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First smoke fail

Tim W

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Joined Oct 20, 2018
Hey all. Just wanted to share my first experience for some feedback. Took the newsletter recipe for wings and smoked them for about an hour and a half at probably 260 then a quick broil. Working on an electric masterbuilt. Results?

1. Rubber skin - reading some other forum posts should probably have either broiled longer or thrown on grill to crisp it up. Right? What about the water pan...should I leave that empty?

2. The meat was tender, but wayyy too much smoke. This pretty much made everyone ill. My two year old threw up lol so an obvious fail and my wife felt sick. Meat was to temperature so not worried about that and my wife looked up yes too much smoke can upset stomachs. How much should I open the vent to let the smoke flow through? I had it pretty much closed the whole time. Should I smoke them the whole time? How do I strike the balance?

Thanks! I won't let this fail get me down!
 

mike243

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Vents open and a shorter time in smoker,my wife cant tolerate a heavy smoke flavor these days,crisp them up whichever way is easier grill or oven
 

normanaj

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Tim W

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Oh. Would the vents open be enough to not make it so smoky? Or should I smoke for half the time or something?
 

Tim W

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Hickory. Recipe said with short smoke time shouldnt matter. I think vents closed prob killed it...
 

SmokinAl

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Top vent always wide open!!
The smoke has to circulate then exit.
Al
 

meatiee4

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OH, don't worry..My first smoke was also a fail..But don't worry, if you work on it, it will be better in the future! As previous guys wrote - top vent should always be wide open. Follow this advice and hope next time will be better!
 

TomKnollRFV

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Top vent at least half open for sure is how I do it.... I've oversmoked things before as well. I strongly suggest trying some different woods to also find one you like. Stronger woods might just not be your thing; invest in some apple or adler. Those are much milder and sweeter on the palate.

And the Waterpan is entirely un needed in the MES. Definitely foil it up.
 

johnmeyer

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Having also had epic fails with my MES, I should ask whether you noticed just not the amount of smoke, but also the quality of the smoke? By quality, I am wondering if the smoke tasted bitter, or numbed your tongue? "Too much smoke" usually doesn't make people ill but instead simply tastes too strong, like something with too much pepper or spice. Too much smoke shouldn't make them physically ill.

However, creosote, which will taste bitter and will numb your tongue, could definitely make you feel ill. Creosote was, for me, the main issue that caused me at one time to consider throwing out my MES. Here are the things I did to overcome all the "bad smoke" problems I was having.

1. Keep the vent open. Actually, I never closed it, but as others have said, closing it is a big no-no in an MES.

2. Use the AMNPS. I found that the chips produced fairly bitter smoke, no matter what.

3. Don't soak the chips. If you do continue to use the MES chip loader, and don't convert to using the AMNPS, then at least make sure that your chips are dry. Soaking chips is for use when sprinkled on charcoal, or for use in a gas grill smoke box, not for the MES.

4. Burn off the old gunk. Once you develop creosote inside the smoker (it will be pure black, and very shiny), you need to get rid of it, or it will continue to pollute your later smokes. If you've only done a few smokes, you may be able to get rid of most of it by running your MES empty, set to its highest temperature, for at least 2-3 hours. If that doesn't work, you'll have to clean it off with isopropyl alcohol, or appropriate degreaser/cleaner.

5. Don't use any water in the water pan.

6. Use the AMNPS in a "mailbox mod". For me, this was the point where the MES finally started producing really tasty food. Producing smoke in an external box gives you complete control over both the amount and the quality of the smoke. It also frees you to use lower smoking temperatures, and even do cold-smoking.
 

Tim W

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Joined Oct 20, 2018
This is awesome you guys are so helpful. John it wasn't the quality of the smoke I think it was just the quantity. Gotta vent it lol. I will keep an eye out for creosite as I keep on burning. Interested in the mailbox mod in the future but probably too advanced for me at this point lol.

I will probably try a few more before I venture into the amnps.

And thanks Tom I will try out some different woods as well.

Any other tips for beginners are welcome I really appreciate it!
 

TomKnollRFV

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This is awesome you guys are so helpful. John it wasn't the quality of the smoke I think it was just the quantity. Gotta vent it lol. I will keep an eye out for creosite as I keep on burning. Interested in the mailbox mod in the future but probably too advanced for me at this point lol.

I will probably try a few more before I venture into the amnps.

And thanks Tom I will try out some different woods as well.

Any other tips for beginners are welcome I really appreciate it!
Another tip? Try a pork butt for pulled pork. Take on the easiest stuff and get into the more difficult stuff.
 

Tim W

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Thanks Tom that was next on my list! For some reason I thought wings would be easy haha
 

Braz

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All the above advice is spot on. One more thing, thin blue smoke (tbs) is what you are looking for. I get the smoker up to temp and let the smoke roll for a while to get a good draft going before starting to cook - let the thick white smoke dissipate before putting the meat in.
 

Tim W

Newbie
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Joined Oct 20, 2018
All the above advice is spot on. One more thing, thin blue smoke (tbs) is what you are looking for. I get the smoker up to temp and let the smoke roll for a while to get a good draft going before starting to cook - let the thick white smoke dissipate before putting the meat in.
Thanks Braz!
 

JckDanls 07

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One more tip... If your gonna keep using chips... don't put so many in each time... try just a half cup (or so) and see if that doesn't lighten up on the smoke a little too... You may have to add a little more frequently .. that's one of the reason's for the AMNPS... right amount of smoke for up to 10 hrs ... Pecan is my fav.
 

gmc2003

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I'll only add one item to the todo list. Remember that poultry takes on smoke really quickly. It's very easy to over-smoke. I've found the best way to smoke chicken parts especially wings is hot and fast. I use the Vortex with a chunk or two of apple or hickory over the coals. My kettle is running somewhere in the 400*+ mark and the chicken come off with a perfect hint of smoke and skin that is very comparable to wings deep fried. You'll have to adjust to this method to the equipment that you have but it its easily achievable. Good luck next time.

Chris
 

mneeley490

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One more tip that I didn't see anyone else mention. Leave out the water in the pan, but fill it with playground sand instead, and then foil over the top. This will act as a heat sink and keep the temperature more steady. Heat swings can be crazy sometimes in a MES.
 

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