I live in New England and this is my first attempt at smoking anything. Any help with smoke generating in an MES 30 Analog with pellets would be much appreciated.
MES 30" ANALOG $60 (bought used)
SPOG plus smoked paprika and cayenne pepper powder.
A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER 5X8 $22.50 (bought scratch and dent)
A-MAZE-N-PELLETs 100% Hickory 5 lb bag $12.99
Maverick Et-733 $54.99 (got it on sale)
Bricks $.75 each
Aluminum drip/water pan
Brisket flat USDA Choice 7.99lb @ $6.49/lb Total price $51.86.
Quick review of the items I used...
Maverick Et-733 worked as advertised. Do not cheap out on this. Being able to sit inside and monitor your meat and analog smoker is a godsend. As others have said the probes are too short. They work but they are awkward. When I get the money I am definitely getting longer probes. I think longer probes will last longer too because you can handle them easier. I really treated mine rougher than I would have liked because at the end of the cook you have a hot piece of meat with a delicate bark on it and a greasy probe imbedded in it. It was the middle of the night when I was wrestling with this beast in the garage. Trying to pull the probe out gently and holding the brisket while simultaneously trying not to get burned by the smoker was a pain in the butt!
SPOG plus smoked paprika and cayenne pepper powered worked okay. I did the SPOG 1:1:1:1. I used 1/2 as much for the paprika and the cayenne pepper. The final rub had a little kick to it. I just put the rub on the brisket before I put it in the smoker. I didn't do any of that overnight stuff. I put some mustard on the brisket and then applied the rub. I didn't go crazy with the rub. I coated it well but I didn't heap it on. Like I said even with a moderate even coating it still had a kick. I don't know what a heavy layering would have done.
I used the Aluminum drip/water pan for two things. The main one was something to catch the drippings so they wouldn't land on the pellets or heating element. I wanted water in the pan so the drippings would not dry out. The extra thermal mass was a bonus. I was concerned about "steaming" the brisket. That didn't seem to happen. The final product had a good bark.
The A-MAZE-N-PELLETs did not work as advertised. The first mistake was putting them where the OEM wood chip holder should have gone. The pellets got too much heat and burned fast. The pellets started burning in multiple spots. I also predried my first batch of pellets. I just stuck the pellets in on an upper rack while I was getting the whole thing up to cruising altitude. The first set of pellets turned to ash and lots of coal within about an hour and a half. I put in a new set of pellets and moved them to on top of the bricks about two hours in. Meat temp was in the 150s F. At the new location there was a problem with, what I think was, lack of oxygen. The coals did not stay lit. I eventually broke down and ran out to the local hardware store and bought some hickory chips and put them in the OEM chip holder. They turned to charcoal. All in all though the final product definitely had a solid hickory flavor. The problem is I used two loads of pellets AND a full chip holder worth of chips. It was a total pain in the rear and a waste of wood.
MES 30" Analog got the job done but this thing needs to be modded. Honestly if I modded this thing I could ditch a lot of the thermal mass because I would never open it. With all the tinkering I did I was glad I went overboard with the thermal mass.
I want to get this machine to work with the A-MAZE-N-PELLETs. I am going to try drilling a hole and using an aquarium pump. The problem is I want to have some kind of tubing inside the MES to direct the airflow underneath the AMNPS. I read somewhere on here that someone did the aquarium pump mod and it didn't work on its own. My idea is to have something like copper pipe enter the MES and then fashion it into some kind of loop under the AMNPS. I would drill holes in the top of the loop so air could stream upwards in a dispersed fashion so the pellets are bathed in as little or as much O2 as I want. The other reason I want to do it that way is it should minimize how much air I draw into the MES. I plan on sealing the front door gap with some insulation. FYI I have no metal working experience so any ideas about how my plan can be accomplished would be much appreciated.
I also need to figure out a cheap vent. I don't want this thing to back draft and I don't want moisture and other unpleasantness to drip on the meat.
I need to get my southern New England brisket buying strategy together. This is unacceptable...
I got flat and didn't bother to trim it. By mistake I cooked it fat side down. It was fine.
Don't believe that nonsense about not using an extension cord. You can use an extension cord just use common sense and a little 11th grade physics. I used a 50ft cord... but is was at least 14 gauge. It wasn't one of those skinny orange fire starters. I believe the cord costs almost as much as the smoker! Shorter lengths are considerably cheaper.
And now the Q-view...
It really is one of the most paradoxical meats out there. When you pull it out you think you have created a meteorite. But then you slice it and it is tender.
The smoker temp varied from a low of 214F after I got nervous about the fast initial rise in internal temp.... to 253F at midnight when I got sick of smoking this thing since 10:00am. The psychology is fascinating. Started off with moderate temp 225-235F. Got scared it was too hot. Lowered the temp. Hit the stall. Lost my nerve. Bumped up the temp. Calmed down hours later when the stall seemed to be breaking. And finally got fed up waiting for this thing to hit 200F.