It's all your fault! I hate you all.

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by atomic dog, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    So my wife hates me at the moment.  I bought a MES40, per the gazillion good things I read about it here.  I now need to wow her, because the money I was going to use to fix our broken bedroom window went toward this smoker.

    I seasoned the smoker today.  Cleaned and baked it for a couple hours, recleaned the interior.  Then rubbed it down with bacon grease and baked and smoked it for a couple hours.  It is ready to rock.  The fat carmelized nicely.

    I intend on smoking a chicken tomorrow.  Then making some healthy meat snacks for the dog (just chicken and some marked down meat sliced up and brined in 50/50 salt/sugar.

    Any suggestions on the chicken?  It will be a fryer chicken.  I usually brine my poultry as a habit, but I will be buying and smoking tomorrow.  Will it be as easy as firing up the pig and putting in some chips?  How fast can I cook a chicken and still get that smoked chicken flavor?  I probably have 5 hours max to make a chicken.

    ps.  build quality of this MES40 is crap.  Door leaks smoke, and is all warped above the glass on the inside.  Looks like a madman riveted it together.  So much for quality from China.  Also I have really enjoyed reading so many enthusiastic posts on this site. 
  2. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Boy o Boy had you better wow the heck out of MaMa or you going to be [​IMG]  as she will be [​IMG]. You can do chicken in 5 hours no problem. crank the smoker up 275-300 and pop them in till IT is 165, pull them let them rest for bought hour. Throw some vegies in foil with garlic and butter, maybe a tater or 2 for baked taters. and ya got a great dinner. 
  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Man, you're in hot water with the wife and you're making snacks for the DOG?  Best of luck to you.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  4. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    What's better?  Snacks made for the dog from China for $7 per half pound, or snacks dried/cooked in the smoker for $2 pound for chicken, and about the same for marked down meat?  Can't be more money dried/cooked, and I know the dog won't die from food poisoning.

    Yea, I know, she's upset.  I better perform tomorrow on a number of levels.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2012
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    A 3 lb Fryer is a pretty scrawny Chicken, it will go pretty fast 2-3 hours tops...

    Place a pan with some veggies under the Chicken to make some Gravy. Here's a recipe. Good Luck...JJ

    Smokey Chicken Gravy

    1- Lg Onion,

    4-5 Carrots,

    3-4 Ribs Celery

    3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

    Toss them in a pan under the Chicken, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

    THEN add 4-6 Cups Chicken Broth,

    1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

    1/2tsp Dry Sage (2 sprigs Fresh)

    1-2 ea Bayleaf

    Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

    While the Chicken is resting, dump the pan juices, veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus then quickly removed, take off the last little bit of fat.Bring the Jus back to a simmer. Mix 2T Flour and 4T Chicken Broth for each Cup of defatted Jus. Whisk together to make a Slurry with no lumps, add a little additional Broth if needed. Whisk the Slurry into the simmering Jus, bring back to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes to cook out the flour taste and fully thicken the Gravy. Adjust the seasoning with Salt and Pepper and serve.

    The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

    Serve the sliced Chicken with plenty of Gravy and Enjoy...
  6. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congrats on your new MES!

    You sound seriously unhappy with the MES you received.  I strongly recommend you take it back and ask for an exchange.  I don't know how much you paid either $300 or $400 depending on retailer, but for that much money the fit n finish should be good enough to make you happy. 

    As much as I like all things MES, my wife doesn't like the way chicken turns out in the MES, she loves chicken cooked whole on a weber kettle, or when I grill pieces on the weber gas grill.  I do smoke pieces and then finish them on the grill for char and she likes that.  One problem with the MES is you can only achieve 275º, as a result you can't get the skin crisp, too bad the MES can't hit like 330º then you could achieve a crisp skin.

    Let us know how the chicken turns out. 

    Since your a new owner,  I have been posting for new owners, the below "new owner tips", some will feel it is redundant, however the post is intended to help.

    MES New Owner Tips:

    Collected from input of many MES owners, some may seem a bit dated due to new MES with higher watt elements but work as a general rule.

    • Season it. (Many spray the inside with PAM)
    • No extension cords, unless it is 12 ga or heavier.
    • Spray your racks with PAM prior to smoke (makes cleanup easier).
    • For easier cleanup, use alum foil on the water pan and drain pan.
    • Manual says preheating isn't necessary,  preheat, it will make getting up to initial set temp faster, and temp recovery when opening hatch faster.  (These instructions were for older MES units with lower wattage elements,  however the value of preheating applies to all units.) Preheat to 270º.  Cold ambient 45º and colder as long as 2 hours, 1 hour for warmer temps and as little as 30 min. in summer.   Preheating help establish a stable cooking platform without the dramatic temp swings in first hour of smoking. (Experiment with preheating and see if it helps.)
    • Add boiling hot water to pan, this will allow you to get up to set temp faster.
    • Start the smoke with a few wood chips. The manual says 1 cup max, you will find a hand full is almost too much. 1st chip dump just a few chips 8-10, 15 minutes  later a little more chips 10-12, another 15 minutes 12-15 chips.  This should produce a nice bed of hot ash with good chip combustion.  12-20 chips every 30 minutes should work from this point on. Your goal is TBS (thin blue smoke). When its right you can smell the sweet smoke, it won't smell bitter or be cloudy white. Dark smoke is nothing but awful.
    • Do not adjust vent leave it wide open.  Unless using the AMNS, (follow AMNS instructions).
    • Use external probe for sensing meat internal temp, you can run the probe cord through the exhaust vent. *You may want to run 2nd probe inserted into a wood block or potato with 2” to 3" tip exposed to verify the internal MES cooking temp.  (Newer MES models have the built in probes. verify they are +/- 5º accurate).
    • Once your meat is loaded, avoid opening the hatch. New models can recover to set temp faster, but every time you open the door you extend the cooking time. Thus spritzing isn't really necessary in a MES due to the water pan keeping the smoking environment moist enough to not dry out the meat.
    • If you do have to open your MES plan your moves so you can keep door open time to a minimum.  (I’ve decided to not stress and plan for open door times by adding 20 minutes per door opening, although best is to keep to absolute minimum).
    • When your done cooking, the proper way to shut the MES down is to turn off the controller then unplug.  (Sounds simple but the controller has been known to get stuck if not shut down properly.)
    • If your MES seems to struggle getting to either the preheat temp of 270º or is taking extraordinary long times to raise to cooking temps after meat is loaded try doing a RESET..
    Proper RESET = cycle the MES off with the controller, unplug electrical cord, count to 10, re-plug electric cord, turn on MES with on/off, reset temps.
    If you tried a reset, and 20-30 minutes later there is little change do the reset again.
    • Cleanup is easy with a Brillo (or similar) pad to scrub the tough stuff, and throw grates, water & drain pan into dishwasher. Some have complained about the spot welds on the drain pan rusting, I hit those spots with a touch of PAM then store the cleaned stuff back in the MES.
    You do not need to clean the inside cabinet, most experienced smokers consider that just seasoning. With a hot wet rag, wipe out the inside bottom and any excessive gunk on the walls. Again with hot damp cloth, wipe the door gasket, and the door frames (for better seal).

    Congrats on you new MES purchase, and welcome to the MES owners club.
  7. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    Just use the stainless water pan that came with the smoker? Seems like a good grease/drippins catcher and roasting pan.  I have all of these ingredients at the house -including concentrated stock. 

    I like your thinking...  So I am right in assuming smoking the chicken is pretty straight forward.  Like 250 and smoke at start and maybe a few more chips after an hour or so?  Sound good?  I am also thinking I can toss potatoes right in the smoker at the start?  ...because it is hard to screw up a potato even in a smoker?

    Deltadude:  Wife loved the smoked chickens I used to buy from the German butcher shop back home.  They had no crisp at all.  Your tips are logical, and bear repeating often.  I am not dissatisfied, just poorly satisfied with the door.  Looks like ass above the glass.  The leak is small and I doubt will affect cooking at all.   Some high temp RTV would likely fix it.  On the bright side the unit gets hot fast, and reclaims temp quickly. 
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like you are well covered - be sure to give us some qview 
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  10. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One tip for the gasket, after you have carefully examined it, making sure that it is properly attached to the door, use a warm damp cloth and wipe it down, then wipe down the cabinet frame where the gasket meets.  It will help it stick.  I wipe down the gasket and the frame as part of my prep process. 

    Regarding dripping, Alum foil in the drip pan does the trick for me.  One MES owner who used to be a chef, depending on how long something is smoking will determine how much water he uses, so he throws onions, carrots, celery into the water and the run off juices from the chicken drip into the pan.  When chicken is done, he would reset the MES to 160º for holding temp and then put the water mixture in a pan and reduce it for a sauce.  I have tried the same thing with ribs, taking a cup or two out and reducing about 50% and either make bbq sauce or add bbq sauce and thicken.  It is the same idea as oven braising.  However since the meat isn't actually in the water, it is mostly fat that goes in the water, though that is some flavor.  I'm just not sure if the extra effort produces the desired effect.
  11. Hey AtomicDog, sounds like all the guys have you covered with great advice.  The only thing I would add - that you kind of discounted - would be to still brine that little bird.  Even a 2 or 3 hour brine does wonders to poultry if you have the time... simple brine of salt and water or if you want to go all out, add seasoning, fruit juice what ever... but I think a short brine is going to help out that little yardbird... just my VHO.... also, if you want to crisp up the chicken after the smoke, you can always toss it under the oven broiler for a few minutes...

    AND... best of luck with wowing the wife with the smoked chicken...!

  12. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    I decided to telecommute today (life is so good right now because I have the best boss in the world).  The fryer is brining along with a couple turkey wings and a chicken breast.  They will get a good 3+ hours in a simple brine (salt sugar pinch clove, pinch allspice, one bay leaf -my standard bird brine).  I figured I would experiment as the turkey wings were only $2, and we had a lonely breast sitting in the fridge with nothing do do with.  I am no stranger to cooking, but smoking is unfamiliar territory.  Though I cook most of my meat (except chicken) at 225, the whole smoking thing is a mystery.  BTW the bacon grease made a nice hard crust all over the inside of the smoker -it is not what I would like, but in time it will be fully seasoned.

    The wife is UPSET that I spent the window money on a smoker, but the window still has one pane in tact so it's not like something bad will happen right?  Dang lawn mower...  She'll get over it.   She knows I love her.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2012
  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    More courage than I have?

    I would have fixed the window first.

    Then I would have told her that for fixing the window, I deserved a new smoker, a bigger grinder, an all stainless steel stuffer, and a bigger and better slicer?

    But it sounds like you are still alive?  [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.
  14. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's easier to ask for forgiveness then for permission right???? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  15. Hey Venture... not guts... no glory!   LOL... just kidding...

    rbranstner... I agree 100% with your thinking...pretty much my motto....

    Make sure to let us know how it all worked out AtomicDog!

  16. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    This is a pic I snapped while it was resting.  Wife said it was even better than the German butcher shop I used to buy them from (though theirs were more cured imho).  She was very happy with such a fancy dinner on a weeknight.  And honestly it was not that much work -even the gravy.  I ended up smoking at 200 for 3 then 250 for an hour.  Do I even need to mention that it was juicy and tender?

    And yes, I will get the window fixed.  ...eventually.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2012
  17. There ya go!  All's well that ends well!  Great job AD!  Next you can wow her with a boston butt or a brisket....

    Remember, summer is right around the corner....who needs that second pane of glass in that window anyhow....[​IMG]

  18. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    I live by that motto.
  19. hiram

    hiram Fire Starter

    First rule of marriage " if mama ain't happy nobody is happy"

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