MES 30 to WSM 22.5 how hard is this transition?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by newflame, May 2, 2012.

  1. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    I've owned an MES 30 for a few years now, and also own a gigantic boiler smoker that I use for catering, I've always been a little hesitant to purchase a stand up bullet as they look a little intimidating, I was just curious if anyone else has made the jump from electric to charcoal, and how their transition went.  Basically I'm wondering about ease of use, getting to 225 and maintaining for 12 hours or long enough to do some butts, and also what the range of temps is while cooking, ease of adding wood/water, and the ease of removing cooking meats for foiling.  

    My MES has gone to pasture so I either have to buy a new one, likely the MES 40 from Sam's club, or go ahead and make the jump to the WSM.  TIA
     
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also, check out the SMF Groups for WSM and UDS group discussions, too!
     
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like to call my WSM "Smoking for Dummies Easy" [​IMG]

    Basic set up process:
    1. Foil the water pan.
    2. Put 1 full layer of charcoal in ring, then top with 4 or 5 fist sized chunks of flavor wood.
    3. Fill ring the rest of the way with charcoal and top with another 4 or 5 chunks of flavor wood.
    4. Light 1/2 a chimney of charcoal, and dump it in the middle of the ring.
    5. Wait 5 min. and put main body on (leave lid off), fill pan with HOT water, put lid on and let it come up to temp.
    6. Toss on the meat!
    7. Adjust lower vents to desired temp., upper vent stays open.
    A rough rule of thumb: 3 vents open = 280° to 325° ; 2 vents open = 250° to 280° ; 1 vent open = 200° to 250°. Like I said those are very rough guidelines and they will vary with ambient temp. and wind, but once your learn how to dial it in you will be able to do it quickly every time.

    In the summer without much wind I have ran over 20 hours with one 20 lb. bag of charcoal
     
  4. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the reply, obviously I'm gonna be going for 225 in this beast, once you get it dialed in like 3/4 of a vent open does it hold fairly well?  I've heard it's supposed to...I'm just wondering now whether I'm going to need to get a draft controller or not.  I should also note that I do primarily longer smokes.
     
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Start withoug the draft controller to get a feal for the smoker as is.

    Once you are dialed you can basically walk away for hours at a time. I have ran with 1 vent 1/4 open at 225° for 6 hours on a brisket and not touched it once, only reason I touched it after that was to foil it and what not.... lol.

    I have gotten to the point that if the night temps. are above 55° and there is little to no wind, I will toss my brisket on at midnight and go to bed till 6 or 7 AM, and it will be right where I left it running at 225°. If you want extra assurance buy a 6 foot x 8 foot welding blanket ($40) and some big metal spring clips (look like big clothes pins), wrap the blanket around the smoker and use the pins to secure it where the edges meet - just arrange the top so there is a hole for the exhaust and one to see the lid therm. I use a welding blankey in the winter and it works great!
     
  6. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    ha, that reminds me of using my MES 30 on a cold winters night, except I used an old comforter, lol in hindsight it probably wasn't the safest thing to use.
     
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  8. mkfan 17

    mkfan 17 Newbie

    All-

    How much size difference is there between the 22.5 and the 18" WSM?  I'm needing to replace my 30 MES due to a dead heating element and I'm moving on!  I can't find one to look at it in person so i'm probably going to have to buy online.  Any thoughts?   Thanks!

    Brian
     
  9. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    The 22.5 is obviously about 4.5 inches wider than the 18, but I'm not sure if the heights are any different, I will tell you that even after looking at a ton of them online and in pictures, the 22.5 is a beast when you get it put together.  I went with that one just cause I want to be able to cook a lot of food for catering, if I didn't do the catering thing on the side I think I would have gone with the smaller one.
     
  10. NF, I switched from a Cookshack electric to a plain old Weber Kettle. It took me longer to get the hang of smoking with it (and thanks to Todd for his AMNPS) I finally mastered some techniques and can do 10+ hour smokes without adding more charcoal.  It is a process I am sure you will enjoy. Frustrating at first but the WSM is going to be way easier than a kettle!  Good luck!

    John
     
  11. mkfan 17

    mkfan 17 Newbie

    Thanks NewFlame!  Yea I figured the inches but i was wondering about how much meat at one time?  I have seen pictures online of about 3-4 racks of ribs on the top grate at one time.  Can you also put meat below that on another rack?


     
     
  12. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I ain't tryin' to rain on your WSM parade, but have you seen these?

    Mini-WSM

    MDBoatBum's

    My Build


    Unless you need the capacity to do a LOT of meat at once, I suggest you give this a try. I already had the Smokey Joe Silver and found the pot at Wal*Mart 10 days ago for $19.99. It might be worth the fun of giving it a try before you make your decision between an MES40 and a WSM. (FWIW I have the MES40 but do NOT have the WSM.)

    -rh
     

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