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Learned something today about water and my MES

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I put two racks of St. Louis on the MES today. I've owned this unit for a few years now. Always used water in the pan no matter what I was cooking. The unit cooked well and everyone always enjoyed what was served. However I never achieved the bark that I desired. Well today why those ribs were smoking I got to looking around on this site . I read about the 3-2-1 technique everyone appears to use. Got to thinking. With that water in the pan I'm really brazing those meats for the entire smoke. So though I'd try something different. The St Louis gang was on at 230 for a total of 5 and a half hour. No foil wrap. The last hour and a half I removed the water pan and continue the smoke. The ribs turned out fantastic. Notably better than any other I have cooked on this rig. Good bark and a bit of a pull off the bone but still a tender chew. ( before, leaving the water pan in and foil wrapping left those bone a bit mushy ) I also basted with the pork butt finishing sauce recipe listed on our pork sticky. My new favorite mop for pork. Any who... This worked. Thought I would share. B
post #2 of 16

Good test.... Good results.... Where are the pictures ??????    Dave




post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Ah... Sorry Dave.  Here is a photo.  I'd appreciate your opinion. 





ribs032413.jpg 380k .jpg file
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Dang... Clicked the wrong button Dave.  Here they are again  B


post #5 of 16

Looks good! Nice job!

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks JP.  These turned out very well. Just the right amount of pull off the bone. Ive had this smoker for a few years now.  Never thought about pulling the water out at the last part of the cooking. The test has opened up a lot of inspiration. It easter this weekend. In texas that means an oven ham and a smoked brisket.  I'm going to try this on the slab o beef. i'll keep an eye on it so it won't go dry. 

I'm going to look for a good mop on this site. The SoFl finish sauce worked so well I'm sure to find a great brisket mop too. Any recommendation would be appreciated. 

post #7 of 16

They look good to me.....   I'd eat them.....    Dave

post #8 of 16

That's a great idea! Sometimes the simplest things are all you need to improve a smoke. I have been making things in my MES 40 for a few years but like you, was always a little dissapointed in the barq it produced. The flavor was there but not the crispness and crack. Going to give this a try during the week with some ribs.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

I was at the same place as you RC.  The MES is a great utensil for those with a busy lifestyle or those that like myself are inherently lazy. LOL. And while I had the flavor and tenderness down my food was missing that visual "look" and outer texture. 

I'll put an Easter brisket (big honkin 14lb packer cut) on tonight.  No water in the pan for the first time ever. I'm anxious to see how it turns out. Running on instinct here... Which is always fun to do when smoking. Just in case she doesn't turn we have a honey baked ham as back up.  LOL  

Fingers crossed.


post #10 of 16

So how'd the brisket turn out?  I've got an MES 40 that I've had for a few months and I've had the same issue with bark and texture.

post #11 of 16
I have finished ribs on a propane grill before. That did add a nice seared texture. I also added sauce which caramelized perfectly in about 7 mins per side. I will now try no water the last hour or so in the MES. Smoked ribs with a good rub are great without adding a sauce. DDW
post #12 of 16

My MES is 1.5 years old and the Pan has had water in it once...Stopped a long time ago and getting great Q with awesome Bark every cook...JJ

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 


The brisket turned out great.  I used an untrimmed cut and did not put any water in the pan.  My brother in-law said it was the best he has ever had.  

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 


I'm learning that the water pan my not be needed on most meats.  But what about chickens? 

post #15 of 16

Birds are a short cook and it's a goal to dry the skin for getting it crisp on the Grill or in a 425*F Oven. Just pull your birds at 150*F and finish them up to 170*F and get the Crispy Goodness...JJ

post #16 of 16

Nice looking Ribs, BD !!!!   Real Nice!!!


You got it----I put water in my old MES 30, the first couple smokes (4 years ago). Never put any water in that one or my MES 40 since then.

I do leave it in place (empty & foiled), as the owners manual tells you to do.




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