First time-not as I hoped

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mikew999, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Well, today was my first time using an electric smoker. I just got a Masterbuilt 40 from Sam's, and I decided to try a small chuck roast.

    The good-it did actually taste pretty good and was in fact cooked.

    The bad-it was NOT tender. Much of the fat and connective tissue was still intact. It was damp on the outside, no bark.

    I am guessing that it was tough because it cooked faster than I expected. It was a 2lb 10oz roast. I set the smoker on 230, and according to the thermometer, it maintained that temp pretty well. I will be getting an oven thermometer to put inside for next time. I expected it to take about 4 hours, but it reached 155 degrees in about three. Did I have it set too high, or do you think it just got hotter than I thought?

    I didn't expect much bark in an electric, but I didn't think it would be wet. I left the vent closed to keep the smoke in. Should I leave it open or open it part way through? I did have the water pan filled almost to the "full" mark.

    So what do you all think? I would appreciate any tips. I am really looking forward to some good, tender smoked meats. I have a large brisket waiting for me to be confident enough to try it.

  2. barryvabeach

    barryvabeach Fire Starter

    Definitely try it leaving the vent open the whole time.  Most of us don't put water in the water pan, it isn't necessary,  just foil it to speed cleanup.  I have gotten pretty good bark in my MES, so it is quite likely the thermometer is off, your best bet is to use a wired one, and thread the wire through the vent opening, and put the element near where the meat it.   
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    A chuck roast needs to be cooked to an internal temp of 195-205, or until it is probe tender.

    Meaning a probe inserted in the meat in several places will go in like it was room temp butter.

    You simply did not cook it long enough.

    As long as you have smoke rolling the top vent should be wide open.

    julius likes this.
  4. Thanks for the help. I was looking at a Smoking Time and Temperature chart that told me 155 for medium. Doing smoked burgers tonight. I will leave out the water and keep the vent open.
  5. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    I agree with these guys: vent wide open, no water, cook too a high temp (195-205) to melt out the connective tissue and fat. The temp really isn't set in stone, it's done when its's tender like @SmokinAl  said. 155 will get it done but like you experienced it won't be tender at that temp. 

    The closed vent and full water pan is the mostly likely culprit of the wet outside and lack of bark. Just too moist.

    Good luck with the burgers and let us know how they turn out! Also don't be afraid to ask more questions. Everyone here has learned at least a little something from the others.
    julius likes this.
  6. parrot-head

    parrot-head Meat Mopper

    Here's the bark on the last chuck I did for burnt ends.

    Always have vent open - in fact I removed the little round damper and use a 3" metal elbow for a smoke stack.

  7. joel11230

    joel11230 Smoke Blower

    I'm curious as to why you guys don't use water in the water pan? I always do, usually apple juice. I can't see where it hurts.
  8. Joel, You will get some answers to your question from the forum, I guess I got up early this morning.

    The nature of a electric smoker is such that it is a humid environment when smoking.

     That is also why like Parrot-Head  removed the closing device. After just a few smokes it becomes gummed up and you must clean it if you want to move it..I also removed mine and replaced it with a typical stack. The opening is 3" but it has a restriction plate built in so the true opening is only half that area. I am speaking about a MES 30. Yours may be identical in the vent set up

    I will include some shots of the vent. and stack.

    A lot of electric smokers users grew tired of having to feed the chip tray 2 times per hour. I defeated the the set it and forget it idea behind the electric.

    Those people use a smoke generator to provide smoke. One of the choices is a AMNPS pellet tray. It uses Pure wood dust compressed into pellets and can give 11 or more hours of smoke if you need it. By adding the water pan it creates so much moisture in the box it makes it hard to keep the pellets lit. Here are more pictures

    The tray prior to inserting in the smoker.

    The pork butt after a Low and Slow Smoke

    Just my personal  opinions  The process works for me and many others.   Jted
  9. Mike, I hope you had great success with your burgers. I never got them the way I liked till I cold smoked them for a hour or so the put them over charcoal. But that is just me. Lets talk about the Temperature chart you looked at. The chart was for sliced meat.

    Smoking-Al was given you Internal temps for pulled beef. Pulled beef  or burnt ends are the norm when smoking  a chuck  roast

     Here is my personal opinion, They usually get me in trouble but here goes. A chuck roast cooked for slicing to me should be cooked in a oven. Cover it with a bit of Beef broth mixed with some onion soup mix some aromatics and lots of carrots onions and potatoes and tent it with foil. Put That bad boy in the oven and wait. I guess that is how the better half does it but you get my drift.  jted
  10. I like the smoke stack idea, but I am thinking it will null the extended warranty.
  11. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I would like to know where to buy one of those chininey gadgets like the one posted, for my MES.
  12. I want to thank everyone for all the tips. Had to take a break for camp with the scouts, but when I got home I was ready to smoke. I intended to smoke some chicken wings, but bought legs instead. Apparently I was tired after camping. Smoked the legs at 260-270 for about 2 hours and finished them on the grill to crisp up the skin. Everyone really liked them, to include my daughter, Ms. Picky




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