MES 40 to Make Jerky - Use the Water Pan?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by strawman, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Hey Everyone,

    I tried making some jerky one night and it came out more like snack sticks because they had a lot of moisture to them.  Now granted, I could have cooked them longer but it was already midnight and I had to get ready for bed.  (No complaining about the outcome because all the sticks were gone in about two days.)

    However, I read that I should never run my MES without water, but I want jerky that has been dried out more.  So, should I just run it without the water?  I figure I am only setting it 150ish and I could throw a fire brick or something in there as a heat sink. 

    What do you guys think?  Any suggestions?  I saw threads on jerky in MES but nothing addressing this issue. 

  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Line your water pan w/ foil ,Fill it w/ clean sand and cover w/ foil . Great heat Heat sinc, w/ no added moisture.

     it will not hurt to run your MES w/o water in the pan. If i am cooking butts and want a nice bark

    i just remove the water pan and set a foil pan on the bottom grate to catch the drippings.
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't looked at the MES book lately, but I think they say to never use it without the water pan in, not without water.

    I never remove water pan. Sometimes I'll add a foil pan above it.

    Eman's method (above) of sand & foil is a good one for heat sinc.

  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I started using sand a couple of months ago & never looked back.
  5. As an update on this, I have been using sand in the water pan.  I really like it.  I have done a few pork butts in it since and there is no difference in moisture and I do think it works better as a heat sink. 

    I've done jerky in my MES twice since and it works okay.  Still is more like an oven than a dehydrator.  I recently got a dehydrator and I will use that for jerky before my MES.  If I want to add some smoke I will just toss the chunks in after they are dried and cold smoke them for however long I want.  

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