Masterbuilt smoker vent position?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by northernsmoke, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Job---Didn't take you long to learn that closing your top vent will keep the smoke in the smoker until it gets stagnant. You gotta keep it flowing.

  2. I have been using the 40 in Masterbuilt since 06 and have finally figured out what works and what doesn't. I even wrote a cookbook to go with it. I do the 3-2-1 rib method I got from Jeff Phillips website Season up the ribs with Jeff's rub or make your own an hour or so ahead of time. I always start with a cold pit unless it's 40 degrees. Keeps the heat going longer and keeps generating smoke longer. I smoke the ribs for three hour (vent wide open), wrap in foil with a little (I said little beer) and put back on the pit for two hours. At the end of two hours I unwrap and put back on the pit to crisp up a little. They are usually so tender that I just open up the foil and put em back on the pit. My wife likes em this way. I call it NO TEETH BBQ because they are so tender. We have done everything from meatloaf to jalapeno poppers on our smoker, Love it.
  3. Correct that jeffcookingmeat to
  4. I did 3 racks yesterday in a 30" MBES, 230 for 4 1/2 hours with the vent fully open, wrapped the ribs in foil and bumped up the temp to 270 for 1 hour w/ the vent closed. Perfection was achieved
  5. smokesavor

    smokesavor Newbie

    Well... if anyone's still following Non-smoking Master Built smoker dilemma, here's a quick recap, and my latest update.

    I have the 30" MBES, 'analog' version, model 20070210. This model has NO exhaust vent, and my problem is it does NOT produce adequate (at least in my opinion) smoke. I've tried various times, temps, dry vs wet chips, in amounts from 1/4 cup to half filling the tray that MB supplies.

    Bottom line, this smoker doesn't get enough oxygen to burn chips. I usually end up with charcoal and partially unburnt chips that never had a chance to smoke! The meats come out very tender and taste 'ok', but not real smoky - I actually think this smoker makes 'steamed' meats, more than 'smoked' meats, and I'm afraid I can't recommend this particular model... which has NO VENT.

    I DO have some work-arounds that might help others with the same issues - I only use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of DRY chips at a time. Start the smoker cold (do not pre-heat) This keeps the heating element burning for a while, and during the warm up period, I DO get some decent smoke. After about 30 minutes, remove the chip tray, empty, and re-load. (In my case, not all of the chips are burnt, but it seems to help the smoke situation if I change them out after 30 min) Reloading also allows oxygen IN to the smoker box for another (albeit short) round of burn time for the chips.

    From here, I open the door & change the chips every 30-45 minutes. It's a bit of a pain, and defeats the purpose of buying this electric smoker (I was hoping for more 'care free' smoking) but, this seems to help.

    SOME MODS - I drilled another hole in the bottom of the smoker - fairly close to the factory hole, and about the same size. Drill it so the hole is still within the area of the drip pan. I also drilled a few holes along the SIDES of the chip tray, near the bottom, where it bends up to make the sides. (mine are 3/16", 3 on each side, 2 on ea end) These two mods seem to allow more air in to the box and chip tray. Unfortunately, since steam can't escape from the box (unless you open it a lot) the steam tends to smother out the smoke. What this REALLY needs is a proper vent.

    My next mod may be a real vent, but MB doesn't really acknowledge there's any problem. I assure you, this model will NOT smoke if used as it is from the factory. The 'solution' (such as it is) I've outlined helps, but the REAL solution is adding a vent.

    So... if anyone has added a vent to this model smoker, please supply some info! What vent do I use? Where can I get one? How do I install it? etc...

    And, for anyone contemplating the purchase of a MB smoker, make SURE you get one with a vent in it!! Again, I do NOT recommend the new model #20070210; search out a different model with a vent, an older model (which had a vent) or a different brand - you'll get real smoke & be a lot happier!

  6. tamathumper

    tamathumper Newbie

    SmokeSavor, my MES 30 doesn't seal well along the top of the door - as much smoke escapes around the door as out the top vent, so I get plenty of air flow and no problem keeping chips and pellets lit.

    I wonder if you used a few short sections of dowel (or nails or bolts or similar small round items) and put them at the top of your door so the seal has to compress to fit around them, would it not create a gap and give you improved airflow?  The seal on many of these MES smokers is less than perfect, so it's worth a shot if it gives you more smoke.
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not taking a stand here, only trying to help. Seriously.

    I used redi-smok electric smokers since the early 80's. Pop had one much longer. The MES was the first electric I noticed with a vent, of course I wasn't really watching for 'em.

    The way you used the non-vented was to charge a tray with chips which set upon the heating element. Added meats, closed it up, and set the rheostat to high for 30 mins, (to release the smoke), then turned the rheostat down to your smoking temperature. 5 or 6 hours smokes are no problem, only problem was when you over charged the chip tray and yes you got that nasty taste which I assume from prior posts here to be what is called creosote smoke.

    But other than the over charge I never had a complaint. Nothing but compliments, folks buying these smokers so they too could smoke meats.

    BUT..... they were never designed to be the equivalent to a fire burner. They were made for places where smokers and grills were either illegal or just not a good fit. You close 'em up, smoke 'em up, and let them sit and slow cook. Course there was no cooking by IT back then either, you learned how to gauge time and temp by meat size and outside temp. I am not saying it was better, only the way it was.

    What did the manufacturer have to say when you asked them, I assume you called looking for direction? That maybe the problem though, because when I got my MES their instruction/recipes book was pretty much non-existent. Not like the days when were got a good manual, and you got recipes in the manual.

    Electric's are not made for continious wood charging, nor for moping nor spritzing. They are supposedly start and walk away cooking.

    I am not taking sides and don't what to argue the merits/drawbacks of electric smokers. Just trying to explain how they were originally intended to function. Go online and look up a Redi-Smok electric smoker and download the manual, it might help some in understanding.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  8. Mine did the same, I contacted MB by phone, described the problem, asking if the hinges were adjustable.  By the end of the conversation, the pleasant lady had me door ordered.  A day or two later, after using my smoker and see smoke drift out of the door seal, I said good, a new door coming.  In moving it a bit later, I noticed that plastic cover on the hinge move, which peaked my curiosity, so I got screw driver, removed the plastic piece and low and behold, those hinges on the top can be adjusted. There is a 3 screw assembly under that plastic piece, a little bit of tweaking sealed the door perfectly. It is not that hard to do, either.

    [​IMG]      [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  9. bryant

    bryant Newbie

    I have a question please?   I have a 40" MES  I just recently changed from small wood chips to a even finer (smaller) wood chip.   I don't have much of a problem getting smoke but when I empty my try I just have burnt (charcoal) chips left instead of ashes.  I have soaked and not soaked the wood trying to get a different result.  I can usually get smoke for around an hour or two around 230-250 degrees.  I usually leave the vent open or at least 1/2 way open while cooking.

  10. bryant

    bryant Newbie

    You have to try the 3-2-1 or a 3-2-2 method for the ribs and make sure your water tray is at least 1/2 way or more full.   I have a 40" and they come out perfect everytime.
  11. smokesavor

    smokesavor Newbie

    Tamathumper - I like that idea of allowing the door to leak! As luck would have it, my door seals GREAT, but I can 'fix' that! And thanks to Paladini, I see that the door hinge can be adjusted - I'll definitely give that a try!


  12. smokesavor

    smokesavor Newbie

    Thanks - your comments make sense. MB was very very cordial, and offered a few suggestions (which I had tried) Their recommendation was to use a fairly small amount of chips (1/2 cup max) and start the smoker cold; they said do NOT preheat it. This keeps the burner on longer and allows the chips to burn/smoke. They also recommended opening the door every 30-45 minutes to allow more air inside. I do understand that electric smokers will NOT produce identical results as a stick/charcoal burner - which makes sense if you think about it. But, for now anyway... the electric option is more convenient for me, so I'll keep working with this until I can get acceptable smoke, and results.

    Don't get me wrong, the MB Electric does a good job, and everyone LOVES the meats that come out of it. I'm not UN-happy with the results, my ONLY issue was the lack of a vent, which (at least in my case) creates a 'steamy' environment in the box, and doesn't allow my wood chips to burn properly. With the helpful advice here, I'm going to adjust the smoker's door and allow it to leak some, which should (I think?!) effectively work as a vent. And I'll start 'cold', use a small amount of wood chips and change them out every 30-45 minutes (probably for the first 2-3 hours only) Hopefully, that gets more smoke in my MB, for a little more smoke flavor, and less 'steam'.

    Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions/advice!
  13. soxfan1983

    soxfan1983 Newbie

    Question... Have any of you tried the traeger pellets with your MES instead of wood chips? If you only use wood hips, do you soak them?

    Also, are you supposed to have water in the water pan? Or is it only for certain meats? If no water, is it ok to take the water pan out of the smoker?

    Sorry, beginner here. Just tried my new smoker yesterday and had ribs, brisket and pork shoulder. No smoke ring, which made me very dissapointed. I used wood chips and added them twice (beginning and half way through). I had water in the pan. I realized (through this board) that I made the mistake of keeping the vent closed. All my friends said they liked everything but I feel the brisket was a bit dry (IMO), the ribs were good and fall of the bone and the pork was pretty most and tasty.

    I had the brisket and pork on for 5 hours and then wrapped in foil for the remaining hour. The ribs I had on for 3 hours, then 2 with foil and the 1 still in foil but with sauce rubbed on them.

    Basically I'm looking for help, instructions on what to do. Help to get a smoke ring is welcomed too!
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    PS: Please go to "Roll Call" and introduce yourself, so you can be properly welcomed.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  15. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I've tried the pellets but they burn so fast and heavy they're not worth it. I actually use small chunks for the longest and most flavorful smoke. Or I also have the AMAZN smoke trays and tubes.
  16. smoking stro

    smoking stro Newbie

    Isn't it just personal preference anyway. Seems like a lot of posting over a vent position. Just like meat it is all trial and error no two items are the same.
  17. soxfan1983

    soxfan1983 Newbie

    Bear - Thank you for the information.  I just posted in "roll call" as well.
  18. I may not live long enough to get the hang of this smoking business, but learning is fun.  Is there EVER a time to

    shut down the vent partially or completely?

    And I'll add that customer service was very quick to respond to my email regarding the ill fitting chip tray.  A

    replacement is on the way.
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Maybe when you're preheating your MES, or after you're done putting smoke on the meat to make your element come on less often. I do that occasionally, but never completely closed, because my temp probe wires go through the top vent !!![​IMG]

    On Edit: Also when you aren't using it, to keep bugs out.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  20. sarge1945

    sarge1945 Newbie

    I have found my smoker produces good smoke with the vent opened about 3/4.  I am finding however that at temperatures below 250 F not much smoke is produced.

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