Masterbuilt 40in electric smoker help

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victoria d

Original poster
Apr 23, 2014
Birmingham, AL
I am a fine dining chef with no clue how to cook bone-in pork butts on my new smoker. I agreed to do enough pulled pork for 125 for a wedding, pro bono, but my area of expertise is far under what is necessary to do this. I figured 10, bone-in butts would be more than enough for this Bama crowd. I have one butt now I will test tomorrow, but everything online is telling me something different as to temp and prep after smoking. Can anyone PLEASE help me? I don't know what the hell I have gotten myself into....except a $300 smoker.
Ha! As I said, bit off more than I can chew. You very much eased the panic and turned it into more of a panicked excitement. Sooo glad I discovered where the experts are!
You have gotten good advice so far. You will be reloading wood chips every 30 to 40 minutes in the MES. If you have time I HIGHLY suggest you get in touch with Todd Johnson at A-MAZE-N Products and get the appropriate Pellet Smoke Generator for you MES...Old Generation, AMNPS...New Generation AMNTS. These will give up to 10 hours of continuous perfect smoke. Also, order yourself a Maverick 732 Thermometer. It has a remote temp monitor and keeps track of both the Smoker temp and the Meat temp.

I have no doubt you will follow the appropriate Food Safety practices, you want Happy people at a Wedding...
 After you smoke the meat to the desired internal temp (IT) let it rest, pull it, bag it and cool it. To reheat you can pan it up, add the Finishing Sauce of choice, cover and reheat in a 325°F Oven until the IT reaches 165°F. You can then serve from Chafing Dishes and/or hold it at 150-160°F until ready for service. If you are planning to serve Sandwiches 10, 8 pound Butts will yield 125+/-, 5 ounce portions. If you are serving Plated meat and sides from a Buffet, you need to bump the number of Butts to 15 as people will be taking closer to 8 ounce portions. Plan on 1 1/2 Rolls per person, with 2 ounces of BBQ Sauce and 3-4 ounces of Sides.

Here are some Recipes you may like. Just add your pan juices to either of the Finishing Sauces. Good luck...JJ

Mild Bubba Q Rub

1/2C Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado)

2T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)

1T Kosher Salt

1T Chili Powder (contains some Cumin and Oregano) Ancho Chile is same without cumin, oregano etc.

1T Granulated Garlic

1T Granulated Onion

1tsp Black Pepper, more if you like

1tsp Thyme

1tsp Oregano

1/2tsp Grnd Allspice

Cayenne or Chipotle Pwd to taste, start with 1/2tsp and go from there.

Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

Foiling Juice

For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

1T Pork Rub, yours

1/2 Stick Butter

1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

1T Molasses


2T Vinegar, 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more KC Style.

Simmer 5-10 minutes until syrupy consistency.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork:  Make a Double batch, Butter optional.

Add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten and Serve...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while  the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

Note: the addition of the reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider should make the PP moist but not Swimming.

Yields enough for 2 Butts.

I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ

Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

1/4C Brown Sugar

1T Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Granulated Garlic

2 tsp Granulated Onion

2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

1 tsp Celery Salt

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

Combine all and whisk well. Let rest, at room temp, 30 minutes for the flavors to meld together. Or bring just to a simmer and remove from heat...JJ

KC Bubba Q Juice

2C Ketchup

1/2C Brown Mustard (Gulden's)

1/4C Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2C Molasses

2C Dark Brn Sugar

1T Tomato Paste

1T Your Rub

1-2tsp Liquid Smoke

1tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Combine all and warm over low heat just until it starts to bubble. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring very frequently, to combine flavors and to thicken slightly.

Use or pour into a sterile jar and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

Makes 3 1/2 Cups. Enough for 2 Butts.

Yellow Bubba Q Juice / South Carolina Style

2C Yellow Mustard

1C Cider Vinegar

1/2-1C Brown Sugar

1-2T Sriracha or other Hot Sauce

1tsp Blk Pepper

1tsp Gran. Garlic

1tsp Gran. Onion

1/2tsp Salt

1T Worcstershire

Cayenne Pepper to taste

Combine all and simmer to combine flavors. Reduce to desired thickness.

Makes 3 Cups.

Red Bubba Q Juice / Lexington NC Style

2C Cider Vinegar

1C Ketchup

1/4C Texas Pete or other Hot Sauce

1/2C Brown Sugar

1tsp Gran. Garlic

1tsp Gran, Onion

1tsp Blk Pepper

1tsp Salt

1T Worcestershire Sauce

Cayenne to Taste

Combine all and simmer 5 minutes to combine flavors.

Makes 3 Cups

White Bubba Q Juice /Alabama Style

2C Mayonnaise, Hellman's (Hey I'm a Jersey Boy!)

1C Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4C Honey or 3T White Sugar

1T Horseradish, prepared

1tsp Celery Seed, ground

1tsp Salt

1tsp Black Pepper

1tsp Onion Powder

1/2tsp Garlic Powder

1/2-1tsp Cayenne Pepper

Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust Sweet, Sour, Salt and Heat to your taste. Refrigerate at least two hours for flavors to meld. Divide, with half to be brushed on the meat during the last half hour of the cook and the remaining half to be used as a Dip at the table.

Makes about 3 1/2 Cups Sauce. NOTE: This makes a great Dressing for Cole Slaw as well...JJ
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I also have the MES40 with amznp smoke box and mailbox mod. I have done 15# shoulder twice and both were great. I put them on at 9:00pm watch the smoke box for an hour to make sure it does not flame up or go out. Once I feel smoke is fine I go to bed wake up at 7:00am and she may just be ready to pull and rest. The maverick allows to to check temps in middle of night from bed. I set smoker at 225.
I'll jump in & say that Jimmy J was right on the money & that he also gave you some great recipes. I've used several & they are top notch - good stuff there! 
  X2...JJ's recipes are great!  You're getting great advice here, and a test run with a single butt is a great idea to get a feel for your smoker and times, temps and methods for the big smoke.

Good luck!  Be sure to let us know how it goes, and if you come up with more questions after your test run, you know where to ask...

Every reply
is awesome! Building more confidence. How many 10# butts are appropriate to smoke at a single time? I am looking up the pellets now. Seems like cheating, but again, so does an electric smoker.
Buying the pallets is different than buying the pallet box. Please explain how I buy the pallet box.
Call Todd and tell him what Model MES you have and he will take great care of you. As I said above, different versions of MES 40 work better different Pellet Smoke Generators...JJ
I replied to the roll call message but thought it best to mention on both places I posted.  The event is May 10th.

sorry for the slow response but I had to go out of town unexpectedly.

Ok. I smoked my first butt. not impressed!! I rubbed my butt down in evoo and added a layer of rub. the flavor of the rub was the only redeaming quality of my first endeavor. I smoked my butt at 275 for about 4 hours (I now realize it was way too hot!) I love the idea of a nice, crunchy outside but that didn't happen AT ALL. This is also why I chose not to wrap. I added my hickory wood chips every 30-40 minutes, or when i wasnt seeing smoke come out anymore, but the smoke flavor was still lacking. As far as texture of the inside of the butt, it was fine. It was lacking all the flavor I was hoping for. What I have learned at this point (and PLEASE add or correcto me if i'm wrong!):

* adjust rub to acheive a crispy outer coat

* smoke at a much lower temperature

* do people brine pork butts? need to get more flavor throughout the meat

* buy pellet container and pellets
From what you describe, you should have gotten a good product...But...We need a few more pieces of the puzzle. What was in the rub? Did you let the rubbed meat rest overnight to absorb the rub's flavor? Did you use any liquid in the water pan? How often did you open the door?  

Choose a rub with Turbinado Sugar, aka Sugar in the Raw. This will help build a nice Bark but is not prone to burning. Many of us use nothing or sand in the water pan for short cooks like ribs. With butts a cup or two of water, that is allowed to evaporate, giving a wet chamber for the first few hours followed by a dry chamber, gives good bark with lots of flavor and juicy meat. The higher temp should have given a good Bark as the higher temp dries the surface more and Caramelizes the sugar in the rub. Injections work the best to get a specific flaovor profile into the meat. Brines are ok but require at least a week in the brine to get any level of penetration.  We will help you get what you are looking for...JJ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
I used brown sugar and various spices. Will definitely do the turbinado sugar next time. Oops. I did not let the meat rest overnight and forgot to add water to the pan. Again, will do next time. I opened the door once during the process. The meat was in the 190s when I took it out. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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