Originally Posted by VFL57
Hey everyone. I'm brand new to this forum and discovered this thread last night. Thank you all for the insight on the bluetooth 2.5 MES 40. I was on the fence about getting one because I heard such bad reviews on the gen 2, but due to everyones experience with the 2.5 I absolutely am getting one. I'm a beginner when it comes to smoking and I have some questions I hope you guys can answer for me.
My first question is what is the difference between an AMNPS and an AMNTS? I know one is a tube and the other a box but are the two interchangeable or do you use one in some type of smokers and one in another? Which do I get for the MES 40 and what size? Also when it comes to the pellets what is the "safest" type to get for a beginner that will still put out a great taste? I've seen some people say some flavors are really strong that is why I'm asking. I saw that Todd sells a couple different packages that include a propane torch. Does anyone have it? Is this easy to use to get the pellets started and keep them started? I know I read a few people having trouble with them going out in the beginning. Also, is the Sams Club version a cheaply built version of what they have at Bass Pro shop? The differences I see are Sams is 4 racks and Bass is 6. It says Bass is stainless steel on the outside and Sams has the black coating on the outside. Sams is over $100 cheaper though. Are there any big reasons not to get the Sams Club one? Also as far as the 6 rack and 4 rack model go are the cooking spaces the same and just less room between racks in the 6 or is the 6 rack actually a bigger smoker and you could cook more food on it?
Finally how much food can the MES 40 hold? Like how many boston butts, racks of ribs, tenderloins, etc. The reason I'm asking is I'm having a big party next month and am inviting about 75 people and I really want to do Boston Butts and Ribs. I don't know if 1 MES 40 would be enough to handle the food for that, or if I would have to get 2 of them. Also, has anyone ever used it as a "hot box" to keep food warm/hot when entertaining or would that be a horrible idea? All your insight, help and advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!
The answer to your question about how much meat you can smoke at one time depends on a few factors, number one being if you're going to buy the 4 or 6 rack MES 40. Then it's a matter of what you plan to smoke. Spareribs are wider than both baby backs and St. Louis ribs (which are just trimmed spareribs). It's possible to fit two racks of baby backs or St. Louis ribs on a single smoker rack. With Boston Butts/pork shoulder it's a matter of the size of the butt. Are you talking a 5 lb. butt or a 12 (or so) pounder? With tenderloins--either beef or pork--two could easily fit on the same rack. With beef briskets, again we're talking size and weight here. But But if you're thinking of smoking a bunch of meats for a party you've also got to consider the smoking times for the meats. You can finish baby backs in 4-5 hours but a big pork butt could run 7-12 hours. You've got to be able to estimate how long it will take to reach the finish internal temp for each meat. And you've got to decide your cooking temp. 225°F? 250°? Or whatever. Then you're talking about knowing how much wood chips to load (if you haven't yet bought a pellet or dust smoker) and also figure on how often you'll need to reload wood chips during the smoke.
In your scenario you'll need to get those pork butts into the smoker early in the morning--depending on when you plan to serve them at your party. And when they're done are you going to want to serve them sliced or turn them into BBQ pulled pork sandwiches? And if you are smoking pork butts might the ribs be overkill or vice versa since the ribs should finish before the butts?
As far as using a hotbox, the best thing for keeping cooked meat warm for hours is your basic Igloo or Coleman cooler. If you keep the meats wrapped in foil and placed in a picnic/beverage cooler with a large towel or two placed over them, those suckers will keep warm for hours.