MES 40 capacity

Discussion in 'Pork' started by sublimimij, May 18, 2016.

  1. sublimimij

    sublimimij Newbie


    I have done multiple single pork shoulders,
    Ribs, etc in my MES 40 but planning on smoking for a group this weekend. I know it will fit, but is smoking approximately 35 lbs of pork shoulder ( estimating 3 @ 10-11lbs) affect the ultimate quality? Am guessing it will affect smoke time, but am curious if anyone has had trouble maintaining temp with this much meat in the MES. Appreciate any help and information!
  2. I'm no expert, but the only problem I have had with packing my MES40 is I think I kept my vent too closed...or not open enough. I had corned beef smoking for pastrami on the top rack and the rub never set right and basically steamed off...and the meat was tough. Whatever I had down the racks below was fine, just the meat at the top "steamed" too much and I couldn't rotate because I think one of the things I had in there was chicken and I didn’t want that dripping on the pastrami. With all butts you could rotate as you wish.

    I usually keep the vent low to medium for smaller jobs, mostly to contain and make the best use of my chips and smoke, but I think it’s possible that when the box is packed, it needs more airflow. It makes sense if you think about it but like I said, I'm no pit master.

    As far as maintaining temps, I think that has to do with the ambient temps outside the box. With my MES, so far, I have found that the best time to smoke is spring and fall with temps in the 50-60 deg F range. When it’s above 70 or 80 and especially if the sun is hitting your smoker area I have trouble getting the temp to drop enough to activate the smoker element. The box will just sit there, above temp and never turn on. I have to purposely open the box to drop temp to get some smoke...and that's not good.

    Below 50F and closer to freezing outside, and opening the box drops temps like a rock. As a newbie smoker, it’s hard to keep your nose out the box, plus you want to rotate the products so they see different temps and smoke, evening out what each piece gets. In the cold this makes for a long day/night of smoking. So I try not to smoke in the dog days of summer and in deep winter, focusing on shorter smokes instead of "big ole butts" when I do. I do those butts in spring and fall and foodsaver the meat for easy meals during the year. (Frozen)

    Edit: Also, there is disagreement on the temperature of your butts when they go in and how this effects the smoke/cook time and quality. Some say bringing your butts closer to room temp before cooking not only does not effect the cook in any way, but it's also a violation of food safety standard practices.

    Those who say that are probably right and I have learned to be careful not to advise anyone outside the "food safety" boundaries on this will get "red texted" and admonished sternly. However for my personal risking of life and limb, I will sometimes let my butts rest (I will not say how long for fear of the red text slap down) for a period of time as I prepare for smoking them. For two reasons; 1: Every chef I have ever known or watched on TV or read, recommends bringing meats to "less than fridge temps" (again being very careful here) before applying heat. I follow this with few exceptions, such as burgers (I grind my own meat) where I want medium inside and charred on the outside, the cold meat makes this possible without a raging fire for grilling. 2: common sense tells you a cold item will take longer to warm than a not cold item and will actually cool the space it is in. It is a myth that cold water boils faster...for instance...

    Your mileage may vary. You should, for the purposes of using this site follow all USDA guidelines for food handling...or at least tell everyone you do! It has to be that way, because cooking for others puts them at risk if you are risky.

    Good luck this weekend! It's always a little stressful for the learning smoker to cook for a crowd. A lot of people are depending on you! No stress though...really[​IMG]
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  3. sportgd

    sportgd Smoke Blower

    I'm pretty new as well so take any of my suggestions with a grain of salt!  Sounds like you had the box pretty packed!  Probably a great meal though.

    I am a little disappointed that I got the MES 30 instead of the 40 based on the overall capacity but I didn't have a great frame of reference and didn't read enough to push me to the 40.  With that said I have noticed the more I pack in there is a definite change in the cooking.  I wasn't in love with the chip loader etc so I got an AMNPS and built a mailbox mod, have had extremely consistent smokes and can leave the vent fully open to give it the air flow it needs!

    Good luck and happy smoking!
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You should be fine. Keep the vent wide open as Convection and Draft cook the meat faster and cool the smoker to cycle the coil to make smoke. Of course, if you get and AMNPS or Tube, all the coil does is make heat and you don't need to worry about chips and getting them to smoke. If smoking at 225-250, plan on 2 hours per pound based on the largest Butt plus 2-3 hours to CYA in case you get some stubborn meat. If you are done early, Foil, Towels and a Cooler and that much meat will stay hot 10-12 hours easy...JJ
    briney likes this.
  5. biteme7951

    biteme7951 Meat Mopper

    It also helps to pre-warm your smoker to 275 or as high as you can get it so it has a jump start when you put the meat in. once the meat is in you can set it back to desired temp. I have no problem with 4 butts at a time but find that six would not maintain temp as well for the first few hours. Also rotating top and bottom butts after a few hours balances the cook.

  6. sublimimij

    sublimimij Newbie

    Qview to come tomorrow. Grabbed a couple 9.5 lbers and a 7.8 lb bone in. Seasoned with some all purpose pork rub and brown sugar, wrapped and resting overnight.

    ....few beverages on ice for the smoking. A nice prelude to the inevitable light beer indulgence on Saturday.

    Thanks for the info! -Joe
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Shouldn't be a problem.

    I've never done it, but I remember a guy doing 6 butts @ about 8 pounds  a piece.

    2 on each of the top 3 racks in a 4 rack MES 40.

    I always keep my vent open all the way when I'm smoking, unless it's windy out.

    briney likes this.
  8. sublimimij

    sublimimij Newbie

    Welp they've been going for a couple hours.

    My Jerry rigged amnps stand.
  9. smokinal

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

    Looks good so far!

  10. sublimimij

    sublimimij Newbie

    About 8.5 hrs in. Amnps went out on me due to drippings, added some foil hopefully got it going again now. Running steady at 240.

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---Drippings can do that.

    Butts are looking real nice though!!! [​IMG]

    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  12. sublimimij

    sublimimij Newbie

  13. sublimimij

    sublimimij Newbie

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Real Good !! [​IMG]

    Nice Job!![​IMG]

  15. sportgd

    sportgd Smoke Blower

    Looks like a great butt!
  16. MES 40-I once did 9 large butts for a paid gig (graduation party) . Had no more room on the racks (3/rack). These were standard smoker size so not tiny. I rotated my racks periodically. Towards end I removed some that were done but the last of them took all of 16 hrs to smoke.

    I am guessing it 75-100 pounds. So ya it will handle 35 pounds lol!
    Last edited: May 25, 2016

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