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Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by oldironhead, Jul 24, 2016.
HAHA! I can rent the dog out as a "Smoker Cleaner"
You can even call him Smokey The Dog. Only YOU can prevent smoker fires!
I would listen to the one poster that recommended no cleaners, the walls never touch the meat, just clean the racks, and I would not recommend "oven cleaner" or getting entire unit wet, oven cleaner will etch the steel and create a environment for rust, likewise, regardless of drying, spraying off with hose will promote rust, and if it is digital it will promote other issues in regards to circuit boards and wiring, moisture and wiring and electronics is not a good thing, to be honest, if you just want to knock down some of the buildup, use a tire brush with nothing on it and knock it off then just wipe the bottom, vinegar is good but also very acidic and will promote rust, corrosion and oxidation at a accelerated level.
Stick with the advice from the others, no soaps or cleaners except for racks, water bowl, chip tray, internal parts of which most are stainless on the Master Builts
The coating or smoke build up is actually good seasoning to maintain on any smoker or grill, may look ugly, but good for the food and it seals cracks and leaks too !
I have a analog, it will never see water, dual wall construction and water will surely put rust on the fast track, not to mention over time cause more issues with wiring if digital as well as the control boards and sensor connections.
Smoke is acidic in nature and when water is added, it is like a catalyst
I like the Master Built products, but I went pure analog as I do not want to deal with the electronics failing one day or the issues with wiring, and I just like simple, inexpensive but effective, it is the old school in me hehehe
The unit are made of mild steel, this is why I would never use water on them, it will just accelerate damage over time, and getting water in the double walls will surely lead to more damage over time, and if a smoker has insulated walls then even more accelerated..............................
No Offense is my disclaimer, but I know how you ladies like clean, I have a wife LOL, but in this case, try to abstain from cleaning the inside with exception to washing racks and water bowl and chip tray, dry wipe the drippings in the bottom while still warm and thats it, clean the outside with windex or something along that line
Smokers are not supposed to pretty, they are to make good eats and if you do the above, and as the others have said along the same line, your smoker will serve you many years and the meats will be superb !!!!
My 2 cents worth, IMHO
Zero offense taken. To the contrary, I appreciate your insight and candor. Wiping it out while still warm is something that hadn't occurred to me. I definitely am not looking for a spit-shine, but maybe "not disgusting" is more of my goal.
Also, sounds like the consensus is for me to keep the Cajun, maybe add the pellet smoker (although I have to admit it seems counterintuitive to add a smoker to the inside of a smoker), use "friendly" cleaners inside (if any at all) and it's okay to keep washing the racks, removable pieces/parts with dish soap.
That's about as good as it's going to get. And, then I can spend that extra cleaning time smoking meat and drinking beer!
Yes, I use the AMNPS Pellet Smoker too, like the possible 11 hours of smoke time on that, just got my first electric smoker myself, and when I do some hams and roasts, not to mention chickens and turkeys it will be nice not to have to be messing with the chips all the time, just fire up the pellets, put the probe in the meat and shut the door and forget it !
And to be honest, the only thing you would wipe of of the bottom of that, or maybe the sides in the lower part of the cabinet would be the fat drippings so they do not go rancid and create a undesired smell that your meats would pick up when cooking (blech), I have not had to, but will do what I had suggested to you with the tire brush, wipe all the large fat deposits out while warm, or just heat it up and then wipe, either way, but as for the walls in regards to over time excessive buildup, I will just get a a nylon bristle tire brush and knock it off, then wipe the dust out of the bottom, like the one person said, Amazing Pellet Smoker's make a pellet tude also, not sure what diameter the tube is, but if to would fit in the chip chute that would be real cool, just disable the heater in the chip chute and use the tube ! Something to look into anyway if you have a hankering to, you know us guys, we love MOD'ing stuff hehehe
I saw comment from person kinda condemning MOD's and wondered why people would bother instead of just buying a real expensive smoker and not MOD'ing, I do not care if it was $1000 or more, I would still MOD it, and the appeal of MOD'ing is two fold, number one you are doing it and it is rewarding, actually 3 fold cause if you're a regular guy then you like MOD'ing stuff, its what we do ! but the biggest reason is just improving a unit to do a few things tailored just for what you want to do or to make it easier, that is why the AMNPS Pellet Smokers are so popular, because most of the units that have there own smokers require regular addition of chips or patties, and some of them have reliability issues regarding cooking temps, so when you have a simple little pellet smoker that can relieve you of constantly adding smoking materials or other issues, it just make the Smoking that much more enjoyable
Some people have issues with the pellets but I think most of them are simple issues that can be solved by just adding more air to the cabinet or in some cases I think sifting the pellets a bit in the bag before removing would solve a lot of issues, just like chips, if they are not laying in the tray settled a bit, or in regards to pellets sifted so they lay together without voids between them, then they will go out, but the cure is usually very simple, and once you get thru that then it is all down hill.
Anyway, I yap too much, but as you can see, this forum is a wealth of information and it is filled with a bunch of great people that love to help, it is the best one on the web in my opinion.
* never mention drinking beer and smoking unless you are close enough for me to come and join you !
Not nice to tease people
Well, there's a part of me that likes puttering around all day on Saturday, adding wood chips, but the way the Cajun is built makes it irritating. However, there would also be a part of me that would like to do a brisket without staying up all night I guess the beauty of the AMNPS is that i don't HAVE to use it?
I have to agree 100%- this forum has been invaluable in my year or so effort to learn to use the smoker. Fantastic resource and amazingly friendly folks!
Haha, oops! Sorry!
I've looked at the analog Masterbuilts. The design of the digital better suits my needs. I like the digital controller temp/time remaining display. I understand the controller works differently in the analog than in the digital in that when it hits the set point it just shuts off until the temp falls below then it switches on again. The digital controller cycles throughout the smoke, typically passing the set point in the heating part of the cycle and eventually lowering the temp back to it, or falling below and then rising back up to it. Although I rarely use wood chips anymore, I like the pull-out wood chip loader on the side. With the analogs you have to open the door to reload wood chips.
The first thing you learn about the chip bowl in the analog versions is it does not work well in low temp situations, and then even in high temp you are looking at opening the door and losing heat and making the dry or cook time longer ..............so the first thing you do is ditch the chip bowl and get a AMNPS pellet smoker and you have 11 hrs of burn time (max) on a full pellet tray.
The digital part, I just do not see using it as it will have to be replaced one day, and they are pricey, I looked at all that before I decided on the analog, if I order the Temp Control and the Element from Master Built (if I were to get both, of course they can be purchased separately), I can get the pair for just under 50 bucks, the controllers alone for the digitals are well over 100 bucks.........then the elements and then the probes, if it is a probe capable unit, again, not knocking them, just my take on things.
So you have a Temp Control that is like that of a electric Fry Pan, no internal wires going here there and everywhere, the only wires are the cord going to the Temp control, and you can replace the Heating Element in less than 5 minutes if it fails, most heating element failures are due to faulty, dry, corroded, oxidised connections or from caustic cleaners being used on them like many of the heavy duty degreasers and oven cleaners, but this temp control does not have wire connections at the element, rather just the prongs and a slip connection to transfer power and is located outside the cabinet away from the acidic smoke, moisture from meat etc etc.
So the Analog is very simple and very low maintenance cost in the event of a failure along with very easy serviceability.
Another reason I chose this over the others is because it has the 1500W Element which will have no issues maintaining temps in harsh winter cooks, coupled with the fact like the one I have, I did a pretty cheap MOD and have 8 racks to use.
And for the finale, as I have told some others, with the technology of the Remote In Oven Temp Probes, why pay for the electronics, when the Temp probes do what the controllers do and more for around 50 bucks..........and the 50 buck figure is for a Dual Meat Probe that doubles as a Smoker Cabinet Temp monitor along with the Analog Cabinet Temp Probe on the door, your cook times, high and low cook temps, and alarms, so no, personally I do not see paying for all that when I can get all that and more from the In Oven Temp Probe, and in regards to maintenance, I would rather be able to have a extra temp control and element for 50 bucks, than over 100 bucks + in replacement parts on the shelf for the other, I always keep a replacement set of controls, if I have a failure, 5 mins I am back cooking and all I have to do is remove the bottom rack for the water bowl and the AMNPS and use one tool, screwdriver or a nut driver.
I have spent my life working on mechanical and electro mechanical items, from home to industry and electronic controls and equipment including radios, transmitters, radio stations etc, so I know what will happen with that kind of stuff over time, and smoke(which can be very acidic) moisture and heat variations on this grade electronics, well, there will be issues, not a question of will there be, but only when.
Again, not talking bad about anything, just would rather make a few mods and get it the way I want cheap than pay extra and either do the mods anyway or have to be tearing the thing apart to make a fix and meat getting messed up because I have to tear the thing apart to get back in operation.
So this is why I made the choice for the Analog, and with a cheap dual temp in oven probe I am over 100 bucks less money even with the simple mods, I am also planning another MOD that will not be expensive but will be a T-Stat (oven type) interrupting the power to the Temp control, Mod will not cost more than 30 bucks total and you will be able to set the dial on a temp an preheat or bump 10 degrees accurately and easily, and it will still be Analog, no electronics.
I was going to go with a digital, but after researching parts prices and looking at design, and then looking at the wiring failures at the elements, in the cabinet, chip heater, conveyor motors and all that stuff running, and eventually needing replacement or having issues of their own that need mods, I just got a AMNPS and a Nice Dual Probe in Oven Meat stat that does all that and a $142 (on sale, 179 regular) analog smoker that now has more shelf square inches of space than most, and properly cared for, this thing will never rust out, unless I were to hose it down regularly or use harsh chemicals, the only place I have ever had rust on my Char Grill (2nd one in over 20 years, the last ones stand rotted away, bought a new one and gave the remains to a friend and he welded up a new stand for it and is still using it) is on the outside from the paint peeling from high heat, I just clean and respray it black every few years, if you take a few easy steps to protect it then it will last forever too, but my Temp Controller and Element may go bad, but when it does I will only be out 20 some bucks a piece to replace, will never have to worry about bad wiring, shorted wiring, or bad connections, or a bad controller, I can open the door, take the bottom rack out and replace the element in a couple minutes and be back cooking.
I know a lot of people use the Digitals and have been using them for many years with no issues, but the posts I see here and on other forums indicate the failure rate for them is not acceptable to me, just my opinion.
Granted, if I had one and it being cared for properly, it would probably last me forever as well, the elements are going to go bad at one time or another, this is just the way it is, and there are many things that can cause electronic failures, circuit board failures and wiring failures, to many to list, so it is a assumed risk, add the smoke and the acidity of the environment and it increases, then add spraying with a hose and or using cleaners, and it is off the chart, without the electronics and the wiring in the cabinet, risk is gone and repair is simple and fast regarding the heating element.
That is why I chose the Analog coupled with the fact that I had already looked at the pics, and done the homework on the MOD, so in the end it was the one I wanted because I was already planning in the AMNPS, the Rack Mod and a couple more I have coming that are very cheap, and I still will not be over the $250 dollar mark invested and will have everything just like I want it.
This is the reason I own old cars, I maintain them myself, inexpensive to fix and far cheaper to maintain, and yes they all have stereo's and A/C , gotta be a little spoiled hehehe
And you're right, the AMNPS is very cheap, pellets are for the most part cheap, get a large bag and forget about getting more for a long time, and no, you do not have to use it, and I understand exactly what you mean about the puttering about, I have enjoyed that for many many years with the Char Grill, running around in the yard doing this or that and cooking some chicken quarters for like 6 hours with the side burner going, I love that too, but now I want a season of easy cookin where I just just walk by maybe every hour and check the temp, but otherwise be able to be with the company having fun rather than slaving over a grill for 6 hrs cooking for 20 people while they have a good time, love to cook, and will be doing that some more at one time or another, but looking forward to making Jerky ! and Smoking some meats for like 10-12 hours and this will make that so much nicer, I am pretty excited about it
We have a cookout coming up soon, family, have about 20-40 here, I am going to use the Smoker for the burgers, dogs and sausages, may not have grill marks on them but they will be so blasted tasty, and I will be socializing and not sweating over the coals for hours, not sure how it will work out, but I think it will be just fine
I just remove anything that can be lightly brushed off the walls and scrape the racks. Kinda like my grill grates. I don't wash grill grates but periodically wash the smoker racks because they can't be burned clean like the grill. If there's no chunks on the racks and you pre heat the smoker all is food borne pathogen free. Plus the natural preserving effect of the smoke which is the original reason why foods were smoked.
I see that you and I are at loggerheads, my friend. So, let me tell you why I prefer the digital controller which I know may need to be replaced someday, and my beloved Maverick ET-733, which can be a pain to reset. There is one reason and one reason only: I love newer technology digital gadgets. I like being able to push buttons to reset stuff and change settings. 2nd reason why I love my beloved Maverick ET-733, I can be at my computer, watching TV, doing lord knows what with the curtains drawn over every window in my house, and I can still monitor my meat IT and my smoker temp. I don't need to continually walk out to the smoker and look at the temp gauge on the door of an analog smoker or open the door and repeatedly attack whatever meat is cooking inside with a long, cold metallic probe. I mean, the meat has enough problems being exposed to all that heat and smoke. With the Maverick, it already has a meat probe inserted into its flesh so for the cooking meat it's like it's in a hospital bed hooked up to a saline drip bag with an IV.
Also, I've been told by thems in the knows on SMF that the reason the analog has a 1500W heating element is because the design requires it since it loses more heat than the digital models. The reason why is long forgotten because it resides within the dark recesses of my moribund RAM cells somewhere inside my cranium, lord knows where.
But to each his own. I'm not criticizing your choice of smoker, of course. I'm just saying why I chose a digital. I'm faced with doing some repairs to the controller wiring in back of the smoker but haven't yet decided when I'll attempt it. I don't have any pro experience with electrical wiring, just what I've picked up making repairs around the house. As for repairing cars, the last one I attempted a service on was an '85 MItsubishi Mirage. I was all set up to do an oil change and then I discovered the engine was transverse-mounted. I completed the oil change but it cured me of working on cars forever. Yes, I look fondly back on the days when I could open the hood or crawl underneath my '70 Datsun 510 or my '70 Plymouth Duster and take care of whatever needed to me done. The only computer needed resided within my then-active RAM cells somewhere inside my cranium--and I knew exactly where they were. But I tell ya, I hate these newer-fangled cars even though the one I own is a joy to drive. The fuel gauge insists on telling me it's empty even when I just filled up the tank and have personal knowledge of the gasoline residing in said tank. The fuel gauge consists of two long sending units to the tank and at least one of them as failed, as confirmed by the almost permanently-lit "Check Engine" light. Well, I had the engine checked and I checked on the repair cost: $1000. Much cheaper just to reset the electronic odometer to where I want to be reminded to fill up the tank. It's a great, free system--until the electronics for the odometer go out. If that happens, what's your best selling price on one of the cars you maintain? I know it'll have an FM stereo and A/C, but does it have USB ports and DC electrical outlets?
I was just stating why I got it, not knocking you or the smoker of your choice, not to sure about the element deal, but there are other MES 30's that do not have the 1500W, so hence why I chose that one, I want all the wattage I can get, it can get near 0 here or a little below every now and then, and that was my whole point about the Remote Temp Probes, so nice, do not have to be there so why bother with the electronics, mo money for me ! LOL
I was not point counter point disagreeing, just explaining why I got what I got, I hope you did not think that, it was not my intention to do that or in anyway highjack the thread, I love discussions, and if someone feels I am looking down my nose or being high handed, THAT IS NOT the case, just healthy, non emotional or attitudenal (I know it is not a word but should be) discussion.
So if I have offended you, My Apology Sir, it really was not my intention.
All that said, as I was telling a few people thus far, we all have different toys and diff fuels, I just got into Electric Smoking, got my AMNPS Drip Shield done today, pics upcoming !!!!!!!, and I am excited about it, going to go season my little electric baby as soon as I finish posting the pics, and I spend allot of time checking all these different smoker/grill/cookers that everyone has, I love seeing the different styles and capabilities on some, but they are really all the same with minor differences in the end and different fuels, I have eaten off every fuel there is and can say the eats are all so very close there is really no difference in the end in my opinion if done correctly, and as far as the smokers to each his own, I started using a little brinkman smoker, would use it to slow cook and or smoke, either way wood or coals in bottom, pan always full of water and made some serious eats, but no good for a lot of eats, then the Char Grill, wood and coals, and the side burner, now I could keep 30-40 happy but never left the grill hehehe to keep up with demand, now I can actually do some Jerky reliably without being stuck on defcon 5 the entire time, I am just really pumped and ready to go !!!!
Again, was not arguing, nor trying to create a diff like anyone's wrong or made the wrong decision, I love electronics myself, you should see the fishing boat ROFLOL, but I am just old school in a lot of ways like to be thorough in explanations, especially in forums, so if someone reads it, it might help them think about something maybe they had not, I could care less about the brand or the fuel, just that if I can help someone in any way, I want to accomplish that.
My friend, we are good I hope
Just my experience so far with the new electric fuel and just my opinion Sir, no judgement or otherwise
Looking forward to the pics!
N4YNU, I never thought you were arguing with me but it looks like I came across as being argumentative with you. I'm sorry for that. I was just stating my reasons for choosing the digital over the analog smoker. It was better suited for my needs, that's all. We all have our opinions on SMF and comparing the analog vs. digital or to wrap or not to wrap pork ribs makes for great and informative discussions. From what I've read of your posts, you're a great and knowledgeable guy. I enjoy reading your stuff. And you may continue to call me Sir because I don't work for a living. I'm retired.
I just did my first batch of beef jerky about a month ago after winning a jerky making gift. There were some issues to deal with and I know what mistakes I made. But, there's no accounting for people's tastes: the beef jerky was an unqualified success for everyone who tasted it. I plan to make another batch but it's got to wait until I fix a controller issue with my smoker. Don't know if analogs are wired the same way as the digitals but the wiring and connectors are what I need to look at. One of our esteemed members, Dr. K., is advising me on this because he owns a couple of MES digital units, I believe. If you owned one I'd be picking your brains too.
I just like to be sure my friend, glad to hear that, it happens a lot, I have discussions with people and they are like "I am not arguing with you" and I am like "huh", who's arguing ?????? LOL, I am having fun with this and now they think I am mad or something, this text mess can be taken so many ways, I just would rather err on the side of caution I guess.
Glad to hear we are good
I know people like different stuff and we are doing the same thing, sharing insight to someone somewhere or otherwise having a healthy exchange of ideas !!!!!!
I Love this Forum
* And that is the best part of this Forum, like having parents again, can always find someone to set us straight and help us out here !
A friend of mine used to say "never straight, only forward" hehehe
Oh, by the way, no wiring on the Analog, the Temp controller plugs right into the heating element, there is wiring in the cord to the temp controller lol, it is like one to a electric fry pan, justs plugs into the side, no wires in the unit or wire connections to go bad either.
I try to be buds with everyone. I've gone through the newbie period of getting into debates and such. What I prefer to do is to research stuff, like what it takes to get a smoke ring in an electric smoker, and just add input to the knowledge base. As for SMF, let me tell you, my friend, this forum helped take me from a know-nothing guy with his first ever (relatively cheap) smoker to what I am today, an OTBS. Along the way I did my research, I did my smoking, and I did a lot of question asking. I tried out the techniques guys suggested and over time I developed my own knowledge and skill base. I figured out my own style of smoking. I'll try some new stuff if it makes sense to me and I decline to try others, like doing mods on my MES. I never keep written records of smokes like other guys but I basically know what I've done right and what I've done wrong. I figured out what accessories and tools I need and what I don't need.
Don't like the air the dirty laundry in public, then then this isn't the public so we're fine. There have been some really fiery arguments in this forum. You won't seem them because the mods and admins delete them. Some of us just get very passionate about what we believe, and I've been one of them.
"Never straight, only forward". Quite a few interpretations to that one. I could write a couple, but since I don't know that well it would be "forward" of me.
Oh yeah--I've seen how the analog works but I forgot when I wrote my reply. Yeah, there may be an electrical issue with mine right now but I'll learn to fix it. But over the past 4 years it's been really, really good to me. I think I better close now. Tears are welling up....I'm sorry...
Exactly, that is what I have done, and like you said, a lot of research and learning on the new smoker, and many other things, I have read many posts like yours and mine that led us here and learned so much about products and different methods, tips and tricks, never to good or too old to learn, and SMF is top in my book, the people and the forum are just incredible !
Not to mention time tested Recipe's !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I am that way with things too, I love to fix, modify, re-design etc etc, it is in my blood, so even if I do not have one of the Digitals or other Brands, I still read and do homework so I know a bit more, may turn into one of those guys with 5 diff smokers hehehe
Just remember, take it from the electronic fruitcake that I am as well, every harness plug, terminal strip or screw / compression or sta-con connection ( if I do a crimp, I dip the wire and pump the crimp connector with the grease before crimping ) use di-electric grease, also known as ignition grease, it will save you many issues, and it can be used anywhere except as a garnish or a condiment LOL, smoke and high heat are killers for different reasons regarding electrical connections, then with smoke, if you wash the unit wherever the smoke residue is (never put water on that smoker if it has internal wiring), is now highly acidic, the di-electric grease will protect the wire and the connection from all of that as well as any other oxidation promoting factor, bad / dry / oxidized connections cause intermittent power issues and voltage spikes, lower voltage issues which cause increased current draw and all of or either of destroys electronics or accelerates the death of them as well as elements, switches and wiring insulation. the heat is bad enough but if you ever have to replace wiring, make sure you use the high temp fiber meshed covered wire, it will save you tons of issues in the future, wet those connections with the di-electric grease and it will serve you well, I even use it on light bulb sockets in autos and bikes, never had a bulb die yet, if I get a new car, I get 2 or 3 tubes of it and start pulling lenses and treat every light socket on the car, then I go under the hood and do the same to all the harnesses I can get to and the plug / coil and distributer boots, I use it in electrical, electronics and for sure on the boat (salt water will not phase it), it is really nice to use in electronics for the same reason, a connection regardless of the type (mechanical) will not dry, or oxidize and the best part is, it is di-electric, it will not conduct, good to around 70-100 Killi-volts, and it water proofs as well, you could have this covering to wire ends, stick it in water and it would not conduct, really amazing stuff and again simple to do and will save you a lot of connection related failures ! It also stays put in high heat situations, I have used it for over 30 years in three different fields hehehe
*Added benefit, if you happen to ingest it "by accident" (like think it is toothpaste in the dark), it will not hurt you, I think internally it could be used for constipation hehehehe
Is this your profile at the bottom of this thread that I see? Is your name Guy? Anyway, I'm going to read this in full later when I have the time and post a reply. But do you have anything that prevents constipation?
Not with me, but I think that di-electric grease might work in a pinch hehehe
And yes that is my "signature" with links to my equipment, if you want to view a profile of someone, just mouse over the name plate in the post and select "view profile" and it will take you to their profile page so you can look at general info and any "Albums" they have made which could be MODS, Recipes, helpful lists, pics of this that or the other thing etc, etc.
And yes my name is Guy
I had to visually scan what you wrote about what your electric fruitcakenesshood encompasses because my eyes unavoidably glaze over at all the tech stuff. I don't know how I ever got my CompTIA A+ Cert but it was many years ago and I was much younger. I can do simple electrical stuff around the house and I'm about to learn (hopefully) how to service the controller wiring on the back of my MES if that's what it needs. I typically only learn enough to enable me to fix something. I've got a mulitmeter but I'm hit 'n' miss on knowing how to use it. It's basically a $20 alkaline battery tester but occasionally I can actually test for shorts in an electrical circuit.
As for cleaning my smoker, I just use damp paper towels and a plastic scraper for getting that nasty ugly hard carbon buildup off the door, walls, ceiling and floor and bits of dried meat off the walls and racks. I leave the smoky glaze or seasoning or whatever it's called intact. I always clean the rear wall temp sensors since I found out the hard way how important it is to keep those rear wall temp sensors clean.
Hey, do I have a bio or something at the bottom of my posts? I'm not even sure I have much of a profile. Hey, maybe that's why I don't see nothin' about me, huh?