MES: should I use water in the pan?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by lsufish, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. First time poster on the site and I'm really looking forward to learning from everyone here.

    Quick question, I have a MES that I have used a few times, but tomorrow I'm taking the training wheels off and smoking a large pork butt for a 4th of July party. I'm starting it at 5:00 am so I feel I'll have plenty of time and based on information on this site a good game plan.

    Question is should I put water in the water pan or leave it dry? I've heard many opinions on this.

    Thank you for the feedback.
    Best regards,
  2. Hi LSU, I filled my water pan with sand based on some info I found on here and it really makes a difference maintaining even heating (less swing) and helps rebounding to get back to temp after opening the smoker.  Especially those that use an AMNPS in the smoker do not use water.

    Good luck with the pork butt and good thinking starting early.  Let it rest a good couple hours wrapped in towels in a cooler while you prepare the other tidbits for your meal, I like to rest 2-3 hours or longer and it always comes out so juicy and tender.  And don't forget to post some Q-view!
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the SMF Family. Please add your location to your profile. I usually run Dry with my AMNPS...Plan on 2 hours per pound at 225° or raise the temp to 250° to get cook time at 1.5 Hr/Lb. If you have the ingredients, try one of these Finishing Sauces. Add one to the Pulled Meat. Good Stuff...JJ

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses


    2T Vinegar, 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more KC Style Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

    For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork:  Make a Double batch, Butter optional.

    Add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

    Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

    At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

    Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten and Serve...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

    When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while  the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

    Note: the addition of the reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider should make the PP moist but not Swimming.

    I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ

    Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

    2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.

    For a Lexington Style Dip  add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When I first got my MES 30 I put water in the water pan. The advice I got from Todd Johnson, who has the A-MAZE-N Products business (The A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker and Todd's wood pellets are the only things I use for smoking inside my MES. I'm also getting the Maverick ET-733 therm from him.) was to put sand in it to use as a heat sink. I smoked two racks of baby back ribs that way and they came out great; haven't smoked a pork butt yet. Some here think that the water pan steams the meat as opposed to just smoking it and can also make the interior too humid to keep wood pellets (which is what I use) lit. I'm using sand instead of water now.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014

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