I been smoking meat (mainly steelhead and salmon) for more than 20 years on my old Char-Broil H20 smoker. Had the technique down for steelhead/salmon and smaller pieces of chicken thighs. I recently purchased a Smokin-it #2 and like the ease of smoking meat on this unit.
One issue I've noticed with the electric smoker is that when I load it up with a lot of meat (say three trays full of thighs) it has a tendency not to crisp the surface with the traditional nice rosey/browning surface I'm use to seeing in my old charcoal briquette smoker. I monitor all my meat (when feasible) with an electronic temperature gauge in the meat and have been pulling chicken when the internal temp is 165 F. The food is smoked well and smells and tastes great, but does not look that appealing (more of a brownish/grey color). Almost like the chicken was boiled or cooked in a oven with tinfoil over it. In addition, I've noticed this problem getting worse from when I smoked 8 chicken thighs vs 16 chicken thighs (again the internal temp was 165 when pulled with both).
Main question - is there some techniques to help brown/rose up the surface of these meats? I believe it's related to moisture in the meat and marinade that is keeping the internal smoker too moist to crisp up? I've read I could crank up the smoker temp to max (250+ F) during the last 15-30 min of cooking time? Open the smoker at set intervals after the first hour to release excess moisture?