Hows everyone doing? My name is Shane. I am new to the smoking world. I just bought a MES 30 digital. I have already seasoned it and am ready to go for tomorrow. I am smoking a brisket using mesquite wood chips. Couple questions for yall. Do you want to leave the vent on the top open at all times or closed? I have been told to put apple juice in the water pan instead of water and to spray the meat about every two hours with apple juice. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks for the help.
New to forum with a couple questions
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- 4,340 Posts. Joined 9/2011
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As for your brisket... be careful with the mesquite as it packs a powerful punch.. it is a very strong wood... as for the apple juice in the pan.. i would vote against it... I'm not an MES owner but from what I have read the MES seems to perform better with the water pan filled with play sand and foil over top of it... Some of the MES owners will chime in and fill you in better.... You might also want to check out "The Amazn Smoker"... If you do some search'n you will find that the MES is not all that good at making smoke from wood chips... Look to the right >>>> and you will see the link for A-Maz-n Smoker....
Again welcome to SMF and your new addiction
CONGRATS on your NEW MES, Making it Easy to Smoke Q!
I post the tips below for newbies, it attempts to answer some of the common questions that are asked, hopefully it helps.
MES New Owner Tips:
Collected from input of many MES owners, some may seem a bit dated due to new MES with higher watt elements but work as a general rule.
• Season it. (Many spray the inside with PAM)
• No extension cords, unless it is 12 ga or heavier.
• Spray your racks with PAM prior to smoke (makes cleanup easier).
• For easier cleanup, use alum foil on the water pan and drain pan.
• Manual says preheating isn't necessary, preheat, it will make getting up to initial set temp faster, and temp recovery when opening hatch faster. (These instructions were for older MES units with lower wattage elements, however the value of preheating applies to all units.) Preheat to 270º. Cold ambient 45º and colder as long as 2 hours, 1 hour for warmer temps and as little as 30 min. in summer. Preheating help establish a stable cooking platform without the dramatic temp swings in first hour of smoking. (Experiment with preheating and see if it helps.)
• Add boiling hot water to pan, this will allow you to get up to set temp faster.
• Start the smoke with a few wood chips. The manual says 1 cup max, you will find a hand full is almost too much. 1st chip dump just a few chips 8-10, 15 minutes later a little more chips 10-12, another 15 minutes 12-15 chips. This should produce a nice bed of hot ash with good chip combustion. 12-20 chips every 30 minutes should work from this point on. Your goal is TBS (thin blue smoke). When its right you can smell the sweet smoke, it won't smell bitter or be cloudy white. Dark smoke is nothing but awful.
• Do not adjust vent leave it wide open. Unless using the AMNS, (follow AMNS instructions).
• Use external probe for sensing meat internal temp, you can run the probe cord through the exhaust vent. *You may want to run 2nd probe inserted into a wood block or potato with 2” to 3" tip exposed to verify the internal MES cooking temp. (Newer MES models have the built in probes. verify they are +/- 5º accurate).
• Once your meat is loaded, avoid opening the hatch. New models can recover to set temp faster, but every time you open the door you extend the cooking time. Thus spritzing isn't really necessary in a MES due to the water pan keeping the smoking environment moist enough to not dry out the meat.
• If you do have to open your MES plan your moves so you can keep door open time to a minimum. (I’ve decided to not stress and plan for open door times by adding 20 minutes per door opening, although best is to keep to absolute minimum).
• When your done cooking, the proper way to shut the MES down is to turn off the controller then unplug. (Sounds simple but the controller has been known to get stuck if not shut down properly.)
• If your MES seems to struggle getting to either the preheat temp of 270º or is taking extraordinary long times to raise to cooking temps after meat is loaded try doing a RESET..
Proper RESET = cycle the MES off with the controller, unplug electrical cord, count to 10, re-plug electric cord, turn on MES with on/off, reset temps.
If you tried a reset, and 20-30 minutes later there is little change do the reset again.
• Cleanup is easy with a Brillo (or similar) pad to scrub the tough stuff, and throw grates, water & drain pan into dishwasher. Some have complained about the spot welds on the drain pan rusting, I hit those spots with a touch of PAM then store the cleaned stuff back in the MES.
You do not need to clean the inside cabinet, most experienced smokers consider that just seasoning. With a hot wet rag, wipe out the inside bottom and any excessive gunk on the walls. Again with hot damp cloth, wipe the door gasket, and the door frames (for better seal).
Congrats on you new MES purchase, and welcome to the MES owners club.
SMOKE - ON DUDE
- 8,190 Posts. Joined 10/2010
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X2 his is way more informative and helpful than the book I got with my MES 40! He's right on the money.
I use mesquite because we like the flavor, and mix it with cherry or apple.
Good luck and good smoking, keep us posted on the progress and don't forget the Q view
Thanks guys, I have been away from SMF for a year but really loved hanging out here with the other Electric Qrs. Past year I didn't smoke as much meat as a result, so this year plan on smokin several times a month like I used to.
I came up with the "owner tips" a few months before I stopped posting, because so many questions posted are similar so thought a quick MES guide would help newbies. They are a collection of tips from many SMF MES owners, covering about 3 years.
As for a wiki, I'm going to revive another thread (will be a surprise) I used to keep for newbies and between the two, we can decide what to do with them. I just haven't had time to update the info so keep reading you will see hopefully something MES owners might appreciate.