In laws bought us a MES 40 for Christmas this year (awfully kind of them) and in my excitement I was anxious to try it out...
Quickly ordered the Jeff Phillips Smoking Meat book and was on my way reading reading reading.
Four or Five one and a half inch thick goose breasts following a fellow forum recipe: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/170557/canadian-goose-breast-on-the-smoker-q-view
Now I am a super direction oriented person. I could build anything or do anything if I had great detailed instructions and step by step how to do it. I followed the above recipe from the brine to the smoker, my only possible first screw up was post-brine: patted dry, didnt know how much SPOG to apply, and may have gone overboard considering I had already brined the meat. Got the smoke rolling, temp to 225, shooting for an IT of 155, and off I go on my first adventure, drooling at the thought of tasting something like the above mentioned thread had talked so highly of. After an hour, as per Jeff Phillips book, stuck the MES 40 equipped thermometer in, and sat back drank a beer and watched the temp.
Problem number two: I do not believe this thermometer at all, within an hour and 10 minutes (OP of thread smoked for 4 hours), my IT was reading over 200 degrees, I thought no way, maybe the probe is too deep and real close to the rack maybe, pulled it out a quarter to half inch, still reading the same, let the smoker get back up to temp for a few minutes, put the probe in another breast, still reading IT >200deg. WTF. Let them cook for another hour, only smoked for the first hour or so (wasnt sure if I needed to have the smoker smoking the entire time or not, it was unclear #directionfollower). Took them out, not trusting my MES 40 IT probe, let them rest for 10 minutes, cut in, nice rare/medium rare, saltier then all get out, didnt taste good, to the trash can it goes.
Four 1" thick+ chicken breasts. Following Jeff Phillips "Smoking Meat" book page 60-61, "Smoked Chicken Breasts" - "If you try this recipe, I dont think youll ever cook them any other way"
Heat Brine Method: 1/2 gallon, 1/2c kosher salt, rosemary, brown sugar, garlic, Cooled brine after cooking, added chicken breasts, brined 24 hr, smoked the next day.
Smoking: Patted dry chicken breasts, 1tsp cayenne pepper, 1tbsp table salt, 1tsp rosemary leaves, 1tbsp garlic powder, covered breasts in halved bacon slices and into the smoker they went with apple smoke rolling. Checked them this time with both the MES 40 probe and a digital probe (cant leave in oven style spot check one) Got to 160-165, took them off, sat 5 minutes or so, cut into them, dry ish, little too smokey/salty. Ended up slicing thin and using in a fajita style wrap, and serving in my omelet the next morning or two as well with some fried onions and peppers. NOT TOO BAD, better and more tolerable than the goose breasts ( I admit I should have started with something "simpler", but had fresh that day killed goose breasts and said hey why not) but still not lighting the world on fire as OMG I LOVE SMOKING MEAT, I am more likely thinking why did I ask my in-laws to drop 350$+ on this smoker.
The salty tastes in both could be from using too much salt in both my brine, and my seasoning after brine before placing into smoker. I am trying to stick with what the book recc'd as "Brining increases a meats capacity to hold moisture, osmosis, etc."
I also feel that I am a more slab some good sauce onto the meat kind of guy. IE: Smoke the meat, homemade bbq sauce on top after smoking or during smoking ( believe I would have to wrap in aluminum foil?), yum yum. Like my ribs at Texas Roadhouse or something, I am not sure, never really had smoked meat before, besides when a menu item says "mesquite, hickory smoked ribs, etc"
My plan for Third Trial is in your hands:
I need to use an idiot proof recipe on an idiot proof meat that yields super tasty results to restore my faith and drive to continue to use my smoker. I have a freezer full of 3 Whitetail Deer, roasts, backstraps, tenderloins, ground venison. I am also not against hitting up the local BJ's/ACME/etc for a good piece of organic meat that you would all recommend. Would love a bbq sauce topped recipe of some sort, as I cant hardly ever pass a roadside BBQ without getting a dish.
What do you all recommend my 3rd attempt should be: Keywords: Specific Instruction Direction Follower here :)
Thanks for your time, sorry for the long read, just want to pull the smoker back out and keep trying...