Lessons learned about the MES after Thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by miatawnt2b, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

    One thing I learned today is the MES30 is grossly underpowered for cooking anything larger than 10lb or so. Today my ambient temps are in the 70's-80's and even after preheating the MES to 350* It never recovered after putting in a 19lb bird at 60*.

    The MES needs a larger element, even if it's on just on a temporary basis to preheat and recover after the door is opened and cold food racked.

    Has anyone installed a larger element in their MES?

  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't understand how you got your MES up to 350° when the max is 275°, unless you meant 250. It's very dangerous to attempt to take that smoker beyond it's rated temp limit.

    Having said that, an MES owner posted how great his spatchcocked turkey and chicken turned out in a MES. Users have had great success with turkeys in the 12-15 lb. range. I've got a 12-pounder in the freezer I plan to smoke next summer.
  3. I am a totally newb, just did my first smoke. It was a 16lbs Turkey, and got internal temp to 165 in about 5 hours. (Brined the turkey for 20hrs previous to smoke).

    Temp outside was 5 degrees Fahrenheit and windy....I didn't seem to have any issues...

    (I have a 30" MES)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
  4. You may have done this, When smoking a large chunk of meat remember there is a the carry over of cooking IT. it usually is 5 deres + or -. I use 5 degrees as a rule of thumb. I pull the bird out at 160 IT and cover with foil for 1/2 hour. Just thought I would throw that out since I have had a dried bird before.
  5. I learned that the hard way....Turkey was at 162-163 after about 4hrs....after I finally pulled it out and we ate it, it was overdone imo. Everyone loved it, but I was wishing I pulled it out of the smoker sooner.
  6. I cooked two 11lbs birds side by side in my 40"Mes for Thanksgiving and they came out absolutely perfect.
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The turkey shouldn't have been overdone since the recommended finish IT is 165°. With the carryover you were most likely safe. But overdone and underdone can be an individual taste type of thing, depending on if the meat was too dry or not.

    You really have to be careful with cooking poultry properly.
  8. I should clarify, it was 165 (IT) when I pulled it out at about 5hrs or so. However, at the 4hr mark it was 163ish....I was just surprised it took another hour to raise the temp 2 degrees.

    Turkey itself was great, the skin was overdone....guessing I just didn't cover it up soon enough or any other newbie error I could have done.
  9. Sometimes our most valuable lessons are learned by experience.  Just think you had a good meal learned a valuable lesson you can take with you to other smokes and you are no longer a newbie. All in All a good cook.  Jted
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You've just got to remember the "E" in MES stands for Electric and its a completely different smoking procedure than a fireburner. A more constant stable heat, less moisture loss, you give up a smoke ring and crisp skin. It takes longer but normally the electric forces you to cook slower which helps guaranty a tender and juicy end result. Sure you can do the same with a firebreather but the elecetric makes you cook low and slow

    Low and slow 220 to 250 on the norm, depending where your smoker sets in nicely and likes to smoke at. #300+ is firebreathers. They are also capable of BBQ'ing and most can also grill. But all three cooking procedures are different.

    You just have to learn what makes your smoker happy and play by its likes and dislikes.
    084runnerltd likes this.
  11. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

    I have modded my MES to reach 350* You can read about it in my other thread.
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Which other thread? Can you post a link? I'd like to read your post but I won't be doing that mod on my MES. Anything over 275° is not low and slow cooking, and 275 is too high in my opinion. If the goal of achieving 350° was to crisp chicken or turkey skin or something 400-500° in an oven would be even better.
  13. miatawnt2b

    miatawnt2b Fire Starter

  14. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The reason why my wife took over cooking Thanksgiving turkey because with mine the skin would be overdone while the meat was still pink. One year we didn't eat until 9 pm and the turkey STILL wasn't quite done.

    Like you, I'll stick to smoking smaller turkeys in my MES 30. Haven't done one yet so I haven't read up on foiling. We don't brine our turkeys because my wife has proven that if the turkey is roasted correctly it'll be tender and juicy without brining. She does an upside down turkey in the oven. During the first few hours the fat on the bottom of the turkey will render and baste the breast meat. At the halfway mark the turkey is turned right side up to further roast the meat and brown the upper skin. Last Thursday she produced a turkey that had the most moist and tender, delicious and fully-cooked dark meat I've ever enjoyed. If you know what the "oyster" is on a turkey or a chicken then you'll appreciate that that TG turkey oyster was outstanding.

    As for how long it took to get up to that last degree, wait till you smoke a beef brisket, a pork shoulder/butt, or a boneless beef chuck roast and you experience...the Stall. Even when you get past the stall you'll look at the temp display and think the meat's only got about 20-30 minutes to go after that time the temp hasn't moved. That's when you learn how early to start the meat the next time. Still, cooking a 16 lb. turkey to the proper IT in 5 hours is not bad.
    084runnerltd likes this.
  15. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    The problem could be that you are taking it past the design temp that the element was sized for. I have had my MES loaded down with meat before and it comes back to temp in 20 minutes or so.

    If you search through some of the old mod threads you will see where some people add a second element to the left side with a manual on/off switch to give it an extra bump when it was struggling to get to temp. 
  16. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

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