Ok, so I cheaped out and went for the analog not digital version (got such a deal on it I couldnt pass it up)
And of course now I wish I had sprung for the extra $$ to be able to set the temp with numbers, rather than a dial that has varying shades of yellow/orange/red as the some indicator of temperature control.
BUT, after some futzing around, I pretty much got the hang of it, and my16 lb Thanksgiving turkey came out pretty awesome - great color, well cooked, moist, good taste.
(thanks to BMADDOX in this forum for pointers on that one! And see attached picture - the one on the left is from the oven, on the right from the smoker)
One thing I did notice, while playing around with that dial trying to get it right, was that whenever the temp reading on the door thermometer dropped below about 250F, the smoke from the chops drastically reduced. And anything below 225F pretty much stopped the applewood chips from smoking altogether.
It was ok for the turkey, in the end - the 250-275F that I was able to maintain (for the most part) pretty much did the trick.
But a lot of recipes I am interested in trying next in the MES are for temps of 225 and even below. How does one maintain a good smoke cloud at those temps? I cant see how it is a problem unique to analog smokers - after all, whatever controls the heat - whether a digital or analog thermostat - the wood will smoke - or not - at those temps, no?
Are some woods better than others for higher or lower temps? I used applewood chips for the turkey. If I want to do a pork loin and a 225 temp, will another wood give me decent smoke at that temp? What about temps of 200, or even 190? Are those possible to maintain a good smoke amount in my MES? Or are those temps only possible with offset smoking, where the combusting wood is far enough from the meat, that the smoke and temperature have room to cool off?
I feel like such a greenie with this! I am so used to smoking with smoldering wood chunks in a barrel smoker, doing it more by "feel" (and sometimes IT than) by temperature gauges and timers with wood chips. SO glad I found this forum
Thanks in advance!