Despondent in Indiana

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by smokeymose, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I'm hoping this is the right forum to ask.!
    I just recently got involved in sausage making and am enjoying it a lot. Although there are a lot of fresh recipes we plan on trying, I know sooner or later we'll want to smoke some. Sadly, I don't have any circuits in the house to handle an electric smoker and there's no way I can get my Masterbuilt gas unit to do the low temps needed.
    I'm wondering if a small single hotplate type thing in the bottom of the Masterbuilt would work. I've not ruled out building something (I don't plan on doing batches more than 5#). Other than initial drying, do I even need heat if I'm using a cure and some kind smoke generation? Guess that tells you how green I am about this. I'm doing a lot of reading, but any input would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    If you have power for a hot plate then you have enough for a smoker.  Most the smokers I've seen only require 110 volts. Check around.
  3. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Voltage isn't the issue. It's the amps.
  4. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What temps do you want to run at?

    What do you want to smoke?

    What is the amperage problem?  Undersized wiring in the building or having to use an extension cord?

    Many of the hot plates will require close to the same amperage as the electric MB.

    For JUST smoking, and NOT cooking to an IT, a cardboard box and an AMAZEN smoke tray or tube will get you going.
  5. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    A standard 15 amp house circuit can run most electric smokers with no problems at all. A 30" Masterbuilt electric will only run around 7 or 8 amps. 
  6. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Try some droewors/biltong with your stuffer.  Crank knows his stuff.
  7. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    A little history, here:

    I started with a Brinkmann (ECB) in 2013 and decided we really liked smoking, but the unit didn't have adjustable temperature and it was such a pain to work with, so this spring I got a MES 30 and liked it a lot (was getting ready to get an AMAZEN). I had been using the patio outside outlet, which is GFI on a 15A breaker. This same circuit, however, services both bathrooms and the garage. While smoking one day in June the outlet just quit working. No tripped breaker or GFI. I can handle basic home wiring, but GFI is a little over my head so we brought in an electrician. According to him, even though a 15A circuit should be enough normally, a GFI circuit is a little different, and we were operating just under the max; not enough to trip the GFI or breaker but enough to slowly cook the GFIs. Had to replace 4 outlets. He said the space heater we sometimes use in the garage wasn't good, but in his opinion the smoker was the culprit. He said the wiring wouldn't handle it and there's no room for another 20A. We now use a Masterbuilt 2-door gas and have been fine with that. We still have the MES, but have promised it to a daughter in law (and anyway even broaching the subject of using it for anything is a no-no).

    All I want to smoke is sausage, which I've recently gotten interested in and have noticed a couple of builds here that use hot plates. I guess 100 to 130 degrees is what most of you do with sausages.

    I would like to smoke some sausage.
  8. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Not to try and be a pain, but a hot plate will draw the same or more amps than a 30" MES. A 30" MES has an 800 watt element. Most hot plates are 1200-2000 watts. 

    Have you tried adding a needle valve to your propane tank to get the flame as low as possible? 
  9. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    You're not being a pain at all, B! That's why I posted the question, to get feedback and it's working!

    I'm sure you're right about the hotplates; I haven't even looked at any yet. Maybe there was something wrong with the MES element? Maybe the Brinkmann did all the damage. I don't know, but I do know if I plug that MES in I'm in BIG trouble, and it's not that important to me!

    I may try the needle valve next spring, but I don't know if even that will get me that much lower, and I've already had blowouts a couple of times with it as low as it will burn. Thank you for the interest and for right now I'm having a ball making fresh sausage (Hot Italian w/peppers & onions tonight), and I'll just keep researching and asking questions til you all tell me to stop ;-)
  10. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I am no expert sausage maker but you could always use an AMNPS or AMNTS to cold smoke for a few hours then cook in a water bath. Maybe some of the more experienced guys will comment on that. 
  11. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    If you've made sausage at all you're more an "expert" than me, B! All I've made so far is a batch of Hot Italian, but the Mrs. likes it so much I now have an order for Kielbasa. As soon as I fill that order I plan to try some of Cranky's boudain!
    An AMNTS is actually on my wish list, but since I just recently acquired a stuffer, manual grinder and a scale, I think I'm going to let it ride a little while 😊.
    A mini sausage smoker is a winter project, and we'll see what happens...
  12. bentley

    bentley Fire Starter

    SomkeyMose get a new electrician. I have and outside outlet that is incorporated with several other outlets in my home. I never have a problem that's because its wired correctly and I would guess so is yours.  If you were running a space heater at the same time as your MES or other draw of similar nature they would possibly be a problem. Don't use the space heater when using your MES. They is nothing wrong with your MES.  It doesn't require a 20amp breaker. It will run fine with the power you have. 
  13. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Point taken, Bentley. We never used the MES while anything else was pulling watts (the heater is a winter thing and the smoker, summer). The house was 18 yrs old when we bought it. I never took the sparky's word as gospel, but the Mrs. well,...It's her house, too.
    The MES is still on the patio along with the gas unit. We'll see.

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