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Basic questions before I get started

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I saw an MES 40" at Sam's the other day and go the itch to start smoking on my own. I have bought smoked meats from a friend for a long time, but I am subject to his tastes and I hate that! I do have a few concerns, maybe somebody can help me.

1) I would have to store the smoker outside, and I heard rain could ruin the electronics of the MES, any thoughts?
2) I tried looking up wood chips online and the packages say "For use in Charcoal or Gas Smokers," can these be used in the MES? Where do others who have an MES buy wood chips?
3) If I stored the smoker in the garage rather than outside, can I smoke in there, or is that a fire hazard?
4) Can smoked meat be frozen for later use?

Sorry for all the questions, but before I make the leap, I just want to make sure I am not making a big mistake. Thanks everyone, hopefully I can start contributing to the forum, rahter than just asking questions.
post #2 of 14
hello Mizzou Burner, you have found a great forum to amswer ur questions!!! with reg to ur ? on the MES, i just purchased a 40" from sams for times when i can "set it and forget it", except maybe add wood to it. 1)this smoker is not designed to withstand weather so i would have to say if u wanna store outside not the smoker for you
2)instructions call for chips which can be purchased at a local HD or many other locations if you cannot obtain your own. different woods also sold on ebay. chunks can be made into chips, noticed some are expiermenting adding charcoal or maybe lump for a better smoke ring.
3)i would not recommend you smoke inside a building with a smoker that was nit designed for indoor use, just a saftey and liability issue which makes that the only correct answer.
4)i dont see a problem with freezing smoked product but i dont think usually there be enuff left to make it to the freezer.
good luck smokin!!!
post #3 of 14
I've had an MES for about a year. I agree with erain. Don't leave it out in the weather.

I've bought chips/chunks at Lowe's, Menards, Walmart and I think a couple of other places. You don't need to use nearly as many as the manual says. I usually put in a small handful rather than the "cup" that is recommended.

Maybe I'm just an idiot, but I have smoked just inside my garage with the large door up. I wouldn't do it if the smoker was wood, charcoal or propane because those have fire/flames, but the MES (and other electrics) don't seem to be to be a lot different than running an electric space heater or a toaster oven. I DO make sure that the area is well ventilated.

I regularly freeze smoked meats. I don't see any point in running the smoker with it only half full so I almost always do more meat than we can use at one time. I think the trick is how you go about reheating them and for that my method varies depending upon the meat.

Don't be shy about asking questions. That's the point of this forum. There are plenty of folks here who are more than willing to share their experience with others. And don't be afraid of making mistakes, most of them are still edible and a good share of them are better than food that you'll find in some restaurants. Once in a while, mistakes are even better than what you intended to do. biggrin.gif

Hope this helps.
post #4 of 14
You're questions have already been answered, so I'll just say: Welcome to the forum! Aren't you glad you joined?! There's all the info you need right here, just ask. Keith
post #5 of 14
Welcome to the SMF!! Great place to learn about smokers and smoking meat....as you've seen already!!
post #6 of 14
welcome aboard. There is some good info on this site, just like the info on this thread. Nice job guys!PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #7 of 14
Welcome to the site.............I think your questions have all been answered..........But just an idea you could get a cover for the MES I think the new 40 at sams even comes with a cover......I remember someone on here saying that it did now.......But I would still use it outside and store in garage when not using.........
post #8 of 14
MES is not what I have but I would reccomend it from what I have read and seen. I have a Brinkman gourmet electric for about $60 and would also reccomend it, but that is a different post.

If you are willing to dump $300 on the smoker I would suggest a cover (Whether it comes with one or not). If you have a garage, it would seem to be the logical place to store it. I have heard that the unit is not meant to be weatherproof and most likely should be looked after with a little care. You could build its own little shelter as well, from a simple lean to, to a full blown smoking pavilion or maybe just a good weatherproof box to set over the unit when not in use and to serve as a little table when you are smoking.

Wood chips seem to be everywhere round these parts. Home Depot, Lowes, sporting good stores, grocery stores, conveinence stores and of course online. You can even make your own with a chunk of wood and an axe or something to cut with. With an electric unit a little can go along ways and as mentioned above, using a little less won't hurt, in fact starting slow and working up to more may be better to help you decide on the strength of the smoke flavor you like without going overboard on the first try. I would almost bet money that the place that you buy your smoker will sell chips as well. As far as there being different uses for different smokers, I would say that size is what matters, but the smoke is the same.

Smoking inside of your garage is officially a no no. I would rather be out in the open anyways, but I gaureentee that if I had a MES and it was raining and I had the urge.......well you get the point.

I have never really been that big a fan of freezing, but then again.......

Yes there are things that you can do to make freezing more appealing. For me that would be planning ahead on when to use the frozen food, instead of just saying some day. (I let stuff go way too long in the freezer) Doing smaller portions is another trick. I am more likely to use a little of something than have to plan the whole meal around it and smaller portions thaw and cook faster.

Now that you have received answers redundantly, what is the hold up? Buy that smoker and post some photos?PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #9 of 14
Great answers......
Welcome to the forum.smile.gif
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice

Thanks everyone for the advice. I figured the garage was a no-no, maybe okay on the edge of the garage with the door open, but if you are going to that much trouble, you might as well put it out on the driveway. I am looking forward to getting started.

It sounds like wood chips are wood chips, and there is no "special" wood chips for electric smokers. I thought that was the case before I even asked, but figured I had better ask before I get burned, literally and figuratively!

Thanks again.
post #11 of 14
I know your questions have been answered for the most part, but I thought I'd chime in anyway with my 2 cents.... which are probably worth about nothing in today economy. cool.gif I have the smaller MES and it's about 4 months old now, so here's how I'd answer your questions:

I store mine outside under a covered patio and so far so good, but the first thing I plan on finding once I get some spare time is a cover for it.

I'd say just about any kind of wood for a smoker should be interchangable with gas or electric. I don't think I'd run the real fine stuff in the MES though. So far I've just picked up my chips at the grocery store right next to the charcoal briquettes. Kind of a limited selection though as they usually only have mesquite or hickory. Some of the sporting goods stores around here that sell smokers also have a decent selection of chips, but I'm usually not thinking about that when I'm in there.

I wouldn't say it's a fire hazard, unless you're in the habit of storing flammable liquids (gasoline) in there too. Even then you're probably ok. What I'd worry about is carbon monoxide poisoning in the enclosed space, and the smoke smell permeating everything in there and even getting into the house. That said I HAVE successfully smoked things in my garage back in the day, just make sure you have adequate ventilation and anything flammable well away from the smoker.

Mine usually never lasts that long, but yes it can. biggrin.gif
post #12 of 14
Hello and welcome to the best smokin' site on Earth, SMF that is.
post #13 of 14
Welcome Burner. Another idea would be to rig some rollers on it so it could be easily rolled from the garage out onto the driveway. I believe others here have done this, maybe not with an MES but I am sure there is a way if your handy or know someone who is. Good luck.
post #14 of 14
Bert has a good point. Personally I believe that if it doesn't fit in your pocket, it should be on wheels! Maybe a furniture dollie with a plywood deck atop of it or a large cookie sheet atop the dollie. Wheels are a good thing but keep it stable!
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