Help Please

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by trentt11, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. trentt11

    trentt11 Newbie

    I'm certainly still a beginner when it comes to smoking meats.  I've had a MES for about a year or so now and use it intermittently and needless to say, I'm not yet a pit master.  I've found a few recipes online that I like and they cook up relatively well, but here's my lingering problem. 

    As opposed to getting a flavorful smoke, I almost feel like i'm tainting the meat.  Last night, my wife suggested (and I agreed) that the overpowering smoke flavor almost made it seem like we were eating the mesquite wood chips themselves (in a bad way).  This problem isn't limited to the mesquite, but I use it the most. 

    In another thread, i was reading the debate about open or closed vents, and my vent has been closed since i bought it (out of ignorance).  Do you think smoking with a closed vent is contributing to this problem?  Are there any other suggestions for getting this right? Cooking too long?

    Thanks in advance. 
     
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just want to keep an eye on this one.  I don't own and have never used an electric smoker but I think you've hit the nail on the head with the closed vent. 

    Mesquite is also a great tasting wood but has to be used in moderation.  It can easily overpower the meat in any type smoker.  Try mixing it with something lighter like apple. 
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    2 things jump out at me. The use of mesquite and the closed vent. Mesquite is way too strong for my taste. Try some mild fruit wood like apple or cherry.
    And open that vent. Smoke is kinda like a one night stand. You want it to blow a kiss on the way out, not hang around all day.
     
    trentt11 and welshrarebit like this.
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can partially close the vents to help regulate the internal temperature when smoking but do not close them completely. You need to have a constant flow of smoke and air over the meat else you can easily get creosote flavours forming. This will probably be even more apparent with mesquite as it is a very strong flavour of smoke to begin with.
     
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A lot of my views on this subject have been covered above:

    #1   I keep my MES top vent wide open to keep the smoke flowing. I don't want it hanging around getting stale.

    If it's very windy, I cut it back to 50% open to keep the wind from sucking the heat out, and I only close it when preheating & storing.

    #2   I personally use mostly Hickory, because it's about the strongest, except for Mesquite, and Mesquite is even a bit strong for me.

    #3   Last but not least is the lack of ability of an electric smoker, like our MES 30s and MES 40s to produce a consistent TBS or light smoke. When you put chips in the MES it takes awhile to get smoking lightly, then it gets to a nice amount of smoke, then it gets a bit heavy, then too heavy. Then after awhile it begins to smoke less, then back to a real nice smoke, then real light, and then it stops.

    So you put some more chips in, and start the whole cycle again. So throughout your smoke, you get No Smoke, Light Smoke, Nice Smoke, Heavy Smoke, Too Heavy Smoke, again and again and again.

    This is why I went to the AMNS & the AMNPS nearly 6 years ago, because you can load one up, get it lit properly, put it in your smoker, and have perfect constant, consistent smoke for as long as you want up to 11 straight hours, without touching it again.

    An MES and an AMNPS is a match made in Smoking Heaven, formerly known as Minnesota.

    This may sound like an advertisement, but I'm sure there are Hundreds & Hundreds of smokers on this forum alone who will agree with what I said above.

    Bear
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
    daricksta likes this.
  6. As the others have said above vent wide open and try a milder wood. Also you may be adding to much wood at a time. Look into a AMNPS and you will be able to control the amount of smoke and not have to be adding chips. If you are soaking your chips don't. 

    I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcome?

    Happy smoken.

    David
     
  7. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You've got some awesome advise, I will toss in one more vote for the AMNPS ! Just some info for ya, I have to use the sawdust in my AMNPS due to my elevation as I'am just shy of 5,000 ft. A lot of folks can use both pellets & sawdust (not at the same time) in the AMNPS. Just take into account your elevation is my point if you do get the AMNPS ! Like Bear said, not trying to be an advertisement for the product, it just works so well. The owner, Todd has a sale going on right now til the end of the month with free shipping with a $50 purchase & 20% off !
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  8. tjohnson

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

    Try intermittently dumping 1/4 cup of chips in the chip loader

    Too many chips at once and you can get some icky smoke

    Exhaust on your MES should be WIDE OPEN

    In-order to increase air flow, pull the chip loader out 1"-2"

    Do you own the New Gen 2 or the Old Model MES?
     
  9. sota d

    sota d Smoking Fanatic

    I will also advise getting an AMZN. I recently got mine and love it! That being said, I smoked in my MES 30 for a year without it and had very good results. As said, keep the exhaust wide open, don't soak the chips, only load to the top of the trough in the loader per MB instructions, don't reload til no more smoke(or very little) is being produced-usually about 40 minutes. I have never used mesquite-it has a rep of being very strong. I used a 50/50 mix of hickory and apple and got great smoke flavor. The AMZN is the way to go, but you can have good smokes till you get one(and you will get one), just more work without it! Good luck on future smokes, David.
     
  10. trentt11

    trentt11 Newbie

    I'm on the old gen MES.  I appreciate all of the friendly advice from everyone.  
     
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Trentt, I have a variety of wood pellets, mesquite being one of them but I've only used it once or twice. Oversmoking is typically a newbie problem which I have plead guilty to in my first year of smoking. LIke you I don't smoke as much as many guys here but I've learned a lot over the three years I've owned my MES 30 Gen 1.

    My early smokes were all harsh and too smoky because I was using wood chips. Thanks to guys here I only use the AMNPS which burns wood pellets. The AMNPS by design can prevent oversmoking which is why I recommend it. I've been using it for two years and everything I cook in my MES turns out really nice; very tasty with a nice smoky finish. With some smokes you want to foil the meat for a few others, with others you smoke the meat unfoiled. There are all kinds of techniques and wood pellet choices depending on the type of meat and the recipe. My favorite wood is hickory but I also like using oak, apple, and pecan, among a couple of others. Todd Johnson is my source for wood pellets.

    I always keep the top vent open but with the AMNPS I don't pull out the wood chip loader because in my smoker there's no need to.
     
  12. greywolf1

    greywolf1 Fire Starter

    I'm still learning the tricks but decided to try hickory pellets in my wood tray before I bought an AMNPS . I put a handful of pellets in the tray , light them up , blew the flame out after about 5 minutes

    and slid it back in place .I smoked a half dozen rib-eye steaks then seered them on the bbq for a minute each side, it worked fantastic. I'm going to use my mes 30 like this for a bit just to make sure it gives me consistently good smoke.
     
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How long did you get smoke with this method? I guess if you lay them in pattern similar to the AMNPS rows it will give you smoke for a bit. The beauty of the AMNPS is that you can load a bunch of pellets into each row while the pellet smoker keeps those rows separated. Because of the volume of pellets you can load the AMNPS will produce smoke for up to 11 hours or perhaps more.
     
  14. greywolf1

    greywolf1 Fire Starter

    The first thing I smoked using pellets was a jalapeno cheese and bacon burger log . I covered the bottom of the chip tray with about half an inch of pellets, lit it up the same as with the steaks slid it back in , smoked the log for 4 and a half hours and the pellets were still smoking when I took it out after the log came out. 
     
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Greywolf, this is in a MES? Did you have any problems with the pellets moving around when you moved the chip tray into place?

    That jalapeno cheese bacon burger log sounds deelish. Is this your own invention, from a recipe, or did you buy it?
     
  16. greywolf1

    greywolf1 Fire Starter

    Yes it is a 30" MES digital and yes I could hear the pellets move slightly but I had one whole side lit and with the heating element right at the chip tray the whole top of the pellets were smoking when I took the tray out.

    Its not my recipe , I went on the MES site and clicked recipes . They have a bunch of good recipes there, I just use my own spice combo that I came up with for the BBQ, I'm one of those people that like to experiment with spices    lol
     
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You're a clever guy! The AMNPS just does what you did on the wood chip tray but makes it so much easier. When it comes to spices and rubs I typically follow recipes but might tweak it a little here and there. If you watch shows on BBQ, all those different cooks have their own rub and BBQ sauce recipes. It's taken them years of experimenting to come up with the ingredients and their proportions. I don't have the patience to experiment with all that but I bet it'd be right up your alley. You might want to buy a couple of smoking books and perhaps check out Steven Raichlen's "Barbecue! Bible: Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes" for lots of recipe ideas. You can use these as reference points and then let your imagination take off.
     
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Forgot to ask, Do you keep both your smoker and grill outside? Smoking steaks and then searing them on the grill is a common practice but since I typically only take either my MES or my Weber charcoal kettle grill out of the garage by itself I've never done that. It's enough for me just to prepare either one for cooking. But darn it, now you've got me thinking of what hickory or oak-smoked ribeyes would taste like, ribeye being my favorite steak.
     
  19. greywolf1

    greywolf1 Fire Starter

    My smoker is about 8' from my grill , I was a big grill man till I got the smoker . I might just weld gates like the AMNPS in my chip tray if I need to.

    I have one book called Smoke & Spice, gives me good ideas on rubs and sauses. The sauses I pretty much go item for item its the rubs I mix and match

    until I come up with one I like.
     
  20. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoke & Spice was the first smoking book I bought. It's really good and I made one of the rubs from there. It was great. I might have made one of the sauces as well. I see you as a guy who will use those recipes as starting points and then start thinking of ways you can tweak them. I also made rubs and sauces from the Raichlen book. Over a year later I'm still using those same rubs on ribs and briskets.

    As I wrote, I own a Weber 22.5" One Touch charcoal kettle grill and that remains my favorite way to cook outdoors. I greatly enjoy using my MES but I love that Weber. I keep both in my garage because I live in Washington state and I don't have a covered outside spot to keep them. The only time I used both at the same time was ribfest for my favorite brother-in-law's birthday. Cooked two racks of St. Louis ribs in rib racks on my Weber and two racks of baby backs right beside it in my MES. I just wanted to experiment with the differences in the finished products. Both turned out great.

    Interesting idea to weld gates to your MES if you've got the equipment and skill to do it. I'm not at all inclined that way. If it's a new smoker you should wait until after the warranty period expires to make the mod. After you've done it you must post the photo here.
     

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