MES cooking too quickly

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by polefalc, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie

    I'm a noob.  

    I have a 30" Masterbuilt electric smoker.

    I love the smoker but I'm having a weird issue.  Despite the fact that I'm setting the cooking temperature correctly, it is cooking the meat way too fast.  I'm so glad that MasterBuilt included a meat probe or my meat would have been overcooked.

    I seasoned the smoker as per the instructions.

    A few days later, I smoked some chicken breasts.  I used dry apple wood chips - just filled the tube as instructed.  The instructions stated that the breasts would take 3 to 4 hours to smoke.  I put the meat probe into one of the breasts, set the timer to 4 hours, and set the temp to 225, and then started the smoker.  The meat probe initially correctly read the breasts at 45 degrees, since they just came out of the fridge.  I was checking the smoker temp every so often and it held relatively steady at 225, give or take a couple of degrees.  I reloaded the wood chips about an hour later.  The meat probe said the chicken was about 100 degrees.  When the second hour was about done I checked again and the meat probe was at 170.  I was surprised since the chicken was cooking for only two hours.  I used an instant meat thermometer and it also read 170.  So I took the breasts out and sure enough they were done - actually a bit over done.  The chicken was flavorful but a tad dry.

    A couple of days after that, I smoked some baby back ribs.  Once again I followed directions.  The instructions said to preheat the smoker to 225, which I did.  I used dry apple wood chips. When the smoker reached 225 I put in the ribs and apple wood. This time I kept a close eye on the meat temperature.  Instead of taking 5 to 6 hours to smoke, the ribs were done in about 2.5 hours - about half the time.  The smoker temp was set to 225 and as far as I can tell, everything was working normally.  The smoker temp as usual stayed at about 225.  The ribs were very good.

    Any ideas on why the meat is cooking so fast?

  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    MES are known for being way off on their probes. Get a Maverick or some other probe to monitor CC temp and meat.

    I set mine at 225 I am cooking at 270*,almost 50* off and I have 2 extra probes monitoring the temps.
  3. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Yep, not only can they be running at a different temp than what the screen says but the temp can change the longer it is turned on. Mine has crazy temp swings for the first few hours then they start to lessen as things progress. I always monitor my air temp at the rack where the food is because the temp can vary from rack to rack. 
  4. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie

    As I said, I'm a noob, so please excuse the potentially idiotic questions.

    1)  Is the Maverick ET-733 thermometer OK?  The reviews are all over the place.

    2) Where do I run the probe wires out of the smoker?  I'm thinking maybe through the air vent?  I think running them through the door will damage the seal. 

    3. What is "CC" - "… monitor CC temp ...'? 


    BTW thanks for the quick replies.  Boston Butt is on sale along with pork ribs and I'm looking forward to pulled pork and ribs this weekend [​IMG]
  5. icyhot

    icyhot Smoking Fanatic

    The 733 is a great therm and run the wires through the vent and cc stands for cook chamber.
  6. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    CC = Cooking Chamber

    the wire can be run thru the vent ( I do This) or thru the door.

    Does your smoker have the vent on the right side or top? 

    If on the side I like to use an elbow it helps air circulation.

  7. As said by the others get a good thermometer and you will find that your temps are pretty high. Also you need to cook by temp not by time except ribs. Ribs are thin enough that they are cooked but not tender long before they are ready. Yes run the probe down the top vent. You should also check the temp in different places as they also have hot and cold spots. Learn them and use then to your advantage. I run sand in my water pan covered with foil for better temp control. Also don't use to large of a drip pan or foil pan for the meat as it will block the heat from rising up to the meat.

    Happy smoken.

  8. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie

    Thank y'all.  What a great bunch of folk and wonderful advice.  I've ordered the Maverick ET-733 and will run the wires through the vent, which is on the upper left side of my 30" MES. I'll also map out the hot and cold spots when I get a chance.
  9. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie

    David - do you add sand to the water pan and wrap the pan in foil?  Do you use water?
  10. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  11. I use sand wrapped in foil. Some use gravel wrapped in foil.

    Happy smoken.

  12. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie


    If I tell my wife that there is "one more thing" I need for the smoker, I'm afraid she'll smack my head with a 2 X 4 [​IMG]  LOL.

    Where did you get the cart?  I bought the stand and keep the MES on my backyard patio.  The stand is great but it makes moving the MES a real pain.  Oh my, another "one more thing" :)
  13. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie


    I must be really dense.  I'm not sure what you do and I want to get it right.  My MES has the tiny rectangular water pan.  How much sand do you use?  Where do you put the sand after it is wrapped in foil?  In the water pan or at the bottom of the MES?  If the sand is at the bottom of the MES do you still use water in the water pan?  TIA
  14. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I bought plywood and caster wheels, Then I made it the center of the platform has a 8" square cut out,this enables me to take that tiny drip tray out,I use a disposable tray to catch any drippings.
  15. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie


    Great idea for replacing the tiny drip pan.  I'll have to try it.  Thanks.
  16. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    As for the water pan I do not have mine in.I use two bricks wrapped in foil above the heating element.

  17. polefalc

    polefalc Newbie

    Got the Maverick and set it up.  I found it a bit complicated to use but I finally got the hang of it.  

    Someone recommended testing the probes with a known value, like boiling water.  I didn't run the MES probe but did try the two Maverick probes, a digital Weber "instant" meat thermometer, and a standard meat thermometer.  

    The Weber, meat, and one of the Maverick probes recorded 212.  The other Maverick probe was a bit off - lower by a couple of degrees.

    I cooked a pork shoulder yesterday and compared the Maverick probes with the ones in the MES.  The Maverick and MES meat probe in the pork were identical most of the time and if they varied, it was at most a couple of degrees and for a short time.  As far as I'm concerned, both reported the same temperature.

    I put the other Maverick probe in the back of the MES.  The Maverick temperature was always lower than the MES temperature, that is the MES reported 225 but the Maverick was 210 to 215 - generally the Maverick was 10 degrees cooler.

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