Anyone use wood pellets in their MES?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by bikes blues bbq, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Did they send you a new temp sensor with the new controller? Sounds like that may be the issue with the temps all over the place.
    As for smoked cheese, the difference between eating it right away compared to the 3 or 4 week rest is night and day.
    And all I'll say on the smoking below 212 is to remember when you are using an uninsulated smoker without a water pan and not a very tight enclosure, the longer the meat is in the cooker the drier it tends to get. Cold smoking works well, hot smoking works well, the temps between 120 and 200 are difficult at best. But you seem dedicated to it so go to it. If you find that sensor is the issue (pretty sure it is) you can adjust your "P" settings at the controller so that your cooker will be more stable at lower temps.
    one last thing....want to try some great cured and easy to do meat? Look into buckboard bacon.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  2. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    gee, they sent the big box you mount on the side with the auger attached. if the sensor is a pencil  shaped thing that  rises up to near the top of the smoking barrel, they didn't send that.

    when set on 225, the heat is more or less stable.

    at the 180 setting it jumps all over.190, then 111 then 365,in the

    space of 6 or 7 hours .do i need parts?

    if i can get the 180 setting to stay plus or minus 20 degrees i'm set.

    yeah, 225 may be perfect n i've had good results with it  but my back is up.

    meat gets drier at lower temps? i would a thot it was the other way around.
  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    On a pellet grill where you have a convection fan you have the meat in the smoker a lot longer at lower temps. Its not the higher heat that dries it but the length of time that may take out more moisture when combined with no insulation and loose lid with no gasket. But again, whatever works for you.
    That RTD sensor is almost certainly the issue. A digital controller KIT is supposed to come with the RTD. Traeger is definitely..... awww never mind.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  4. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    have not seen that chart yet, would like to see it...
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Remember the overriding imperative for cooking any meat: internal temp must be at least 140° in under four hours to prevent the growth of bacteria. Geerock is absolutely correct in all the cooking and technical advice and information he gave you.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  7. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    sooo, that's the reason for 225? for sure?

     mind you, i'm mostly  interested in lower temps when nitrates are involved back bacon, ham etc.
  8. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    so, gee, i need a kit, right? thanks. i'll follow up on that.

    don't wanna send money to traeger tho. not a penny.

    still, if that's the only way i can smoke cured foods under 212, i'll do that.

    kinda odd it works at 225, but i often get confused around technology.

    rick, i really didn't understand that lower temps could be dangerous.

    i'll limit low temps to cured meats. there will be  lots of those because i think curing is fun.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Susie, you can make your own smoking kit even out of aluminum foil all wrapped up with wood chips inside, opened enough to let air in and smoke out. You can place it in a cheap aluminum roasting pan below whatever you're smoking in your oven or perhaps also in the Traeger.

    I don't worry about nitrates or nitrites. There's a history of a lot of cancers in my mom's family and I bet eating cured meats was not the cause of any of it. But that's how I look at things.

    I've been trained in how to avoid food borne illnesses (along with CPR and blood borne diseases) so that gives me knowledge in a few areas. But a lot of guys here know about how to cook food safely, whether it's hot or cold smoking. A huge knowledge base is shared by the members of this forum.
  10. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i'm not sure what you said there, rick. i guess you avoid nitrates?

    i can't do that. my xmas ham was really good  even tho over cooked due to wild temp swings.

    no way that i can stop at just one ham.
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You misunderstood, Susie. I don't let the presence of nitrates change the way I smoke meat. Now, given a choice, when I'm buying sausage for recipes made in my kitchen I choose the brands that don't use nitrates, nitrates or other artificial junk. If I can find hot dogs without that stuff that I like that's what I buy. But my favorite brand of bacon does contain that stuff so I still buy it because I like the bacon.

    You can't blame an overcooked ham on temperature swings. You can blame it on not having a good, accurate thermometer, either one with a probe on a cord connected to the therm or a good instant read therm. I cooked a ribeye roast for Christmas dinner in the oven. I had a probe connected to a therm inserted into the roast. What I didn't know was that the therm read 10 lower than the internal temperature (IT) actually was. But I had an instant read thermocouple therm as a backup. The first therm showed the IT at 125 (which was my target temp) while the super accurate one showed it to be 135, which is where it was supposed to be after the roast rested for 30 minutes. I immediately took the roast out, tented it, and let it rest where it probably got up to 140-145. Not medium rare but it was perfect for me and everyone at the table--best ribeye roast I ever made.

    Without my really good therm, the roast would have been overcooked and ruined. All smoking or any cooking is temperature over time. You cook it long enough at your chosen temp to get it to the IT you've targeted. Without a good therm, you'll pretty much over or undercook your meats most times. Also, check out Bearcaver's comments about opening doors too often. No matter what you're cooking or smoking, opening the door more often than is necessary will always lead to overcooked, dried out food. Not saying that's what you did, but it's some additional free advice.
  12. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

     got a good thermometer that's not too expensive?

    i do like the idea of a probe with a wire leading outside of the smoker so i could check without opening the door.
  13. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    thanks, tun. i'm broke after xmas spending but i'll go look at it.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As far as Mavericks go:

    The ET-73 is cheapest---works good, but the distance is weak & not too good reading through walls. That was the first one I got, and I demoted it to indoor duty only.

    Then I got an ET-732 which has much better distance & communicates better through walls & floors.

    Then I needed another one, so I got another ET-732 last week, so the probes would be interchangeable, and I didn't see anything that the ET-733 had that made it worth $10 more than the ET-732.

  15. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    both these things look cool. they are expensive tho, unless theylast some years.

    how long do they last?
  16. Good advice form above post

  17. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i did a quick scan of amazon reviews. didn't see any talking about length of service, but i can look again.

    there's some appeal in seeing IT without leaving the house.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My ET-73 is 5 years old, and it stays in my meat curing fridge 24-7-365. About a year ago the on-off switch got stuck in "on" position, but I leave it on all the time anyway. Change batteries 2 times annually.

    My ET-732 is 4 years old. First meat probe was bad & came apart in second use. They sent me a new one & everything's been perfect since.

    Now I got a new ET-732, and only used it on Christmas Day.

    I keep the water from the connection between the cable & the probe when washing.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014
  19. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    bear, that's exactly the info i need. if i can get 4 years, the price is fine.

    tun, i think hybrid probes  make sense but i hate paying for features i don't need. presets for different meats are unnecessary. i memorized all that stuff long ago.

    nowadays, i know how long different cuts take in this smoker too. i'll have to relearn that when i get a new smoker, but that's part of the fun.

    i must be a smoking fanatic. in the last 6 months the only unsmoked meat i've had were 2 steaks n some salami i bot before getting the smoker. now that i've discovered curing, everything is gonna be smoked.

    with my new amns, even my cheese is gonna  be smoked.

    got that vacuum sealer you guys talk about coming too.

    not a hobby. more of an obsession.
  20. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i guess i'll get the 732, because while cabbelas has it the same price, amazon will give me free shipping. cabellas wants $10.95 for shipping.

    thanks for the info, guys.

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