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MES temp issues - First time smoking - Page 2

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
 

I used boiling water so that it would boil off before the smoking and cooking was finished. My inspiration for having part of the smoke be "wet," with water in the pan, and the second part "dry," with no water in the pan, was this article:

 

Wet-to-Dry No-Foil Smoke Chamber Method

 

 

Really fast. It was up to 120 degree, from room temp, in less than 45 minutes. I started at 225. That was as hot as I ever set the smoker. I then lowered it down to 200 degrees after about 75 minutes. I used 225 degrees because most of the beef recipes at the Masterbuilt site suggest this as the temperature to use:

 

Masterbuilt Smoked Beef Recipes

 

 

I was simply following the directions given by Masterbuilt in their instruction manual. Here is the direct quote:

 

  • "Pre-heat smoker for 30 to 45 minutes at max temperature before loading food."

 

I would think that if you started cold, and then put the food into the smoker and also the chips, the electric heater would absolutely nuke the wood chips resulting in way too much smoke during the first part of the process. By having it preheated, assuming you don't leave the door open for five minutes, the heater should only cycle on for a relatively short time during the first 10-15 minutes, resulting in much more even smoke. I'm sure this is why I didn't have to add chips until over an hour had gone by, and even then, I still had TBS.

 

Wow, that seems pretty high IT to me. I've cooked meats to that temperature when I want them to fall apart, like a pulled-pork recipe. I still wanted to be able to slice this. There sure wouldn't be any pink left at that temperature, and I would think the meat would get quite dry. I actually thought it was a little dry, even at the 140 IT.

 

 

Yes, it is a natural gas grill (connected directly to my house gas line), but 21 years old. It doesn't have a "super high" sear setting. I did mention in my initial post that I might try using a blow torch or a cast iron skillet to provide a better sear next time.

 

 

I used hickory. I definitely didn't need to add chips every 20-30 minutes and didn't add a second lot until 65 minutes into the process. I don't find this a particularly difficult thing to do, so at this point, I haven't found the need for the add on smoke device. I'm sure I'd feel differently if I were doing an 8-10 hour smoke.


I disagree with that wet-to-dry post based on my personal experience with my MES 30 smoking with wood pellets. I cook in a dry chamber and I'm the one who controls how much smoke is absorbed by meats depending on how many hours they're kept in contact with the wood smoke. I can tell you that it's easy to over smoke meat in the MES 30 and it's just as easy to control the environment so that meats get the perfect amount of smoke that pleases your palate. The same thing applies to cold smoking foods like cheeses.

 

But if that guy's technique works for him with his smoker, that's great. There's a school of thought that once a pellicle forms on the surface of meat (at around 160° IT) it prevents any additional smoke absorption. Most people around here have debunked that and I agree with them. I'm a minimalist when it comes to smoking. I use the AMNPS and wood pellets because I can precisely control how much smoke is produced inside the smoker. For long smokes, I'll foil meat after a pre-determined number of hours to prevent any additional contact with smoke while the meat cooks to the IT I'm looking for. Near the end I'll un-foil the meat for a bit more smoke contact after I brush on some finishing BBQ sauce for an additional layer of flavor and to add a bit of moisture to the bark, which is my own personal style of smoking.

 

I agree with preheating the MES; I was just disagreeing on how high a temp to preheat it to.  And as I wrote previously I don't preheat my smoker to 275°. If my set point is 235° I'll let it get up to 250 before I open the door and place the AMNPS and the meat inside the smoker.  My preheat process takes no more than about 30 minutes in warm weather. I rarely smoke in cold weather but I don't think it would take much longer than that. When it's hit 250 I put both the AMNPS and the meat inside the smoker.

 

The MES 30 is so small inside it recovers the heat pretty quickly, or at least mine does. And keep in mind that the MES 30 Gen 1 does not have a short heating cycle. The first couple are fairly long so you'll see temp overshoots and fallbacks. After the smoke enters its second or third hour you'll see the temp remain fairly stable and you'll see that the controller temp if not matching your own thermometer is actually pretty close. And with an MES you want your own therm. I use the Maverick ET-733. If the ET-733 shows me the temp is higher or lower than I want it I'll fiddle with the controller temp. Bearcarver has an excellent step-by-step for preciously controlling the MES cooking temps. But my experience with my MES 30 has been that the controller is programmed to cycle a few times during the early part of the smoke whether the door has been left open for a few seconds to a minute or not.

 

Yes, 190-200° is a high IT range but I was only referring to pork shoulder, beef brisket and boneless chuck roast and that's where you want those cuts of meat to finish. You want that high IT so ensure almost all the fat has been rendered along with the collagen and other connective tissue. Believe me, I've paid the price for undercooking those. And with those meats since there's so much fat to be rendered (even after trimming off the hard fat) it's really tough to dry them out unless you cook them a few hours too long. Tri-tip and other better cuts of meat are different. You want those medium to medium rare (I have to cook my wife's meats to at least 150 or she claims that it's still mooing). That's why I said your tri-tip was perfectly cooked.

 

Your grill is 21 years old? That's why I couldn't find it on the Weber site. I knew it was propane from the hose under the grill. When it comes to smoking I'm a minimalist and when it comes to grilling I consider myself a purist. That's why I love my Weber 22.5" One Touch Silver. To me, charcoal--either briquette or lump--is the only fuel for grilling and it's also perfect for reverse searing of meat. But yeah, finishing the meat in a cast iron skillet over high heat on a stove top burner or sticking it under a really hot broiler are classic ways to achieve this.

 

Did you still see plenty of TBS coming up from the top vent even though you didn't add any until 65 minutes into your cook? One thing to be aware of: you'll almost always see some smoke coming out of the top vent. With new smokers it could be from improperly pre-seasoning it. But after the smoker's been used quite a bit grease and other deposits will build up and they'll produce smoke. I'm not a fanatic when it comes to cleaning the inside of my smoker so I'll see some smoke rising out of the top vent while preheating. But once I place the AMNPS inside I start seeing real smoke rising. But from my personal experience when I was using wood chips that I would barely see any smoke after about 20-30 minutes and when I opened the MES door there was hardly any smoke inside. Many members here have also seen this when using wood chips with a MES.

 

However, as you said you didn't need to smoke the tri-tip for that long and one batch of wood chips should've been sufficient. And yes, for an 8-11 hour smoke that would've been different and that's when wood chips become a PITA.

 

Hickory is a great go-too wood for just about anything. For me it can be a bit too aggressive. I'd say my overall favorite wood pellet for smoking is oak; it's so smooth and mellow but I do use hickory a lot. When I smoke tri-tip I like using mesquite wood pellets to emulate the Santa Maria (California) style of grilled tri-tip. But I also prefer grilled tri-tip to smoked. If I'm grilling over charcoal I'll throw mesquite wood chips over the coals, even if I'm using lump charcoal.

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

Bear


If my response to johnmeyer hadn't been so lengthy I was going to add that using a water pan can make since in those really expensive electric smokers where 275° or so is the MINIMUM temp they cook at and drying out the meat can become an issue. That's why Myron Mixon's expensive electric smokers are electric water smokers.

 

Like you, the meat I smoke in my MES turns out moist, tender and flavorful. The only exception is if I leave something like baby backs in there for 7 hours or so. I did that once. Once.

post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
I disagree with that wet-to-dry post based on my personal experience with my MES 30 smoking with wood pellets. I cook in a dry chamber and I'm the one who controls how much smoke is absorbed by meats depending on how many hours they're kept in contact with the wood smoke. I can tell you that it's easy to over smoke meat in the MES 30 and it's just as easy to control the environment so that meats get the perfect amount of smoke that pleases your palate.

I definitely need to try a recipe both ways in order to figure this out for myself. Based on my skimming a lot of posts, the majority opinion in this forum, when talking about the MES, is to smoke dry.

 

As for over-smoking meat, that is definitely true. While I'm not a fan of French cooking and all those fancy sauces, I do nonetheless have an appreciate for their subtlety. By its nature, there is absolutely nothing subtle about smoke, and so a little goes a long way. One focus of my next few attempts will be how to tone down the smokiness a few notches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post

Your grill is 21 years old? That's why I couldn't find it on the Weber site. I knew it was propane from the hose under the grill.

It is a Weber Genesis 1000. It is natural gas, not propane (i.e., no tank). Burners are mounted side-to-side, rather than front-to-back as they are on most modern gas BBQs. I've replaced dozens of parts, but it is still in great shape. It does a good job on most things, but it just doesn't have the heat, even after extensive pre-heating, to get a good sear.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
Did you still see plenty of TBS coming up from the top vent even though you didn't add any until 65 minutes into your cook? One thing to be aware of: you'll almost always see some smoke coming out of the top vent. With new smokers it could be from improperly pre-seasoning it.

I pre-seasoned it for more than the recommended time, and then did a long preheat before my first smoke. There was no smoke coming from it towards the end of the seasoning. As for the TBS being from the food or something else, I also looked though the charging hold and was able to see some black chips remaining, rather than just ash.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
Hickory is a great go-too wood for just about anything. For me it can be a bit too aggressive.

 

I'm trying to not change too many variables at once, so that I can really know what I'm doing and get repeatable results. However, at some point I plan to get some Apple. I already have Mesquite, but that really only works with a few foods, even though I love it.

 

Quote:
 But I also prefer grilled tri-tip to smoked.

I'm on the fence, based on this one experience. However, I do agree that not everything is made better in a smoker. Having said that, I think there are some in this forum who would smoke their Wheaties, if they could

post #24 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

My Weber "Q" grill won't get hot enough for a quick sear either. I would suggest Smoking it with about a 200° smoker, and pull it out at about 120° IT. Then Grill it just like you would normally grill a non-smoked Steak. That way you get the smoke & the grilled flavor. This is only because your grill, like mine, doesn't get hot enough for the quick hot sear.

 

Thanks for those pointers. They are really useful. As I think about it, your suggestions, taken together, would solve almost all the issues I mentioned in my post. I may try this this weekend when my son comes home for the holiday.

post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post

See my picture above again----No water was added !!

 

Things are definitely making more sense. My first smoke was with chicken, but I also put a can of baked beans in a dish and put them on the top rack. AND, I had water in the pan. I had water everywhere, including water leaking from the door gasket at the bottom.

 

OK, next few smokes will be with no water, and if I do beans or mac 'n cheese, I'll do them separately.

post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
 

 

Thanks for those pointers. They are really useful. As I think about it, your suggestions, taken together, would solve almost all the issues I mentioned in my post. I may try this this weekend when my son comes home for the holiday.

As for over-smoking meat, that is definitely true. While I'm not a fan of French cooking and all those fancy sauces, I do nonetheless have an appreciate for their subtlety. By its nature, there is absolutely nothing subtle about smoke, and so a little goes a long way. One focus of my next few attempts will be how to tone down the smokiness a few notches.

 

That's the beauty of the AMNPS. You control the precise amount of time meat is exposed to the wood smoke. Unlike wood chips, wood pellets in the tray provide a constant stream of smoke. Yes, it can be a bit heavier at some times than at others but you're not always calculating both when to add more chips over and how long to let the meat absorb it. With wood pellets it's just a question of long to either leave meat inside the smoker or when to foil and unfoil. Oversmoking food is basically keeping it in contact with smoke for too long. But like all things the palate is personal. While I prefer smoke to enhance the flavors of meat and cheeses other people may say it's not nearly enough smoke for them. So, with your experimenting with low and slow cooking over wood smoke you'll at some point(s) find out what amount of smoke you prefer and you'll learn how to replicate that every time. Of course you'll also learn which wood "flavors" you prefer and don't prefer, even which wood mixes work for best for you. For me, hickory and apple work; alder and apple, not so much.

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
 

I definitely need to try a recipe both ways in order to figure this out for myself. Based on my skimming a lot of posts, the majority opinion in this forum, when talking about the MES, is to smoke dry.

 

As for over-smoking meat, that is definitely true. While I'm not a fan of French cooking and all those fancy sauces, I do nonetheless have an appreciate for their subtlety. By its nature, there is absolutely nothing subtle about smoke, and so a little goes a long way. One focus of my next few attempts will be how to tone down the smokiness a few notches.

It is a Weber Genesis 1000. It is natural gas, not propane (i.e., no tank). Burners are mounted side-to-side, rather than front-to-back as they are on most modern gas BBQs. I've replaced dozens of parts, but it is still in great shape. It does a good job on most things, but it just doesn't have the heat, even after extensive pre-heating, to get a good sear.

 

I pre-seasoned it for more than the recommended time, and then did a long preheat before my first smoke. There was no smoke coming from it towards the end of the seasoning. As for the TBS being from the food or something else, I also looked though the charging hold and was able to see some black chips remaining, rather than just ash.

 

 

I'm trying to not change too many variables at once, so that I can really know what I'm doing and get repeatable results. However, at some point I plan to get some Apple. I already have Mesquite, but that really only works with a few foods, even though I love it.

 

I'm on the fence, based on this one experience. However, I do agree that not everything is made better in a smoker. Having said that, I think there are some in this forum who would smoke their Wheaties, if they could


Wow, this time I got all your quotes and not just a partial one. Anyway. thanks for clarifying about the Weber. I thought all those gas grills ran on propane but I sure didn't know the older ones couldn't get hot enough to sear. My ongoing problem with my beloved Weber charcoal kettle grill is that I'm always adding too many briquettes because I never think what I have in there is enough. Because of that I tend to overcook meats unless I remain standing right there at the grill with my instant read therm, which I usually don't.

 

I've just noticed with my MES that some smoke will flow out of the top vent during the preheat even though I haven't yet placed the AMNPS inside. I think mine's done that from the very beginning. But I also think at this point it's grease and other residue that's producing the smoke. I'm no fanatic about cleaning the inside and from what I've seen on TV neither are the pros. But yes, you could see smoke from some partially burned wood chips.

 

You're wise to change few variables at one time. Many people keep extensive logs of every smoke. I don't. I can remember enough from every smoke to keep a running mental log of what wood pellets I used, the temp(s) I smoked at, how long the smoke lasted, what dry rubs and sauces I applied, and how long I kept meat foiled and unfoiled. I can remember which smokes were smooth as glass and which ones were nightmares. At this point I'm working on consistency and improvement. I pretty much know to get the flavor profiles I want. My next big project is to consistently get the exact look, firmness and texture of bark on pork ribs and beef briskets. My goal is to learn something from every smoke--what worked and what didn't. When a smoke doesn't turn out like I wanted it to I can pinpoint exactly where I went wrong. Combining your experiences over time you develop your own style while learning how to produce extremely good Q at home.

 

Smoked Wheaties? You may have hit upon a niche market. Go for it.

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
 


Wow, this time I got all your quotes and not just a partial one. Anyway. thanks for clarifying about the Weber. I thought all those gas grills ran on propane but I sure didn't know the older ones couldn't get hot enough to sear. My ongoing problem with my beloved Weber charcoal kettle grill is that I'm always adding too many briquettes because I never think what I have in there is enough. Because of that I tend to overcook meats unless I remain standing right there at the grill with my instant read therm, which I usually don't.

 

I've just noticed with my MES that some smoke will flow out of the top vent during the preheat even though I haven't yet placed the AMNPS inside. I think mine's done that from the very beginning. But I also think at this point it's grease and other residue that's producing the smoke. I'm no fanatic about cleaning the inside and from what I've seen on TV neither are the pros. But yes, you could see smoke from some partially burned wood chips.

 

You're wise to change few variables at one time. Many people keep extensive logs of every smoke. I don't. I can remember enough from every smoke to keep a running mental log of what wood pellets I used, the temp(s) I smoked at, how long the smoke lasted, what dry rubs and sauces I applied, and how long I kept meat foiled and unfoiled. I can remember which smokes were smooth as glass and which ones were nightmares. At this point I'm working on consistency and improvement. I pretty much know to get the flavor profiles I want. My next big project is to consistently get the exact look, firmness and texture of bark on pork ribs and beef briskets. My goal is to learn something from every smoke--what worked and what didn't. When a smoke doesn't turn out like I wanted it to I can pinpoint exactly where I went wrong. Combining your experiences over time you develop your own style while learning how to produce extremely good Q at home.

 

Smoked Wheaties? You may have hit upon a niche market. Go for it.


Yes---I agree that without any wood, dust, or pellets in the smoker, the smoke we usually see coming out the top vent is grease & other things burning off.

Also when it's cold out it looks like smoke coming out the top vent, and that stuff smells like smoke, but if you have a window in your door, you can easily see that there is no smoke in the smoker. That has the same appearance as when we exhale into the cold air.

 

Bear

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 


Yes---I agree that without any wood, dust, or pellets in the smoker, the smoke we usually see coming out the top vent is grease & other things burning off.

Also when it's cold out it looks like smoke coming out the top vent, and that stuff smells like smoke, but if you have a window in your door, you can easily see that there is no smoke in the smoker. That has the same appearance as when we exhale into the cold air.

 

Bear

Would like to test your theory today seeing as how the temp today will be between 30-40 degrees out there. How am I to know if the smoke I see wafting its way upward from the top vent is grease and other things or if it's condensation?  

 

What does condensed grease look like?

post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
 

Would like to test your theory today seeing as how the temp today will be between 30-40 degrees out there. How am I to know if the smoke I see wafting its way upward from the top vent is grease and other things or if it's condensation?  

 

What does condensed grease look like?


If you have a window in your door, you could see any kind of smoke through a clean window, but you would only see the condensation (fog) when it comes out of the hot smoker into the cold air.

 

Without a Window, I would watch how far it gets from the smoker without dispersing (Actual smoke staying visible for a longer time). IMO

 

Neither would be condensed Grease---If it's coming from grease, it would be burning grease "Smoke".

 

Bear

post #31 of 34
Thread Starter 

Leftovers tonight. The tri-tip slices up just great using my slicer. Now I have to figure out what to put on the sandwich. Anyone have any ideas?

 

post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 


If you have a window in your door, you could see any kind of smoke through a clean window, but you would only see the condensation (fog) when it comes out of the hot smoker into the cold air.

 

Without a Window, I would watch how far it gets from the smoker without dispersing (Actual smoke staying visible for a longer time). IMO

 

Neither would be condensed Grease---If it's coming from grease, it would be burning grease "Smoke".

 

Bear


I was just being silly with that question. What I noticed today is that when the AMNPS first fires up on a cold day inside a cold MES the smoke pours out thickly from the top vent and flows down onto and past the smoker. It looks very much like a dry ice or liquid nitrogen. After a bit it thins out into TBS and that's when I have to monitor it because after about 40 minutes or so the pellets snuff themselves out.

post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
 

Leftovers tonight. The tri-tip slices up just great using my slicer. Now I have to figure out what to put on the sandwich. Anyone have any ideas?

 

Hmmmmm---Looks Tasty!!

 

So many ways:

 

First Choice for me----Au Jus as a French Dip.

 

If you eat it cold, I'd go with Miracle Whip (Mayo if you like it more bland), and Horse Radish---Add some Cheese too. (American, Provolone, or Swiss). Maybe even use Rye Bread on this.

 

Or you could heat some up, add Provolone, and a little Sauce & Fried Onions, for a Philly Cheesesteak.

 

 

Bear

post #34 of 34
Thread Starter 

I went with horseradish with a little mayo & lemon. Wife did BBQ sauce. Both were quite good.

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