MES 30" ANALOG and A-MAZE-N-PELLETs first Brisket w/Q-view

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by meatman3000, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. NO It works fine. I use the OEM chip burner

    0 vote(s)
  2. NO It works fine. I use A-MAZE-N-PELLETs

    0 vote(s)
  3. YES Aquarium pump mod

    0 vote(s)
  4. YES Mailbox mod

    0 vote(s)
  5. YES just drilled some holes at the top and/or bottom

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I live in New England and this is my first attempt at smoking anything.  Any help with smoke generating in an MES 30 Analog with pellets would be much appreciated.


    MES 30" ANALOG  $60  (bought used)

    SPOG plus smoked paprika and cayenne pepper powder.

    Dijon mustard

    A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER 5X8  $22.50  (bought scratch and dent)

    A-MAZE-N-PELLETs 100% Hickory 5 lb bag  $12.99

    Maverick Et-733   $54.99 (got it on sale)

    Bricks $.75 each

    Aluminum drip/water pan

    Brisket flat USDA Choice 7.99lb @ $6.49/lb  Total price $51.86.

    Quick review of the items I used...

    Maverick Et-733 worked as advertised.   Do not cheap out on this.  Being able to sit inside and monitor your meat and analog smoker is a godsend.  As others have said the probes are too short.  They work but they are awkward.  When I get the money I am definitely getting longer probes.  I think longer probes will last longer too because you can handle them easier.  I really treated mine rougher than I would have liked because at the end of the cook you have a hot piece of meat with a delicate bark on it and a greasy probe imbedded in it.   It was the middle of the night when I was wrestling with this beast in the garage.  Trying to pull the probe out gently and holding the brisket while simultaneously trying not to get burned by the smoker was a pain in the butt!

    SPOG plus smoked paprika and cayenne pepper powered worked okay.  I did the SPOG 1:1:1:1.  I used 1/2 as much for the paprika and the cayenne pepper.  The final rub had a little kick to it.  I just put the rub on the brisket before I put it in the smoker.  I didn't do any of that overnight stuff.  I put some mustard on the brisket and then applied the rub.  I didn't go crazy with the rub.  I coated it well but I didn't heap it on.  Like I said even with a moderate even coating it still had a kick.  I don't know what a heavy layering would have done.

    I used the Aluminum drip/water pan for two things.  The main one was something to catch the drippings so they wouldn't land on the pellets or heating element.  I wanted water in the pan so the drippings would not dry out.  The extra thermal mass was a bonus.  I was concerned about "steaming" the brisket.  That didn't seem to happen.  The final product had a good bark.

    The A-MAZE-N-PELLETs did not work as advertised.   The first mistake was putting them where the OEM wood chip holder should have gone.  The pellets got too much heat and burned fast.   The pellets started burning in multiple spots.  I also predried my first batch of pellets.  I just stuck the pellets in on an upper rack while I was getting the whole thing up to cruising altitude.  The first set of pellets turned to ash and lots of coal within about an hour and a half.  I put in a new set of pellets and moved them to on top of the bricks about two hours in.  Meat temp was in the 150s F.  At the new location there was a problem with, what I think was, lack of oxygen.   The coals did not stay lit.  I eventually broke down and ran out to the local hardware store and bought some hickory chips and put them in the OEM chip holder.  They turned to charcoal.  All in all though the final product definitely had a solid hickory flavor.  The problem is I used two loads of pellets AND a full chip holder worth of chips.  It was a total pain in the rear and a waste of wood.

    MES 30" Analog got the job done but this thing needs to be modded.  Honestly if I modded this thing I could ditch a lot of the thermal mass because I would never open it.  With all the tinkering I did I was glad I went overboard with the thermal mass.

    I want to get this machine to work with the A-MAZE-N-PELLETs.  I am going to try drilling a hole and using an aquarium pump.  The problem is I want to have some kind of tubing inside the MES to direct the airflow underneath the AMNPS.  I read somewhere on here that someone did the aquarium pump mod and it didn't work on its own.  My idea is to have something like copper pipe enter the MES and then fashion it into some kind of loop under the AMNPS.  I would drill holes in the top of the loop so air could stream upwards in a dispersed fashion so the pellets are bathed in as little or as much O2 as I want.  The other reason I want to do it that way is it should minimize how much air I draw into the MES.  I plan on sealing the front door gap with some insulation.  FYI I have no metal working experience so any ideas about how my plan can be accomplished would be much appreciated.

    I also need to figure out a cheap vent.  I don't want this thing to back draft and I don't want moisture and other unpleasantness to drip on the meat.

    I need to get my southern New England brisket buying strategy together.  This is unacceptable...

    I got flat and didn't bother to trim it.  By mistake I cooked it fat side down.  It was fine.

    Don't believe that nonsense about not using an extension cord.  You can use an extension cord just use common sense and a little 11th grade physics.  I used a 50ft cord... but is was at least 14 gauge.  It wasn't one of those skinny orange fire starters.  I believe the cord costs almost as much as the smoker!  Shorter lengths are considerably cheaper.

    And now the Q-view...

    It really is one of the most paradoxical meats out there.  When you pull it out you think you have created a meteorite.  But then you slice it and it is tender.

    The smoker temp varied from a low of 214F after I got nervous about the fast initial rise in internal temp.... to 253F at midnight when I got sick of smoking this thing since 10:00am.  The psychology is fascinating.  Started off with moderate temp 225-235F.  Got scared it was too hot.  Lowered the temp.  Hit the stall.  Lost my nerve.  Bumped up the temp.  Calmed down hours later when the stall seemed to be breaking.  And finally got fed up waiting for this thing to hit 200F.
  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  3. Thanks for the link.  My smoker is an analog smoker though.  Yours looks like digital model.  There are literally only two small holes in the unit.  One is a small vent in the upper back panel and one is a drain hole in the bottom.  I guess air is supposed to be exchanged through the leaks around the unsealed door.  Unfortunately that doesn't concentrate incoming oxygen where the pellets are.

  4. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Meatman, check out this thread. It has a few suggestions.

    The black tar buildup in your smoker is from the lack of air in your smokes. I had the same problem til I did my quickie mods. If you remove that rack and put your amaz. on a cookie sheet it will work in that location. 
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  5. Thanks, man!  I'll definitely try that cookie sheet idea along with some air mods.  Just have to find time to do it.
  6. parrot-head

    parrot-head Meat Mopper

    Are the bricks in there just to help regulate the temp?  Is that what putting sand in the water pan does?

  7. tjohnson

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

    Yup, you need more air flow thru your smoker

    Drill out the drain hole to 3/4" and add 1 or 2 more 3/4" holes adjacent to the drain hols, so anything that drips will drop into the pan

    Some guys will add 2 3/4" holes to the side where they place the AMNPS 5x8

    All electric smokers are starved for air, so you need to sometimes be creative to introduce some fresh air for combustion

  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I recently bought the ET-733 from Todd Johnson and right away my smoking ability and talents increased. I wouldn't be without it.

    I also swear by the AMNPS--I have the same size you do. There's a bit of a learning curve but I've got it down to where it's truly set it and forget it after I've got it lit and placed it inside my MES. As for my MES 30, I've got the Gen 1 digital model which provides a perfect spot for the AMNPS which is the two rails to the left of the wood chip holder. I've begun putting the lit end towards the back wall of the smoker which seems to provide better airflow.
  9. Thanks for the specific instructions.  I'll give it a try.
    Yeah.  They are just there for temp regulation.  Yes, it's the same as sand in the water pan.
    Cool.  Thanks but I have the analog version of the smoker so it is configured differently.  I will definitely experiment with how I orient the AMNPS though.  I didn't think it really mattered till you mentioned it.  It's certainly worth a try.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My understanding is that Todd designed it to fit in the MES digital smoker. This may be wrong but Todd is the guy to advise you on proper placement. I've seen the inside of the analog model and I'm glad I chose the digital version.

    I've also stopped using sand in the water pan, per suggestion from Bearcarver. I just cover it with foil now and haven't noticed any issues with maintaining IT other than the typical temp swings with the MES digital controller.
  11. Quote:
    I'm going with a totally different setup on the lower level.  Until someone mentioned the cookie sheet I just assumed I would have to work around the OEM wire structure down there.  I am going to remove the chip pan/water pan holder and just put a cookie sheet in that slot.  I will use most of it as a heat shield to protect the pellet holder, but I will drill some holes away from the AMNPS to let some heat and hot air rise.  Once I get this figured out the bricks will go.  The large water pan is to protect everything below and I want to do something with the drippings.  So I will keep water in there just to keep the drippings wet.  But beyond that the extra thermal mass will be unnecessary.
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here's the turkey breast I smoked in my MES 30 digital Gen 1 yesterday using the AMNPS. Notice that the empty water pan below is covered with foil and caught all the drippings. Because I know how to properly light the AMNPS (and insert the lit end toward the rear wall of the smoker; also pulled out the wood chip loader about a half inch) it performed as advertised for the 5-hour smoke and was still going when I took it out of the MES. I had loaded two rows of applewood pellets but only one was used up.

    I'm a lazy guy so there are no mods to my smoker. The AMNPS is truly set-it-and-forget-it if you put just a little effort into lighting it. If you'd like to know my procedure I'll be happy to describe it.

    I didn't follow any of the online suggestions for the turkey breast: no brining, no cheesecloth, no wrapping in foil, and cooked it to 171* instead of the recommended 161-163* IT . Just applied a rub, stuck it in the smoker, inserted the Maverick ET-733 meat probe, and set the MES for 235 degrees, which it more or less held for the 5 hours. This is the first turkey breast I've smoked and it came out perfectly cooked, juicy, and very nicely smoked. I only use the AMNPS for both hot and cold smoking.

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