I joined the ranks this past weekend, but won't get to give my new 30" MES a test run until next weekend. I've been reading the forums here and trying to gather as much information as possible to make it a success. I've already ordered a Maverick E-73 thermometer, so should be able to get reliable temps. I picked up a few bags of mesquite and hickory chips, so should ready.
Sounds like a butt would be a good candidate for my first attempt, after I season the smoker of course. From what I've read, sounds like there are some basic rules to follow.
1. Rub down the meat, wrap and refrigerate over night.
2. Let meat sit at room temp while preheating smoker. Pre-heat smoker to around 250-275, maybe throw some chips in towards the end.
3. Take heat down to about 225, add the meat (with temp probe inserted), along with water pan of boiling water, apple vinegar, etc.
4. Add chips about every 30 min for first few hours, then maybe every hour as necessary
5. Spray meat with apple juice/rum/vinegar mixture every hour or so
6. Cook until around 200-205 internal, remove from smoker and wrap in foil for about an hour
7. Let rest for 10-15 min, pull, and enjoy
If that sounds about right, I guess I'm good to go. If I missed something, please let me know.
My biggest concerns (from reading posts here) are getting the right amount of smoke. I guess I'll start with some soaked chips at first, then progress towards dry if no smoke appears. I'm also a bit worried about the water pan...should it need to be refilled, or is it usually only filled at the beginning?
Thanks for all the posts I've seen here...it's really been a big help to a rookie. I'll try to get some pics and document the fun next weekend.