problems with smokebox mod on new MES30... too much smoke I think

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by miatawnt2b, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

    Let's see if I can explain this since I don't have pics. Just got a 1st gen MES30 from santa. I immediately modded it. I put a plate above the smokebox to deflect heat over to the left side. I also made an external smokebox using a 1qt paint can. I took a 3" elbow and stuck it in the hole in the side. then I took the lid of the paint can, cut a 3" hole in it and attached the other end of the elbow. Then I drilled a hole in the bottom of the can for a soldering iron to smolder the wood, and 3 tiny 1/8" vent holes for air intake in the bottom of the can.

    It smokes like crazy. I read little blue whisps of smoke is what you want, but this thing blows like a locomotive. On my first smoke, I did two 3lb beef roasts. I filled the can about 2/3 full with Mesquite. It smoked hard for about 2 hours. I didn't add more chips after, but it cooked for another 1.5 hr. Too much smoke.

    So I modified the smoke can. I added a baffle into the elbow and drilled three 1/4" holes, so I limited the smoke entering the smoker. I also put a rheostat on the soldering iron (it's an 80w iron) and cut the power to about half. Now I start to run test's before my second run....

    So with this setup I give everything about 30 min to preheat before I start studing it. After the preheat I see really light whifts of smoke from the vent (OH, the top vent is always wide open) great I thought, I nailed it. That continues for 30-45 min. after that, I look outside and notice very thick tan color smoke.

    And that's where I'm at. So I'm wondering what to do next.  smaller holes in the baffle? lower soldering iron heat? Less air intake in the bottom of the paint can? Longer connection length between the can and the smoker using drier vent?

  2. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    Maybe some photos of your mod would help.
  3. Stop wasting your time and get a AMNPS or the cold smoker attachment ;)

    But really, the problem with the soldering iron is that is ALWAYS on and heating the whole chip load. I think that's what makes it smoke so heavy. Unfortunately, I don't have a fix for it.
  4. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit

    Personally, I would have used the smoker as is just to get dinner on the table and see how it performed before tinkering.  And then do a mod if it was deemed necessary. But that is just me.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think mesquite is the problem.... find some fruit wood..... When I use mesquite, I only let it smoke about 15 minutes and then go to fruit wood....
    Once the smoke starts, try turning off the iron... the smoke should continue for awhile...
  6. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

    I'm a tinkerer. So stock MES was out of the quetion... even for the first run. I made a new baffle ths evening with a single 1/4" hole instead of 3. So far I'm an hour into the test and have perfect smoke. I'll try to get a pic up soon.

  7. We used to cold smoke salmon with an electric eye that had a temperature control. Perhaps you could rig a rheostat of some sort to reduce the burn of your wood?
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've never done a mod on my MES 30 Gen 1 since I've owned it. It's been enough to learn how to use as it came from the factory. Hot spots, temp swings don't bother me. I'm one of the many people who use the AMNPS to generate smoke. If that can be considered a mod it's the only one I've done. My MES works just fine for me and I'm still learning how to produce consistently good-to-great Q.
  9. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

    ok guys... after a succesful 4 hour test I think I'm ready for my second run. I have one 1/4" hole in the baffle, and I filled the quart paint can about 1/3 with a 50/50 apple/pecan mix. Pre Heated teh MES and lit the iron. once I started to see smoke i turned the iron off and let the draft feed the chips. After 3 hours of what I think will be perfect smoke I shut her down. This AM I looked at what was remaining in the can. White ash and what I estimate what would be enough chips for 30-45 min smoke. I was stoked. I estimate with a full can of chips I can smoke at 225* for 6-8hrs without messing with anything.

    So... tomorrow I am doing a pork loin and a chicken. I plan on putting the chicken on the top right and the loin on the bottom left. Fire it up and let it go 3 hrs @220 before checking it. I've noticed even with the plate mod on the bottom of the smoker the top right is about 15* hotter. so the chicken should smoke at around 235-240.

    I should be able to get pics tomorrow... wish me luck.

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'd put the chicken lower in the smoker than the pork loin..... chicken needs to be cooked to 165 to kill stuff.... Pork loin can be cooked to 145.... If the chicken drips on the pork loin, someone could get sick......

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