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Newbie... Just bought 30'' MES

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm fairly new to smokers. I just bought my first one from Lowes. I bought the 30" Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse. Here are some questions:

- I'm really not sure how to use the air vent? Should it only be shut when I am using wood? When should I open it?

- For the wood - what size wood do you use? Some of the wood looks like it might be to big to put into the chamber?

- How often do I need to put more wood into the chamber?

- Is there any problem opening up the door in the middle of smoking to check the temp of the meat?

- What is the best way to test the temp of meat - a prob? What is the best one to buy?

I appreciate your help.
post #2 of 13
Welcome to SMF !!!

- Whenever the smoker is smoldering woodchips keep the airvent (exhaust) wide open. Otherwise the food product you are smoking will get a bitter, creosote taste that is not very enjoyable.

- With my MES's I use wood chips, if you have large chunks cut them or bust them up into smaller peices.

- How much smoke you put to your food is all a matter of personal taste. Don't overpower your food with billowing smoke from the smoker, keep it so you can just faintly smell smoke and where the smoke is barely visible. I like to put smoke to the food for about an hour and half to two hours.

- A majority of us use digital electric thermometer (Maverick ET-73 for instance)that monitor both the internal temperature of the food product and the internal temperature of the smoker. Opening the door loses heat and just makes smoking tak longer. Also with your MES I would check that the digital thermometer is accurate with a thermometer that you trust.

Also remember to season your smoker before the first time you use it, so that metal tastes from the manufacturer are burned off and do not get that taste into your food.

Glad you joined us, you are just getting into a very addictive hobby. Have fun and enjoy a cold refreshment while you are smoking !!!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
MossyMO - thanks for your quick reply.

- I assume to season the smoker, I just run it at 275 for 3 hours and put in a little wood chips the last hour? At least that is what I am going to do.

- On the digital Thermometer - I guess you put one end of the prob inside the smoker (in the meat) and watch the temp from the wireless device. That way you control the temperature better and don't need to rely on what the MES says.

- If I had 2 different meats in the smoker - would I need two prob's or just rely on the one.

- Do you soak your wood chips prior?
I plan on having several cold refreshments while smoking this summer.
post #4 of 13
How you intend on seasoning it will work fine. I beieve MES instructions also say how to season it. I would either wipe the interior down with vegtable oil or spray it down with Pam prior to turning it on.

On the dual probe thermometer one probe into the meat and the other through a potato so the end of the probe is visibly through the potato and this will read your actual smoker temperature.

With two meats a few probes is nice to have, but you can open the door to switch back an d forth, there again losing smoker heat and making the smoke time longer. I have 6 different digital thermo's with cabled probes.

Soaking wood chips is kind of personal choice, some here do and some don't. With my MES I do, in fact I like soaking the chips and then freezing them in a ziplock, then I always have soaked woodchips on hand.
post #5 of 13
Pretty much what Mossy said.

You got the seasoning down.

I would get a Maverick 2 probe thermo et7 or et73 I have the et7 and Amazon had them for half off, works good on the MES for 2 meats, and also for the grate temps.

No soaking, I buy the chunks and split them to size. I usually smoke for most of the time until done or foiled depending what I am smoking.

Good luck!
post #6 of 13
Welcome to the SMF family! If you're new to smoking meats in general, I'd suggest the free, 5-day ecourse offered through the site to get the most out of your new smoker!

Good luck, and hope to see some pics of the grub from that rig!
post #7 of 13

Mossy Mo...

said it just about perfect and make sure to spend some extra money on a good thermometer you dont want to trust the MES. Good luck and have fun smoking.
post #8 of 13
My #1 rule with my MES is to give it at least a 1/2 hour to properly heat up before putting in the meat. Then I use the wood dump to put the first handful of chips into the burner. I usually give each handfull of chips about an hour and a half to smoke their little hearts out before adding more.

At the very start, to get the temps up to 230-240f I close the top vent all the way, then when the temp is 220f or more I open the vent all the way and dump on the first load of chips.

Most of the time you have to really look closely to even see the thin blue smoke from the MES, especially if there is any wind. If you can barely see or smell smoke there's plenty. Even though you can barely see it coming out the vent when you open the door you will see that there is plenty of smoke in the smoker. The MES does not need a lot of wood. In my experience the MES does not give a very good smoke ring but it does give a great smoke taste which is really the whole point after all. I smoke thru the whole time the meat is in there. After a while you will develop a preference for what type of wood you use and how much smoke you like with your finished product. It is not an exact science and with the MES it is actually quite hard to screw it up.

I love mine.

Ps, A SMF member advised me that if you like that slight charcoal taste and a better looking smoke ring you can add about 4 live charcoal coals to the MES firebox right at the start of your smoke. I have not tried this yet but it seems plausable.

Oh yeah and welcome to the SMF glad to have you aboard.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. I just ordered a Maverick ET-7 and should have it for this weekend. My first smoke - I plan on trying some brisket and pulled pork. My next effort will be on what rub I need to use for both of these and to figure out how long I should plan on smoking them? I'd like to have it for dinner on Saturday - so will need to figure out how long it will take, etc.
Looking forward to a long summer with the new smoker.
post #10 of 13
Congratulations on your MES, love mine!
post #11 of 13
sounds like you are ready for some major smoking. Brisket and pork butt. Nice ambitious way to start. Just remember that these meats can take hours and don't get frustrated during the stall. Some meats may take longer than anticipated so don't cook by time. You might expect 1.5 hr/lb but it doesn't always turn out that way. Don't want guests nibbling on apps all evening waiting on the main course. So if planning a dinner party, get started much earlier than expected. These meats will hold wrapped in foil and towels in a cooler for several hours after they are done. So plan ahead and when dinner time comes you can effortlessly serve some of the best Q around. You come out smelling as good as your Q.

Look forward to some reports of your first smoke and don't forget the Q view.
post #12 of 13
I too have a 30" MES and love it. It took me a couple weeks to get the hang of it, but with the help of this forum I've had excellent results.

The meat probe thermo is highly suggested, it makes life a lot easier than opening the door all the time.

I've taken to a large handful of soaked chips after the smoker hits temp, then I insert the meat and the chips at the same time. Keeping the vent wide open is a good idea, my first brisket was so nasty I could barely bear to smell it in the trash.

Keep an eye on the grease trap on the back, especially if you keep it on your deck. Putting a mat or rug underneath is suggested.

I see your nick has MSU in it, are you a Michigander too?

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes, I grew up in Michigan - went to State.

I appreciate all the advice and have read through the forum for tips. I'm ready to smoke this weekend.

Currently live in Dallas. Let's go Wings!
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