Originally Posted by blaw
Thank you for your responses Dave and Rick,
I've been cooking at 225-235 generally. I was using the MES analog model before I got the MES30 digital, and I think that since the chip pan is closer to the heating unit the chips are getting hotter a bit quicker. I've been hearing that every 20-30 minutes is the way to go.
Most (if not all) posts for MES's tend to mention the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker. I looked on AMZN and it looks pretty great. I'm seriously considering purchasing it. Because many recipes suggest to only have smoke on the meat for 3-4 hours, do you find that 11 hours of smoke (on a pork shoulder for example) over-smokes the meat? Is there good flavor in the meat from using the pellet smoker?
Blaw, I haven't smoked a pork shoulder in my MES 30 yet but I did a beef brisket yesterday, both point and flat. I filled up 3 rows of the AMNPS with oak pellets I bought from Todd Johnson. The smoke lasted a little over 10 hours and the pellets were ash somewhere around the 9th hour. When I first started smoking I used wood chips and everything I produced tasted harsh from oversmoking. The brisket yesterday was enhanced by the oak smoke flavor--just like it's supposed to me. You could taste the meat, the flavors from the rub, the spiciness from the foil juice I mixed together using apple cider and Stubb's Beef Marinade, and the BBQ sauce I brushed on during the last 30 minutes of the smoke. I always use my AMNPS; I just use different flavors of wood pellets depending the flavor profile I've chosen.
This was the best beef brisket I've smoked in the three times I've tried it. I bet I could successfully sell this from a cart or a food truck it was that good. And, as you wrote above, I smoked it at between 225-235° and it came out perfectly. I cooked burnt ends for the first time and they came out delicious if slightly less burnt than I was shooting for.
As for oversmoking a pork shoulder, it depends on how big it is, too. Remember that in restaurants and in BBQ competitions, pork shoulders/butts are smoked over wood for at least 11 hours, I believe, and they don't come out oversmoked. Many guys will foil over their shoulders/butts when it reaches a stall point to help it get past it and to add a little extra flavor and moistness from the foil juice.
Yesterday was textbook--the AMNPS fired up quickly and never went out until all the pellets were turned to ash; the MES 30 Gen 1 stayed either right on my set point or varied by maybe 4° either way, my Maverick ET-733 was easy to reset and enabled me to monitor the smoke from anywhere I chose to be inside my house. As I wrote, the smoke lasted a little over 10 hours--almost exactly the amount of time I had planned to get the meat I/T up to 200°.