Very first smoke - Boston Butt with Qview and questions

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Original poster
Oct 6, 2013
Took delivery of my MES 40 with window earlier this week. Could not wait to get to my first smoke project.  After reading a lot of posts here I settled on doing a Boston Butt as it seems like it's forgiving of most mistakes.

​Bought a package of 2 Boston Butts at Sam's club.  Vacu packed one into the freezer, the other I rubbed with mustard and store bought rub.  Yeah, store bought.  Figured for my first smoke I was going to keep things as simple as possible to reduce my chance of screwing something up.

​Wrapped tight in plastic and into the fridge. (Q - Did the rub on Thursday night as my work schedule would not allow me to get it done on Friday for an overnight rest in the fridge.  Is that too long to leave it wrapped? It did seem to come out ok) 

Up at 4 AM to get the MES started so I had some temp and smoke in it before the meat goes in.  Walked the dog and came back to good smoke so in went the Butt.

​I went back in the house for an hour and when I came out to add more chips I found the smoke had stopped.  Not sure how long before I went out to add the chips, but I was concerned that the chips were burning out before I expected them too.  Next time I only waited 45 minutes.  Again, the smoke had stopped. (Q - I didn't soak the chips per the advice I've read here, the the chips were very thin pieces of hickory and apple.  Should I have soaked the chips? I know the chips were burning completely because when I cleaned out the smoker all that was left was very little white ash in the chip basket.)

I put the MES meat probe as well as my own thermometer probe in around 9 AM and the internal temp on both was within 2 degrees of each other and already reading 160, by 9:30 it was 165 so I pulled it, double wrapped in in foil and put it back in. (Q - I was cooking at 275 per a recipe I found here.  That does seem high.  What do most of you cook at?)

​The internal temp seemed to be rising pretty fast so I turned the MES down to 250.  By noon the internal temp had reached 204 according to my thermometer and 210 according the the MES meat probe.  I pulled it out, wrapped it in two old bath towels and put in my cooler. At this point I'm really concerned because my company was not due till 3 and we planned to eat at 5. I had expected the smoking and cooking to take WAY longer than it did. 

On the bright side, I pulled the pork out of the cooler at about 4:15 and could still feel the heat through the bath towels.  Unwrapped it from the towels and foil and it was still steaming and smelled great!  I pulled the bone and it came out easily and clean.  The meat pulled easily and tasted fantastic. You could really taste the smoke.  My guests were equally impressed.  So all in all a success. 

​Next time I'd like to cook it at a lower temp so I can get more smoke into it and I hope to have the AMNPS and a Maverick to keep an eye on temps.

So after reading this rambling post what advice, suggestions, critiques to you all have?


bama bbq

Master of the Pit
Sep 24, 2011
Rocket City (Huntsville) AL
I think you learned everything you were suppose to on a first cook. Don't worry too much about what everybody else does. You are figuring out what you like.

For instance you found out at X temp a X lb butt cooks in X hours. With X amount of chips I got X end resulting smoke taste. Wrapping for X time resulted in X quality end result.

I recommend you make notes on your cook. Fill in the X(s) so you can refer back next time. Make the changes you had questions about to see the effect.

To answer your questions: I do not pre rub and wrap. Others do. I don't use elec so I don't soak chips. I maintain 225-275 and don't stress over temps too much.


BTW -- nice job!
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fish killer

Smoke Blower
Nov 18, 2012
Central Virginia
Good job. Everybody has there own way of doing things and as long as you are producing a safe and good tasting product there's nothing wrong with the way you do it. Usually I smoke butts at 225. I plan about 90 minutes per pound. So I average 13 to 16 hours cooking time. But there are a lot of guys who smoke at a much higher temp. I make my own rub, there are a lot of good recipes on this site but there's nothing wrong with using store bought if you like it. You will find that as you start to gain confidence in the actually smoking part of the cook you will start to expand with making your own rubs. I think the AMNPS is a very worthwhile investment. I had a MES 40 for a little while and never used the chip box. I pulled the load chute out to allow proper air flow and just used the AMNPS and I never had a problem with running out of smoke. If you have the dual probes with MES I can't think of a reason that you would need the maverick unless it's so you can keep an eye on temps remotely.

I was very happy with my MES but I stumbled on a nice old freezer and made a custom build. So I sold the MES and the brinkman gasser that I had.

One thing I noticed in your picture was your drip pan, I recommend wrapping it in foil. It makes clean up a whole lot easier. I use to lay a piece on the bottom tray as well for easy cleaning.
Good job and happy smokin.
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Smoking Fanatic
Oct 14, 2007
Southeastern PA
As long as you and your guests were happy, nothing else matters!  I have had an MES for a few years now and while I am happy with it, I have the same problem with the wood chips.  I found the chips would only last about 1/2 hour max and I would have to add more.  Kind of makes the set it and forget it mentality pointless.  Personally, I never soaked the chips.  Maybe if I did it would last longer, but I never tried it.  I was always picky about letting the white smoke settle to thin blue smoke before adding my meat to the smoker, and that is a problem I had with the MES.  My fix was ordering an AMNPS.  The guy who sells them is on this site and his customer service is outstanding.  While I was doing my research on it, I found that a lot of MES owners on here have one.

chef jimmyj

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
May 12, 2011
To answer your questions...Rubbing and going in the refer, the longer the better. Overnight is fine but up to 3 days really lets the rub flavor penetrate. Soaking Chips, don't waste your time. They just have to dry out before they smoke and no matter what you try, been there, you will not get more than 30 minutes at temps above 225°. Smoking at 275°F, brings the smoke time down to between 1.5 and 1 hour per pound. You can go lower 225-250° and figure 2 hours per pound or higher. I just Oven Roasted a 5Lb Butt stuffed to make a Porchetta at 375° and had great juicy meat at an IT of 170 in 2 hours. Looks like you hit the mark on the first run...Congrats...JJ


Original poster
Thread starter
Oct 6, 2013
​I appreciate all the replies and suggestions.  I'll definitely be buying the pellet smoker as it sounds like it makes the process a lot easier.  Can't wait to get to my next smoke next weekend....ribs Mmmm

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