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Smoking Ribs with MES 40" Electric - Can I Use Aluminum Pans with a Rack Inserted?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by snazz123, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Hi All. I had a successful smoke of both spare ribs and baby back ribs this Summer. I then tried slow cooking some shrimp and, last weekend I tried both a fresh half turkey breast and a whole chicken at the same time after applying a rub. I made sure the temp was 165 degrees in both poultry and did not brine as I need to reduce salt. The results were fantastic. Both birds were moist and very fresh tasting. (I found that the MES meat probe was too high by 30 degrees (!) when inserted to both birds and I avoided hitting bone. That was very disappointing! I know others have the same problem. I'm just not sure what the solution might be.)

    Here's my question: When I smoked the spare ribs and baby back ribs, I simply put 4 slabs on 4 of the MES racks - meat side UP - and let 'em smoke. I don't want to mess with success but, given the mess that the smoking of 4 slabs on 4 racks made I wondered if the following might work just as well without as much mess, and yes, I've aluminum foiled wherever I could, down below.

    What if I put small racks into aluminum pans and put the ribs, meat side UP (again) on the racks in the aluminum pans and THEN put the aluminum pans on the MES racks? This way the pans would catch the drippings and not mess up the MES so much. Would the ribs cook just as well this way as if they were put directly on the MES racks - or does this create issues? I realize smoking can be inherently messy and maybe I should just resign myself to this but I thought I'd ask the pros - YOU! - for your worldly experience in these smoking matters.

    Thanks for your kind assistance!

  2. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    Hey SNazz........I have done just that but for a different reason. I had ribs on the top shelf and other meats on the second self. It worked great for me.

  3. What I do, especially when other things are going in my MES 30 incher, I cut the St Louis Style ribs in half and put them on a Rib rack MES make, I have 3 of these, so I can do 12 1/2 racks easily.  I then put them in foil pans. I have done chickens in foil pans as well.  Some I have poked holes in the bottom, others I have not, I notice no difference either way it is done, holes or not.  Then when I foil the ribs, back on the Rib rack they go then back into the foil pan.
  4. Brad - I sent you thanks a couple of days ago as a Reply and see that it did not stick. Sorry! I appreciate your input on this subject.

    My wife was particularly concerned about the juices from different meats dripping on each other. I share her concern. That's why I only smoked baby backs/spare ribs together the first time. Your affirmation that using the aluminum pans doesn't affect cooking and helps with neatness and cleanup is great news.


  5. Thanks, Palladini, for your help with this issue. I assume you are talking about those angled rib racks MES sells. Nice idea. I had seen them but the idea of having the racks angled like this and putting each rack in an aluminum pan and smoking that way makes a whole lot of sense!

    I've seen much made of holes or no holes in aluminum pans when smoking. It is nice to know that it doesn't matter much if it matters at all. No holes would seem to equal, less mess!

    Thanks again for your input!


    P.S. I assume this is the type of rib you are referring to, right?

  6. Yep, that pic is of the racks I have, I put them in a tin roasting pan about the same length and a bit wider.  When I do make holes in the bottom, I come up with a knife or screw driver from the bottom, that makes  the tin foil point up around the hole, so there is very little leakage.

    You can say I keep the foil companies in business after this, but the drain pan, this is the one at the bottom of MES, the water pan and the top and sides of the smoker box, this being the box the chip pan sits in.  Depending what and how I am smoking I have at times put one wide sheet of foil on the bottom rack also.  It so much easier to rip off and discard the foil then scrub something clean after a smoke.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  7. Thanks again Palladini!

    I, too, discovered the joys of aluminum foil to cover the various pans/items you mentioned after that first messy rib smoke. It looks as if the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" decorated the inside of my MES smoker! So, I'm with you. Not only is using aluminum foil a godsend but now, to learn that adding aluminum pans and racks within those pans will work well with ribs and other meats, is another big plus.

    On an unrelated note: I used my MES 40" Electric Smoker's Meat Probe for the first time with a poultry cook last weekend. Everything came out beautifully because I verified the internal temperature of the turkey breast and the whole chicken during the smoke with both a new digital reader and an oven thermometer, too. Alas, the MES meat probe was off by 30-35 degrees which, I noticed, has happened to others. A call to Masterbuilt started with an offer to replace the meat probe but then, based on my model, they suggested the meat probe issue might well be in the control panel which they are kindly replacing. If that does not solve the problem they offered to help me troubleshoot any issues. The beauty of monitoring the meat probe internal meat temperature, of course, is to see an accurate reading on the MES remote. Getting a much more accurate (I could live with a few degrees off either way) reading will be a huge relief and improvement!

    Thank you Palladini.

  8. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You might want to invest in a maverick et732 to monitor both your smoker and IT of the meat. There's a good chance your smoker temps are off too with the mes 40. As for the ribs... the mes 40 should hold 2 racks of ribs per shelf so why not try 2 on each upper shelf and sit the foil pan on the next rack underneath? You tend to get more even temps this way and better smoke penetration. Best of luck.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  9. Hi geerock. Thanks for your suggestions. I do think I've seen something here about the Maverick for monitoring the smoker temp and the internal temps. I suppose I'll see how the new control panel does before I lean toward that direction but if that doesn't get much more accurate readings of internal temps of meat, I think I'll check out the Maverick and its virtues.

    Interesting suggestion: Use every other rack for ribs and the ones in between for foil pans. Clever idea especially on smaller rib smoking jobs. Great!

    I appreciate the suggestions. Thanks again!

  10. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    No, not every other rack...... fill your upper racks with whatever and then the next lower one with the foil pan.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  11. Got it geerock! Thanks!