Hi & Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jimim, May 28, 2014.

  1. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    Hi everyone.  This is a totally new world for me and I had a few questions about my first "experiment" this weekend.  I love smoked food.  We love to cook and grill and I have always wanted to try and learn how to smoke. 

    So I have a masterbuilt electric smoker that I'm going to use for a pork butt.  Yesterday I found the sticky on the recipe to start with from some time ago.  I read through a bunch of threads and gathered a general plan to try this weekend.

    I have a few questions though:

    1.  I plan on using a spray about every 45 mins to keep it moist so does that mean I still use the water pan or don't need to now?

    2.  Also the adjustment on the top of the smoker which lets out humidity and smoke should i be closed all the way down?

    3.  My temp will be controlled electronically so what temp should i set it for?  200-235?  Didn't know what do here since you guys use a range to stay in?

    4.  I was going to shoot for a finished temp of about 200 to pull.  hows that sound?

    5.  I was going to do the whole "texas crutch" when the meat stalls so I'm not all worked up and get all panicked.  so questions here:

    1.  When I wrap I got to get that probe in still so I assume to poke it through the top so nothing leaks out?  how else do i seal that up do i don't loose any pressure or heat so it doens't stall again?

    2.  Do I take  it out of the wrap at my finished temp and then I let it sit and rest cause I'm done?  OR do I need to go back to the smoker?  I read things that say when it hits 200 u are done but when u unwrap it the temp can fall all the way down to 170 again?  I got confused with this statement?

    Any other info you can pass onto me would be sooo great!



    Any other 
  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Answers in red...hope it helps.  Sounds like you've done enough research that your plan is good.  Just remember that its pretty hard to mess up a butt...they are quite forgiving.  And be patient...it can sometimes take upwards of 2 hours of cooking time per raw pound of meat to get a butt done.

    Good luck!  Be sure to post your results and let us know how it turns out!

  3. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    +47 for everything SeenRed said.    Will add just a bit of emphasis on something.   You should ABSOLUTELY independently confirm the temps on your Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES).   Have read waaaaay too many horror stories of people believing that they were smoking at 225, only to find out that they were really running at 180 or 275.   

    If you have something like a Maverick remote probe, use it to test the chamber temp.  If you don't have one of those, get an inexpensive oven thermometer and test it first in your home oven.

    Good luck with the smoke !!
  4. Yup - agree with everything said  ^^  As an MES owner I just jumped in to confirm that yes as also stated above - Do Not Trust The Factory MES Therm! A separate thermometer is a MUST if you care any at all about knowing what temperature you are actually at  [​IMG]   Have fun with your smoke!
  5. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    I got all this written in my notes!

    We have a wolf warming drawer in iur kitchen that's pretty deep. I can prob keep it wrapped in there. It goes from 100 to 200 degrees. Would that be better than wrapping with towels and if so what temp to keep it warm?

    Thanks guys. Also. . . I need some learning through about the vent. In my mind I was thinking it should prob be closed most the way cause if it was all open I would be letting too much humidity and smoke out and also hear which would keep the element running to keep the proper temp and figured that would make the temp vary too much? Advice from the masters? Is my thought process totally wrong? This was one thing I have been struggling with.

  6. If you keep your vent closed you will get stale stagnant smoke & the humidity buildup will cause it to form creosote - not what you want! You want a thin smoke that kisses your meat as it goes by. I always run my exhaust vent wide open on my MES & have no trouble getting moist, tender meat. I also use an AMNPS for smoke & the mailbox mod...
  7. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    That makes way better sense than what I was thinking thanks so much for that info. You didn't lose me with your last statement about the mod and the smoker box! Lol. Can u elaborate a bit?
  8. The AMNPS is a smoke generator that keeps you from having to constantly add chips to the MES. It burns pellets or sawdust & will smoke for up to 12 hours on one load of pellets. You can also cold smoke with it. I got mine here  http://www.amazenproducts.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=12   & it was the best thing I ever got for my MES...

    The mailbox mod is putting your AMNPS in a mailbox & running a duct to the chiploader on your MES. It lets you cold smoke with no added heat, keeps stuff from dripping on your pellets, lets you easily add pellets on a long smoke without losing heat by opening your smoker & you don't have to worry about your AMNPS going out or burning too fast. A lot of us use the mailbox mod & it works great!

    If you do a search for mailbox mod you will find several threads  [​IMG]
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Top vent 100% open!. Good convection and smoke turnover is way more important than keeping moisture in. Stale smoke gives a bitter taste and with the small vent opening, very little moisture is lost. Resting any meat is about letting it Cool Down. You need to have that meat under 160° for more complete moisture reabsorption. This is not a big deal with meat you are pulling, like this Pork, but slice a Hot Brisket and you will watch the juices run all over the counter. The point of using a cooler is to let it cool slowly, over the next 2 hours or have it stay hot as long as possible, for up to 5 hours, because the meat is done long before you are ready to eat. So the Warming Drawer is most likely insulated and will hold the temp a long time. There is no need to turn it on, other than to warm it up, unless you need to keep the meat hot longer then 4-5 hours. If you do turn it on to hold longer, 150 to 160° would be the optimum holding temp. Any higher will degrade the texture and your pork will have a mushy mouth feel...JJ
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  10. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    Thanks! I will check this out. This reminds me of the Bradley smokers with their pucks. Same thing kinda right?
  11. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    Great info thanks for the response. Our plan is to start at 6 am. It's like 8 lbs I think. I'm mulching all day while we smoke and when I was done my buddy and I would prob just drink and play cornhole till it's ready and then eat with our family's so hopefully I will only have to eat it and them eat. Hoping to not have to hold it long.

  12. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I agree with red as well. But two things I must emphasize here:

    Don't trust the mes thermo. Seriously don't trust it. As an mes owner I can vouch that they just are not accurate and in many,
    Many cases they are 30 degrees or more off. That kinda temperature difference changed everything!

    2nd I wouldn't spray, spritz, or anything else you wanna call it. Your letting all your heat out every 45 minutes that way and it's like a crock pot in the respect it takes a long while to heat back up. A pork butt doesn't need to be sprayed IMHO as it's very forgiving. Just probe it and take it off at 200.
  13. Yes but the pellets are much cheaper than those pucks - I know a few Bradley owners that use the AMNPS for that reason. Plus you can cold smoke with the AMNPS  [​IMG]
  14. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I have my mes 40 mailbox modded and it's awesome! No fusing with it at all.
  15. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    Thanks forcthe responses. U guys are great!

    I did want to wrap cause I was really afraid I would get all panicked when it stalls and try and mess with things also we are looking at 11 hrs at 1.5 lbs per hr right now. We r starting at 6 so we figured we had to wrap so when we stall we wouldn't end up eating till midnight! Lol.

    But no spraying. If I don't look in there I'm going to go nuts! Lol. Use the pan with half cider and water though or half water and oj for moisture though?
  16. jimim

    jimim Newbie

    deff going to look into it!

    Oh do u guys soak ur chips? My buddy was asking before.
  17. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    No looking!! The probe will tell you all you need to know. Just gonna add time to the smoke if you keep opening up that door.
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Soaked Chips won't smoke until they dry out. Juice in the water pan will not add any flavor to the meat, pretty much a waste of juice. Water in the pan only has a real benefit for the first couple hours to keep the meat surface moist and help it absorb more smoke flavor. A dry pan after 3-4 hours lets a good Bark form and heaps lock in moisture..JJ
  19. Yup as already stated above - don't look, don't soak your chips & don't put juice in your water pan.  [​IMG]
  20. Sounds like your good to go it's going to be great I never spritz but I do like to add some apple juice to my sweet apple butt :) When I wrap. One of my most favorite things I have learned on hear is the bone test that's what I go by enjoy.

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