Top photo is the 4 lb. pork shoulder. I applied commercial rub but forgot to slather the meat with yellow mustard first to ensure the rub stuck but plenty of rub still adhered to the meat. I loaded all the rows of my AMNPS with an apple/pecan pellet mix and lit it with gelled alcohol. The pellets lit right away and stayed lit until they were burned to ash about 10 hours later, all the time producing classic TBS. I put the meat in my MES 30 Gen 1 at 9 am (an hour behind schedule) with a set point of 235°. There was some temp swings but a few hours into the smoke the temp remained fairly steady.
See the photo of the MES 30 with the ET-733 transmitter? That photo was supposed to show the TBS rising from the top vent. It was easy to see with the naked eye but not so much in the photos I took because it was so thin. The smoke got a bit heavier later on but it was never too thick or too much. This is why I'm such an avid proponent of the AMNPS and the wood pellets sold by Todd Johnson.
The MES 30 performed like a champ. The temp stabilized after about 3 hours in. An early problem was that I wanted a 235° set point but the controller preferred 228° although the MES display screen showed 240-something. I played around with bumping up the temp and finally got it around where I wanted it: 235-242°. About 8 hours in the IT was around 190° so I bumped the temp up to 250° and dang if it didn't stay around 250-252! At 7 pm I told my wife the IT would reach 200° by 7:30. At 7:28 it reached 201° and it gratified me that I had been right. The pork shoulder was a qualified success. It came out great--tender and moist and good bark--but the apple/pecan smoke flavor was too subtle. I wrapped it in foil and I hope the smoke flavor will grow more intense which is what typically happens. Next time I'll follow Bearcarver's lead and smoke it over hickory wood pellets.
I just edited out the part about the first 1" of wood pellets not being burnt. Here I am the proponent of inserting the AMNPS lit end first into the MES and I forgot that's exactly what I did. Turns out an entire row of pellets didn't burn but it was the last row. That row of pellets must have gone out after I took the meat out, shut off the smoker, and closed the top vent. Up to the time I took the pork out I saw smoke coming out of the top vent. But it's impressive that over the 10.5 hours I cooked the pork shoulder I only used 2 rows of the apple and pecan wood pellets. I'd expected to use all three.
I tell you all--the MES 30 mode l#20070910 is a great little smoker. Nothing fancy but it puts out the great Q I was hoping to produce when I bought it 3 years ago. There's no window, no remote, no Bluetooth but it's so easy and pleasurable to use. Combine it with the AMNPS and the Maverick ET-733 and it's virtually foolproof smoking.
Edited by daRicksta - 6/17/15 at 4:16pm