Smoking a turkey with a MES - overcooked!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jimtrvl917, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. My children gave me a MES for Christmas, and I've cooked a few items on it since then. I've been having problems with overcooking the food. I followed the recipe in the Masterbuilt manual for smoking a turkey (225 degrees) and set the timer for 10 hours (it was suggested to be 8-12 hours). Well, after ~8 hours, the meat thermometer showed it was already done, and it turned out to be too done! I added 1/2 cup of mesquite chips initially and then an additional 1/2 cup about 2 hours later.

    Can anyone help me figure out what I'm doing wrong? I also did a whole pork loin (9.5 lb.), first, and it too was overdone (but tasty).

    Thanks for everyone's assistance.
  2. trikefreak

    trikefreak Smoke Blower

    My first suggestion would be to get another thermometer, the Maverick is highly recommended by most on here. You'll probably find out that the smoker thermometers are off, sometimes a lot.
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First off, congrats on having kids nice enough to give you such a great present! That's really wonderful.

    Secondly, disregard the manual that came with your smoker as far as any recipes or cooking methods. These things are written by engineers and marketing people, not cooks. As previously stated, get and use a thermometer you trust and cook to a specific internal temperature. For turkey, 165˚ in the deepest part of the breast works for me. A 30-60 minute rest will let it reabsorb it's juices as well as allowing the the dark meat to "coast" up to 175˚ or so. You may find you like your turkey a little more "done", so play with temps until you find one you're happy with. Just remember 165˚ is the accepted minimum safe temp for poultry.

    As for pork loin, the old conventional wisdom of "Cook it until it's dry, then cook it another hour just to be sure" thankfully no longer applies, due to improved feeds and farming techniques. We're told by the folks with the badges and white lab coats that we can safely consume pork cooked to a minimum of 145˚.

    Good luck and keep at it!!
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Give these a try. Brining bird greatly improves the moisture and gives some wiggle room if you overcook it or like the meat more well done. At 275° cook time is about 20 minutes per pound. At 225-250°F it is closer to 30 minutes per pound. A good digital thermometer is your best tool to get great food out of a smoker. As mentioned there is no reason to cook pork loin above 145-150°F tops. At the lower temp there will be a Blush to the pork. Some folks are freaked out about this. At 150° it will be gray but still juicy after a rest...

    Here is a Brine and Rub that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Turkey. Measure the Temp in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively. 275*F is about the best you can hope for in an MES. If the skin is not Crisp enough when the IT is 145*F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425*F Oven to finish cooking to 165* and Crisp the Skin...JJ

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  5. First of all, thanks so much for everyone's help. Based on the comments about the manual and cooking temps, I couldn't agree more that engineers not only designed it, but also "scientifically" figured out the cook time for that turkey! 

    So, the first thing I did was ask for a belated Christmas present of a new thermometer. That will help a lot. Once I get it, I'll try it again using the other recommendations from you FINE cooks out there. 

    I'll report back once I try a few more items and will use this site extensively in that process.
  6. One last question for the moment. Is there a "correct" amount of wood chips to use with one of these Masterbuilt electric smokers?
  7. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I'll bet you a dime on the dollar you're cooking hotter than you think you are. The controllers on the mes tend to read lower than the actual temp. Sometimes much lower. The meat probe ain't much better. Get a maverick et732 or similar so you know your true meat and chamber temp.
    As for chips? Try using small chunks. More flavor and last much longer than than that dried out tinder they call smoking chips. All the best to you. Now that doesn't mean you shouldn't try chef jimmys brine and rub. Even with the correct temps it will bring you and your birds to a new level.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have never tried small chunks but I am confident that Geerock would not steer you wrong. As far as the correct amount of chip, the answer is 1/4 Cup. Anymore than that the MES starts to Belch Fire or the chip catch on fire. My first cook on the MES I loaded the tray with 1 full Cup of chips. About 15 minutes later the smoke was flowing but there was a loud bang as the Chip Loader was blown 3 feet into the front yard. It sat and puffed balls of flame for the next few minutes until I shut it off and cleaned out the burning chips. I posted a " what the hell is going on? " thread and Todd explained what I was doing wrong. Not long after that I received an AMNPS Pellet Smoke Generator from Todd and in three years have only loaded chip once for a short 30 minute Shrimp smoke. Check out the AMNPS at... It's the best addition to the MES money can buy. It lets you fill the MES with up to 10 hours of perfect Thin Blue Smoke at any temp between Ambient and 275°F. Try and set the MES at 120 to 170° to smoke cured sausage and see how much smoke the MES will make...None!.., Good Luck...JJ
  9. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hello , 1917 . Glad you found us and hope you stay as a member of the Family.

    I've yet to get an MES and can not give anymore in other information other than,  as with most "factory" included thermometers  ,   are notorious for being un-reliable . The best way to know your temps. is to have a reliable thermometer , he Maverick is a good one and recommended by many here on SMF.  As you learn your Smoker , you'll find that "TEMP." is your Internal Meat Temperature " GOAL" . The timing is 'only' a guideline .

    Also a calibrated Therm. is a Happy Therm. [​IMG]  This will help.

    Have fun and . . .
  10. Thanks for everyone's advise. I'll be checking out additional options beyond the new thermometer, but it sounds like that will be the critical first step.

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