequate.  The next time I smoke salmon I'm going to try reverting to it just to see if it works for that since it's such a short smoke time compared to say a pork butt or a brisket.

    As you've already mentioned the AMAZEN pellet smoker has a huge fan club here.  I have the MES cold smoking kit and have found it works great as well, and got it for the low low price of zero dollars so figured why not give it a shot? [​IMG]

    I've got a pork butt in now and smoking with the cold smoker box full of hickory.
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Blaw, I haven't smoked a pork shoulder in my MES 30 yet but I did a beef brisket yesterday, both point and flat. I filled up 3 rows of the AMNPS with oak pellets I bought from Todd Johnson. The smoke lasted a little over 10 hours and the pellets were ash somewhere around the 9th hour. When I first started smoking I used wood chips and everything I produced tasted harsh from oversmoking. The brisket yesterday was enhanced by the oak smoke flavor--just like it's supposed to me. You could taste the meat, the flavors from the rub, the spiciness from the foil juice I mixed together using apple cider and Stubb's Beef Marinade, and the BBQ sauce I brushed on during the last 30 minutes of the smoke. I always use my AMNPS; I just use different flavors of wood pellets depending the flavor profile I've chosen.

    This was the best beef brisket I've smoked in the three times I've tried it. I bet I could successfully sell this from a cart or a food truck it was that good. And, as you wrote above, I smoked it at between 225-235° and it came out perfectly. I cooked burnt ends for the first time and they came out delicious if slightly less burnt than I was shooting for.

    As for oversmoking a pork shoulder, it depends on how big it is, too. Remember that in restaurants and in BBQ competitions, pork shoulders/butts are smoked over wood for at least 11 hours, I believe, and they don't come out oversmoked. Many guys will foil over their shoulders/butts when it reaches a stall point to help it get past it and to add a little extra flavor and moistness from the foil juice.

    Yesterday was textbook--the AMNPS fired up quickly and never went out until all the pellets were turned to ash; the MES 30 Gen 1 stayed either right on my set point or varied by maybe 4° either way, my Maverick ET-733 was easy to reset and enabled me to monitor the smoke from anywhere I chose to be inside my house. As I wrote, the smoke lasted a little over 10 hours--almost exactly the amount of time I had planned to get the meat I/T up to 200°.
  8. blaw

    blaw Newbie

    Hi Rick,

    Thank you for your detailed response. As soon as payday comes this month I think it may be time for an AMNPS!
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You're welcome, Blaw. You'll read complaints about using it but Todd Johnson wouldn't have the following and admiration of so many of us here if the thing didn't work--and work well. If you decide to buy it, Todd, Bearcarver, and myself will be very happy to help you with any issues that pop up. I swear to you that the AMNPS enabled me to go from oversmoked foods to perfectly smoked.

    blaw likes this.

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