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Very basic newbie questions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi


Edited by nopeda - 2/6/16 at 6:40pm
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nopeda View Post
 

Hi,

 

I've tried using a wood smoker and have never had satisfactory results. Now I want to make a final attempt using an electric smoker and from what I've seen so far a Masterbuilt 20070910 seems like the best option for the most affordable price. There are a few questions I've developed though and wanted to ask about them.

 

One is: how to break in a new smoker? The book that comes with it tells you how, but basically start it, set it for 275°, let it run for 3 hours, and add wood chips for the last 45 minutes.

 

Another is about the digital controller on top. I heard that cold weather can cause problems with it, so it's good to take "it" inside in cold weather. Does that mean the controller can be removed from the smoker and taken inside to protect it, or would the entire smoker have to be taken inside?  Depends on the model, as to whether it's easy to remove the controller, however I live in Pennsylvania, and have never removed my controllers in the combined 10 years I've owned them.

 

Another is that sometimes this type smoker is not efficient at getting the wood chips or shavings or whatever to produce smoke. That was from a Youtube video here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-EmdFcJwJ0

 

The person explains a way to work around that, but also says it's not always an issue for everyone. Can anyone explain more about that? Does it have much to do with the general temperature you're trying to use...sometimes too low to make smoke maybe? Or whether you use chunks or chips or shavings? All kinds of reasons you can't get consistent continuous smoke by burning chips & chunks in an electric smoker. The best way to fix that is to get an AMNPS (See Link Below).

 

Some people say the wood should be soaked in water before using and some say it should not. It may or may not be significant regarding this smoke producing issue, but whether it is or not any input about that would be much appreciated. (I'm hoping to mostly use hickory in case that's a significant factor.) I have never seen a good reason to soak wood chips for use in an electric smoker.

 

Thank you for any help or suggestions people might have for someone who is still a pre-newbie!

 

David

 

 

Amazing Smoker (AMNPS):

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNPS5X8

 

 

Bear

post #3 of 14

Bear is the Masterbuilt guru!

 

Al

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post
 

 

 

Amazing Smoker (AMNPS):

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNPS5X8

 

 

Bear

Thank you for your reply and suggestions!

post #5 of 14

The only time soaking chips is of any benefit is adding chips to a hot fire like charcoal. The moisture in the soaked chips temporally cools the fire so the chips don't just burst into flame. There is no need to use wet chips in an electric smoker because they are isolated from the heat and start to smolder slowly...JJ

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

The only time soaking chips is of any benefit is adding chips to a hot fire like charcoal. The moisture in the soaked chips temporally cools the fire so the chips don't just burst into flame. There is no need to use wet chips in an electric smoker because they are isolated from the heat and start to smolder slowly...JJ

Thank you! That makes sense, but it must not be common knowledge to the people I come in personal contact with in daily life. Everyone I can recall who has discussed this issue has said they soak their chips, including the person who recently persuaded me to try out an electric smoker. 

 

Do you have anything to share regarding using the AMNPS that Bear suggested in a Masterbuilt 20070910 rather than what comes provided with the unit to begin with?

post #7 of 14

Ask your Friend, " Why do you soak chips? " I think you will get a very common answer...

 

Going back 50 years the most common method of making smoke, on a small scale, was to throw Chips on that which every household had...A Charcoal Grill. Unless you had a dedicated smoke house, that was it. So, it didn't take long for folks to figure out Soaking Chips worked better because they didn't just burst into flames. Before computers, we learned to smoke at Dad's side and Dad soaked chips. Over the next 5 decades, Gassers were born, Electric Smokers were developed and so on. Now, all these people with new fangled smokers looked to the experienced pit master's and continued using Soaked Chips...WHY?...Because that's the way Dad, big Brother and Uncle Bob did it! Comes modern times and internet discussion and people started to ask, " Why put soaked chips in an Electric? They don't make smoke until they dry out..." Now we Test, we compare results and pass the better ways to do things on to members of SMF.

 

So now " You " know not to bother soaking and why, pass it on to your friend...But be prepared, he may just say..." Dad said I should Soak Chips "..." I'm going to stick with it..." 

 

 

I had purchased a MES40 20070311 on Bear's recommendation. I too originally used Chips and found reloading every 30-40 minutes to be a pain on a long cook. 2 months after purchase I won an AMNPS in a throwdown and OMG, what a blessing! Load it with pellets, light it and get 10+ hours of perfect smoke. Not to mention, the MES doesn't make smoke efficiently at smoker temps below 180°F. The AMNPS makes smoke at any smoker temp from ambient, smoker off, to 275°F. I have not used chips in 5 years. It should be noted that the AMNPS does not work well at higher elevations. This is no issue because Todd at A-MAZE-N also makes a cool Expandable Tube that burns pellets in just about anything, smoker, grill, brick oven and at higher elevations. I would not hesitate to purchase either one...JJ

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post

. . .

 Now we Test, we compare results and pass the better ways to do things on to members of SMF.

 

So now " You " know not to bother soaking and why, pass it on to your friend...But be prepared, he may just say..." Dad said I should Soak Chips "..." I'm going to stick with it..." 

 

 

I had purchased a MES40 20070311 on Bear's recommendation. I too originally used Chips and found reloading every 30-40 minutes to be a pain on a long cook. 2 months after purchase I won an AMNPS in a throwdown and OMG, what a blessing! Load it with pellets, light it and get 10+ hours of perfect smoke. Not to mention, the MES doesn't make smoke efficiently at smoker temps below 180°F. The AMNPS makes smoke at any smoker temp from ambient, smoker off, to 275°F. I have not used chips in 5 years. It should be noted that the AMNPS does not work well at higher elevations. This is no issue because Todd at A-MAZE-N also makes a cool Expandable Tube that burns pellets in just about anything, smoker, grill, brick oven and at higher elevations. I would not hesitate to purchase either one...JJ

Thank you very much for such a great explanation, and the suggestion! I was wondering about the temperature aspect specifically, and what you explained gives me a much better interpretation of the overall situation and how to approach it. I'll be sure to tell my friend about it too.

post #9 of 14

Jimmy,

Made some andouille a couple weeks back and smoked it in my buds MES. Came out GREAT, so I just picked up an MES 30 (20070910) and am looking to do the mailbox mod for cold smoking and long cooks. This is the second time I've heard the AMNPS does not fair well at altitude. I should avoid the AMNPS and get the tube?

 

Al

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shamus View Post
 

Jimmy,

Made some andouille a couple weeks back and smoked it in my buds MES. Came out GREAT, so I just picked up an MES 30 (20070910) and am looking to do the mailbox mod for cold smoking and long cooks. This is the second time I've heard the AMNPS does not fair well at altitude. I should avoid the AMNPS and get the tube?

 

Al


Jimmy can answer you too, but I'll give you what I know.

 

It seems those at 4,000 and 5,000' have trouble with the AMNPS.

 

I know of one guy who said he had no trouble at 3,000'.

 

Since you're going to use a mailbox mod anyway, I wouldn't take the chance on the AMNPS if you're above 2,000', and I'd just get the Tube.

 

Bear

post #11 of 14

yeahthat.gif I have an original Tube but word is, the new Expandable Tube is the Bee's Knees for broad use and anybody that might have elevation issues...JJ

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

We're only at about 1180' and I just ordered the pellet smoker Bear suggested:

 

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNPS5X8

 

which shouldn't be a problem at this elevation, right? But now you folks have me curious about that mailbox mod.... I saw a couple of Youtubes about it. What about fumes from burning paint? I'm guessing the main advantage is so you don't have to open the smoker door to re-stoke? In one vid:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07epVznPPYQ

 

it looks like the smoker is on a raised frame (conveniently on wheels) and the mailbox is lower so the smoke will rise into it through what looks like the original hole where you would put the thing that dumps the wood chips. Is this something you would do regularly, or just on really long smokes and maybe times when you want as cold a smoke as possible, maybe for cheese?

post #13 of 14

I have lived in PA and now NJ. I have never had an issue with the AMNPS inside my smokers so never bothered with the mail box. I have talked to guys that use them and they just leave them on, if convenient, and use it across the board for everything, yes it shines for Cheese and cold smoked Bacon. Guys that move their smoker in and out of storage take it off. For a short 30 minute shrimp smoke I use chips but it is easy to just throw a handful in the tray and no need to remove the mail box...JJ 

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nopeda View Post
 

We're only at about 1180' and I just ordered the pellet smoker Bear suggested:

 

http://www.amazenproducts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AMNPS5X8

 

which shouldn't be a problem at this elevation, right? But now you folks have me curious about that mailbox mod.... I saw a couple of Youtubes about it. What about fumes from burning paint? I'm guessing the main advantage is so you don't have to open the smoker door to re-stoke? In one vid:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07epVznPPYQ

 

it looks like the smoker is on a raised frame (conveniently on wheels) and the mailbox is lower so the smoke will rise into it through what looks like the original hole where you would put the thing that dumps the wood chips. Is this something you would do regularly, or just on really long smokes and maybe times when you want as cold a smoke as possible, maybe for cheese?


I wouldn't bother with a mailbox, unless it doesn't work without one. I don't need the extra PITA.

 

I've used 3 different Models of the MES, and never had a problem with my AMNPS.

 

Keep your Pellets dry, fill it & light it properly, put it at a good place in the smoker, keep the drips off of it, and get perfect smoke for up to 11 hours.

 

 

Bear

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