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Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by northernsmoke, Jun 6, 2010.
I always use mine with the vent wide open.
Guys, guys, guys - why all the back and forth - let's just give our helpful hints and move on! Each of us can take the info for what it is worth and everyone has their own ideas of what works best for them. My reason for searching this thread is to see if there is any way to tell if the creosote is building on the product? Will it taste different or look different? I have had my MES 30 for a year now and have done ribs, brisket, chicken, fish, butts, cheese in it here in central MN. I tend to stoke up the wood box pretty good and keep the damper about 1/2 way open - lots of smoke pouring out all the time - maybe because I love the smell - but is too much bad? I haven't had a bad smoke effort yet (from what the people eating it are telling me)
I would have to say the most obvious sign of creosote would be a burning or tingling sense on your tongue.
As for the going back & forth---There is probably a whole lot of Awesome info from many great smokers on this thread.
Yes, my questions & posts are based on the NEW 30" Analog model, which has NO adjustable vent, only a small (appx 1/2") hole in the upper right back.
Migraine - thanks for the info on your mods. I'm definitely going to do some drilling on mine to get more airflow. As it is, at temps under 235-250, the smoker is (mostly) making charcoal and not really producing as much smoke as it should. I guess if you run the smoker at 235 or higher (which is what MB suggested) it WILL smoke. But, from what I read here (& I hear from most other folks who have been smoking meats for any length of time) temps in the 215-225 range are preferred for many cuts/types of meat. I'll post updates on my mods, as I'm sure others with the same smoker will run in to similar issues.
Dave - I suppose MB _thought_ they were fixing a problem, but you're right... it was a poor 'fix'. After playing with the smoker, and smoking a couple of meats, I can say for SURE that there is not enough smoke being generated, certainly not in the 215-225 range. So, more oxygen is definitely needed. I have to wonder, why didn't MB just install a better dampening system, rather than simply cutting down (almost totally!) on the airflow by eliminating the vent? Couldn't have cost THAT much to 'fix' it properly. It's frustrating, but thanks to the helpful advice here, I know what needs to be done to fix my smoker so it 'breathes' a little better!
Tony... charging up his portable drill!
Mythmaster, i have a 30inch Masterbuilt electric that i got as a Christmas gift last year [so i can make more stuff for my kids that gave it to me LOL]. I was looking for my manual and i recall the page you posted, so i know it was in the box it came in. I read that when i "seasoned" the unit initialy. I however have not closed the vent as of yet on anything i have done. So perhapst like with many things, it depends on the persons tastes. Reinhard
FWIW, especially since I do not own the MB nor the SM160, but I recently used a Smokeshack SM160 for a cooking at 250F and it also has only a small hole on the top for exhaust. I used the A-maze-n wood pellets in the smoke box of the SM160. The pellets were fully consumed. The owner of the SM160 was very surprised at that. I was not since I have been running an AMNPS for a good while now. I was not disappointed by either the cook time nor taste. All this to say that maybe MB just went with a little different design on this one. However, I would think that the temp range has a lot to do with the size and W rating of the element, and the insulating characteristics of the cabinet. If my wood was not acting right, I would probably just try changing wood - or to pellets - or to dust.
Likely a Masterbuilt but not a MES model. The MES term typically refers only to certain models.
The MES stands for "Masterbuilt Electric Smokers", so it doesn't count their propane models, or anything not electric.
The model he lists (20070210) is an MES (yes it is electric) but it is an analog "electric" smoker, not a digital. It has a control on the bottom left side of the smoker similar to what you would find on an electric skillet, with a big knob you turn to set the temp. It does not have the big vent on the top like the digital smokers do, just a small hole IN THE BACK near the top of the smoker. It also does not have a chip tray that is accessible from the outside, you have to open the door to access the chip tray and to add more chips. This unit also has legs that are bolted on to the bottom to raise it off the deck or ground.
I've done chicken, ribs, and pork shoulder on the 30 inch smokehouse. As of this posting I just removed some spare ribs from the smokehouse after a six and a half hour smoke/cook at 220 degrees. I have always left the vent completely closed which still allows a sufficient amount of smoke to escape from both the vent area and the wood chip feeder area. I have achieved excellent results every time by using this method. I also use applewood chips and apple-juice in the water pan every time. In addition, I spray a mixture of apple-juice and apple cider vinegar on the meat about once every two hours or so.
Try opening that top exhaust vent all the way. I've been doing that for 4 years, as do most MES owners.
I guess you can get some good smokes with it closed, but sooner or later, you'll run into problems.
Yeah, like excessive Creosote build up on the interior of the smoker AND on the meat.
Without getting into some of the discussion on venting, I did pick up on a very useful tidbit regarding the loader..."If it's only a half drawer, and half of the dumper is blocked off, you should still be able to get the FREE retro-fix from Masterbuilt.".....
I do cook at about half throttle and have had to put in new chips about every 45 minutes and part of the reason would appear to be that I do have a unit with half of the "Dumper" blocked. I like the idea of being able to load up more chips! ( In this regard I have found that Masterbuilt is terrific in their service and hope you all experience the same.)
Fishing season has started, warmer weather is here; time to smoke it!! Best to you all - Grampy
Yup, probably old stock. I see it all the time at retailers....RTB
I'm smoking a pork shoulder this weekend and I will take your advice and open up the top vent. My fear is that most of the smoke will escape and the temperature will fluctuate to much. But I'll give it a try if this is what others are doing. Thanks for the tip
I left the vent open on my MES the last time a smoked a pork shoulder. I will say that it turned out better than before when leaving it closed. It had a better bark and turned out very good. Thanks again for the advise!
air is your friend here, leave the damper 60-75% open, it will allow the smoker to "breathe" and let the smoke infuse your meat properly, check your chips every few hours, good luck buddy!
I bought my 1st Masterbuilt Electric smoker 2 weeks ago and this is exactly the same page that came with my manual.
I joined this forum to get some good information on how to use my new smoker and it looks like what I found was alot of people with different opinions that seem to think they are the only ones that are right. The introduction to the forums said there many ways to smoke and that's exactly what I've found.
By the way, I smoked a small pork roast last Saturday and the "damper" was 1/4 open for the full 11 hours. Internal temp 190, wrapped in foil and a towel for 1 hour and no complants. One of the best I've had.