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Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by travisb, May 23, 2013.
I read in the manual that even if the water bowl is empty it needs to be inside the smoker to prevent food from dripping on to wood chips. OK, fine and dandy. I don't often use wood chips but the bowl can still act as a drip catcher when lined with foil.
However, if I don't have water or beer or something in the bowl, how do I keep meat from drying out? I thought that if I had some moisture happening inside the smoker I wouldn't have to open the door every 30-60 minutes to baste the food. As I've written many times here, I lose about 20-30 degrees of heat when I open the door whether it's to baste or turn over meat or to deal with a burnt-out AMNPS and it can take at least 20 minutes to get up to the target temp again. The MES 30 is just a smallish box and leaving the door open is akin to leaving open one of those small dorm room refrigerators and letting all the cold air out. The MES' 800 watt heating element is underpowered for quickly heating even that small a box so I my goal is to open the door as little as possible over a 4-hour or so smoke.
Do you think it's OK to leave maybe a 1/2 cup of water in the water bowl or just keep it empty? How to prevent your food from drying out?
I never put water in my water pan. I cover it & leave it in the smoker where it belongs. I never spritz my meat, and I never had anything dry out.
I have a glass window in the door---No reason to open the door.
The only time I add any liquid is step #2 on ribs, when I foil them, and butts and other long smokes when I foil them.
I'm poor but poverty stricken so I couldn't afford the glass door model but I figure even with the Gen 1 Poverty Person's Model that the smoker produces a somewhat humid interior heat that keeps the meat from drying out unless it's left in there for 2-3 days...weeks...months. I'm avidly caching your advice because on Sunday I'm smoking a 3 lb. brisket.
It does concern me, however, that one of the smokers here posted that he did everything that was suggested--nuking the wood pellets and other stuff to remove any moisture--but his AMNPS still flamed out. I'll still give the suggestions a try and report back with Q View if the smoke is hassle-and-flame-out free.
LOL----Out of all of the meats to smoke, a small Brisket flat is the one most likely to dry out. Water in the pan wouldn't help. I would smoke it to about 160*. Then foil it with a few ounces of Worcestershire & Beer. Then take it to about 190* for slicing. But that's me.
Also mark the way the grain goes while it's raw & easy to see, so you'll know when it's done!!
You jest at scars that never felt a wound. My family likes brisket but unfortunately SMOKED brisket is among their least favorite way to dine on it. However, my wife's Beer Braised Brisket Burrito is a huge hit and I smell similar success with a Worcestershire & Beer Smoked Brisket. I actually bought a 6-pounder but the darn wife wants half of it set aside for the aforementioned Mexican brisket specialty dish of hers. What can I do? And realistically speaking, no way four of us would put away a 6-pounder or the leftovers. It would be up to me and I can more weight that way.
And what further cuts deep into my heart is that I was at Costco and saw big briskets with the point and everything and each one would be way too big for my poor-but-poverty-stricken little MES 30. With those behemoths even after they shrunk they'd still be too wide for my smoker. Ah, what I could do with another 10 inches ...
Copy/pasted your response here because I've never foil wrapped a brisket before--and great tips about the temps. As for marking the grain direction, I've got some fluorescent red Sharpies that should be perfect for the job!
Oh yeah! I just found a frozen 3 lb. brisket in the freezer that I got off another brisket that the wife used. This means that the 6 lb. brisket I have in the fridge is ALL mine and drying out the meat shouldn't be a problem. Really excited about the smoke session coming up on Sunday with my new game plan for keeping the AMNPS going.
I'm going to be smoking brisket this Sunday and I'm going to try Bear's method for keeping the pellets lit. I always use a propane torch but I never thought of blowing on them before. This time I'll give it a good 20 minutes before I insert the AMNPS into the MES. I noticed that all the guys who've posted pics or videos use a lot more pellets than I do but I have yet to use all the pellets I load the AMNPS with but we'll see what happens if I get it to remain lit for 4 hours this weekend.
I keep a spoon by my smoker to separate the burning pellets from the unburned ones, when I load in too many. Burns out pretty quick without wasting the rest of the pellets.
I find this thread very interesting.
Smoke Daddy inc
That's a great tip. Thanks!
I never use water in the water pan, especially in the MES. It's so well insulated, that the inside becomes a steam cabinet.
Too much moisture, and the smoke mixes with the steam, and you get "Black Rain" inside your smoker
Too much moisture, and it condenses on the window, and drips down the inside of your door, then onto your deck or patio
The surface area of the water pan in the MES 30 & MES 40 is way to big for the size of the smoker
Think of it like this.....
Place 2 stew pots full of water on your stove top, and let them boil. How much steam is produced?
This is about the same surface area of the water pan in a MES 40
Do you place a bowl of water inside your oven when making a roast....Nope!
Plenty of moisture evaporates from the meat during cooking. Most of us would cook in a roasting pan with a little added water or broth.
Inject big pieces of meat, and add moisture when you foil
Use a large foil pan under the meat to catch the drippings
If you really think you need added moisture, use a small loaf pan with a little water in it, off to the side
Place sand in the water pan for an added heat sink and you temps will recover much faster
I've posted my cell # many times, but few guys call me when their in trouble
I may be in my boat fishing walleyes, but ALWAYS have my phone with me
Feel free to call me, even nites and weekends!!!
Don't Get Frustrated....Call Me!
Cell # (952)412-0484
I'm copy/pasting your response to a Word doc so I always have it to refer. I feel uncomfortable calling people even after they invite me to, but I'm keeping your cell # handy.
No one has ever explained the MES-water bowl thing as clearly as you have here. Thank you so much for your input. As I wrote elsewhere in this thread, I'm smoking a 6 lb. brisket this Sunday and I'm going to employ the suggestions here. I'll report back with Q View next week!
I used to use a screwdriver, but about a year ago, I found that a spoon I stole from Mrs Bear's collection works better:
Since day one, I've tried to make myself available when guys have questions
Todd's Cell # (952)412-0484
I never thought to call you. I typically post a comment here and wait for a response. If I have problems with the AMNPS this weekend I'll give you a call. It'll be a daytime smoke and since you're only 2 hours ahead of me you don't have to worry about receiving a frantic phone call from me at 11 pm Sunday night. I promise to call you no later than 10:30 pm...
.Quick Question, Is the 20070311 a Gen 1 or Gen 2 MES? How do I find out? Thanks
If the digital control is in a box mounted on the top, at the back, it's a Gen #1.
If the control is built into the top front edge, it's Gen #2.
How do I know which Gen my MES 40 is? 1 or 2. Anybody experienced with the Masterbuilt Cold Smoke attachment, seems like much less work for a few bucks more?????
Thanks, I have a GEN !, so hopefully will get better Draft. Guess should consider the A Maze N Pellet.....
Even if you could get the MES burner to work better than anyone else ever did, it would not even come close to the 5 X 8 AMNPS smoking perfectly for up to 11 hours straight, without touching it.