Newbie smoke questions for the MES 40

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by mtm29575, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. mtm29575

    mtm29575 Smoke Blower

    I'm still new to smoking, and am trying to learn as I go. I have some general questions that I hope some of you MES experts can help me with. I'm using wood chips, so all my questions relate to those. I may look at getting an AMNPS later, but for now want to use the supply of chips I have.

    My first question is,

    1. The common, soak or not soak the chips?  I have not soaked mine, but I have 'over smoked' a few things, so was wondering if soaking might slow down the infusion of smoke during the cook.

    2. Foil pouch ever?  Just wondering if there are ever any benefits to foil pouching my chips? Again, wondering if this might slow the infusion of smoke and prevent flare up of the chips and/or chips burning to fast.

    3. Do you add chips when you turn the MES on, and let them heat up as the unit comes up to temp, or do you let the unit reach temp and then add chips?

    4. And the last question for now, is it better to load up on the chips at the start and refill less often, or go easy on the chips at first and add more often during the smoke?

    Just to give you a little background where this is coming from, my butts have come out really good, but I know that big pieces of meat can handle more smoke. My whole chickens came out way too smokey. I know now that chicken absorbs smoke much more quickly, so I wondered how to get a light smokey flavor on my next birds without overpowering them.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you had too much smoke on the Chicken, the smoke was too heavy, not too long. That's why most of us use the AMNS or the AMNPS. You can get up to 12 hours of perfect smoke with it. Not too heavy for awhile, then nothing for awhile, then too heavy again.

    It's hard to tell you how to use the MES chip burner, because they are all different, and most of them don't work worth a hoot.

    Somebody who thinks there's works good might be here to tell you how, but it doesn't mean what works for him, will work for you. Doesn't hurt to try though. Good luck.

  3. mtm29575

    mtm29575 Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the response and the advise, Bear. I think AMNS or AMNPS is my answer, as far as the smoke goes.

    I want to get a stick burner later, but since the wife bought the MES for me as a gift, I think I better get my use out of it for awhile, if I know what's good for me!  lol

    Actually, I've had pretty good success with the MES, other than the smoke issue. Being a newbie, I like using it to get my toes wet, so to speak, as I can concentrate on my meat preparation skills, etc. and not have to deal with maintaining temp, for now.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Exactly---MES is a good one to start with, especially if it's the Gen #1 MES.

    I have mine 4 years, and I love it. Between that & my Amazing smokers, smoking is easy.

    They make an awesome pair. The only other thing really needed then is a Maverick wireless Thermometer set. I have the Maverick ET-732. Works Great.

  5. mtm29575

    mtm29575 Smoke Blower

    Thanks again Bear. I definitely want a Maverick. One of my next few purchases for sure. 

    Do you have any air flow issues with your AMNPS in the MES? I've read about some people having problems keeping the pellets going.

    I do have the 2nd gen with the side vent.  Any suggestions you might could offer would be appreciated.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The MES Gen #2 has it's problems.

    I'll give you a little, but guys who deal with a Gen #2 all the time can give you more.

    #1   Keep your pellets Dry.  As soon as I get my Pellets and/or Dust, I put them in wide-mouth juice jugs with threaded caps.

    Remove the small water pan hanging in the slanted drip plate.

    Once you get your AMNPS going real good, set it straddling the hole left by removing the water pan.

    Set a throw-away foil pan under the hole to catch any drippings.

    Put something above the AMNPS to protect it from drips, but not too close that it smothers it.

    Always keep your top (side) exhaust wide open.

    There are a couple of very good threads about "Keeping your AMNPS going", and the search bar above, on this forum is by far the best I've ever seen.


    PS: I don't have any air flow problems with my MES 40 Gen #1. All I do is keep my fuel dry, and my top vent open all the way. I do have trouble with Cherry pellets, but if I use Cherry, I mix it with Hickory. I use Hickory 95% of the time.
  7. mtm29575

    mtm29575 Smoke Blower

    Good advise..thanks.  Wonder why the cherry gives you problems? Is it just a 'wetter' wood?  I have some cherry chips, but mostly I use hickory, but also have some apple. Just curious.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think it's because Cherry is oily. I know when I used Cherry for Kitchens, it was full of what we called "Pitch Pockets" (Dark streaks, often opened up like a bad check).


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