For all of you smokers out there that have not done a lot of meat in your smoker take this advice........ Have MULTIPLE temperature gauges in your MES unit to validate the true temperature. I set mine at 225 initially so it could smoke for a number of hours and went to be. After waking up to a low temperature brisket, even though the MES probe said the unit temp was around 225 it was really more like 190. After being a little frustrated I was going to bump up the temperature even though I know everyone says don't do it as if it had hit the infamous plateau. Instead, I paused, grabbed some additional thermometers made for grills, placed one in the top and one towards the bottom. Low and behold, that was when I realized my temperature was WAY too low. I immediately bumped the MES up to its max of 275 and finally, the top and bottom thermometers both came up to around the 225 mark, of course, they are within about 8 degrees of each other knowing the bottom one was reading hotter as it was closer to the heat.
What stinks is that I did a test run with the smoker last week using the MES prob to take the temperature along with another separate thermometer, and they were pretty close to the right temp, but what I didn't do is test with MEAT in there. SIDE NOTE: It is raining today so the outside temp has dropped and instead of being in the low 90's, its more around high 70's. I am sure that didn't help.
SO, before you get super frustrated on one of your first smokes, just spend a few extra bucks on a couple of thermometers to know the true temp inside your MES. It will save you some major frustration.
Thank god I started this brisket 3 hours plus earlier than I wanted. I figured at worst case, it finishes early and gets a lot of rest. Now, I will be pressing to meat the time when everyone is coming over and my poor brisket may only get about 30-45 mins rest tops!
Sorry for the long post but I figured others can learn from my rookie mistakes ---- Thermometer, Thermometer, Thermometer -------