pardon my ignorance

Discussion in 'Pork' started by obmitch, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. obmitch

    obmitch Newbie

    I've had my MES 30 for 8 months and I've been amazed at the quality of meat I have produced. I feel it compares favorably to any of the BBQ shops I've eaten at.I have no experience at all with any other smokers. My question is this:

    If someone who is skilled with multiple types of smokers were to smoke a butt in each one and do it correctly, could people, generally, be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test? If so, what would that difference be?

    Thank you for considering my question.

  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hello Mitch, Your question is like asking. " Which makes the best Hamburger? Gas, Charcoal, Broiler or Frying Pan? " If you know what you are doing they ALL make great Burgers.

    I have owned a small Mecco Bullet Smoker, a New Braunfels Horizontal Offset and 2 MES 40's.  I have made great meals in all of my smokers and as a Chef have used some tricks to make great tasting Faux-Q in a plain old Oven for several restaurants.  Truly great Q is all about Heat, Smoke and Time. Some of the best known operations only add Salt and Pepper to the mix. Then there is stuff like Rubs, Injections, Brines and Sauces, all are just personal taste add-ons and depending on the meat add moisture and make your Q unique. Yes, there are subtle differences between the flavor of Q that is smoked with just Wood, Charcoal and Smoke Wood Chips or Chunks and Electric or Gassers with Chips or an AMNPS/AMNTS and Pellets...BUT...That will only be noticed by those that have tried meat from different smokers with the biggest difference being a very visual but extremely small flavor difference of a pink Smoke Ring which can only be had from Carbon Fuel based smokers. Electric Smokers just do not generate sufficient Nitrogen Gasses to cause the reaction in the outer 1/4" of red meats. Besides if it really matters a couple of hour soak in a 1 Tbs Cure #1 per gallon Water solution will even give the Pink Ring to the meat coming out of your MES[​IMG]  I have been smoking some 25 years feeding family, friends and customers and no one ever said, " Your BBQ was way better when you used the _____ smoker. " You made a great choice coming to our SMF Family. There are many experienced Pit Masters here willing to share their knowledge. Learn all you can about your MES. Where are the hot spots? What mods would benefit you? What is the best way, for you, to make smoke, chips or pellets? What is your fav Rub? Should you bother Spritzing/Mopping or just shut the door and let the smoker make the meat awesome. If you have lots of money to buy different styles of smokers, you will find some are better for this meat, others are better for that type of meat. But again, by studying and asking questions there is everything here to cook ANY meat to blow your mind perfection with the great smoker you have now...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You mentioned if someone were to smoke meats on various smokers and "do it correctly". This is assuming the person in question has a set of parameters in mind as to properly smoked meat, IE: level of smoke flavor, tenderness, moisture etc... Someone who is truly skilled with the equipment in question should, in theory, be able to manipulate each cooker to produce identical results across the board.
    However, if I'm interpreting your question correctly, different types of smokers do have various strengths and weaknesses due to design, fuel, airflow etc..
    Stickburners tend to burn more cleanly when properly stoked, giving a lighter smoke taste.
    Electrics, for the most part, top out at under 300°, so hot and fast isn't an option. In addition, electrics won't produce a smoke ring, though as JJ points out, this can be faked.
    There are too many types of charcoal smokers to generalize any characteristics, through its easy to "over smoke" with charcoal as its down to the pitmaster as to how much wood to add, how much airflow to allow etc... So I guess you could count versatility as both a strength and a weakness in charcoal.
    As is generally the case with this type of question on here, the answer comes down to personal taste and ability. My perfect pulled pork might be vastly different from yours, as will the method in which I achieve it. The best bet is to get to know your cooker and strive to use it to produce your idea of perfection.
  4. obmitch

    obmitch Newbie

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful and wise response. It reaffirms many of the conclusions I came to logically (the logic of the ignorant is often somewhat flawed). I have the resources to purchase any smoker I want and the time to spend; however, I am no longer physically able to exert myself like I used to so it does eliminate a lot of experimentation. I don't want to tend fires, deal with lots of wood and such if I don't have to.

    Many years ago I was a photographer. I amassed thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies to improve my results. One day I walked into a mall in California and there was an exhibit of photographs from the local high school photography class. Their assignment was to use only a simple Brownie box camera. The images were stunning. 

    I can't help but think that this has many parallels. Pick a tool, any tool, and master it. Since I have limited physical abilities now, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't investing my time with the wrong tool.

    Again, thank you for your response, with the help of the folks on this forum, I anticipate increasing my skills considerably.
  5. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

  6. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]  You've received some outstanding information from Chef JJ and MDboatbum.

    Continued success and enjoyment!
  7. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I am by no means an expert at anything BBQ. I am however a grill and smoker junkie who has amassed 10 of them since I joined this site about 2 years ago (thanks a lot guys! Haha). That being said, there is in my opinion a significant difference in taste between the different grills. For example, all things being equal (same cooking temp, same degree of doneness, etc.) I think ribs done on my pit barrel have a unique taste from the fat dripping on the coals, ribs in my MES have a nice light smokey taste due to the consistant TBS that the AMNPS gives off, ribs on my weber kettle indirect have a combo of the charcoal and wood flavor that the pit barrel has but without the added flavor from the drippings falling right on the coals. Ribs on the propane smoker have a slightly different taste that the other smokers that I can't quite pinpoint.

    That being said... You're decision to just stick with the MES is a good one because it fits your needs and you can make some damn good BBQ with anything as long as you keep experimenting and gaining experience with it like you said. Hope this was helpful and enjoy!
  8. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How much power does the MES draw?
  9. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Absolutely nothing.  I was ultra concerned about this when I did my 2 months of research before purchasing my MES.  A 14 hour smoke I think cost me around 80c.  I spend more on tin foil than I do on electricity. 
  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well Mummel, you've done it now. Admitting a career as a photographer on this site is a slippery slope. We love our q-view and will be looking forward to some quality images of the food you cook!!😄

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