First Time ribs in my new MES40

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jwsailor, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. I have been doing Baby Back ribs in my CharGrill offset for years. But now that I have a new MES40 I gave it a try and found several differences.I almost always had to much smoke( I just didn't know that because I had not yet found this forum. This forum has changed a lot of things in my life of smoking and I thank you all.) Anyhow, on the old CharGriller I tried to keep it between 225-250 degrees, with no water pan and after two hours would wrap my ribs in foil and go another two hours. Then the meat would litteraly fall of the bones. Well yesterday I did some ribs in the MES40. I used my new A-MAZE-N also. It was somewhat of a learning experience. I filled the foil lined water pan and set the temp at 225. About 40 mins later I noticed there was no smoke (first lesson), the drippings had put out the A-MAZE-N, so I moved the A-MAZE-N farther under the water pan. After two hours(second lesson) I opened the door to wrap the ribs and found thay did not have the color that I usually get on the CharGriller or a very strong smoke odor. So I decided to leave unwrapped for another hour and lighted the other end of the A-MAZE-N. After three hours I wrapped the ribs in foil, the extra hour gave them a little better color and smell. After 5 hours I took the ribs out and wrapped them in towels and placed them in an ice chest for a little over an hour while I waited on guest to arrive.

    When I unwrapped the ribs and went to cut them I noticed that they did not simply fall of the bone as before, they were however very tender and moist. I attributed the moistness to the water pan. They were also very tasty with a great flavor just not as smoky as the old CharGriller, which by the way I always thought was a llittle too smoky. I would have liked a little more smoke flavor but not as much as when I used to over smoke in the Chargriller. So where did I go wrong?? Assuming that both temp indicators are correct on the CharGriller and the MES, why didn't the meat fall of the bone after 5 hours??? I am thinking of not using any water next time, would that do it?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    You need to either water or sand in the water pan to act as a heat sink.

     If you paid good money for an MES 40 ,Why not use it as it was designed?

     The chip tray will give you all the smoke you need when hot smoking.

     I understand using the amns when cold smoking  or if you need extra smoke , but i would learn to use my MES as designed and then decide if it needs the extra smoke.

     The char griller used coals and chunks. the mes uses electricity and chips . i have used both and you will get a stronger flavor w/ coals.

     5 hrs is long enough ,if you do the 2-2-1 method . but i have found that doing ribs w/o the foil step takes a little longer.

     Also the MES may not have  been cooking @ 225° .The thermos on these units is known to be off by a few degrees. sometimes high but most of the time you are cooking  at a lower temp than the digital read out indicates.

     get you a good thermo , make sure it's calibrated and check your MES readout  temps against it. that way if your mes says 225° and you thermo says 210° ,then you know that your mes reads 15 ° high.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Remember if you do use sand to locate the playbox sand, you can find it at Wal-mart. It is a damp sand. Always place a piece of foil over the sand to catch grease drippings, makes it easier to clean up and you can use the sand several times. (might have to add a little water to remoisten it)
    Sand allows for a higher temp, so I use it more during the colder times of year. Water for Spring, Summer and Fall. Remember water does supply some moisture, but very little. It's real job is the heat sink as mentioned. Try the 2-2-1 method and you'll find those BB's fallen right off the bone.
  4. what exactly is the 2-2-1 method? Also I used the A-MAZE-N because it would last for the entire 5 hours. I will place an oven thermometer inside next time. Might even use the chip tray and the A-MAZE-N next time, I didn't want to over smoke it. I used pecan wood in my CharGriller and always had plenty of white smoke, I was going for the "thin blue smoke" this time.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  5. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    2-2-1 is a method we use to smoke babyback ribs.

    2 hours on the smoker

    2 hours wrapped in foil witha splash of juice

    1 hour back on the smoker to firm them up and to sauce if you wanted

    I would try using the chip tray in the mes instead of the amns.When you foil the ribs you don't need smoke anyhow so there's no reason to waste the dust.I also have a mes and a chargriller duo and have found that the taste between the two units is a big night and day taste. Bolth are good but the charcoal just seems to add that special flavor that you don't get from electric smokers. Also i found that my mes is running a good 12-15 degrees hotter than it is set for so i would check yours for sure.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    All good advice. Nothing to add here, except there is a learning curve with every smoker, nobody gets it right the first time. You smoke, you learn something, you smoke again, you learn something else, etc. Then you finally get it all perfect & decide you need a new smoker & the process begins again!  [​IMG]
  7. ok, so I think I have this now.

    2 hours with smoke (same as I did on my CharGrill)

    2 hours wrapped in foil (in smoker - NO SMOKE)(same as CharGrill)

    1 hour in smoker, unwrapped?? smoke or no smoke??
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Remember this is just a starting point. You can vary it to your taste. Some do not like "fall off the bone" so will reduce the amount of time in the foil, for more bite. Something like a 2 1/2- 1 1/2 - 1. Personally I like almost any rib but find I do not like the 1 hour on the last stage. I use more like 30 minutes. Play around and practice, you'll find it the exact way you want it eventually.

     As to smoke, you can keep it going thru out the whole smoke if you wish. I would cut back some during the foil stage though.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have a WSM and when I load the charcoal in the smoker I mix in wood chunks, so the smoke is flowing the whole time. I usually have something else on there with the ribs, so I would want smoke anyway. Plus I like the smell of smoke.   [​IMG]
  10. Well I bought an oven thermometer at the local grocery ($3.99) and it reads lower than my MES temp by about twenty degrees when the MES is set at 225deg. So I raised the MES temp to 245 and my ribs came out great just like on my old Chargriller offset.

    However this reminds me of the time I delivered a sailboat from Key West to New Orleans. When I got on board I noticed the boat had two compasses. I asked the owner why two compasses and of course his answer was in case one of them was not reading correctly. Then my next question was how do you know which one is wrong???

    So long story made short, I bought another oven thermometer yesterday at a kitchen supply store($10.99). Now I guess I will go for the best two out of three readings.  
  12. Stick your thermometer ends in boiling water to test their accuracy.
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Light both ends of your AMNS for more smoke.

    The MES, no matter how great they are, do not always put out a consistent smoke, like an AMNS.

    It might work real good sometimes, but many times it stops smoking, because the element isn't on enough.

    They are insulated so well, that once they reach their set temperature, the element sometimes doesn't come on often enough.

    Many who have had an MES for awhile have noticed this.

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  14. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Bear said...

    Also Get a GOOD thermometer and be sure to check the  calibration of it... It should read close to 32º in ice water and close to 212º in boiling water...
  15. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      You might try putting some charcoal chunks in with the wood chips. This will help keep the wood smoking while the heating element is off as well as add the charcoal flavor to the smoke. (A tip I saw somewhere on this site!)
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  16. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just saw this thread and had to chuckle about the boat compasses. All good advice above. Being somewhat anal accurate temps were driving me crazy. Dropped a long probe therm in my chamber plus had a digital through the potato going. Wound up trusting the one that read 212 in boiling water the most. Now waiting for my new Maverick 732 toy so I'll have another probe in there.

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