Ok, this is the story of Seasoning Day and Trial Chicken :)
This Post and All here is pertaining to the MES 30 Sportsman Elite Analog Electric Smoker I purchased from Cabela's, these Models are made by Master Built specifically for Cabela's and Bass Pro ( I am sure maybe some could be found elsewhere from re-sellers)
Finally got my Drip Shield for the AMNPS Done
After I did the RACK MOD
Also used the AMNPS in its MOD location
Started by spraying entire inside of Smoke Box with Peanut Oil, I made sure interior walls were wet and covered, then I started the AMNPS, full of Hickory Pellets, and began a process of learning what tems would be in various conditions as listed below
Used AMNPS lit from one end and Smoker Idled at a comfortable Temp of 130 degrees, at this time it was overcast and 90 degrees
Then I noticed the smoke was a bit thin, not much leaving the Smoker Vent so I opened and it was not thin LOL, plenty of smoke in the Chamber, but this was a test and learning experience so I lit both ends of the AMNPS, the temp came up to 150 degrees after about 15 mins and stabilized, this also was overcast @ 90 degrees
I ran it with both ends lit to create more smoke for the seasoning, and also so I could see concentration of Smoke with it burning on both ends, it was good for Seasoning but would be too much for cooking in my opinion as the smoke was way to dense in the Smoke Box, and was white instead of the nice bluish thinner Smoke, I got TBS !!!!!!
I let it run with just the AMNPS burning one end for an hour, then with both ends burning for another hour checking the inside fairly often so I could see the progress of the Seasoning.
What I found except that the AMNPS works really good, is that the walls were not getting Seasoned, Temps not high enough to cook the oil on the walls, just looked shiny and clean, so I knew I had to crank up the heat !
Cranked the heat up in stages as I used a fair amount of oil and did not want to have a flash from puddled oil in walls, just in case
So I raised the temp to 250 for another hour, looked at walls and they were at that temp slowly starting to get that golden color cooking the oil.
So I raised it to 300 for another hour and checked and even more golden
Since I wanted it Seasoned at max Temp thoroughly, I then cranked it all the way up and let it roll at 400 degrees for 3 hours, with the AMNPS still burnin
*** What I found at temps just above 300 degrees, the AMNPS Pellets burning accelerated, I am not saying that the Smoke increased, but at 300 and above, the pellets are obviously heated well from the element cycling often and the pellets seem to burn a bit quicker, nothing that would be a issue, just wanted to share that observation, they are not going to burn as long at temps just above 300 degrees.
Also when I went to 400 degrees I noticed that the heat was high enough to blacken the pellets and at this point the smoke did lessen and got pale, much like that of a good charcoal smoke without the drippings, the pellets were still there, but blackened, and they still burned, but smoke was weak as stated and once at 400 degrees it accelerated the burn of the blackened pellets dramatically, over 3/4's of the pellet tray was left when I bumped to 400 degrees, and there was no smoke to be found and the pellets were done in a little less than 2 hours, so if you do cook at such high temps, be advised to do some low temp smoking first or either load the AMNPS and count on it not lasting more than about 2 1/2 hours, my concern would be quality of smoke primarily, but then again, I will never be using 400 degrees anyway, will most likely never go over 300 degrees and that is above what I would generally cook at as well, I would rather keep temps no higher than 275 and cook a bit longer, better meat that way IMHO.
Ok, so after the 400 degrees at 3 hours and the other low temp learning/playing, I opened door and let cool, refill AMNPS and lit one end and closed her back up, now I want to check AMNPS reliability
The AMPS worked flawlessly, had no flare up in high temp because I used the AMNPS MOD I Posted and relocated AMNPS so it was not over the "S" part of the Heating Element, the AMNPS never went out and produced beautiful TBS !!!!
So I let AMNPS smoke for hours
I was up yesterday morning at 0645 and at this point it was 1600 hrs and the wife asked me if I was done, I told her that I just loaded AMNPS fully again and was checking burn time, she asked about the Seasoning and if that was done and I said yes, now I am just doing more Seasoning and seeing how the AMNPS did, making sure again, no issues and monitoring temps and such, getting used to the operation of the smoker.
So then she says, I am thawing some Chicken Breasts for dinner, you want to cook them ???
Then she said she was going to lay down for a bit before she cleaned up from the yard sale, she left me high and dry.....................
Anyway I got busy and went and checked the breasts, they were still frosty inside, so got them out of the pack ( it was a pair of split breasts only, at least a 1 1/4 thick, nice looking ) and rinsed them with luke luke warm water and set out in open to thaw a bit more while I made some Brine !
I made a emergency simple Brine
1 Tbs of Minced Garlic
1 Tbs of Minced onion
1 Bouillon Cube of Italian Seasoning
5 oz of Fine Sea Salt (Regal Brand)
Ran tap water till hot and filled a small bowl with it, added the minced garlic, minced onion and the bouillon cube, smashed the bouillon cube with a spoon and then stirred till bouillon cube was dissolved, then let sit so minced onion and garlic would hydrate.
After the bowl had set for a bit and most of the water had been absorbed by the dehydrated garlic and onion, I put that and the 2/3's a cup salt in a gallon jug full of water, shook well and let sit as I prepared the container
I used a stainless steel pot (roughly 2 gallon with top for brine, cleaned pot and top of course, added chicken which at this point was thawed but barely, shook the brine up again real good and then poured over chicken, rotated chicken a bit in bottom and then placed a bowl on top of chicken pieces in pot to make sure they were submerged.
I did not get to go the 4 hours I wanted because it was getting late at this point and I wanted to try the chicken, got close, 3 1/2 hours in the Fridge in the Brine and I turned them each hour just for GP.
I removed chicken from brine and dripped dry in a SS Colander for about 10 minutes and then put in Smoker that I had already preheated to 300 just before I was going to add chicken, the only reason I went 300 degrees is because I wanted to eat the chicken and was running out of time, the chicken went in the smoker at 1945 hrs, and was 172 IT by 2145 hrs.
And the AMNPS lasted all that time since 1500 hrs and was still smoking till 0030 hrs when I finally went to bed later, so even with the high temp cook for 2 hrs, the AMNPS lasted over 9 hours !!!!
Ok back to the eats !
After cooling for about 15 mins, me and the wife tore into the Test Breasts, this chicken was like a delicacy, oh my, the brine worked great, the meat was full of moisture and was melt in your mouth consistency and taste, it was out of this world, neighbor tried it and said he is going to buy my Smoker at Cabelas today LOL and then get me to do the MODS for him hehehe
I have never had chicken this juicy and tender AND TASTY in my life, it was just over the top, it could not be better, maybe flavor could be different but it could not be better, that simple brine was right on, no salt could even be tasted, the flavor blend was out of this world, used Hickory Pellets and the smoke flavor was to the bone, I will most likely try again with same brine except with Mesquite, now the wife wants to get more wood flavors and try some other as well hehehe
Here is the finished chicken, the color is a bit dark because I had to open the Smoker 4 times to check IT, which leads me to a learning experience
When you open this Smoker to check meat temps, the box cools of course, but what happens next is the problem :
The Smoker cools, then the element heats of course, but the issue is the smoke box super heats as a result of this, it has to stabilize the box temp and it cannot do it immediately, so you get some serious temp swings which I believe is what caused the slightly darker appearance, it was not black, but essence of black if you can understand that lol, so before I do any more meat cooking, I will surely have the Dual Probe In Oven Meat Thermometers in place so no more opening the door !!!!
All that said, here is the Chicken Breasts, and even if a bit darker than I would prefer, they were perfect, the taste was out of this world and so juicy ...........oh my.................
And here is the Smoke Box after about 12 hours of combined playing, seasoning and then Trial Chicken
BEAUTIFUL, this smoker is awesome, could not be happier with any of it, unless it did it all on its own ROFLOL
******* Many Thanks to All here at SMF, I could not have had such a GREAT EXPERIENCE WITHOUT ALL THE RECIPES, KNOWLEDGE, PERSONAL ANSWERS and OTHER INFORMATION I GOT HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that is the Truth, All you guys are AWESOME !!!!
Now to order that DUAL TEMP PROBE !!!!