Picked up a Masterbuilt Signature 30 cheap

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by gr8scott, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Picked this new baby up at Lowes this Saturday for $119.40 plus tax. Dented and they thought it was missing the chip adding tube. It had everything inside in boxes, so that gamble paid off.

    Gave my well used medium sized vertical propane smoker to my brother. I know how to use that beast and I have turned out a lot of good Q using it. It requires babysitting and it is a lot of work cleaning it etc. Kind ofwish I had held onto that beast until I get the new smoker lined out.

    It doesn't matter what I do, the meat comes out tasting like a sour ashtray. Lowered the temp and used only a tiny fraction of the chips and the results were not quite as abysmal but still awful. Just less awful than the first batch. If I went for the smoke ring effect, the food would be completely inedible.

    Thinking hard about mailbox modding this, but I do not want to run pellets. I like chips and prefer chunks. Want to use a hotplate and a pie tin almost sealed off to generate smoke. I know that adds difficulty and complexity plus a learning curve, but I think I am up to the task. Any comments, questions or suggestions would be welcomed. I like smoke rings and pure thin blue smoke at all times. White smoke makes me sad.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Let's bump this up so someone with an electric can help solve your problem.  Sounds like you are getting an incomplete burn on your chips and a layer of ash or creosote.  That will ruin anyone's day. 
    gr8scott likes this.
  3. With electric smokers you wont produce a smoke ring. Be sure to have your top vent wide open and you can pull The chip loader tube out a bit to get better air flow through The cabinet. The mailbox mod is the best option in my opinion... much cleaner smoke.
    gr8scott likes this.
  4. I get a fine layer of white ash over the top of my chips when I pull the tray. They are combusting when hot air currents eddy over the edge of the tray. I thought about cutting a piece of aluminum flashing to fit tightly down inside the chip tray over the top of the chips. Any gasses they put off will easily escape out of the sides, but excess oxygen would have a tough time hitting those hot chips. This way I can open the tube a little to get more airflow without feeding oxygen to the hot chips. It might partially fix my issue and allow me to make at least small batches of Q without mods until I can source the needed parts for a more robust fix for larger cuts of meat.

    I got decent smoke rings with my propane smoker. The smoke flavor was subtle at times and used lots of wood to get there, but the Q was really good when I did my part. Noone gets smoke rings using electric smokers? I am really regretting letting go of that propane box now... If you have decent airflow and nothing but sweet smelling blue smoke coming out, I would like to think that smoke rings would develop with a nice long smoke. If that cannot be done with electric smokers regardless of mods, I will need to go find another propane rig and put a PID controlled fan on it to keep temps in range so I don't have to bird dog it.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  5. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    You won't get smoke rings with an electric.Smoke rings are just for looks anyway, but if you are determined to have them then an electric isn't going to suit you.

    If you're getting sour ashtray flavor (creosote I'd imagine) your problem is likely a lack of airflow and incomplete chip burn. Do you have the top vent wide open (looks wide open in the pic but hard to tell) so smoke can move?

    @Bearcarver  is the expert in models but I'm thinking that's a Gen 2 model and it's kind of the lemon of the MES line. A mailbox mod is probably your easiest route to good Q in that particular smoker.

    Even if you do go the Propane/PID route for your main smoker I'd still mailbox mod the MES because it is one heck of a sausage/snack stick/cold smoking machine.

  6. Trying an experiment.
    Opened top vent all the way and pulled out the chip adding tube about 4". Started heating it up. Went inside and put chips in tray, then added a more or less form fitting chip tray inner layer made out of flashing and then added a top cover made out of flashing over that. This will hopefully keep the chips from outright catching fire while increasing airflow.

    I really like smoke rings, but if the Q is good I can learn to like anything. I just want good tasting food.

    Trying some brats right now.
  7. Not the ruby red brats I am used to, but the flavor is really good nonetheless. My profile pic shows the beautiful red color of my brats from the propane rig. Finally got some good smoke flavor. I can work with this. Hope is restored. Thank you gents for taking the time to write suggestions. Opening the chip adder tube some and the vent in combination with keeping excess oxygen from reaching the chips worked a treat.
  8. It's crazy that you have to do mods just to get the thing to do its most basic reason for existing!
    gr8scott likes this.
  9. I could not agree more. I see soooo many design flaws on this thing. If they abandoned using the chip tube as only a chip delivery system and made the chip box much larger with adjustable height off the burner from the outside, it would truly be good at it's job. I could do a lot with that kind of control. My unit was poorly designed, but I think I have it figured out now thanks to the fine people on this forum.
  10. I wish I had found this forum before buying my Bradley digital, but that is water under the bridge. I'm happy with the butt and three different sausages that I've made with it, so...
    gr8scott likes this.

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