MES40 - Boneless pork shoulder - how much smoke? Other tips?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by grillathrilla, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. I am completely in love with my MES40 - the last brisket and babybacks I smoked were totally amazing.  Better than 90% of commercial BBQ I've had.

    I'm trying my first pork shoulder for pulled pork - bought my very first pork shoulder at Costco, 13 pound boneless.  I was a little surprised to find two pieces, but this is my first buy.  Anyway I'm figuring maybe 20-30 hours of cooking time to bring the internal temp up to about 220 or so (recommendations?)  The two pieces have been in the smoker for over 15 hours and the internal temp of the larger piece (upper rack) is 164*.

    How often should I fill the wood chip tray?  I'm thinking wood smoke for maybe the first 12 hours?  Should I turn over the meat?  Should I foil them for the last few hours?  If so, how many hours?

    Thanks for helping me - I sincerely appreciate the advice.

  2. I have an MES 30 and I've done pulled pork from reading the posts on SMF


     John, I'm so sorry that it didn't address how much smoke in the posts. I only done pulled pork one time so far, so I don't have a "wealth of knowledge" to share in that area! Not thrilled with the 3AM finish time, but hoping you'll post some pics of it.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  3. Thanks!

    I did search earlier today for pulled pork and pork shoulder but nobody addressed how much smoke in the MES.  I just foiled the pork at 165* and I'll take it to about 200* I now think.  It might be my luck that will happen at 3 am tonight :-( .

  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    You did the right thing.   When i do butts or brisket in the MES 40, if it's not in the foil it gets smoke.
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Same with my SmokinTex which works like an MES 
  6. smokinal

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

    It should be done by now. How did it turn out? I hope you took some photo's.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Add smoke till you foil.
  8. Whoo-hoo - boy am I glad I'm not a vegetarian!  My first pork shoulder turned out really well, can't wait to start eating on it!  I kept the rub very simple - slathered mustard on them, salt and pepper and garlic powder just before going in the MES at 220*.  The two approx six pound pieces took about 12 hours to get the internal temp to 205.  Took the meat out of the smoker about 9:30 last night, kept them wrapped in foil, wrapped them in towels and let it rest overnight.  They were still a little warm when I started pulling this morning.


  9. Outstanding looking pp-you did awesome!
  10. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    Great job looks great... bet it was tasty
  11. Thanks guys! 
  12. looks great..was wondering how long you left your rub on before you stuck it in the Smoker?

  13. I put the rub on immediately before it went in the MES.  I thought the meat had such a volume that rubbing it a day before wouldn't have mattered much, but that's just an uniformed guess.  Part of the situation was driven by bad planning on my part - I forgot to rub it the day before [​IMG] and we really wainted it cooked that day.

    At any rate, we enjoyed it last night and I had a PP sandwich for lunch today.  OH YEAH!!  Wow that was good. [​IMG]
  14. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    YO All,

    I have been away from SMF, sort of bored with it I guess, but have been lurkin, and sort of missing the old smokin grounds here...

    Thought I would lend a hand trying to hopefully provide some useful info on smokin Q and the MES... 

    First great job on your first pork butt, thanks for posting the pics.
    Your experience mirrors thousands of other MES owners,  the MES  is Making it Easy to Smoke Q...
    Because it is really two pieces approx 6.5 lbs each and not one large butt, the cook time is roughly 90 mins per pound.  or about 9 1/2 hours, you can add an hour or two because you are smoking two large items and remember there are frequently stalls when the meat temp appears to do nothing,  Use the 90 min per pound as a general rule of thumb.
    With the newer MES having some difficulty keeping smoke going unless you did the smoke tray mod, you might need more chips than what I'm going to suggest.  Note my MES is like 4 years old and still going strong, my older MES there is NO piece of metal between the electric elements and the bottom of the chip tray.  For my older smoker I start with about 10 chips and add 10 every 15 minutes for the first hour, after that I have a bed of hot ash and I increase to about 15-20 chips adding more chips about every 30-40 minutes.  If you have the AMNS you can load the meat then the AMNS and watch if for a hour then go to bed and sleep for 4 to 6 hours.  Remember if you put too many chips you will get dark smoke which is smoke with creosote which leaves a bitter taste, you are after thin blue smoke, you know when you have it when the smoke smells sweet.

    Keep the smoke on until you foil, the smoke helps develop a bark, here is an example from a pork butt I did last year, you can see the bark on one of the pics.  I used to foil earlier than I do now, at about 165º, but I found people really like the bark when it is broke up into the pulled meat, so now I go without foil to about 185º and it is still real moist.   NO you shouldn't turn over the meat, if the fat cap is still on the cap should up on the up side.  Personally I normally tie my butts like a roast with butcher's twine, I believe when the meat is all bound up it cooks more evenly, another reason to tie the meat especially if you are smoking boneless is to keep the meat from falling apart.  Regarding moving the meat, I would swap place with the two roast (about mid way through the smoke time), if you are doing them on two separate racks, we all know that as good as the MES is there are hot spots.

    Did you inject the meat?  I usually inject with apple juice that is mixed with some seasoning and other stuff.

    With the MES it isn't necessary to open the door, so spritzing the meat with apple juice or something else isn't necessary.  This is true as long as your using the water pan for water, the internal environment is moist.  In addition recovery time after you open the door simply prolongs the smoke, however with the newer MES and 1200 watts for the 40" recovery is a lot faster but still, the old rule "no peeking" still applies.  Since using the MES and injecting my butts, I have never had a dry butt or even an over cooked one, and always have left the door closed the entire smoke.

    I like that you did a very long rest and kept the butts foiled and wrapped in towels.  If I Q for a party, I usually have the meat done 6 to 8 hours in advance and those long wrap times help finish thoroughly cooking the meat.  The down side is the bark gets moist and isn't as flavorful.

    Hope this helps... 
  15. smokinal

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

    Your pulled pork looks great! Nice job!
  16. Wow dd - thanks for all of the great advice - I never thought about tying the meat together.  DOH! 

    Thanks Al for the kind comments!  I still have some smoked baby backs in the freezer and a bunch of pulled pork.  YUM.
  17. bbqdisc

    bbqdisc Newbie


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