Need some MES advice

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by woopigsooie, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. woopigsooie

    woopigsooie Newbie

    Couple of weeks ago I bought a 30" MES (old version) from Lowes. During seasoning, I noticed that the temps the MES were showing versus my ET73 were off by as much as 50 degrees. I moved the 73's probe around to various spots and still got 30-50 degree differences. Is this normal?? Any fixes??

    Second question: Last night I smoked some ribs, water pan 3/4 full. The ET73 showed what I would call huge fluctuations in temp throughout the smoke. I did the 2-2-1 for baby backs. Example, If I set the MES to 190 degrees, the 73 would read 220...perfect. But, when the smoker would reach its mark and shut off, the 73 would drop to around 200, then when the smoker would kick back on the 73 would rise to sometimes as high as 250 before once again settling back to 200 or so. Never would hang between 220 and 230 degrees. Is this normal? Do I just have a dud? By the way, during all this, the MES probe never varied more than a few degrees. [​IMG]

    Ribs turned out pretty good, tender and great tasting, but very dry. I'm not sure I'm real happy about my purchase. I'm gonna try the brick thing, but I thought a mostly full water pan would help equalize the temps.
  2. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I dont have that model smoker but plenty of folks here do.. I'm sure they will be along to help ya out.. Those stock thermometers on most smokers are usually off like that.... Happy smokes.
  3. jdsmith

    jdsmith Smoke Blower

    I cooked a rack of spares (cut in half) the other day using a used MES I just purchased. It is the old model with no vent. When I first started out, there was about a 40-50 degree difference in temps between the unit and my ET-73. The unit was reading higher. But as the smoke progressed (5 hours) the two thermometers started coming much closer to one another. I started out with the water pan about 2/3 full, and never refilled (didn't have to). I also opened the door quite a bit to let some of the smoke out since with no vent, it had nowhere to go.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is probably the biggest discussed topic on this forum. All kinds of threads on this, and all kinds of fixes, some of which may work for you. I'm still fighting it myself.
    I can tell you that your Maverick 73 is probably perfect, but you can test it by measuring boiling water, but don't put the whole probe in the water----just the end.
    The right side is always much hotter than the left on nearly all MES.
    If you hang your Maverick right in front of the little round sensor on the upper left of the back wall in your unit, they might get closer to each other's readings. I believe most built in sensors will move up & down slower than a probe thermometer, because the smoker sensor is built in the wall. The probe on the Maverick is measuring pure air temp from all sides. The smoker's sensor is only reading on it's face, or near it.

    There is so much on this you'll have to search to get it all.

    I tried the ceramic tile fix today, and I think I almost blew her up ![​IMG]
    I removed the tile quickly.

  5. woopigsooie

    woopigsooie Newbie

    Thanks guys. Since starting this thread, I have researched alot of old posts regarding this issue. However, one question still remains. Which temperature should I cook by, the 73's temp or the MES temp????? Somewhere in between?? Bearcarver, anyone, what do you guys go by as far as temps? Lot of info on this problem but I can't seem to find what most do.
  6. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I set the MES for my target temp. If I am only doing one piece I place the meat in on the center rack right in the middle of the smoker then I put one of those el cheapo oven thermometers ( $5.00 ea ) beside the meat. If the set temp and the El cheapo are close I don't sweat it.
    If putting more than one slab of meat in there I use two or three of my El cheapo's one on each rack that I am using. I adjust the controller till all the temps are close to the target temp. Then begin my smoke. Its easier than it sounds. I have 5 or 6 of those elcheap o's handy, they all show fairly close to the same temp as each other. No electronics to act up.

    PS I also have a remote probe stuck inside the meat.

    Knowing that the right hand side of the MES is always a bit hotter, I rotate the postitons of the different cuts of meat about 1/2 way thru the smoke. I use water in the pan to help even out the temps

    Unless the MES is completely full of meat I avoid putting anything on the extreme right hand side in the hot spot.
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What GnuBee says is as good as anything I can think of.
    I tried putting a piece of ceramic tile in the right side below the water pan day before yesterday. I must have used the wrong kind of ceramic tile, because it started going "Whoosh---Whoosh---Whoosh !!" Also with each whoosh, the smoke shot out of my MES vent like the back end of a fighter jet on a mission. I always keep a pair of fireplace gloves handy, so I opened the door & pulled the tile out. The whooshing stopped immediately.
    Back to the drawing board.

  8. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The MES has a slow recovery time, so make sure it has been given enough stable time without opening the door so the MES temp and the Maverick can measure the same thing.

    Mine is only off about 5 degrees when I measure in the center of the unit.

    There is definitely a left to right temp difference as mentioned. I usually just put the bigger pieces on the right and the smaller ones on the left with the bigger of these on top and the smallest on the bottom. It usually all works out.

    If your pieces are exactly the same and the unit is loaded, you may have to rotate the items.
  9. bignick

    bignick Meat Mopper

    I have slightly different readings as well, sometimes if it is cold or windy or both I will see greater variances. Do as suggested above and calibrate your 73 into boiling water. See how far from 212 you are. I'll bet it is pretty close. Then cook according to that, not the MES. Hope this helps. This box takes some practice, but I have grown to like it. Another thing that I do is preheat it all the way up to 275. When you open to put your meat in and the temps drop, they don't drop as much. Just reset the temp on the MES to target. Bricks have made a difference with mine as well.

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