How The AMNPS Affects The MES 30

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by daricksta, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member



    Here's 3 St. Louis Ribs I smoked in my MES 30 yesterday using hickory and oak wood pellets in my AMNPS, filling all 3 rows. I didn't foil them so they developed a thick black bark which is not the way I like them. I prefer the wet look with no bark which comes from the 3-2-1 method or variations on it. I also overcooked them by about 30 minutes.

    Just want to talk about lighting the AMNPS. I bought a box of canned gelled alcohol at Lowes since they didn't have squeeze bottles. I spooned the gel onto the top of the wood pellets near the AMNPS front hole, underneath the AMNPS in the same spot, and I spooned it into the front hole and lit the hole thing with a BBQ lighter. It worked. After the flames were going for about 20 minutes I blew on it, got the red cherry, and inserted the AMNPS lit end first toward the rear wall. It performed flawlessly over a 7 hour smoke and I had a small section of unburnt pellets remaining near the front hole at the end.

    First, the MES controller was rock solid for most of the smoke, no temp fluctations. I was using my ET-733 and placed the FOOD (#1) probe on the rear right of the 2nd rack and the BARBECUE (#2) probe on the far left on the 3rd rack. My target temp was 250°. At first the right side was way hotter than the left, then a few hours in they both were pretty close and the controller temp was pretty close to the ET-733 temp displays, then in the last hour or so the temps on the ET-733 climbed to 270/266° AND the left side grew hotter than the left.

    To me the only explanation was that the additional heat was coming from the AMNPS; the burning pellets started in the rear on the right side, came down to the front and turned the corner to burn down the center row back to the row, turned the corner again and came burning down the left side. That would account for the areas of increased temps I saw. Add to that three racks of ribs that are radiating heat on their own as they cook and get close to being done and that's why you'll see those temp changes necessitating raising or lowering your set point. For the most part, though, the MES controller screen showed a temp about 20° lower than the actual temp. When I was seeing 270° it was still showing 250. In the end I had to lower the set point to 235° to get near my target set point of 250° with both probes.

    So, to summarize, when you're smoking and using the AMNPS you've got to account for the additional heat being produced by the wood pellets and where on the AMNPS they're burning. You've also got to account for heat being given off by the meat. The AMNPS performed flawlessly with wood pellets left over after 7 hours. There were no temp swings with the MES controller. It pretty much stayed around a particular temp, give or take 2-3 degrees which is highly acceptable.

    Next time I return to foiling the ribs and will also return to using baby back ribs since I just found out I prefer those to St. Louis ribs since you don't have those tiny riblet bones to pick out of your mouth. I hate that.
     
    bearcarver likes this.
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I use my AMNPS in a mailbox mod and it doesn't seem to put out much heat. The mailbox is barely even warm to the touch. You might have been getting larger temp variations from the positioning of the meat and just the nature of the MES to vary throughout the cooking process.
     
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's the key difference then. Do you see much in the way of temp changes or fluctuations?

    I just don't want to go through the hassle of buying the materials and constructing the mailbox. It'd also be one more thing I'd have to bring out and put away. Last night was hassle enough cleanin the racks, grease tray, and outside of the water pan after dinner. Then I had to put everything back and put all my smoking stuff back into my garage. As I've said before I take a minimalist approach to using my MES.
     
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    That's why I like my cart setup. Everything I need stays on the cart. I just roll it out, plug it in, then roll it back in when I am done.

     
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What a great setup! I'd love the cart but we're tight for room in my garage--too much junk to be rid of that we're not rid of yet. Did you purchase this cart set up this way or did you build it yourself?
     
  6. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    It is a tool cart I got on Craig's List that I lowered the top shelf on then added the side shelf (built out of diamond plate and some angle pieces). It doesn't look that good anymore. It is full of bags of pellets, torches, racks, and all sort of crap that has accumulated. 
     
  7. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    daRicksta,

    How did the inside turn out?  If the outside bark is too heavy you may be able to save them with a finishing juice like Chef jimmy's on the stove top.  Debone it and make pulled rib meat or homemade McRibs.  24 hrs. in the fridge with a finishing juice and the pulled meat really soaks it up and softens heavy bark. 
     
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Funny how you accumulate all that stuff, isn't it? I'm done with using a propane torch (what'll I do with my leftover cans of propane?) since my successful experiment with gelled alcohol as an AMNPS lighter. It was easy and worked great. The pellets never went out over the 7 hours I smoked and I even had some unburnt ones left over!

    I shy away from craigslist. Some very bad people sometimes post there or answer ads. On the other hand, we have a good friend who swears by it.
     
  9. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I buy a lot of stuff on there and my wife always says I'm crazy because of the crazy people that use the site. But I always meet during daylight hours, in public places, and I am always armed [​IMG]
     
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Kurt,

    That's the amazing thing! The meat was falling off the bone and totally moist. It wasn't overly smoked either, which really surprised me. As a finishing juice I just used some Pendelton BBQ Sauce but I'm going back to Stubbs Original. When we have time my wife makes up the BBQ sauce while I take care of the rub (but she's also thrown a rub together herself in the past while I've made BBQ sauce). Ideally though I like a slight tug instead of falling off the bone but next time I'll exert more hands on control. Except for fooling around with the set points it was among the easiest smokes I've done.

    The McRibs sandwich idea is fabulous! I already purloined one of their best sellers when I created my Bagel McRick which is famous throughout my family. Had to create the Muffin McRick version for my daughter who doesn't like bagels. Even after all my years in the business (3 years with my MES) I didn't know finishing juice will soften bark. I should check out Chef Jimmy's recipe because I rarely check his threads. I typically don't check out much since it's all I can do to post and respond to posts during my limited time on SMF.
     
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just learned more about you! Too bad those poor sellers who were shot to death weren't armed. We're not weaponized at all in our homes. Too many potential problems with guns as far as we're concerned. We do have things that can be used as weapons but we've never had any incidents. I prefer to buy most things new anyway unless we come across a really good deal on a particular used item, be it a motor vehicle or something else.
     
  12. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I understand the potential for issues. The wife and I both are trained and have our concealed carry permit and we keep everything locked up so my daughter can't get to it. 
     
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's the way it's supposed to be done. Years ago I inherited an old S&W .38 Police Special plus a tray of ammo from my dad. It's action was very stiff and I never put a round in to try it out. I had it hidden in the top shelf of our bedroom closet. My daughter was about four years old at the time and my son was a newborn. I just worried that somewhere down the years one or both would find the gun and ammo. I wound up turning it all in at a local police station and we've never had another gun in the house.
     
  14. miersc77

    miersc77 Smoke Blower

    Sorry the ribs weren't your style, still looked tasty. Good idea about lighting the AMNPS, might have to give it a shot. Mine should be here tomorrow.
     
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh yeah--it was the AMNPS you have on the way! I still really liked the ribs and I tell you--my favorite bro-in-law AND his two dogs went bananas over them. The style I turned out is very popular and I see it on TV all the time when those travel shows hit BBQ restaurants around the country. But the thing is that I now know how to make ribs in two different styles anytime I want.
     
  16. miersc77

    miersc77 Smoke Blower

    Those are my favorite two styles, the way I like em, and the way everyone else likes em! Love it when family enjoys the Q!
     
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It's so easy to do. Unlike other cooks I've never compiled a notebook of what I've done in the past for future reference. I don't have time to get into it: writing down meats and cheeses temps and hours smoked and wood chips and rubs and mops used and foiled or unfoiled. I just remember the important stuff that I did. I'll remember that this last time I smoked 3 racks of St. Louis ribs and didn't foil them and the result was thicker bark. I already remember that I've twice smoked baby backs and foiled them and what rubs and mops I used and the temp I cooked them at and about how long and how they turned out. But each time I smoke I learn something new whether it's what to repeat or what not to do again.

    I'm not trying to raise my smoking skills to competition level. I'm just trying to be the best smoker I can be in my own backyard and to please whoever eats at my table.
     
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sorry, one more post. This is a photo from Jeff's current newsletter. I've produced smoked ribs that look just like these. I don't like heavy black bark on my pork ribs or beef brisket. I don't like the texture or the taste. This is my favorite style and the one my family prefers. Use the 3-2-1 method (or 2-2-1 or other variations) and you'll get this result every time.
     
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great MES testing Rick!![​IMG]

    I'm sure a lot of People learned a bunch from this Thread!!![​IMG]

    Thanks for sharing this!!-------------------[​IMG]

    Bear
     
  20. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Bear. I sure hope this was educational. I know it was for me and that my technique will continue to improve. It's great when you're cooking anything and are totally confident that you know what you're doing.
     

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