Been lurking here for a while (ever since my coworker brought in some smoked Cheetos and sent me the link!) My experience level is professional when it comes to cooking overall, but a relative newbie when it comes to smoking. Used a cheapo Brinkman charcoal smoker that I inherited from my folks for a long time; worked out great for quick smoking jobs. I got a little tired of constantly fiddling with it, so I went to Bass Pro Shops two weeks ago and bought myself a MES 30" digital smoker. It's a 3rd generation, and yeah, I've had some issues.
First time my smoking with it, I did a 10lb brisket (had to cut it in half to fit.) The recipe called for smoking at 225F until finished... after about 9 hours my brother suggested I check the real temperature with an oven thermometer. I did, and the smoker was 25 degrees low. Cranked it up to 245F trying to compensate for the inaccuracy. Checked it again in an hour it was only reading 210F on the oven thermometer. Is this something I should contact Masterbuilt about? The other issue I had was that the wood chips did not totally disintegrate; they just became charcoal. I'm thinking this might be because I kept the vent closed - as per the manual/instructions.
Regardless, the brisket finished after 12 hours and was absolutely amazing. I'm going to smoke some ribs this weekend, can't wait to see how they turn out.
Please let me know what you think I should do regarding the thermostat being off by quite a bit. If I can get it to 235F consistently, it's not that big of a problem - but still, irks me that it says it can go to 275F and I can't really get it to do that..