New to Smoking

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by nomadtech, May 27, 2015.

  1. Hello,

    I am new to smoking, I just bought the MES 30" Digital and so far I have only assembled it. I have not pre-season it yet. I have been grilling with a Primo XL for about 1 year and have had pretty good luck but still consider myself a newbie and I am always looking for ways to improve my grilling and now smoking. I am now searching for information before I get started with the new smoker.

    I welcome any tips that would help me get on the right track with this smoker. 

    I have read some sites and then I found this forum and it looks like a lot of research is ahead of me in this forum.

    I am now looking for best way to pre-season or is the manual's instruction good enough?

    Also should I start out using chips or should I go with pellets since I have seen some posts regarding pellets.

    Next I am going to start of smoking some ribs this weekend and I am wondering how often do I add chips?

    Does anyone have a favorite recipe for ribs that would be good for my first smoke?

    I really appreciate forums like this everyone is so helpful and it makes the experience so much better!!!

    Best Regards,

  2. tonewil

    tonewil Newbie

    In the exact same boat as you.

    Got my MES 30" last week on sale at

    I put it together yesterday (very quick) then went ahead and did the pre-seasoning of the unit according to their book.  I had two slabs of ribs I had hoped to do earlier in the weekend but the weather kept raining and I'm taking this unit in and out of the weather to keep it alive longer and didn't want to fuss with the rain as well.

    I used the 3-2-1 method that I researched, not sure how accurate I was to this method, but I'll just explain my day and thoughts:

    I set my heat at 235 assuming it might be low (need to select an accurate temp gauge yet) and my time for 7 hours to allow heating up.

    I took my ribs out of the fridge and applied a different rub to each, these were St. Louis Style from Target.  I didn't do anything to the ribs themselves other than the rub right out of the fridge.

    I threw them on the 2nd and 3rd racks from the top and started doing apple wood chips(cheap from Menards or Lowes) from the start.

    I did alternate throughout the day of weather I had the woodchips in the holder or not prior to dumping them in.  I think I ended up using about 8 total turns of the wood chips (I was aiming for every half hour but had an infant to watch and other boys to pick up in the middle of this whole thing).

    I left the vent closed as well, thinking that was the best way to get the flavor I wanted and keep the heat.

    After 3 hours in there I pulled out the ribs and wrapped them in foil and threw them back in (note to self, I need stronger foil).

    I then put them in the MES for 2 more hours and a couple of rounds of wood chips (part of the 8 mentioned above).

    I then attempted to remove the foil and put them back in the MES for another hour, this is where the foil failed me and the meat was already falling off the bone so it was a bit messy, but eventually they made it back in the smoker for their final hour and some more wood chips.

    I pulled them out and let them sit for about 5 minutes while our Sweet Potatoes cooked up in the microwave.  I had about a half rack of each and my wife had about a half rack total.  She informed me at this time that she doesn't like many smoked meats, but after the meal she told me that it was pretty good.  I enjoyed mine as well, but as many of us probably are I'm my strongest critic.  My concerns were that they were a little too smokey and a little too fatty.  I'll likely trim up the meat next time and hold off on the wood chips for a while as well as opening the vent up for more of a pass through smoke than a sitting in it kind of smoke.

    Interesting experience and some pretty good tasting food, glad it didn't crash and burn with my first attempt, means I won't be giving up anytime soon.

    Most of the thought process I put into this round of smoking was trying to recall things said on this and other forums that I reviewed in the past few months in anticipation of getting a smoker.  As always it appears research likely would have made my cooking more successful.  Hoping this helps you out a bit as a fellow novice of what seemed to work and what didn't, but mainly I'd be listening to the "pros".
  3. Thank you Tonewil for sharing your experience. It sounds like it was a successful one and you learned about a few needed tweaks. I seem to find out what I am not supposed to do one my first cooks and that is why I am trying to research before this weekend. You know how wives are when you bring something like this home and you fail on the first try they aren't as forgiving as we are. [​IMG]

    Good luck on your future smokes an I look forward to hearing about them.

  4. :welcome1:
  5. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Welcome to SMF from NC! :welcome:
    We're glad to have you. The search bar at the top is your most valuable resource here. This forum has been around for over ten years, so there is a good chance that any questions you may have, have already been answered (they may have 10 different answers, but you'll get an instant response non the less).
    Please be sure to post your smokes along with your process and recipes. We will be glad to help you along the way and we may also learn something new ourselves in the process. Also, don't forget the very important Q view! (We're mad for pics on here 😁)
    Always remember to have fun because it's not fun if you have to work at it.
    Thanks for joining,
    - Ryan
  6. [​IMG]   Good evening and welcome to the forum, from another cloudy and warm day here in East Texas. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.


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