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Anyone tried adding charcoal to an MES? - Page 2

post #21 of 36
That is strange. You use a water pan? And how's the flavor? I can live without a ring if it's good :{)
post #22 of 36
The only difference yesterday was the addition of the lump....Always use water in the pan with briskets.........Always turn out good.......Not a big deal to me if there is a smoke ring...Thought it would be nice to try......Just wondering why it did not work for meicon_redface.gif
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
It could be from briquettes containing sodium nitrate? Maybe only briquettes will work for this. I'm not sure what the smoke ring does, if anything, to the flavor. It just feels more authentic.

Did you notice any difference with the heating or smoke production?

From Wikipedia,

Charcoal briquettes sold commercially for cooking food can include:[1][2]
post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hey Richtee....Now I remember where I read about Sodium Nitrate...LOL

Someone PM'd me this little piece of wisdom icon_smile.gif


"Examples of cured products are ham, bacon, bologna and hotdogs. All of these products have a pink color, which is typical of cured products. When sodium nitrite is combined with meat the pigment myoglobin is converted to nitric oxide myoglobin which is a very dark red color. This state of the pigment myoglobin is not very stable. Upon heating, nitric oxide myoglobin is converted to nitrosylhemochrome, which is the typical pink color of cured meats."
post #25 of 36
Yanno...upon reading the last paragraph again
Generate smoke from the burning of wood chips or wood logs. Since NO2 is a by-product of incomplete combustion, green wood or wetted wood seems to enhance smoke ring development. Burning green wood or wetted wood also helps to increase the humidity level inside the cooker.
A high temperature flame is needed to create NO2 from nitrogen and oxygen. A smoldering fire without a flame does not produce as much NO2. Consequently, a cooker that uses indirect heat generated from the burning of wood typically will develop a pronounced smoke ring. Have fun cooking. A nice smoke ring can sure make a piece of barbecued meat look attractive.

It almost seems contradictory. How can you have a high temp flame with green wood? And of course we don't use green wood..I'm sure he was speaking theroretically there. We know the way to provide moisture to the environment inside the smoker is thru a waterpan and mopping. Well, or if you insist, wetting the wood you intend to burn PDT_Armataz_01_03.gif
post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 
So lump should have worked? I was thinking the only difference in the charcoal briquette was the chemicals added and sodium nitrate will color meat pink. Wonder if when burned releases NO2 or enhances it somehow. Its symbol (NaNO2) has NO2 in it...LOL. My head hurts now! PDT_Armataz_01_23.gif .
post #27 of 36
Dave...Yes it does produce a little extra btu's....Since my MES 's are both used inside my shed I don't have the problem you are experiencing with wattage....The wood burn is smoothed out and it seems to me that is because of a limited amount of oxygen to support the charcoal and wood chunks....I liked the effect that it had in this respect but was dissipointed that it did not produce a smoke ring....may have to give the manufactured briquets a tryicon_smile.gif

Todays smoke was three chunks of baby swiss....used peach wood.........then cranked up the heat and put in three fatties (spicy) with cherry wood......Used the 30" MES with my "contraption".....that is the best mod and one everyone should have....you can play with the smoke production very easily.......smoked the cheese at 75* and all the tbs I needed....then cranked up to 230 switched the chunks to cherry and had the identical smoke production...love the thing!!!

Rich....Does this not cause a controversy for your post about preburning wood in the context of MES smokers?
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi Illini...I'm thinking about your contraption mod, I'm not the best welder, but thinking about maybe giving it a shot. Have you thought about a feed tube add on to your contraption icon_mrgreen.gif?
post #29 of 36
I would not go the feed tube route.......Still need to manipulate the pieces at times.....sometimes need to poke down ashes through the grating which are the heaters.....This thing still requires attention but operates independent of the internal heater.......and you don't need to guess about adding chunks
post #30 of 36
I think lump is too high quality. Over on the Cookshack forums, I learned that the cheaper the charcoal is, the better it is at producing a smoke ring. It's the impurities you're after if a smoke ring is your goal.
post #31 of 36
tried 4 kingsford briquettes mixed w/hickory chunks sat, and 4 cheap best choice briquettes mixed today, easter, on some flats, no smoke ring here either. so i guess its not the quality or cheapness of the charcoal.
post #32 of 36
Thread Starter 
Maybe the quantity? I put in 3/4 of a broken up extra large sized briquette (Sam's Choice 60% larger sized, Walmart brand) every 30 min or so when I added wood. Could be all cheap briquettes are not created equal PDT_Armataz_01_23.gif. It did work twice for me. I actually use it all the time now because a great side effect was very consistent smoke with the briquette going in the hopper. Got a Walmart near ya? Maybe try a few Sam's Choice see if it makes any difference.
post #33 of 36
may be a difference between pork and beef, just pulled the slab of pork ribs off, nice smoke ring a good 1/4 inch plus, cooked w/ same as the flat briskets that had none, or maybe the extra fat in the meat helps?
post #34 of 36
Thread Starter 
Also works on turkey. This is one I did over the weekend. 5.5 hrs. Used the same briquettes, maybe 6 or 7 during the smoke.

post #35 of 36
I bought my MES 40" about 4-5 Sat ago and tried different kind's of meat, any way Last Saturday set the temp for 240 for 7 hours,first 2 hours just to get the tempup to that, the meat was 4 1/2lb deer neck roasts, 3 of them anyway temp got to 220 and stayed there after the first 3 hrs. and then it would drop 10 and stay for 1 hr and the door not even opened,what gives? The door gasket has been sealed with Red HI Temp. RTV
post #36 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi Allen..how cold was it outside, windy? Couple of basics, which you may already know, did you pre-heat to say 260 - 270 before adding meat and use boiling water in the water pan to start?

I do think the heater is under powered for using the 40" model in cold weather, better sized for the 30" (same heater). Those with the 30" models don't seem to complain about much about this.

I found, with my MES (40" also), it had a tough time recovering back to set point temp in cold weather. After loading the meat, or after mopping, the recovery seemed to take a while and the top end was limited. I like to play around with things PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif, so I added an extra heater to mine (different thread). I also found that adding charcoal chunks in with the wood chunks seemed to help with the recovery. Think it adds a few extra BTUs to help the cause.

Another trick I was going to try was to use 1" thick foil lined foam board insulation to add an extra layer of insulation over the outside. It would be pretty easy with some aluminum duct tape (looks like sticky backed foil) to cut side panels and connect the foam together.

I also added extra latches to the top and bottom of the door to keep it sealed. When the unit was cool the door was fine. I noticed after it heated up, the bottom of the door bowed out slightly causing a pretty good gap along the bottom. This let it draw in cold air through the door instead of through the wood box. The latches keep it sealed now.
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