Thanks to the advice and suggestions of Todd Johnson and Bearcarver in the "Another AMNPS-MES Question" thread, I made the BEST brisket I've ever made in my life yesterday in my MES 30 using the beloved AMNPS. I didn't put any water in the water pan but covered it with foil (next time I'll pour play sand into it as a heat sink). The I put two rows of wood pellets in the AMNPS straight out of their plastic bags and followed Bear's advice on how to ignite them and keep them lit. The AMNPS didn't go out until about 4 hours later when all the pellets were burnt. Didn't matter because at that point I had wrapped the brisket in foil at 160* for the run up to 190*. The brisket came out tender, juicy and had the smoky, delicious flavor I had been aiming for. It didn't have the harshness that has plagued my other smoking efforts and it didn't have hard, black thick bark that can lend a harshness to the meat. It was just gorgeous and delicious and I thank Todd and Bear for their assistance in what I consider an achievement and milestone in my smoking adventures.
It also probably helped that I cleaned out the MES the last time I used it, wiping off as much residue and stuff off the interior surfaces. I guess leaving that stuff on as "seasoning" isn't that good an idea after all. Again, the meat had no harsh edge at all.
Below is the QView:
You can see that I placed the brisket on the bottom rack just about the foiled water pan. You will also note I forgot to foil the drip tray. Oh well, next time. The AMNPS is on the twin rails right next to the wood chip holder. I have it 3/4 tented with foil and still got plenty of smoke. I used a combo of hickory and oak wood pellets I bought from Todd.
I at first was going to cancel the smoking but decided to go ahead Sunday morning. I therefore didn't rub the brisket the night before. While the MES was warming up and the AMNPS was heating up I rubbed the brisket with the All Natural Cowboy Blend With Coffee Steak Rub from Safeway. If you look at the ingredients, it's first class; maybe more brown sugar than some people would like but even with the rub on the meat a relatively short time the flavor mixed with the smoke was fantastic. The therm hit 188*-192* internal temp (it kept flipping from the low to the high temp). From start to finish it took about seven hours to smoke the 6 lb. brisket. The meat was well done on the outside but more medium with pinkish meat in the center. It was all tender.
I've now got the MES and the AMNPS "wired" as we used to say in my day. I'm still going to tweak a couple of things but I feel like I finally know what I'm doing.
Edited by daRicksta - 8/19/13 at 10:43am