Originally Posted by cyberb0b
I love the ease of my MES, but it isn't giving me the smoke flavor I want in meats. Beans seem to absorb the flavor pretty well, but I have done a few butts and briskets and nothing is giving me what I want. I currently use lump charcoal and hickory chips in the tray, and I use a home made version of the AMNPS with pecan pellets. The homemade AMNPS keeps going about 3-4 hours, and I replenish chips every 25-30 minutes, and and a lump of charcoal every other chip load.
Any other tips?
I use the AMNPS in my MES 30 Gen 1 and get plenty of smoke; too much if I'm not careful. I've smoked ribs, beef brisket, beef chuck roast, cheeses and kosher salt and all were loaded with as much smoke as I chose to impart to them.
Lump charcoal adds almost nothing of smoke flavor--it's what I frequently use in my Weber charcoal grill (but never in my MES) to give meat that really good backyard BBQ flavor--but it won't give the smoky flavor that chips and pellets do. It might not even give you a smoke ring--if that's your goal. I read that charcoal briquettes give off much more CO and NO than lump charcoal does.
Pecan is a hugely popular wood for smoking in the South since I've read it goes well with pork. I've also read that it's also good to pair it with a fruit wood like apple. But pecan and apple are going to give more subtle smoke flavors than hickory, oak, or mesquite in my opinion. Those hardwoods are the big three I go with when I want upfront smokiness.
Can you upload a photo of your homemade AMNPS? I'd love to check it out.