Noob question - Masterbuilt electric

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by parrot-head, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. parrot-head

    parrot-head Meat Mopper

    Hello all,

    Totally new to smoking here.  Want to purchase a decent, inexpensive smoker first to see if it is something I want to pursue further.

    Was initially interested in the Brinkmann Gourmet but then found the Masterbuilt 30 inch models more appealing because of the

    temperature control.

    I was a bit surprised to see the analog model has a 1500 watt element but the digital one only 800 watts.  My question is - Is the

    800 watt element sufficient for most smokes?  I don't want to put out more money just for the digital convenience if I will lose some


  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Are you sure the analog version is 1500 watts? I just did some research and I think it's the Gen 1 that has the 800 watt heating element but the Gen 2 has the 1500 watt one. I have no idea why MB boosted the wattage in the analog model but kept it the same in the electric digital, which is what I have (Gen 1). I bet it was to make it competitive with some other analog smokehouse brand(s). Maybe if they boosted the wattage on the digital models it would have priced it out of its targeted market segment.
  3. I have another take on the reason for the larger element. First  I have a digital 20070910 and feel the 800 watt burner is sufficient. I think one of the reasons for the larger burner is the fact you must open the door every time you need wood chips. I don't care how fast you are there will be a sizeable loss of temp. One way to recover the heat quicker is to increase the burner size. You may be able to use a larger size chip(small chunk) with a 1500 watt burner. I know the set up in my 910 won't burn small chunks as small a 1.25 long by .5 thick. only.  The chunks I tried were .5 wide. I was using seasoned white oak from my fireplace wood.   jted
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have the same model you do and, yes, the 800 watt element is sufficient because you're cooking primarily at temps below 250 degrees anyway and the unit is fairly quick to get back up to temp after opening the door. I just looked at the specs for the analog and the digital models. It's interior cooking space is smaller, it has only three cooking racks, and it has no controller, but it does go up to 400 degrees instead of just 275. But you're right, since the door has to be opened to add wood chips, perhaps that's why the have the buffed-up heating element inside a smaller box. With my MES, I use the AMNPS so that I no longer deal with replenishing the wood chip tray ever 30 mins. to an hour.
  5. I like to stay below 250  my go to temp is 242, my ribs like it and my box does too. I use a Auber controller and it keeps the temp close to my set point ((+or - 3 degrees) I like to think that I am still slow cooking at he top end of the range for a MES. I also use the Amps and am very happy with it.
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I admire you guys who know how to mod the MES with after market controllers. I just know how to turn the thing on, set the timer and therm, and where to insert the AMNPS.

    By "my box does too" do you mean that your MES easily maintains that temp without temp swings? When it comes to the best temp for ribs--as is obvious by my starting this thread--I've got so much to learn about what's best for each type and cut of meat. I know that cooking ribs at 242 would sure get them done more quickly and I bet they're just as good and tender as if you cooked them at a much lower temp. But to me, finding out for myself what works for me is all part of the fun.
  7.  daRicksta,

    Actually the 242 temp was decided on after a bunch  of cooks using the hot and fast 270 with a MES and a number of slow 220 to 230 tries. I had picnics of 10lb take 14 or 15 hours cooking slow and then  Tried them at 270 and worried about the temp spikes. I found that the mid range was right for me as well as the smoker. It was then that the smoker quit working. I trouble shot the cooker and it was under warranty so Master built sent me a new one. I purchased the Auber and hooked it up to the old unit and never looked back. Doing the change over was easy with the help of other SMF members knowledge. You are right about finding your own way of doing things.  It's just that it takes me awhile to get what I think is right.
  8. parrot-head

    parrot-head Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the info.  Sounds like the 800 watt is sufficient for just about anything.

    What is the overall length of the power cord on the digital 20070910 ?

    Is that model the gen 1 or 2?  What is the difference between the two gens?
  9.   When my unit went bad a condition of receiving a new smoker was that I had to remove the back Data plate The one with  the S/N  and cut off the power cord. I had to return a portion of it so I  can not measure it. But as l recall it was not over 6 feet long. They use a 16 ga wire .That is sufficient but any electrician that had a choice would use a 14 gauge wire, and that is what I replaced mine with.

    the 910 is a gen 1 model.

    This post will tell you every thing about the models. It won't tell you why the AMPS works better in the gen 1 than the gen 2 . Todd Johnson can answer that. Send him a P/M.  He is a great guy who will give you your answer.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    depending on what I'm smoking, I'm going to do a serious of experiments cooking at 215, 230, and 242 just to see what's best. I really don't know my smoker that well yet since I only use it a few times a year. When the weather's really good it's much easier and quicker to roll out my Weber charcoal grill--and I love cooking on it. The MES takes more time and planning. In one of the threads I'm posting in a guy said that after coming home from work he enjoys smoking up some chicken legs and thighs for a quick smoke hit. It just isn't that easy the way our home is set up and for what I like to smoke. Just looked at controllers on the Auber site. How do you figure out which is the right one to buy for a MES electric digital? Hope I don't need to find out someday.
  11. Like most good things in life it is what you want and how much you budget for it. You stated that you have a 910 smoker. The 1200 Auber series will power 1200 watts.The 1500 series 1500. Now the big question do you need 2 probes or will you  be up grading to a 1500 watt the future.  Don't get me wrong you can use the 1500 with any smoker up to 1500 watts. I use the 1200 because that's  all I need. There is just the 2 of us and the 30 inch MES is fine.  
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is great info. I agree that if my controller ever goes out a 1200 watt would work for me as well. There will soon be just two of us in the house after my second child heads off for his last two years in college. As it is I typically never cook anything weighing over a total 6 pounds. If I cook spareribs it's only two racks.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just a thought on the analog. I have not seen a Masterbuilt analog but of those I have seen, the reason for the higher wattage would probably be because the walls of the CC are not insulated like the walls of a Digital. Its a completely different box used.
  14. If you are happy with your smoker in its present configuration (factory controller) you might invest in a spare controller from Masterbuilt. If you buy from the factory, the elements and controllers are not too expensive. It's always nice to have a spare.  The reason I wanted a PID controller is the tight temp range that it gives you. With the Auber I don't have spikes or my temp does not fall off. The Masterbuilt controller uses a average temp. I cannot say that the PID produces a better tasting meat but I know it is cooked better as far as temperature is concerned. 
  15. Foamheart, you may be spot on with the insulation idea. I can only imagine  how hot the outside of the analog box gets. When I was a young man my first trade was as a industrial insulator, In seventeen years  I learned a lot about proper insulation techniques  and materials. If the look of the 910 digital box was not eye appealing to me I would insulate it. There are some very good materials available.
  16. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's interesting. Why do you think the analog version would have thinner walls? I just don't understand design decisions but than the analog is cheaper than the digital so maybe it was another cost-saving decision.
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With an analog you are operating on a much broader set range than a digital. Where a digital thin walled it would never turn off, an analog has a larger cycle or wave length of operation. A digital is built to hold a temperature, an analog has no apparent exact setting, it fluctuated between two designed points. Medium may be 275-225 with the 250 being the midpoint.
  18. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    I've been using the Masterbuilt analog for about 6 yrs. IT is nothing more then a steel file cabinet with a controlled elec. charcoal lighter for an element. Double walled but no insulation. Since I don't smoke during the winter months, "too busy hunting " I can't say if the extra wattage is needed to keep the temps. up in the colder weather. But I can tell you it is poorly vented and my 1st smokes created a lot of creosote due to the high heat necessary just to get the wood to smoke at all. But with a few vent holes installed and an amazin style smoke generator I've since solved that problem. Most times during the spring thru beginning of fall I can keep the box temps between 160 to 170 with the element hardly ever coming on just from the heat generated by the smoldering sawdust in my amaz.
  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Foamheart. Not sure if it was you but someone i
    Thanks. I like dealing with OEM stuff instead of aftermarket for replacing things were I have no expertise at modifying stuff.

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