• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

MES 40 Pork Butt gone wrong *UPDATE*

nopigleftbehind

Smoke Blower
108
11
Joined Nov 22, 2016
My first pork butt with my new MES 40.  I have played with Cookshacks before and found a pork shoulder at 275 degrees at 9.75 hours for a 7 to 8 lb butt worked wonders.  Pork came out perfect.  Just pull the bone out and shred.  My MES after 10hours - pork came out much like pork chop with no ability to pull bone out.  My question then is  - do I need to cook it longer to get the meat to break down or did I over cook it?  Any ideas before I waste more money on a butt?  Thanks for your time.
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
44,567
6,253
Joined Jun 22, 2009
It was undercooked.

You need to get a thermometer to monitor the internal meat temp.

In most cases a butt won't pull until about 205 IT.

Al
 

worktogthr

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,931
1,029
Joined Nov 3, 2013
Al has got you covered.  You will learn quickly that no matter the smoker or piece of meat, internal temperature and the feel of the meat are better indicators than time.  Cooking by time is really not an accurate way to cook because of a million other factors.
 

nopigleftbehind

Smoke Blower
108
11
Joined Nov 22, 2016
Thanks guys I figured that might be the case. The MES has a thermometer as well as and external I have.  My first MES I received had a faulty thermostat panel so I got a free replacement.  For that reason I am always questioning my temps for both the unit and the thermometer.  How accurate would you say the internal meat thermometer on the units actually are???
 

wnc goater

Fire Starter
40
10
Joined Jan 25, 2015
 
Thanks guys I figured that might be the case. The MES has a thermometer as well as and external I have.  My first MES I received had a faulty thermostat panel so I got a free replacement.  For that reason I am always questioning my temps for both the unit and the thermometer.  How accurate would you say the internal meat thermometer on the units actually are???
Most on here will tell you "not very".  My own MES 30 is off by 30° or more.  Most recommend some type of other IT temperature.  I use a Maverick for constant monitoring of smoker temp and IT meat temperature. 
 
Last edited:

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
19,067
3,439
Joined May 12, 2011
You have to Test the probe side by side with another. Can just be a Glass of hot tap water. If both read the same, you got a good one. I have 2 MES40s. One therm probe is accurate, one is off 20 from my Maverick...JJ
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,491
444
Joined Mar 22, 2013
 
Most on here will tell you "not very".  My own MES 30 is off by 30° or more.  Most recommend some type of other IT temperature.  I use a Maverick for constant monitoring of smoker temp and IT meat temperature. 
My Mes 40 Gen1 meat therm reads ten degree high.

-Kurt
 

nopigleftbehind

Smoke Blower
108
11
Joined Nov 22, 2016
So I ran my MES 40 again with a 3.375 lbs pork butt (half of a 7lb butt).  I ran it for 10 hours.  Started with rub.  Added a apple juice spray the last couple hours ever 45 mins to hour or so.  Had a half cup of water in the pan.  Ran it at roughly 240 temp.  Outside temp was in the high 50's to low 60's (and raining - not sure if that matters).  Got the meat to plateau at about 155 degrees internal and a final temp up to 173 after 10 hours.  I then wrapped the pork in foil let it cool.  Next morning I pulled it out and put in the oven for 2.5 hours at 240 degrees.  

Pork came out "softer" with a more "shredded" or "pulled" texture in places.  But parts of it were still not "broken down".  I have good smoke flavor and good color but texture sucks.  I am assuming the temperature is off.  I haven't searched yet but is there a test I can do on the thermometers both for the MES and the external one I have.  They are close in temp but not exact.  

THOUGHTS???? Thanks for your time and responses.  
 

nopigleftbehind

Smoke Blower
108
11
Joined Nov 22, 2016
Checked my external thermometer with the boiling water test.  Looks like 212 in boiling water and at my altitude should be roughly 210.1.  Next I will double check the unit.  
 

nopigleftbehind

Smoke Blower
108
11
Joined Nov 22, 2016
Ok here is what I have learned so far.  Topped MES 40 at 275 deg.  53deg outside temp 1100 foot elevation 33%humidity 6:45pm.  275 went to 286 degrees at start with no food.  back down to 266deg before reheating. 275 degree bbq probe had a meat thermometer temp (not in food) of 280 deg.  

Full vent open

ext mean probe        Ext Bbq probe         Meat prob on MES       MES bbq temp setting

280                            275                           276

277                            273                           272

277                            270                           270                                271

275                            270                           269                                271

half vent

275                           268                            267                                271

273                           266                            266                                270

280                           273                            276                                277

282                           275                            277                                277

*took two mins to go from low temp to high temp

What I have notice.

MES setting at 275deg on heating goes about 3-9deg warmer overall after shutdown

Reverse is true when it drops below 275 and re heat starts up.  

THEREFORE I would assume 275 is the overall "mid" temp

Question:

How does entering "meat" into the MES affect temp in theory especially with regards to location (have been smoking on second to top rack with open to 1/2 open vent?

Does vent play a role in heat control or heat level?

Will I see or has anyone seen fluctuation at lower temps with their MES?

Any ideas then if the thermometer is working mostly accurate and my MES seems to function within 10 degrees either direction that my butt has "failed" twice now????

Thanks for your time
 

chitown smoker

Fire Starter
70
23
Joined Jul 29, 2012
275 is crazy high for pork shoulder IMO.  Too high for too long.  Low and slow - do it at like 230.
 

bregent

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,597
622
Joined Mar 1, 2014
>Got the meat to plateau at about 155 degrees internal and a final temp up to 173 after 10 hours. 

You are undercooking it. Maybe you missed it, but SmokinAl already mentioned that you probably need to get IT up over 200 if you want the texture you are after. If you want to speed up the process, you can wrap when it stalls. 
 

801driver

Meat Mopper
243
28
Joined Dec 10, 2013
The reason I came to this site quite a while back is I was having similar problems.  What a wealth of knowledge here in so many places, the forums, the articles, and the great people here got me on track.  Like most people, I was originally having tough meat because I was not getting the IT high enough.  I thought I was drying it out, same with briskets.  Wrong.

I certainly agree with several items posted above.  I smoke PB's (and briskets) in an Smoke-it brand electric at 225, low and slow works for me.  Put it in, set the IT probe beeper at 195, forget it until the beeper goes off.  Sometimes at 10 hours, sometimes at 26 hours later, depending a little on size, but mostly on the particular chunk of meat.  Every chunk is different.  Most will be 16-22 hours for me, but I never know.

Then at 195, because each piece of meat is different, I start poking it with a instant read temp probe. ($20 at Lowe's)  Gives me a feeling if it is done like poking butter or needs more cooking, along with giving me a cross check of IT temps in other parts of the chunk..  Need a little more sometimes, a lot more most times.  I check it again in 30-45 minutes, repeat till done..

After I get it to where I want it, I wrap in foil and put it into a towel wrapped ice chest for least a couple hours before pulling or slicing.  Because of unexpected circumstances had to leave one almost 5 hours once, it was still steaming hot while pulling.

Check out some of the finishing sauces for pulled PB for an even better flavor.

Good luck to you, and let us know how it works out.  Every smoker is a little different just as all of our taste buds are a little different at different times...Keep fine tuning.
 

nopigleftbehind

Smoke Blower
108
11
Joined Nov 22, 2016
Thanks guys appreciate the advice.  Lots of info here and I agree - good people willing to teach and spread their wisdom.  Thanks
 
Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.