MES 30 Display Brightness

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by g-money1572, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. g-money1572

    g-money1572 Newbie

    Hello - Brand new smoker owner here, based on the advice of this forum and others I purchased the MES 30.  Did my first smoke this weekend (more to come on that later) but I really had issues reading the LED display on the smoker.  To make out the time/temperature readings I had to cup the display with both hands and peer into them.  The display isn't readable otherwise - and it was cloudy yesterday.  It wasn't in full sun or anything like that which would wash out the LEDs on the display. .    

    Is this typical?  If not, I need to reach out to Amazon and see what they can do about it.  I don't care about the time display as much, but it's nice to take a quick look at the temp every now and then.  

    Now for the fun part...I did 3 racks of BB ribs from Costco yesterday.  I did the 2-2-1 method, and used Penzey's Galena Street rib rub.   I put butter, Sriracha sauce and brown sugar in the wrap.   I also tried out the AMNPS smoker, which worked flawlessly.  

    Unfortunately, my results were mixed.  The Costco BB's varied a lot in thickness - the thinner end of the racks were nicely done and fall off the bone perfect.  People loved them.  The thicker ends were not there yet.  They could have benefited from the longer time of the 3-2-1 method I think, so I'm going to try that the next time. They weren't bad, just not where I wanted them to be. 

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any thoughts on the dim LED display. If it's not typical, I want to get going on getting it replaced.  

  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've owned my MES 30 Gen 1 for over 4 years and have been cupping my hands over the controller display screen during sunny daylight hours since my first smoke. It's just the way MB decided to design it. It's a minor irritant to me since I use it as a reference anyway since I use a Maverick ET-733 therm to monitor smoker and meat temps. I use the display screen to judge the difference between the temp readout on the controller and the display on the Mav--the latter being the more accurate of the two. I also use the controller screen to track the elapsed time of the smoke as well.

    I've done a lot of experimenting with smoking ribs: 2-2-1, 3-2-1, other variations, and naked ribs. Since most times I'm occupied doing something else while smoking, the cooking method might be 2-1.5-.5. Actually, for b-backs I prefer 2-1-1. I found that 4 hours cooking time is optimal. With 5 hours they were just TOO falling off the bone and I thought the meat texture and taste was overcooked. Again, all personal preference. I also no longer add foiling liquid to anything. It doesn't tenderize the meat or add flavor. It just serve to steam or braise it inside the foil which over softens the bark. I've been given a few commercial dry rubs which I use when I'm short on prep time. Otherwise I have a number of smoking/grilling books with great, simple dry rub recipes so I use those. Whether pork ribs or beef brisket I rub on yellow mustard first as a binder and then I sprinkle on the dry rub. My wife doesn't like spicy so although I could use a bit of cayenne pepper or the like Sriracha sauce is verboten (the wife's also mostly half-German). I tend toward the Kansas City sweet and smoky flavor profiles for dry rubs and BBQ sauce. I also like Memphis style sauce because of the bourbon whiskey, of course. As I said, I don't use foiling liquid but during the last 20-30 minutes of smoking I brush on the sauce just to finish it up and smooth out the texture of the bark. I might also brush a bit more on as the ribs or brisket rest just because that's how my family likes it.

    I also prefer to buy BB or STL ribs at Costco because of the 3-pack and that their supplier no longer injects saline solution into the ribs. Differences in the thickness of a rack of ribs can be problematic but hasn't been a real issue for me. Like others here, I'm not a fan of "falling off the bone" tender but that's how I typically cook it if I cook by a rigid 2-2-1 method. What I prefer--having learned it from this forum and other reading--is for rib meat to have a slight tug when pulling it off the bone with your teeth. Falling off the bone tender is therefore considered having overcooked the ribs. But it's all personal preference. My family likes ribs to be falling off the bone but I try to cook the ribs somewhere in between if I can.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  3. g-money1572

    g-money1572 Newbie

    Thanks for the feedback on the brightness of the LED's.  I'll learn to live with it, and the best part of it is that you just gave me something to add to my Christmas list!  That wireless thermometer is just the ticket.  :)

    Good point on the fall off the bone vs. a slight tug.  I'm guessing I've been conditioned to falling off the bone as good,so I'm going to need to play around a bit and see if I can find a happy medium.  I feel like that more than a slight tug was needed to get the meat off the bone on the thicker cuts, but it wasn't horrible. Like I said, everyone else gave me the thumbs up on the ribs.  But I tend to be my biggest critic too.   And it was my first time smoking ever.   

    I guess the best part of this purchase is I can't do anything but try again!  I may try the no-wrap approach this time and see how I like that.  I may also sauce my ribs a bit more at the end.  I did it once 10 minutes before I pulled them, but I think they could have used a little bit more to be just right...I felt like I had a bit too much dry rub on them, so I may pull back on that a bit too.  
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A number of guys have installed Auber PID controllers to replace the MB. They say the Auber is more accurate and not prone to temp swings.

    Like you I'm my toughest critic. As long as the meat taste isn't too smoky my family loves the smoked meats I put on the table. And I love experimenting, trying different techniques, variations on cooking methods. I don't write anything down, kind of keep it in my head. I don't like a lot of dry rub either, and I like the sauce to bake into the meat which is why I brush it on before I pull the ribs from the smoker. It also gives the meat a glossy finish instead of a crusty bark. Again, personal preference.

    I tell ya, G-Money, I think my MES 30 Gen 1 is a damn fine smoker for the money. When everything in the smoke works, I'll pit the smoked meat that comes out of that little guy against anything the franchise BBQ joints put out. I went to a BBQ competition last year. An amateur who worked at a BBQ restaurant was serving samples of his food and I felt that my stuff was superior to his. To me the whole point of cooking, whether it's in the kitchen or outdoors on a grill or in a smoker is to experiment, learn, and improve. Once you find techniques that work the job is to repeat it with consistency. I've done some reading and I found a couple of articles that contend that electric water smokers that use wood chips or wood pellets can bought out products superior to the BBQ chains I was talking about earlier. Sure, you won't get smoke rings and you may not be able to match what a Myron Mixon or an Aaron  Franklin produce but the food will still be damn good. With a MES you can have real BBQ any time the desire strikes without having to go out to dinner for it. And you get to bask in the glory that you made it yourself.
  5. frankly

    frankly Fire Starter

    Hi - I used my MES 30" this past Monday for the first time and had the same LED issue - had to cup hands over it to see anything!  I did baby-backs from Sams (a three pack) with varying thicknesses so went for the 3-2-1 method.  Came out real good and had some nice pull.  After the 2 in foil they were pretty soft/breakable but the final 1 firms them back together pretty well.

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