How to get more smoke flavor in a boston butt on the MES?

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by steve973, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    Hello all.  I am 6 or so smokes in with my MES 30, and I am getting mixed results.  I have had great luck with getting thinner things, like sausages and ribs, to take on great smoke flavor.  However, I am not getting nearly enough smoke flavor into boston butts.  I have tried using the chip loader and burner, as well as the AMNPS lit a both ends.  The finished pulled pork tastes mostly like a good, tender, and moist pork roast, but it does not have a very smokey flavor like good pulled pork should have.  Does anyone else have this problem?  What might I do?
  2. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    I should mention that I am always using hickory (when using either pellets or chips) when I am smoking a boston butt.
  3. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like you're doing everything right, so far. Perhaps you could cut it in half, lengthwise, to expose more surface area to the smoke?
  4. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    What time/temp are you running the butt?
  5. moses

    moses Meat Mopper

    Buy a Masterbuilt Cold Smoke attachment. Gives nonstop smoke with no hassle. Also not sure what temp your cooking at or for how long but that might play a factor. Rumor is, smoke will no longer penatrate after 4hrs but I don't know if that is factual.
  6. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    are you putting the butt in cold or room temp?

    Is the smoker at temp and smoke rolling upon meat addition or cold & just starting amnps?
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Steve:

    Try Hickory pellets in your AMNPS, and try the following Step by Step:
  8. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    I use 100% hickory pellets in my AMNPS.  I preheat to 220-230, verified by my Ivation remote probe.  I get the pellets smoker going and I put it in with the meat.  The meat is at refrigerated temperature when I put it on.  I am not worried about the time it takes, because it is only done when it reaches 205F.  I put the meat probe into the pork after about 4 hours, and then wrap it in foil when it reaches 165F.  Then I set the alarm on my thermometer for when it reaches 205F and take it out then.

    I was looking at the Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment, and I think I am going to try it!
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Without knowing anymore, I am guessing you are moping, spritzing, saucing, etc.

    Put your chip tray in the unit about an hour or so after you add the meat, about when you probe it. You may be starting too early with the smoke.

    If you are moping, spritzing or saucing you let all the smoke out every time you open the door.

    You can use an aux. smoke generator. If its soft and low like AMPs a full tray will be needed. It works great. If you are using something like the masterbuilt cold smoker it smokes well but for a shiorter time. One slow and long, one fast and short.

    I never had problems just reloading the tray, usually the inital charge, and one maybe two reloads. Don't expect to see clouds of smoke exiting the vent. If its smoking like that you are not getting any good smoke taste. If you can barely see the smoke, almost clear, actually a thin blue smoke, to are doing all the good.

    Do not hurry your reloads of the chip tray. you want to allow the chips to reach a white completely  combusted ash stage. Blacken chips mean you wasted the best part.

    Just some ideas that came pretty quick. Leave the door shut, if you are lookin you ain't cookin. Learn to use the vent to regulate the smoke which regulates how fast it peters out. White ash is easily achieved with a wide open vent, but a semi open vent allows it to smoke longer due to slowing the ability of oxygen to reach the coals to cause either a smolder or combustion.
  10. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    I never open the door except to put the AMNPS tray and the food inside.  I open it again to put the meat probe into the meat.  I open it once again when I foil the meat at 165F, and I open it one last time when it reaches 205F.  I have not found a need to mop, since it stays moist until the end.  So I get thin blue smoke from the AMNPS, but as I mentioned, it is not nearly enough for pulled pork butt.
  11. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    Have you ever tried to run it up to 200+ without foil wrapping?

    Vent wide open?  have you tired shutting it 1/2 way?

    I'm a novice, so feel free to disregard the advice.  However, logic says if you want more smoke you need to expose the meat to more smoke by either containing the smoke in the chamber longer  by closing the vent more OR exposing the meat to smoke longer by not foiling.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  12. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    Yes.  Against all recommendations of the people on this forum, I have messed with the amount of opening on the vent.  It hasn't made much of a difference for me.  But I thought that your theory made sense, anyway.
  13. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    Ok, next question so we know what your expectations are. You mention it doesn't have as much smoke flavor as it "should" for pulled pork. What are you basing the amount on?

    From what I read most "commercial" versions are prepped with liquid smoke which would be stronger but not as "good".
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you did everything pretty similar to what I do.

    If you still don't think it has enough smoke flavor, you could try lighting both ends of your AMNPS.

    I did that one time, but felt it wasn't needed, but you might be even a bigger smoke hound than I am???

  15. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    Thanks @Bearcarver.  I lit both ends of the AMNPS this time, and there wasn't much smoke flavor.  @jaellman, I'm not comparing this to commercial examples of pulled pork, but from pulled pork that I've tried at friends' houses, etc.  When I cook St. Lous or baby back ribs, for example, they have an excellent smoke flavor.  Granted, they are only an inch or two thick, but I am not even getting this level of smoke flavor in the outer inch or two of a boston butt in my MES.
  16. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    Very interesting...

    Well, you've got me stumped.  Sounds as if you have nailed everything down that I can think of.
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmmmmm----Doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd say your taste buds went on vacation, like mine did after my Open Heart surgery, but you say your ribs taste smoky.

    I'd say your friend uses liquid smoke on his, but again you said your ribs taste smoky.

    Have you tried Mesquite yet???

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  18. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    Here's the weird thing...  I also have an Orion cooker.  If you're not familiar with it, it's like a barrel turned on its end with a drip tray in the bottom of it.  You put wood chips between this round drip tray and the outer wall.  Outside of the "drum", there's a sort of tray going all the way around the outside where you put match light charcoal, so that it heats indirectly, and it burns your wood chips.  My description is probably very bad, so google images will help here.  I get a very decent amount of smoke flavor if the bostom butt isn't too huge.  It also cooks in about three hours.  Now, since the MES cooks the roast in no less than eight hours with smoke being generated all of the time, I would figure that there would be at least that amount of smoke, but most likely more. 

    I have some heritage Berkshire pork that I would like to smoke soon, but I want to get this figured out because that stuff is expensive!
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another possibility:

    If you're still putting water in your MES water pan------Stop that !!

  20. steve973

    steve973 Newbie

    I have sand in my water pan and I cover it with foil.

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