Originally Posted by SMOKIN' BURT
First and foremost...
I would like to thank all who have responded so far. Bear with me fellas, I've never had anything that has an adjustable heat range. I've smoked a lot of goodies on my Brinkman electrics but there was a lot of learning curve as to what I could or should not do. I appreciate the info I've been given so far, and I'm hoping the learning curve will be much shorter with the new MES 30. I will do as suggested and leave the top vent wide open when I do my seasoning run ( and smoking for that matter) while using my Weber remote digital for a corresponding temp, that should at least give me a good idea of how accurate the unit's temp sensor is. I have not ran the unit or seasoned it yet, I've left it sitting with the door open the last few days to help get rid of the nasty smell of all that foam and plastic they wrapped the parts with for shipping. Anyone have any suggestions as to what I should wipe down the inside of the cabinet with? Maybe white vinegar?? I'm going to wash and dry the racks, water pan, and chip tray and dry them prior to my seasoning run.
I'm thinking my first smoke/cook is gonna be venison bologna or summer sausage in fibrous casings 2.75" diameter. I'm thinking I'll run the MES at 185-190 degrees until I reach the internal target temp of 160... Not sure if I should smoke during the entire process, or just the first few hours. From all I've read, fibrous casings will allow smoke to permeate. Should I initially run the unit at a low temp like 135-140 degrees for an hour or so to allow the casings to dry a bit and then apply smoke when I raise the temp? I do use liquid smoke in the recipe because that was suggested for cooking it in the oven. Any suggestions/comments?
AND... I don't have an AMNPS yet, but I'm considering purchasing one. I want to smoke some cheese, nuts, etc. for Christmas and I could always us it in my Brinkman (unplugged of course) to make some cold smoked goodies!
Start with the easy answer first. Just as you said, the recipe calls for liquid smoke since you'd be cooking it in an oven. You bought a smoker so that you could infuse real wood smoke flavor into the meat so need for the liquid stuff, which I also use in the kitchen.
Burt, Burt, Burt....the whole reason behind seasoning your MES is to get rid of any nasties inside the smoker, which just means burning off any packing oils and such. This goes for the wood chip loader and the tray. Don't bother to season the removable stuff like the racks, water bowl, drip pan and the rear grease tray. Just wash those in hot water and soap and let them air dry. They will be fine. As for as washing the inside of the smoker with white vinegar to sanitize it? Burt---YOU BOUGHT A SMOKER NOT A SOMETHING TO PERFORM HEART SURGERY WITH. Remember that, with rare exceptions, food borne bacteria are killed off in cooking temperatures 140° and above. The lowest temp you'll hot smoke at will be 215°. I've cold smoked in my MES 30 Gen 1 with absolutely no problems. In fact, many of us here never clean the inside of our smokers (I do a little) because that just adds to the seasoning. Look at the pros who smoke on TV cooking shows. The insides of their smokers, whether a metal box or an entire room, are covered with smoke residue. Do you know what will happen if you clean the inside with white vinegar before you smoke. Everything in your first smoke will have the smell and taste of vinegar mixed in with the smoke and your seasonings. Keep the white vinegar in the kitchen as well.
Your MES came with an owners manual which tells you exactly how to season it before your first smoke. Please read it.
As far as cooking the sausage between 185-190° to get an IT of 160°, you may reach that target IT someday but it will days past dinnertime. You want to shoot for 225-250°. You should reach the target IT in just a few hours.