Struggling with Smoking Hobby

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by jaellman, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. Hey jaellman,

    Sorry to hear about the frustrations.  Like a lot of other folks have mentioned, big cuts of meat hit the stall and if you have folks coming over for food it can be very frustrating.  I've had my share of problems.  My MES can be all over the place, and the cold smoker attachment can give me issues too.  I've even have my maverick die half way through a smoke and no batteries in the house to fix them.

    Although it can be a frustrating hobby, it packs one heck of a reward at the end.  I've had more success than failures in the 18 months I've been doing it.  I made chicken one time that came out tougher than leather with a big group of hungry people.  They ate it but I felt terrible.  I made some fatties, that people told me that would pay me to make for them in the future.  The good comes with the bad.

    The important part it is to enjoy what you're doing.  Open up a cold beer (Old Rasputin is a good choice), throw some wood chips in the burner and try to enjoy the outcome.  It's a constant learning curve and as you come across each challenge, you know how to beat it in the future.

    Cheers & Happy Smokin',

  2. Yeah,   The main thing is Allow Plenty of Time. Doesn't hurt a thing if it finishes early, But trying to rush it with people waiting is a real pain.

    We have all been there so it's nothing new.

  3. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    Response from MasterBuilt:
    I'll call this afternoon and see what they say.
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    From my experience of almost 3 years with my MES 30 Gen 1, the temp will never stabilize by design. The controller will cycle the heating element on and off and you'll continually see the temp swings. A few electrically/electronically-knowledgeable SMF members have written why the controller was designed that way but I can never remember the specifics. Perhaps the design is better with the newer models. However, you'll got to look at it long term over the smoke; you will probably see that those temp swings average out to the setpoint which is the reason I don't worry about it. I just monitor the whole thing with my Maverick ET-733 and keep my eye on the internal temp of the meat. If I think the controller temp is swinging too low, I raise the setpoint a few degrees on the control panel.
  5. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    A new controller & meat probe will be shipped out to me tomorrow from masterbuilt after troubleshooting on the phone.

    It seems my meat probe was reading 295 degree's when it's 32 degree's outside here in Chicago area.  They assume my controller is all jacked up, but sending a new probe along with the controller to see.

    I should have it early next week.
  6. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    My Setup...
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    See? Phone calls can be faster. FYI, after you've used your smoker a few times, you want to make sure to wipe off two sensors on the back wall, assuming they're still there with the new models. The one on the left is round, about the size of dime. That's the hi-temp cutoff switch and if that gets clogged your MES temp will continually reach 295° and higher no matter where the setpoint is. It's very easy to clean and should be done on a regular basis. The temp sensor is on the right side is shaped like a toggle switch. Just wipe that off with a damp paper towel on a regular basis--at the same time you wipe off the hi-temp switch--and you should be fine.
  8. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I smoke in a brick smoker.   Very  stable in any weather, but like foamheart stated,  I have days I chase temps all day.  other days I can walk away.   I personally foil at 160F.   It works for me and 90% of the time I can pull a smoker full of butts in 11 hours. 

    Dirt is right.  There is something about  day old pork or even frozen that makes it better.  

    What ever you do, keep trying.   I have burnt stuff up in the smoker and even undercooked and put in the oven.   Never give up!    If it bakes in a oven, it will smoke in a smoker, it just takes a little longer, but a hell of a lot better.
  9. I know this is Taboo  but if you ever get in a real pinch you can cook your Pork Butt in the crock pot, pull it and put it in the fridge with a bunch of the liquid. Then you can put it on the smoker for a few hours and it will be plenty smokey. That way you don't have to spend 10 or so hours smoking a butt  if you just don't have time

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  10. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Learning curve....2 words my loving wife always tells me when I am stressed out and struggling.
  11. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    I have the unfortunate personality flaw where I expect myself to be able to do anything & everything, perfectly, the very first time I try or I become frustrated.

    Today I stopped by the store on the way home and grabbed a pork tenderloin.  

    As soon as I got home I turned the MES40 up to 237 degree's (no apparent reason why) 

    I popped open the Pork Tenderloin threw some rub on and 30 minutes later I tossed her in the smoker with a temp probe in the largest part, alarm set for 147.

    Added Apple wood pellets (full) in the tray & walked away...

    Went back in a couple hours when the alarm went off and cut her up and ate well tonight. 

    I need to cook more, eat more, and worry less.  

    It felt good!
  12. Where are the Pics ??

  13. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    To keep the "stress free" vibe I opted not to document the process.  :)
  14. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    FYI Theres nothing wrong with finishing a butt or a brisket in the oven. I do most of mine like that. After 6 hrs of smoke you wont get any more smoke flavor. When I get to 160 IT which takes up to 6 or more hrs in the smoker, I move to a (foiled) pan and into the oven to finish.

    Hang in there... you'll get it figured out

  15. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pork loin is very lean.   Gotta have Jeffs rub and wrap with bacon to help keep moist.

  16. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    Next day Omlette w/ sliced smoked pork tenderloin!

  17. It looks like the Tender loin came out nicely.  You are on the way now.  Keep us apprised of your progress.   jted
  18. That looks great, Pork loins are very lean and Can dry out pretty quick if you don't watch that IT

  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Pork loin is perfect pulled at 135 to 140 and then foiled for a half hour to carryover. It will never dry out like that. Happy smoking. Timber
  20. jaellman

    jaellman Fire Starter

    It's amazing how many people are still afraid of a little pink inside pork, however.  

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