I just bought my first electric smoker a few weeks back. I was originally looking at a Cajun Injector model with several nice features, including a built-in thermostat and a built-in meat probe. When it came time to make the purchase, my local store did not have this model in stock, so I settled for a 30-inch digital Masterbuilt "John McClemore Signature Series" smoker. It had many of the same features, and I could walk out with it the same day.
Since then, we have been through a shoulder, a couple of chickens, some spareribs, and today's offering -- a brisket. In addition to the built-in meat probe, I have also had to check with a portable meat thermometer that I already had. The reason for this is that I learned with that first shoulder that it was not accurate. In fact, the built-in probe has consistently read about 30 degrees higher than the portable one. Considering the state of the meat when cutting into it, it is clear that the portable one is the correct one.
After that first cooking, the temperature problem, coupled with a sheet metal malfunction in the wood chip tube receiver, caused me to return the smoker for an exchange. While I have not experienced any more problems with the unit's chassis, the second smoker has been equally inept at correctly reporting the temperature of the meat.
Anybody out there with this same model? What have been your experiences? What about other models? Is this an industry-wide engineering problem, or are other models more accurate?