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Thanks all for the advice! The final: 7 of 10 say “go bigâ€.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who weighed in on this. The final tally was 7 out of 10 in favor of buying the Sam's unit. When I read the responses, the "go big, you won't regret it" argument really worked for me. So I went to Sam's on Sunday and got my MES. I've done the 3-hour “seasoning†cycle, and everything seems to work OK.

Initial observations:
When the unit was up to temp and stable, the smoker thermostat said 275 and the meat thermometer (in a clip on the side about half-way down) said 255. Is that normal? I didn't know if maybe that was the difference between the top and the middle (or if the side is cooler), or it means one of the thermostats is off. I didn't think to run another digital thermometer into the box, so I'll have to do more research.

Man does a lot of heat come through the window. It shouldn’t be a problem for me in AZ, but I wonder about folks using one in cold country. It made me think about making some sort of clip-on insulation panel or something for the window that could be swung up or removed when you wanted to see in.

The directions said to put some wood chips in for the last 45 minutes - which I did. In about 10 minutes, the temp ran up quickly and peaked at 292. Twice, there were noticeable bursts of smoke with an audible “puff†sound that came out around the wood loader. The smoke produced was pretty thick and white – by no means the “thin blue smoke†described on SMF. Maybe I put too many chips in – there was smoke visible through the window for about 30 minutes and then it seemed to go clear again. The temp gradually came back down again to the 275 set point.

I’ve got a lot to learn about smoking using my MES. I was pretty excited when I brought it home and ready to jamb a huge hunk of pork in there and go to town for the neighbors. However, I think I’ll “pull in my horns†a bit and start with some smaller practice roasts first. That old phrase abut “walking before you run†comes to mind. biggrin.gif

Thanks again everyone. I promise to post a qview when I actually cook something.
post #2 of 7
Congrats on the new NES. I can't comment, but there are plenty of MES owners here, so you should have some valuable feedback.
post #3 of 7
When I got my mes I put way to many chips in. Give them a good thirty minute soak first. And now I might use 6 or 8 chips at a time. You will enjoy your mes I sure do mine.
post #4 of 7
Small handful of chips about every 30-45 min.

My temps consistently run low, about 5 degrees on the top rack and about 8-10 degrees on the bottom rack (left hand side away from tho smoke box).
post #5 of 7
Good decision. :D
post #6 of 7
I've got the 30" version - interesting to hear about the heat loss through the glass, I would have thought they'd have double paned it .

For monitoring temperature, keep in mind that a number of pounds of meat will add a lot of thermal load to they system, and the water pan does as well. Once the food's in place, the temperature swings will be slower and getting up to temp is slower too. A thermometer probe in the meat, and another just beside it, will give you the best guide to what the meat's really exposed to rather than relying on the thermostat reading.

Best of luck with your new Smoker! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #7 of 7
Pork Butt is probably the most fail-proof thing to smoke at the start. Plenty of mass, hard to mess up, and very tasty.

Do this:
  1. Give the pork butt a good coat of rub and leave in fridge over ninght.
  2. Pull it out and let it rest for hour on the counter. Fire up the MES and let it come to temperature.
  3. Stick a thermometer probe into the thickest part of the butt, but not near the bone. Feed the thermometer lead out through the exhaust stack.
  4. Set the MES for 10 hours @ 250 degrees. Set remote thermometer to 195 degrees.
  5. Add a couple of small wood chunks every 45-60 minutes until meat is at 140 degrees.
  6. Wait for remote thermometer to beep when it's done.
  7. Pull from the pit and wrap in foil and let rest 30-60 minutes.
  8. Pull that baby apart and add extreme goodness for your meal!
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SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Electric Smokers › Thanks all for the advice! The final: 7 of 10 say “go bigâ€.