Got my MES 40 and other items in earlier this week and decided to do Vermont Pig Candy ribs as a first smoke.
What went right:
The MES arrived in good condition. The only slightly off thing was that my drip deflector tray is formed a little off. Just a bit narrower than the inside of the cabinet so I had to back the screws out of the walls a couple of threads on both sides to get them into the mounting slots of the tray. Outside of that, assembly went well going just by the manual. Burn in did too.
The AMNPS worked exactly as advertised. I lit it just as the instructions say and it did not have any trouble staying lit. Produced TBS for about 5 hours on one row of hickory pellets. Need to figure where I should buy some pellets soon.
Maverick ET733 did just as expected too. I didn't monitor IT but just used the clips right next to the meat in order see the exact temp exactly where the cooking was going on. There was a delta between the ET and the MES panel that got smaller as the cooking went on but never fully synch'ed up. I guess I should dip all three probes in boiling water to verify their calibrations.
What didn't go exactly as planned:
I was trying to use 2-1-1 for my times because I had read that BBs cook much faster than spares. After the crutch the meat was still more firm than I wanted though. Not long after that it started to rain. I unplugged the MES, closed the top damper as much as the probe wires would allow and put the cover over it until the rain stopped. I think next time I will make a small platform to put the MES on and run it under my pop up shade canopy. The manual says there has to be 10 ft of overhead clearance but the cabinet never really felt hot to my hand at all.
While the rain was going on I did the stove top reduction of the pan juices and syrup for the glaze. After, I pulled the ribs out of the MES and put it away. Took the ribs inside and foiled them with more AJ in the oven at 275F to try to get them more tender. Wasn't really how I planned it but it worked really well. Not crock pot tender but easy to pull the meat off the bone with the teeth. The glaze wasn't as sweet as the name might imply either. I just brushed it on and caramelized it under the broiler. The meat was a big hit with the family.
Big thanks to daRicksta and mummel for helping me get my equipment plan together. And to everyone else for taking the time to post so much really useful information on this forum and couple of other places on the interwebs. Also thanks to Bear. Those step x steps and all of your other posts really helped. Many thanks folks! Overall, the combo of some really good information and getting the right tools the first time really made a super green pitmaster (me) kinda look like he knew what he was doing...
All foiled up and ready to run: