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Charcoal in an MES?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by strecker25, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. strecker25

    strecker25 Fire Starter

    I had a thought today about how to get consistent smoke, and also noticed people seem to get much better smoke ring with charcoal as fuel.  I have since found the retro kit for my MES since i have the tiny chip tray, and am working on getting that, but what about putting a piece or two of smoldering charcoal to keep the smoke coming off the chips?  Not sure if this would damage anything, although i dont see how it would.

    interested to hear some thoughts.
  2. richoso1

    richoso1 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The charcoal may make the chips burn too fast or flare-up. You'll have to try it to know. It's all good my friend.
  3. strecker25

    strecker25 Fire Starter

    True, ill have to give it a shot. Is it typically a bad thing to have smoldering chips?  I have heard people go for chips that end with being black all the way through instead of turning to ash.
  4. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    It's been suggested many times.  I've tried it and didn't see much difference.  I only tried it with a chunk of a briquette. 

    I've since finetuned my method if I want a smokering.  I'll start on charcoal and then move to the MES with the AMNS.
  5. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I would also like to know,I have been starting on my old offset for 1 hr with charcoal and wood,then move to my pre-heated mes for the remainder.It may be my imagination(which is very possible)but I get a smoke ring and a little more flavor.keep in mind I only do this on large cuts of meat....
  6. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yo strecker25, the charcoal idea has been around for several years and many MES owners have tried it, including myself.  The primary reason MES owners gave charcoal a try was to generate a smoke ring in the meat.  The results have been very mixed, sometimes it worked and sometimes it doesn't.  The bottom line is that charcoal does nothing for flavor/taste, and great tasting Q is all about flavor/taste, not a smoke ring.  MES owners are strictly backyard BBQers and the only people who will be impress with their smoke ring would be them, everyone else eating their Q will be paying attention to the big flavors and how it tastes.

    Having said all that, one of the fun parts of smoking Q is experimenting, your experimenting shows your thinking and trying to take your Q to the next level.  So go boy, keep at it you will hit upon ideas that will deliver great results, some you share and some we keep to ourselves because it makes our Q unique.

    Smoke ON DUDE!
  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've tried adding charcoal to the chip pan with very little if no benefit.  The 1200 watt element in my MES would fire up and chips would either burn up quickly and produce some nasty billowing smoke, or the element would heat up the box so fast, that the chips do not get a chance to burn properly. 

    I'm probably not patient enough to give it a fair chance, and your results may be different than mine.

    I say give it a try and post your results on SMF.

  8. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    You probably get more flavor because you're probably burning more wood when you have it on charcoal.  After you move it to the MES you're giving it less smoke.  That's how I do most of my briskets but I keep them on the offset for 3-5 hrs, however long it takes for my fire to burn down with maybe 1 or 2 fuel adds.  I've done briskets in the MES only using the AMNS and had pretty good results.  I do have to agree that it seems like I get more flavor when starting on charcoal.