I'm struggling hard these days with smoking... I love the food, but stress out ALL day when trying to pull off some smoked dinners for family and friends. Let me give you some background:
My first smoker, on a whim, was a Char-Broil $99 special on sale, charcoal & side burner. It was terrible to try to maintain temp and/or keep running (or I was inexperienced, maybe both..). I ended up spending well over 3x what I bought the thing for trying to seal it up and keep it at temp. Ultimately, I abandoned it and converted it into a Charcoal grill (works perfect for that!).
Christmas came, and I had been promising people a full smoked Ham, so I ran off to local camping/outdoor store and bought myself a Cajun Injector (30") electric smoker. First 2-3 smokes went as expected, no issues. Within the first 3 months I started having temperature problems. The device said one temp on the display, the chamber was 18-22 degree's less. Obviously, this became a struggle trying to determine time & temp for smoking. Finally after one year the device completely stopped, luckily I bought the insurance plan. They sent me a check for the full amount, I chalked it up as a bad device and moved along.
My next purchase was stainless MES 40 w/ Window (Model #20070311 - I think it's a Gen 1 from what I've read) in December 2014. Beautiful device, but after my first few smokes I realized someone wasn't right. Temps flucuate all over the place and barely get to set point on the display. I have spent the last 3 months trying to figure out how to keep the temps correct. Bricks, fire bricks, water pans, empty smoker, nothing seems to keep this machine at anywhere near consistent temps, even after HOURS waiting for the machine to stabilize.
I darn near ruined an 8lb Brisket on a long smoke... Ended up pulling it and finishing it off in the oven... Which I declared a failure. That's when I decided I needed to get to the bottom of this.
Today, I decided to run some tests on a Boston Butt. Started the device at 225 and placed my Thermoworks probe right beside the internal temp probe. I found my problem, this MES40 claims to be almost 20 degree's hotter then it actually is. The MES40 says 225 and my thermometer (tested both Ice Bath and boil test) claims 190 degree's.
My question is simple... Do I just have bad luck or am I expecting too much from these machines? or, is it inexperience, as I mentioned above...
Grandma will be here for Pulled Pork in 10 minutes, my Boston Butt which has been on the smoker at 250' for the last 12 hours is only at 175 degree's. Obviously, something is wrong... Just trying to determine what.
As I'm sure you guys know... Nothing worse then saying "ummm, the food I've been cooking for 12 hours isn't done yet... Please wait..."
Edited by jaellman - 2/21/15 at 5:31pm