Temp recovery time MES?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by davenh, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Was wondering if you MES owners see the same thing with temp recovery.

    I put in four slabs of ribs (maybe 16lbs) over the weekend and noticed the temp recovery to 225 took about 70 mins. I preheated to 260 and it dropped to 170 by the time I was loaded and going. It was around 30f outside while cooking. I did have a water pan (3/8" deep, pre heated the water) in the box. The area was sheltered with little or no wind. I strapped the bottom and top of the door to make sure there were no gaps in the seal (adding latches this week). I really wanted to do more basting, but was afraid to keep opening the door. The recovery shortened up as the meat temp also came up. I have the Sam's Club larger version (40").

    I'm wondering if the larger version has the same size heater as the 30", maybe this will make the recovery temp take longer.

    Maybe add an additional booster/helper heater?

    Curious to hear other owners experiences.

  2. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Is the meat straight out of the refrigerator? Cold meat will cool down a smoker fast and make recovery time much longer than just opening and closing the door to the smoker without adding cold meat. If this is what is happening I would suggest next time setting your ribs out on the kitchen counter for about 45 minutes before putting them in the smoker, it will help. For now, have a beer during the recovery to kill time !!!
  3. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hi MossyMo...I did leave the meat out for an hour and also killed time with a beer or four [​IMG].

    I did find a thread which makes me think that this might be normal for the MES.

    Should I be counting the recovery time as cooking time, or adding additional time to compensate?

    I also think adding an extra 400 watt heater to the unit wouldn't be all that difficult. The original heater looks to be 780 watts or so (120v, 6.5A). The 400 watt additional heater would add a little help, but maybe small enough to still allow the controller to do its job. It could always be put on a dimmer to be adjustable or turned off.

    Only thinking of this because the parts would be free [​IMG]. Would there be a benefit to doing it is another story.
  4. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a couple of MES's and do not feel the recovery time is to the extent you are experiencing; pending how cold out and wind of course.

    With the modification you are thinking about it sure couldn't hurt to try...... (maybe have a beer or two and think more about it !!!)

    As far as time goes you can count it as cooking time, but almost everything you smoke go by temperature rather than time. You can time ribs a little but still mostly go by texture in my opinion. Lets hear from some others on this.......?
  5. fireguy

    fireguy Smoking Fanatic

    I dont have a MES, But I experiance the same thing with my homebuilt EL. smoker.

    I agree with Mossy, on Cookin by the int. temp...

    Also there are so many Variables that play a role in recovery time, cook time, etc...As stated prior: Wind, Temp, even Barametric pressure can play a role in my opinion

    So Just cook till its done, look at it this way if it takes longer sometimes you can just sip a few more suds>>[​IMG]
  6. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    After some serious beer drink'n think'n [​IMG] . I'm going to go to Home Depot for some material this weekend and build me a nice enclosure for my MES with 1" foil faced ridged foam insulation. Seams held together by some aluminum air duct tape. Form fit it so it slips over nice and snug and the appropriate cut outs line up for the electronics, vent and load tube. Maybe even a hinged door in front [​IMG] . Let you know how it goes.
  7. oak cliff boy

    oak cliff boy Newbie

    I have been using a MES for 10 months. Last smoke was yesterday, a 12 pound brined turkey. I preheated (and kept the temp) to 275, with 2 quarts boiling water, about an hour. After placing the cold turkey in the MES the temp was 190. I never saw the temp get higher than 260 after that. The outside temp was 50 degrees. After 2.5 hours the breast was 165 degrees and I pulled it. At the 3.5 hour mark the dark meat was 175 and I pulled it. The meat had a nice smokey flavor and was tender and moist. It didn't seem to matter that the MES achieved a certain temp. I don't think those times were excessive . You want the element to be on much of the time. The element has to be on long enough to heat the wood to the smoking stage. If the set temp is hit too quickly and the element stays off too much you get no smoke. That is why the MES doesn't work well for cold smoking. Unless you use Illini's modification. Bottom line, I wouldn't concern myself with the recovery time if the cooking time is not excessive.
  8. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hi Oak Cliff Boy...Are you cooking the turkey in pieces? I did a whole one which came out nice in about 7hrs. I had the MES temp set for 260, but was lucky to see it get back to 240. My outside temp was in the 20's most of the time. I'd just like to see it react a little faster and be able to recover to the setpoint. I do understand that it's winter and in a couple more months the temp will be more mild and the smoker will respond better, but I'm impatient [​IMG] . I do think a simple insulation cover will help a great deal. If I load it up on a cold day, I'd like to be able to open the door and baste each hour. The way it is now I have to leave it closed to retain the heat.

    I'll make the insulation cover and let you know how it goes, worst case it cost me $20 and a couple hours [​IMG] .
  9. oak cliff boy

    oak cliff boy Newbie

    Hey DaveNH,

    Yes, I always cut turkey/chicken in three pieces, the two leg quarters and the breast/wing section. I save the backs for stock. I like my breast meat moist and can't seem to get it that way unless I pull it at 160.

    I don't think you can have too much insulation. Let us know how it turns out and how you did it. My son is thinking about adding insulation to his unit, too.

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