MES30 SS - flash-over explosion in chip tray?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by fishshtick, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. fishshtick

    fishshtick Newbie

    OK, this is kinda funny and kinda scary.  I just got my new MES30 SS (Its the 20070411 version with half loader but full tray burner).  I have been a stick burner for years and had the epiphany this year that I would probably eat much more BBQ if it weren't such a huge labor to pull it off.  My first round of actual Q is in the new unit right now, but during the seasoning and during the initial ramp up to smoke, my chips appear to...well...explode into flames.  It seems like a flash-over effect, where the wood chips heat to near combustion where they release flamable gases which all of a sudden ignite in the box along with the wood.  The result is a small explosion inside the unit....poooommmffff!  This little explosion shoots a smoke plume out the top and last time literally blew my loading tray about 4 inches out the side of the unit.  Its not too scary, and it makes me giggle like a school kid each time it happens, but obviously, this was unexpected even if it happens with some consistency.  I don't think it is too dangerous, unless it blows the door off or the hot loading tray is ejected and sets my deck or grass on fire.  Anyone ever heard of this?

    I am using alder and apple wood chips (a small handfull, maybe as much as half a cup).  The temperature is cold outside (34 F), which I am guessing maybe contributes to the heating unit running hotter/longer and igniting the wood chips faster, but I thought these units were particularly good for smoking in cold weather (which my old Brinkman Smokin' Pit is definitely not).

  2. My MES 40 did the same thing when I first got it. When I reduced the amount of chips I was putting in each load it stopped. I was just putting too many chips in at a time. 

    I eventually got the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker for ease of use and a much more consistant smoke. I would highly recommend it! All night smokes with Butts or Briskets are super easy with it. No going out to reload chips all the time. Puts a good 6 hours of smoke out and by then that is all you need anyway. No nead to reload. Just make sure it is lit well then pull out your chip loader and inch or so and pull out your chip tray about 3/4" and that will allow plenty of air flow in to feed the pellet burn. You just set the burning pellet smoker on the horizontal rails to the left of the chip tray.

    That's all there is to it!
  3. Thinking back... Dry chips seemed to cause it to happen much more often than soaked chips. Much discussuion on here about dry vs. soaked but if all you want to do is stop the puffing I would just reduce the amount of chips and soak 'em a bit so they don't all ignite at once. I think that is what really causes the puffing mini explsions.

    You mentioned you want to make your smokes easier. The AMNPS pellet smoker is definitely the best way to make smoking about as easy as it  gets!

    Welcome to the forum Mike!

    Lots of folks here always willing to help with whatever you run into.
  4. fishshtick

    fishshtick Newbie

    OK, thanks for the reassurance.  I have heard about the A-maze-in and may indeed give one a try.  I also already fidgeted around a bit and seem to have hit upon a solution for better smoke and no more flash-over puffs.  I just leave the chips in the loading tray and let them burn there.  Seems that they turn to carbon and ash right in that tray and then I just dump the mostly spent chips into the normal burner tray before adding more to the loader tray to burn.  No more issue with heavy white smoke...just all TBS and no more flash-over.  I don't know if I would try this trick with the full loader tray, but it works good with the half-loader.

    I probably will look into an A-maze-in, but coming from a background of stick and charcoal, I am kinda surprised how much electric people seem concerned about providing smoke for real long periods.  My experience is that smoke really only penetrates meat much during the first couple hours of a smoke.  Once the meat surface reaches cooking temps and starts to form a rind, I was told it became kinda impermeable to more smoke penetration, and to be careful not to oversmoke it or you could start getting a bitter/ashy tasting rind which could be bad for something like ribs (maybe not so bad for butt or briskett).  Indeed, my own experiences supported that and once I started limiting my smoke production to just the first couple hours on my old smokin'pit, followed by block charcoal to finish, I got must better tasting meat.  Anyhow, just curious what folks here think about running the smoke so long.  Maybe I'll create a new thread on this.

  5. tdwester

    tdwester Fire Starter

    Mine "farted" on me yesterday also. After a change of boxers, it seemed to work fine.
  6. The first time I seen my 30 puffing smoke several times I pulled the chip loader out. BAD PLAN! You have a ball of gas fire coming out the hole before you can move. Red face, no eyelashes, short eyebrows, and serious trimming of mustache. My chips had been soaking but guess I was just packing in too many before they were burning down.
  7. fishshtick

    fishshtick Newbie

    After the third pooommmff incident I tried just leaving the chips in the chip loader and that actually worked.  No more puffing and the smoke went from heavy white to thin and blue.  Seems like with my unit, there is enough heat off the burner to keep chips smoking in the loader.  When the chips turn to carbon and soot I dumped them down into the regular burner tray and they would get used a bit more while my new batch in the chip holder tube started its burn.  When all was said and done I loaded chips 5-6 times in a 5 hour cooking session and ended up with a surprisingly small amount of white ash in the burner tray.
  8. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Here is what is happening .
  9. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    interesting I have no clue
  10. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Interesting I have no clue
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Had the same thing last week...Less chips seems to be the fix...JJ
  12. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Agree 100%

    Pull both chip pan and chip loader out a little

    This should allow for more oxygen to enter your smoker, and stop the backfire

  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Haven't had that problem yet, hope I don't either.

Share This Page