MasterBuilt Newbie

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by pocket-pair, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. pocket-pair

    pocket-pair Newbie

    Hello everyone.  I'm a beginner at smoking meats with a few basic questions regarding my new smoker.

    I purchased a MasterBuilt electric 40" smoker.  I followed the instructions to pre-season the smoker by letting it run for 3 hours at 275 degrees.  I added some hickory chips (that I soaded in water) for the last 45 minutes.  This morning it was off, but there were still chips in the tray.  They were all burnt looking, but I was expecting to find ashes.

    Today I'm smoking ribs.  Recipes I've read say to add chips when I add the meat, then another cup after about an hour.  After cooking for an hour, I removed the loader and looked through the hole.  I saw some chips remaining in the tray.  What I'm worried about is overfilling the chip tray.  Tomorrow I plan on smoking a brisket which calls for me to add chips 3 or 4 times.  Am I doing things correctly so far?

    Also, I see a puddle of water on my deck by both of the front feet of the smoker.  What's up with that?

    I've looked for recipes to smoke briskets and ribs.  That's what I expect to do most.  So far I've found nothing that tells me to add water to the water bowl.  Are most things I cook going to be "dry smoked"?

    Any insight, hints, tips, suggestions on a great book with smoking recipes, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    This site has tons of info.

    I would suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

    Then use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!

    Take the awesome free E-Course!!!

    Have a great day!!!

    bjolley likes this.
  3. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    You might need to slightly bend the chip tray down til it's almost touching the heating element.  That should get the chips burning to ash.  You also don't want more than a small handful at a time, or you'll get white smoke instead of the desired thin blue.  You probably want to put the chips in the tray before the meat, so it starts smoking before.  Or better yet, like most people here, get an A-Maze-N Smoker.  It'll give you hassle free thin blue smoke, and you won't have to constantly load chips.  The best benefit for me is that I can put something big in the smoker late at night & let it cook while I sleep.  

    I got water by my front legs once.  Put a small piece of tile under the two front legs & never got it again.  You could probably just adjust the legs a little, but I haven't gotten that ambitious yet.  

    I put very hot water in my pan when I start, and on long smokes have to refill it with hot water once.  It helps keep the temp inside more consistent as well as adding humidity. 

    Best of luck, and most important, have fun!
  4. motochef

    motochef Newbie

    I bought my MB 40 in 07 and I never used wet chips in it and always had great results. I have a Cookshack SM 160 and they say use dry chunks in the wood tray because the wet chips release acidic compounds that can corrode the tray and the element.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What he said X 2!

    I don't use water in the pan

    Tip the smoker back like TreomaRon suggested

    If you have water dripping, you have too much moisture in your smoker.  Try injecting your meat rather than using water in the pan.

  6. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    Todd - Do you use sand in you water pan, or nothing?  
  7. smokinal

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

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!
  8. joeschmoker

    joeschmoker Fire Starter

    I had the same problem with dry chips in my MES 40.  Then, I got the retrofit and now I have nothing but white ash in the chip tray (and I actually use pretty good sized chunks).
  9. pocket-pair

    pocket-pair Newbie

    What is this retrofit that you speak of? 
  10. motochef

    motochef Newbie


     I think he's talking about the chip tray. They had a larger tray in the older smokers about 4" x 6"  that covered the whole element. Then they started putting in a small chip tray about the size of a cigarette pack. Some guys called MB and complained about the issue and they started to send out the old trays as replacement. I did use my water tray. I would fill it about 1/4 with water.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  11. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use nothing in the water pan.

    There is a pretty good debate whether to use water in the pan or not.  Personally, I use the water pan as more of a heat deflector than anything else.  I don't like adding all that extra moisture to my smoke.  Some guys use sand for a heat sink.

    The MES 40 has a 1200 watt element, so heat and recovery are very fast.  This works for me.

  12. joeschmoker

    joeschmoker Fire Starter

    As I recently learned (Thanks to Todd), they also replace the chip tray holder with one that doesn't have a sheet of metal between the chip tray and the heating element.  All I know is that I had chips that weren't even burning halfway through with the old assembly and now I have nothing but white ash and plenty of smoke.
  13. pocket-pair

    pocket-pair Newbie

    I called Master Built to ask about this retro fit.  The receptionist asked for the model number, serial number, and my Name & Address.  She said they'd ship me the retro fit right away.  Thanks for the heads-up guys!

    Master Built has a videos page on their site.  One is a video on replacing the retro fit parts. 

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