MES maiden voyage with Q view (I hope)

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by ws dave, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. After 3 years of fighting with a red Brinkmann bullet I recently upgraded to a 30" Masterbuilt digital. Made some great food with the Brinkmann but also had my share of troubles (particularly when it was cold out). Read a lot of forums on this site and decided to go with the MES and found this one on the Home Depot website for $159 so I took the plunge a couple weeks ago. The market had chicken thighs for like 50 cents a pound yesterday (pack of five was $1.77) so these little guys will be my test pilots for the new smoker today.

    They've been in for a half hour so far (following Bear's "step by step" recipe) and after some billowing white smoke early on I finally have TBS which was almost impossible to do with the Brinkmann so I'm already impressed. I'm having some issues holding the temp high enough but I suspect it may be the foil pan I have under the meat blocking the heat. I consider today to be a learning experience so any edible food will just be a bonus, the main objective is to learn the smoker. I seasoned it and did some dry runs last week and my temps were all over the place. I was usually anywhere from 20* on up hotter than my temperature set point but right now I'm almost 40* low so I may have to pull that pan and see what happens. I calibrated my thermometer the other day and was dead on at 212* so I know I'm accurate there. I'll play around a bit and see what happens. I'm certainly open to any discussion or suggestions anybody has.

  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Pan is way to big! Use a smaller pan and put the birdy parts on 2 racks

    Good Luck

  3. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Hi there and welcome!

    I think you will have some success today.  Just know that when smoking chicken you may get rubbery/leathery skin because the skin often has to be cooked at temps higher than what the electric smoker can produce at 275F.  I have had no issue with temps of 325F and the skin being edible.

    I have found that placing skin side down helps some but may not make all of the skin 100% edible.  It seems this is just the nature of chicken/poultry/skin and temps below 325F so know that you are not doing anything wrong :)

    I have a mission to get some definitive steps to solve this with the MES and the 275F limit but I am out of commission for smoking for probably another month so the testing is on hold hahaha.

    I had a freak occurrence once where where there was a lot of moisture in the smoker and the temp never got over 240F and the skin came out edible.  It was not crispy or dry skin, the moisture kept the skin hydrated which I believe kept the skin from going rubbery/leathery.  I didn't mind the texture but it was more like boiled/steamed skin texture rather than the edible grilled/smoked/roasted skin texture.  I haven't attempted to replicate this as I normally don't have so much moisture in my smoker but in this case a foil pan caught a TON of drippings and acted like a water pan thereby providing all that moisture in the smoker.

    Anyhow best of luck and enjoy the chicken!
  4. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I put a foil pan in there just like that instead of the oval pan. Just make sure you keep that pan away from the back wall where the built in temp probe is. I do experience wide temperature swings, but only EARLY when the unit is warming up but it will stabilize out. Mine does go well above 275' if I want it to, so the built in therm is way off from my Maverick readings, so I adjust my MES temp settings accordingly.

    My suggestion WS Dave, is to plot your times and temps into a graph from cold to at least 3 hours heating to a given temperature (say 235') collecting a data point every 5 minutes. Plot MES temp, and high and low racks in your smoker with your remote therm. Make note of ambient temp as well.

    Repeat this again (after completely cooled) with your MES set to max (275'). Do this test with temp probes getting readings on left and right side also.

    When I did this, I found out it was performing way different than what I THOUGHT it was doing: Better in some spots at times and worse in others.

  5. I finally found my smaller aluminum pans so I took out the jumbo I had in there (only thing I could find earlier)and am already gaining temp so that was the problem. I gave up on even trying to cook the skin with the old smoker and started peeling it before I smoked the chicken. The final straw was after an overnight brine and a few hours in the smoker where I think I actually converted the skin to leather. It was so bad you couldn't even cut with a knife, I had somehow tanned the hide and turned it to something super strong but inedible. I had the MES to almost 320* the other day so I'm hoping to crank it for the last hour or so and see what I get.

    As if I wasn't already having fun playing with my new smoker my Lucky Tackle Box just came in the mail!This is turning out to be a very good day!


  6. Temp probe said it was time to eat so I just ate! Oh man that was some of the tastiest juiciest chicken I've ever had. Quite a bit different in taste from the old smoker which I think is the result of much better temperature and smoke management. Except for a couple of times I had that wonderful smelling TBS almost the entire smoke this time. My Brinkmann was usually chugging out huge clouds of burn your eyes and throat white smoke and the food often tasted like it. Cooked a fair amount quicker than I thought it would so I never really got to crank the temperature at the end to crisp the skin like I wanted to but it was still delicious. Skin was super tasty but was kind of leathery, still edible but not the best texture. All in all an impressive start to a new smoking partnership, I think I'm going to enjoy this Masterbuilt.
    bearcarver likes this.
  7. uncletork

    uncletork Smoke Blower

    It always takes a while to learn your new smokers quirks. As long as you enjoy the food being made along the way you will eventually perfect your methods for your particular smoker. 
  8. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Looks like a success!!!

    Chicken quicks so quickly I've had plenty of times where I never hit my max temp before the chicken was done.  IT's best to preheat the smoker over temp a bit and then quickly add the chicken.  This way you only have to overcome like a 20-30degree drop.

    I believe you are using the built in wood smoking mechanism so the following won't apply to you.  With the chicken cooking so quickly I double up on my competition blend smoke by burning 2 rows of pellets at once in my A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) with my Mailbox Mod.  This greatly adds to the smoke flavor of the chicken on the quick cook.

    Oh and a word to the wise, the MES probes are notoriously off so a dual probe Thermometer like the Maverick of the Thermopro TP20 can help you ensure you are hitting correct Internal Temperature (IT) on your meat and can also verify smoker temp at rack level of what you are cooking.  I highly suggest you look into it and right now Thermopro is doing 20% discount on their website with code:  SMOKINGMEATFORUM  so you can get 20% off the TP20, free shipping, and no tax .

    Keep it up and keep posting your cooks!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  9. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    Looks great! I love doing chicken in my MES. My best results are to take it out of the smoker when it hits an internal temp of 140, then throw it on a hot grill to finish and crisp up the outside a little.
  10. smokinal

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

    The chicken sure looks good from here!

  11. Thanks for all the comments and advice guys! I have a birthday coming up and an AMNPS has already been requested but I'll have to without until then. I'm thinking (hoping) that will be the real game changer. Everybody seems to love it so I'm definitely looking forward to getting one.
  12. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    The AMNPS is set and forget.  It only takes 1-3 uses to work out any kinks.  You will love it!
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've owned this same smoker for 5 years. It's a great reliable smoker for the money. I'd always wanted to smoke food and this was my starter model--and still the only smoker I own. It's produced some great Q. 
  14. Thanks @TallBM for the Thermopro TP 20 info!  I have a Mav 732 but, never hurts to have a "spare to compare", and with the 20% off, no taxes and free shipping, Done deal for $48.00. [​IMG]

    Deserves a bump.

  15. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Glad I could help :D
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice Job, Dave!!![​IMG]

    Your Chicken Looks Just Right !![​IMG]---[​IMG]

    My 275° at the end has always taken good care of my Chicken Skins (So Far).

    That Pan took almost your whole smoker---Definitely your early problem.

    An AMNPS (5" X 8" Maze) Would turn your Great Job into Perfection.[​IMG]

    Keep up the Good Work!![​IMG]


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