Hey all, great forum. My Masterbuilt 30" model 20070910 (should be the newest version of it?) is arriving tomorrow and I'm excited to start using it, but I have a couple pretty noobish sounding questions. I've never owned or used a smoker of any kind before.
1) I live in Minnesota. It's cold here during the winter. Is this going to be a problem using it in the winter? I've read tons of reviews and MANY people report that it works just fine in "cold temperature", but they're usually referring to it being in the 40s. I'm talking about being in the single digits to 20s. I guess my main concerns are a) that it will properly heat up and retain heat and b) that I won't damage any part of the unit from leaving it out in the cold for an extended cook of 10 hours in actual freezing temperatures. If I need to only use it in more moderate temps, so be it, but I'd like to know the experience of others beforehand.
2) I live in a townhouse complex, and storing it outside isn't something I want to do. It's probably not good to store it outside in the cold anyway, but that sort of goes back to question #1. So my options are to either store it in my garage or literally in my house. Going back to the whole cold temperature thing, would storing it in cold but not ridiculously cold temperatures in my garage (probably 20-40 degrees) for extended periods of time be a bad idea? Alternatively, I'll store it inside, which leads me to wonder just how messy a smoker like this gets after being used? What do you guys who live in similar temperatures do for storage?
3) I keep seeing everyone referring to this AMNPS acronym, which I believe I've gathered to mean some sort of different tray? I'm super confused though. Most of the reviews of this Masterbuilt unit seemed positive with it just how it is. What makes this add on thing better? Many people here seem to talk about it like it's almost mandatory, so I'm just looking to understand why. If any of you can explain this whole deal to me in terms like you're talking to your 80 year old grandma who has never used a smoker a day in her life, I'd greatly appreciate it :)
4) Do any of you use your smoker to smoke freshwater, non-oily fish that you've caught? If so, how does it turn out? I'm talking about panfish, pike, walleyes and the sort. I'm sure the smoker does great with stuff like salmon, whitefish, tulibee and the like, but I'm not sure about the more common less oily sorts of fish. I catch a lot of fish, especially in the winter, and I've been looking for new ways to cook it rather than just frying it in oil.
5) What would you suggest starting with, meat wise, for a beginner? Are certain things just easier than others?
Lastly, any other suggestions for someone in my situation? Anything you wish you knew starting out that you only learned in time? Any good guides or resources you like to use that you might provide a link of? Thanks a ton in advance!