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Long time charcoal smoker converting to electric. - Page 2

post #21 of 28

The 18" WSM can run long time using a clay flower pot base. 

 

The trick to the flower pot base is you are using the minimal amount of fuel to hold the desired set point.  Water is a more forgiving medium to use as a heat sink but that comes at a price, fuel.  It's not a huge increase in fuel usage, but when you are running 12 hours or more on a load, it matters.  The trade off is water will bring a temp spike down quicker than a clay pot base will.  Reason is water tends to want to stay as a liquid.  It absorbs quite a bit of energy when changing states from a gas (steam) back to a liquid (water) and wants to naturally moderate the pit at around the boiling point (212*).  A clay pot base is great for a heat sink and bringing pit temps back up, but less so for a temp spike.  Reason is the clay pot base does not change "states" and is just a clay pot base acting as a mass only.

 

With good air management, you can run a clay pot base in a WSM for a long time on a single load of charcoal.  A power draft (also called a ATC or automatic temperature control), it takes less damper skill to achieve good air management.

 

But there are some things you can do with a electric that you cannot do with a WSM.  Lower temperature smokes are better managed with a electric heat element on a PID than with charcoal.  Not saying it can't be done with charcoal and good air management skills.  But a PID controlling a electric element is hard to beat for some tasks (and you can still get smoke from a pellet tray/tube or other smoke generator)

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelsherwin View Post
 

I, too, converted this year from a Brinkman Charcoal to the MES Electric. I got it as a gift, so my model doesn't have adjustable vents. The issue I've found is that while using a digital thermometer for my meat and grill, everything comes out perfectly cooked. BUT…

 

I'm really missing the smoky flavor. It's more of a hint (think that slight taste you get in store bought "smoked" lunch meats"), rather than a powerful flavor. I tried the dust rather than the chips last time, with no improved result. I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my AMNPS to see if that does the trick.

 

Have you had the same issues converting that I have?

 

I smoked ribs and they turned out great.  Plenty of smoke flavor.  I used apple and hickory chips and refilled the tray once.  After a couple hours I'm not sure the meat is going to take on more smoke anyway.

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/150247/my-first-smoke-in-the-mes-30#post_1074103

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dward51 View Post
 

The 18" WSM can run long time using a clay flower pot base. 

 

The trick to the flower pot base is you are using the minimal amount of fuel to hold the desired set point.  Water is a more forgiving medium to use as a heat sink but that comes at a price, fuel.  It's not a huge increase in fuel usage, but when you are running 12 hours or more on a load, it matters.  The trade off is water will bring a temp spike down quicker than a clay pot base will.  Reason is water tends to want to stay as a liquid.  It absorbs quite a bit of energy when changing states from a gas (steam) back to a liquid (water) and wants to naturally moderate the pit at around the boiling point (212*).  A clay pot base is great for a heat sink and bringing pit temps back up, but less so for a temp spike.  Reason is the clay pot base does not change "states" and is just a clay pot base acting as a mass only.

 

With good air management, you can run a clay pot base in a WSM for a long time on a single load of charcoal.  A power draft (also called a ATC or automatic temperature control), it takes less damper skill to achieve good air management.

 

But there are some things you can do with a electric that you cannot do with a WSM.  Lower temperature smokes are better managed with a electric heat element on a PID than with charcoal.  Not saying it can't be done with charcoal and good air management skills.  But a PID controlling a electric element is hard to beat for some tasks (and you can still get smoke from a pellet tray/tube or other smoke generator)

I know.  There are a lot of tricks you can do with the WSM but it requires a fair amount of tinkering, setup and cleanup. With a 3 year old running around I like the simplicity of the electric.  I just don't want to deal with charcoal anymore.

post #24 of 28

I have thought several times about getting an electric just because I have never owned one. Started to buy one several years back just to make jerky, ended up doing it in the oven. Turned out O-K would have been better on a smoker. Years ago I deer hunted down at Brady, TX the ranch foreman had taken an old refrigerator installed a hot plate and a pan for wood chips, and that is how he dried his jerky. It was really good.

 

Gary

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamheart View Post
 

Back Ups

Primary 2500KW ( fully auto)

 

 

Secondary (Portable) 8KW, handles 3 freezers, 3 refridgerators, and 2 240V window A/C's

 

 

This is hurricane country, we don't do no electricity. Smokers are part of the necessity package..... LOL

 

 

 

Being from Florida, I fully understand, but my generator will work to keep the two freezers going. Smokers do Propane.

post #26 of 28

Hi Ross, nothing wrong with the MES30.  I have one in my collection and use it frequently.  It's much quicker to set up so I use it a lot for revearse searing steaks, chops, loins, etc.

 

welcome1.gif to the SMF, the best BBQ site on the web.  Whatever you need to know about the fine art of BBQ you can find it right here, from recipes to technical knowledge.

 

One thing you need to know about us is that we like to see pictures of your creations and your gear.  We call it Q-View and its basically the Rules.gif!!!

 

So, don't just talk about your food, show it!  Otherwise you may get a gentle reminder, like this...

 

worthless.gif  or this...th_What_NO_QVIEW.gif

 

 

Good Luck and Get Smokin'

 

Bill

post #27 of 28

Ross, I hear ya.

 

I have always been a charcoal guy.  As my years accumulate and my health and strength get iffy?  I am thinking about a little gas or electric.

 

We all have compromises to make sometimes.

 

Good luck and good smoking.

post #28 of 28
Glad you joined us ross77, welcome1.gif from North Dakota!
Electric smokers have their place in the smoking world, right tool for the right job has always been my motto!
Don't get rid of your WSM though, you will wish later you had it back.
You can always add a taller charcoal ring for more charcoal capacity in your WSM.
Also you can add thermostat/blower to maintain temps in the WSM while you sleep, like an ICQ 110.
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