Originally Posted by AirInky
I just received my MES 2nd generation 30" electric smoker....I couldn't be more excited. I've been reading a lot of the posts here for ideas, recipes, knowledge, etc. What a great site and thank you so much for all the people that reply to what people ask. That being said, I have a few questions before I start my boston butt sunday.
1. How do you know when to add more wood chips? I've been reading about having to put them in every 30-45min, but what do you look for? Will the smoke coming out of the vent no longer be coming out? Is that when to add more chips? Is it by smell?
The optimum time when the meat takes smoke is from 100 degree Internal Temperature (IT) to 145 degrees IT. That being said, each charge if you regulate your vent, should last about an hour. So the most you should be reloading is maybe 3 or 4 times depending upon yout box temp and your meat. MY Butt today was up to 145 in 4 hours. Do not over load your chip tray because it can flash or over smoke, too much smoke is as bad as not enough. BTW I was smoking my butt at 220 in an MES30.
At some point in your smoking career you'll probably want to get an aux smoke generator to use for longer cooks and cold smokes. They make all kinds, MES even has one. One of the site sponsors sells an inexpensive pellet tray type that works well. You'll see folks referring to their AMPs, that's what they are talking about.
2. Another question about the smoke...I read one post where the person said his meat was too smokey. Is there a way to prevent that or how would one know? Just trial and error?
If you do not use more than 1/2 Cup of chips per charge you should be find. Also the type of wood makes a huge difference also. There are hard smoking woods like mesquite and hickory, I'd put oak and pecan in the middle, and everything else is a light smoke. Always start light then the next time you'll know if you need more, its a learning experience, like driving.
3. When I stick the meat probe thermometer in at the beginning, I know to let it get to 160 degrees and then I will put it in foil. Do I just stick the probe back in when it's wrapped in foil, piercing the foil?
I don't foil, but just leave the probe in and wrap it. its going to steam, but its not expected to be a major pressure cooker.
4. Any recommendation to put anything in the foil when wrapping or is it just the pork?
Pigs likes apples, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, squeeze butter, all you are doing is using a fluid to make steam, you might as well add some extra taste while doing it.
Apple juice brown sugar and butter are pretty basic. You can use the search and get professional help like with Chef JJ's famous professional homemade sauce recipes. I made more of his finishing sauce for my butt that is in the smoker right now.
5. Would apple cider vinegar be better to put in the water cup vs. water? How often does that need to be filled during the smoking process, just once or multiple times?
I do not use water. Its an electric, electricity and water are not buddies. For years I swore by using juices like cranberry juice, but when I sat down and really pondered it one day, I couldn't taste it and no one else in the group cold either. Really the water pan is best suited to be used as a drip pan or filled with sand and used as a heat sink.
Thanks in advance for all the help! By sunday night I hope to have some good bbq and good pics to share with your help!