MES recovery and ramp up times in Illinois

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by nickelmore, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    OK I'm still considering the MES 40 at Sams club. I looked at it yesterday but still have some reservations. I plan on doing alot of smokeing during the winter when temps outside will be below 30 degrees.

    I have been reading everything I can on the forum, and it seems that ramp up time and recovery time is a main issue that can be my big issue.

    I live in Norhern IL and temps get a little chilly. I have a hard time using something that will take 2 hours to preheat, and have long recovery time.

    Is there a direct replacement higher wattage element available anywhere

    I noticed some folks have noted that they had to add additional heaters, where do you get them?

    I noticed the latch on the floor model was already pulled out, is there an easy fix for that?

    Any advice from fellow cold weather MES users would be great, after all the unit says for outdoor use only, it does get cold and windy in my part of the world. I will keep it covered and inside an unheated garge wehn not in use.

  2. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    I picked up a electric bbq grill at wally world yesterday while contemplating the MES at Sams club.

    My goal is to have something a little bit more controllable at low temps then my home built gasser. The main purpose would be for sausage and some fish.

    The ambiant temp in my garage is 52 degrees and after 1 hour I have reached 195. I am going to let it go and time it at 225 and 250.

    I guess this is about the best I am going to get out of a hybrid vertical
  3. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm gonna stick my neck out here and say that you may have issues with the MES getting to temp and recovery in the winter. Obviously your gonna lessen those issues with each thing you do to improve the smoking environment. Inside the garage is doable with proper ventilation. That makes a lot of difference. I love my MES but it does have it's limits. I have only used it in the Spring... haven't had it a whole winter so I can't tell you what to expect... but I had a really hard time smoking with it outside this Spring. I have a propane I shuffle to during the winter months. Hope this helps.
  4. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Piginit, its 43 outside and am afraid that it won't get too much warmer until next spring.

    After 2 hours my set up peaked at 210 internal with a 50 degree garage temp. This is most likely due to an internal temp cutout switch. Recovery time from 210 to 190 to 210 was about 25 minutes.

    With the help of a friend and a PID controller this may work for sausage/salami this winter.

    For everything else I think I will stick with my gas burner setup.

    1 box, 2 heat sources= my hybrid smoker.

    The one thing that I have learned with my "new" hobby is that you need a bunch of patience (my wife still wonders how I am coping).

    So much stuff to smoke and so little time.....
  5. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well when it comes to smoking you certainly don't cook somethin up real quick. Everybody around here has learned that it is done when I say it's done. And thing is... they love it so much they don't complain. They just patiently wait.... like a dog with a treat on his nose..... until I say go.
  6. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    I guess I should have had something ready in case it did work, but I was running around trying to clean up the yard.

    After 4 hours and full water pan, intake and exhaust dampeners full open, it reached 238. outside temp is 42 degrees.

    I am pretty sure that my new hobby will take over my lack of patience....its done when the thermometer says its done. I have had a lot of fun reading forum articles collecting books and recipes.
  7. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I did a post way back on the temps and recovery times for my mes 40.
    In it i did say that i didn't think that it would be to good for winter time smoking in cold climates.
    Recovery times are very slow and it does take a good while to reach cooking temps.
    There have been a few post about useing fire bricks in the smoker to hold some heat and speed recovery. also about adding boiling water to the water pan to help also.
    I use my New braunfulls in the winter as coals and wood get the temps up faster.
  8. mnbike

    mnbike Fire Starter

    it was 25 degrees and snowing on friday night/saturday morning I had a little snow on everything around me but I had no heat issues with my MES. But then again I keep the door closed and only opened it to spritzed and quick closed. I had a couple of 8 pound butts and they wrapped up in under 12 hours.
  9. gruelurks

    gruelurks Smoking Fanatic

    My MES has been running since 12:30 pm today in sub 50 degree temps outside all day, and holding up well to the colder air so far. Right now it is 36 degrees outside, and the temp in my MES is 251 on the digital controller and 250 on the internal rack thermometer. I'm sure things will be different once I hit the single digit temps but it's doing well for me now. [​IMG]

  10. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    I understand the heat absorbtion with bricks alum, water sand etc. How long did it take to heat up from when you plugged it in to get it to temp before you put the product in to start cooking? What temp was it?

  11. gruelurks

    gruelurks Smoking Fanatic

    I didn't check the ambient temp inside when I started this afternoon. I should have stated however that I turned the MES on at 11:30 am and it was ready to go by 12:30 pm at 250. The internal temp was 250 at that time and the outside air temp wasn't much more than 55 at best today when I started.

    This thread has given me a reason to think about what my approach will be this winter. I already am working on a small shelter for my back deck to keep the MES in during the colder months. Maybe I should pick up some fire bricks that I can preheat in my oven before turning on the smoker to help it out.
  12. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    This thread has given me a reason to think about what my approach will be this winter. I already am working on a small shelter for my back deck to keep the MES in during the colder months. Maybe I should pick up some fire bricks that I can preheat in my oven before turning on the smoker to help it out.

    Thats sort of why I asked, but 1 hour pre heat is not real bad, I have heard alot worse. I was even thinking of a timer to have a warm up time to start before I get up or get off of work. I am pretty new to this and am trying to limit my challanges that will suprise me.
  13. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    It is 50 here in OK my MES is heating fine, but I lost 25 degrees opening the door. I closed the vent almost all the way and it is climbing rapidly. It doesn't get too cold here like Iowa where we moved from. I have it in a sheltered area w/ covered porch. I have noticed the MES runs about 10 degrees hotter than what the control says. Hopefully when it gets colder it will just be a matter of longer times to cook. I usually cook at 225. I have read about other types of smokers that folks have wrapped in a welder's blanket to insulate them. i won't be doing that, have read too many stories about MES fires from wiring issues. I thought about the garage but I don't want it to smell like smoke.
    Good luck!

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