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Question about vent

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello, I recently purchased a masterbuilt electric smoker.
It has an adjustable vent on top, since this is an electric smoker I assume the vent is not for heat regulation but for the amount of smoke in the cooking area. Do you all adjust these at all? What are the benefits of regulating the smoke? Do I open the vent fully or close it with certain meats? Thanks
post #2 of 7
I do not know about the Master built but the electric one that I have I will use it somewhat for temp control if it is during the winter and the wind is blowing hard. Other than that I leave my vent alone
post #3 of 7
First off, welcome to SMF.

I don't use an electric smoker but I would think the prinicipal is the same as any other. Open the vent at the top lets the heat escape more quickly, shutting it down retains more heat. It's more a fine tuning that have a major effect on the temperature in my experience. If i wan't to make more then a 5-10 degree adjustment I'll adjust the burner.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, well I have a turkey in there now and have checked the temps with a digital thermometer and the unit keeps the temps +/- 3 degrees, I guess with the digital control on the unit I can just keep the vent closed.
post #5 of 7
Actually you will want to keep the vent open other wise the smoke will get stale and you will have bad tasting meat
post #6 of 7
Here is some info on why you need to keep air moving thru your smoker.


The secret of barbecue is heat, time and smoke. The secret of great barbecue and successful smoking is airflow. You need to bring smoke to the meat but you can’t hold it there for too long. Smoke that becomes too heavy or stays for too long creates a substance called creosote. Creosote is thick, oily substance left over by fire. It not only causes foods to become bitter but it numbs the tongue. If you have ever left a plate of barbecue with a numb feeling in the tongue it is because of creosote build up on the meat. To eliminate creosote you need to start with a clean smoker. A dirty, crusted smoker will help produce creosote. Then you need to make sure that you have proper airflow. If you have a small water smoker there probably isn’t a lot you can do to hold in smoke or control how much gets away.
If you smoker has a vent then you need to make sure that enough smoke is getting out to prevent it from building up.

One way to test for creosote is to hold a glass of ice water in the stream of smoke coming out of your smoker. If you notice black specks on the glass after a minute of so then you don’t have enough ventilation. Open the vents more to let more air travel through the smoker. If you have a vertical water smoker without vents then remove the lid for a minute to let the smoke escape. Once you have noticed the creosote it is time to stop adding wood to the fire. Reduce the smoke production, at least for a little while. At this point you might want to wrap the meat in foil and allow it to continue cooking without being exposed to more smoke.

Another way to test for creosote is by tasting the meat. Take a piece of the darkest meat along the surface and put it in your mouth. Let it sit on the tongue for a little bit. Does it taste bitter? Does your tongue feel a little numb? You will usually notice the numbness before you taste the bitterness.

Once the chemical reaction takes place the surface of smoked meats is pretty much ruined. The only hope you have left is to carve off the blackened edges and eat the interior of the meat. This is pretty much impossible with ribs, but can be done with brisket and pork roasts.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Oillogger, Thanks
Makes a lot of sense.
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