Poor results. What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by maggieinga, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. maggieinga

    maggieinga Newbie

    After watching the gentleman on the QVC network demonstrate the Masterbuilt smoker showing how he easily puled a leg off of a smoked chicken which was very tender and juicy and watching him take two forks and shred a pork roast with no effort at all - I rushed out and bought 30" Model.

    I read the directions on the Masterbuilt website of using 230 temperature for four hours for smoking a large chicken breast.  I only cooked it for three hours

    .instead of four, had the side vent slightly open, and smoked at 230 degrees but it was definitely not tender and it was very dry.  Tasty from the smoke, yes, but definitely not tender and definitely very dry...no juice at all remained. 

    Also, their instructions for cleaning the inside of the smoker is simply to wipe it down with a damp cloth.  The inside of my smoker has a heavy greasy and smoky film which will not come off with a damp cloth.  

    Does anyone else have these problems?  What am I doing wrong?  And how do I correct the problems?   Any idea on how to clean the inside?  I can use "Mean Green" or "409" but I would probably have to spend an awful lot of time rinsing over and over to make sure any meat would not smell of those cleaners.  Besides, I am reluctant at this point to smoke anything not knowing if the inside will get the same greasy and smoky film again.

    Any help will be appreciated a whole big bunch!
     
  2. I wouldn't use a harsh chemical cleaner to clean the smoker, what that build up is called in smoking terms is "seasoning". Just leave it be, some people line the bottom with foil as thats where most of the grease will collect, that way they can just remove the foil and most of the cleaning is done.

    As far as cooking, the first thing to check would be that the smoker is working accurately, place an accurate (boil test) thermometer inside and then turn on the smoker, when the smoker turns off because it is up to temp, check the internal thermometer. if they match your good to go, if not then you now know how far off it is.

    As per the bird being dry did you check the internal temps of the chicken prior to removing it? Chicken needs to be cooked to 165 degrees, it sounds like you cooked yours well past that. Don't rely on a certain temp to cook a certain amount of meat in a certain amount of time. Use it as a guide but don't rely on it like baking. Meats all cook differently. Next time start taking some internal meat temps about 1/2 way in the cook to see where you are temp wise, and adjust the length of the cook depending on the Internal Temp. I often pull my meat right before it hits 165 and let it carry over cook wrapped in foil while resting on the counter or a cooler.
     
  3. raastros2

    raastros2 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Vents need to be all the way open also
     
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

     
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Howdee, personally I never worry about a clean smoker. Its like trying to get rid of the wrinkles around your eyes, its a badge of honor we all wear, we worked hard to get them! Clean the racks but unless you screwed up cleaning the box I find total superfluous. Now as to your smoking chicken questions.

    Smoking chicken is so easy and so rewarding. I did thighs yesterday, I normally do a whole chicken once a week in the winter.  Let me show you a couple a links. I suggest the nekkid chicken to start.

    Smoked Chicken w/ Q-View

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/152772/basic-brined-smoked-chicken

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/153699/national-finals-and-smoked-chicken

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/156212/nekkid-chicken-foamheart

    Now what I think you really need is Jeff's 5-day E-Course, its great, it help new smokers with the basics and it help remind the seasoned old smokers sometimes something they forgot. Best part is the help it will give. BTW did I mention that it is free? It will really help you I think. Sign up and take the time to get your smoking legs firmly planted underneath you and itv will make a huge difference in your meals.

    Will /PM you on the smokers abilities.

    Sorry Chef, I didn't see you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  6. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi Maggie.

    Good advice given by the guys.  I can only repeat what they've said.  Don't wash that seasoning off the interior surface of your rig...that's gonna help add to the flavor of your food.  The only things I ever cleaned in my MES were the grates, and occasionally the window.  The factory temp probes in those MES's have a reputation for being not very accurate...a good dual probe thermometer like the Maverick ET-732 is an invaluable accessory for your smoker.  That way you can not only accurately monitor you cooking temps, but also your meat's internal temp (IT).  Cook most meats to an internal temp rather than a pre-planned time frame (ribs can be a bit of an exception).  As mentioned already, the correct poultry IT target is 165*.  

    Also, looks like this was you first post here...Welcome!  When you have a chance, you might stop over in the Roll Call forum to introduce yourself, allow members to get to know a little about you, and to give you a proper SMF welcome.

    Good luck and Happy Smoking!

    Red
     
  7. mchar69

    mchar69 Smoke Blower

    Brine it baby brine it!
     
  8. maggieinga

    maggieinga Newbie

    You have given me the MOST HELP POSSIBLE and I, indeed, do truly thank you!

    My smoker is the Masterbuilt 30" vertical smoker.  I was delighted to hear the greasy smoky film is supposed to be there all the time.  That info helps ease my mind tremendously!  I am a Libra, sign of the scales, and I want everything to be balanced - and clean!  From now on I will not worry about the inside not being clean.

    I will say that the one time I have used the smoker with a very large chicken breast I did open the door and check the temperature after two hours.  It was at 160 degrees and very tender when the temp probe went into it but it did not have the nice brown crust I thought it should have had.  Looking back, and with your advice, I should have taken it out at that point but the Masterbuilt info said FOUR hours and, of course, I was looking for a nice presentation of a smoky finish.  I will not make that mistake again.

    I am learning so much from this forum and I will keep learning.

    Again, thank you for easing my mind on several issues!
     
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is a Brine and Rub that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Chicken or Turkey. We determine doneness by measuring the Internal Temp (IT) in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively. For a One Step Smoke with Crispy Skin the birds have to be smoked at a temp of 300-325°F. You can figure about 15 minutes per pound to reach the desired IT. Electric smokers usually only go to 275°F. With these you will be smoking at the most common temp range of 225-275°F. You can figure on about 25 minutes per pound cook time + or - 5 minutes depending what part of the range you choose. Usually the skin will not crisp so if the skin is not Crisp enough when the IT is 145*F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425*F Oven to finish cooking to 165* and Crisp the Skin...JJ

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.
     
  10. you won't get a nice crispy brown skin from an electric smoker. a good tip if you want crispy nice skin, is to remove it from the smoker around the 150 - 155 degree mark and toss it on a hot grill to crisp up the skin and cook it the last 15-10 degrees.
     
  11. You still have not stated whether your smoker is an electric or not .If it is the newer generation digital electric Masterbuilt you have to realize that the temperature control is usually wrong . It can be off by 50 degrees on the high side or 50 to the low .Get yourself a Maverick et-732 remote therm. Monitor smoker temp and food temp by running probes through Wide Open Vent

    I have the New generation digital Masterbuilt but usually cook on a Chargriller Acorn Kamado . yesterday I fired up the masterbuilt it was about 20 degrees F. out .It was set for 275 and true temp inside went up to and stayed at 313 degrees f. That is how it always works ,always way past set temp and that is with a new controller installed . If I want 230 degrees I set control at 190  . What I'm saying is IF yours is the same Masterbuilt you are probably cooking at too high a temp . Masterbuilt smokers are good but they do have their flaws .You will not get the flavor you would get from cooking on coals and wood and you will not get the crispy cooks that you can get with charcoal. If you have the digital electric look at the masterbuilt cold smoker attachment. Basspro has them at the best price. Gives you a lot of versatility with your smoke time and what kind of wood and even broken up charcoal you can use .Also no hassle 6 hour smoke time . Good luck .
     

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