First Meat to Smoke in MES 30?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by jmoore1231, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Hi all - not new to smoking but new to my MES 30 Gen 1 birthday gift! Excited to get started with it. I finished the preseasoning process last night, everything went well worked like a charm.

    My question today, is there a particular cut of meat( I assume pork) that would work toward seasoning my smoker even further for future cooks? I would think something like a pork butt would be a good choice. Any thoughts, tips, tricks from MES owners is much welcomed.
  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You've already mentioned one of the three top choices--pork butt (or shoulder). The other two are pork ribs--baby back or St. Louis-style or both--and beef brisket. I think you should start off with the ribs. If you do a good job you'll never have to go out for BBQ ribs again. Same thing with the pulled pork and beef brisket. And with practice you'll rock all three.

    Here are my tips: look online for some great smoker recipes and also buy at least one BBQ book. A great beginner's book is "Smoke & Spice: Cooking With Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue" by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Great recipes including rubs and sauces.

    I also recommend you start off with wood chips to get that experience. I found wood chips to be a hassle and read about the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) in SMF. The guy who invented it, Todd Johnson, is a great guy and the AMNPS is a fine product. I only use wood pellets and I buy them from Todd. But first use the MES with wood chips as it was designed and decide for yourself what you prefer to use in the future.

    I own a MES 30 Gen 1 and absolutely love it. Keep in mind that with electric smokers you won't get a smoke ring unless you do a couple of extra things. But smoke rings are all appearance and add nothing to flavor. I guarantee that if you keep smoking and gain experience you'll be producing real barbecue any time you want.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  3. Thanks very much for the info. I've smoked ribs several times using my charcoal grill and I feel like each time I improved my technique there. Looking forward to getting some meat on the MES soon. As for the smoke ring, it's pretty to look at but I'm much more concerned about taste, moisture, and tenderness myself.

    Love this site, it helped me make my decision on which smoker I wanted for my birthday and feel like I've smoked a lot more food than I actually have from just reading!
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My wife bought me a rib rack for my Weber charcoal grill so two years ago I did a Ribfest where I grilled two racks of St. Louis ribs in the rib rack over hickory wood chips and I smoked two racks of baby backs in the smoker over hickory pellets. I actually preferred the baby backs since I think I overcooked the St. Louis--but everyone loved both types of ribs. I used a Kansas City BBQ style rub with a smoky-sweet bourbon Memphis style BBQ sauce just because I like to mix and pile on flavors.

    Yep, you'll find huge info and tips here. It's how I found out about A-MAZE-N products and great tips on hot and cold smoking with the MES. And don't let anyone tell you that you can't cold smoke in the MES. I've got cheeses and salmon I've cold smoked which prove differently and I didn't need the MB Cold Smoker to do it.
  5. The AMNPS is certainly something I've read about and am interested in. I am going to do as you suggest and give a go with the factory wood chip loader on the MES first, to see if I find it suitable. The idea of the AMNPS for long cooks like pork butt or brisket is appealing.

    I bought some Stubb's wood chips for pre seasoning and my first smoke, the Apple/Hickory/Oak mixture. I found it to be a very pleasing aroma and can't wait to use it on food.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  6. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    As daRicksta stated all so well. 

    Your best bet would be to start out with the ribs.  I too utilized the chip loader in my MES 30 and gradually gravitated to the AMNPS after discovering that the chip loader does not allow for long periods of smoke and needs to be attended to far too often.

    Welcome to the Forum and Happy Smoking,  John
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    A couple of tips to get you started out no matter what cut of meat you smoke for your first go. Do not go by any of the procedures in the owners manual. Get yourself a good reliable dual probe thermometer like the Maverick ET-732 or 733 or something similar. Check the actual temperature your unit is at with said thermometer. Your smoker is known to have shotty factory probes. Some folks have seen them off by 80 degrees or more. Do not soak any wood. Lastly, no water in the water pan. You can use play sand or pea gravel and wrap it in foil to keep it clean. I have seen a huge number of new MES owners on here recently and these are the top things that almost everybody does wrong the first time. One more note. I would do a Butt for your first smoke. Ribs can be tricky to get right but Butt is very forgiving. It takes quite a while to do one so you will get to know how your smoker works and you can work out the kinks and get to know your new smoker very well the first time. I highly recommend this recipe Wishing you a glorious first smoke in your new unit. timber
  8. cyberb0b

    cyberb0b Newbie

    I like to do a pork butt with a new smoker. It is probably the most forgiving of the smoking meats. Really though, it is hard to screw up with the MES.
  9. Any of the above will be fine. Remember to keep the door closed. Also post a Qview.

    Happy smoken.

  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love the ET-733 but it's a bit complicated to program (although it doesn't need to be programmed to use it). I need the manual in front of me every time I re-program temps.

    I found it a hassle to keep loading wood chips every 20-30 minutes which is why I was so happy to learn about the AMNPS. With that and the ET-733 (or the ET-732 if that's what someone has) smoking becomes almost set-it-and-forget, at least for a few hours at a time.
  11. Thanks again guys for all the helpful comments. I have bought a digital probe therm that I've run the boiling water test for accuracy and it was pretty much dead nuts. I'm going to have it fed through the vent andclipped to the grate, but off the metal, closest to where I'll be cooking.

    Leaning toward pork butt since I have never done one of these. So far my smoking experience is limited to ribs which I feel fairly good about as well. Pork butt is appealing due to its forgiving nature and the fact that I've never cooked one [​IMG]
  12. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I love smoking me some Butt! Have fun and take lots of pictures. Make sure you test whatever meat probe you use too. That temp is just as important to the finished product.
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Port butt (shoulder) is fine to start off with and pretty easy to pull off. The key to great pulled pork is in the rub, I think, whether it's just salt and pepper, from a recipe, or off the supermarket shelf. At some point you can buy a meat injector and full around with that if you want to.

    You described clipping a probe to the rack. If you've only got the one probe it needs to be inside the pork. The temp display on the MES may fluctuate so you need an accurate reading of the pork's IT. If you're just tracking ambient temp you could easily under or overcook the pork. Time in the smoker alone is not an indicator of doneness. The pork butt/shoulder will be done when the IT is between 195-205°. With my ET-733, I clip one probe just above the rack, as you described; the other goes inside the meat. The only time I use a single probe is when smoking ribs.

    Be aware that, like beef briskets and chuck roasts, the pork butt will stall between 160-170° IT and could be there for awhile. Some guys foil the pork at this point to help it past the stall more quickly. This is why an probe inside the meat is imperative.
  14. One question on pork butt, is foiling necessary at 160F? I honestly prefer a good bark on pulled pork and don't want to run the risk of it getting soft in the foil. What is everyone's experience with this?
  15. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    No it is not necessary to foil. Many folks swear by naked all the way. It will take a little bit longer. Just allow yourself 2 hours per pound and if it get's done early you can wrap it up in foil and towels in a dry cooler and it will still be piping hot for several hours. The longer the rest the better in my opinion up to a point that is. 
  16. plume-o-smoke

    plume-o-smoke Fire Starter

    I don't know about doing the chips the 'hard way' at first. I bought the MES specifically because I don't need to babysit it. I just closed my eyes, visualized "the look" my wife would give me when I disappear every half hour all day long to reload chips. And then asked Santa to bring the AMNPS. I never looked back. Ditto the Maverick 732/733. The remote two-probe thermometer is fantastic. No running out to the smoker to check temps for me! All told, I was $210 out the door for everything, delivered, with 5 lbs of pellets.
    A little bit longer? Holy wah, my first shoulder stalled forever and I finally foiled it. My next one is an overnight affair. Note my prior comments on the Maverick (on nightstand) and AMNPS (10 hours worry-free smoke). And my $0.02 on foiling shoulders is that it as trades time for bark. Yea, it's faster, but it kills most of that nice bark. Both ways work well. [It is, after all, smoked pork!]. I'm a scientist in my day job, so I like to do experiments. Try two shoulders side by side. Foil one, don't foil one. Take notes. Eat. And remember 'more research is needed.'
    daricksta likes this.
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  18. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As I've written a couple of times, I've yet to see on TV any pros or any BBQ restaurants foil their meats when cooking. But if I have a pork butt or a beef brisket or chuck roast which has stalled for a couple of hours with no sign of moving past it, I might foil because I don't have the hours to babysit that they do and I'm not cooking at the higher temps they are.
  20. jamesedw1

    jamesedw1 Fire Starter

    D something small and work up to the big items. Don't want to get discourages if you smoke a pork shoulder or ribs and it didn't turn out the way you want it. I stated out with chicken qtrs. Then worked my way up

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