Getting started with a Masterbuilt (many questions)

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by tubro, May 21, 2014.

  1. tubro

    tubro Newbie

    I live in northern Mn and have been grilling on a Weber for many years.   Started smoking on the Weber the last few years and had some success stories and some just ok stories.  

    Wife got me a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (20070910 - Masterbuilt Digital Smokehouse) and am just getting ready to use it after a long, long winter.   I seasoned it last week but have many questions.

    1. How do you deal with rain with an electric smoker if you do not have a canopy to cover it other than a garage.   Is it safe to use in an open garage?

    2. What would you suggest for a good first meat selection.   I was thinking of a beef roast or whole chicken but also considering ribs.  Looking for suggestions.

    3. Do you add the wood chips just once and let it go or do you need to add them later on in the smoking process?

    4. Any easy keys to success to using this style of smoker?

    I'm sure i will have more once I get going but thanks for considering these initial questions.
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I will send you a /PM
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One last thing, MES's are notorious for deviation in the thermometers. I highly suggest you get a calibrated thermometer and check your box temperature.

    Or you can use your remote thermometer to check it. IF you don't have I highly suggest you get one, they are inexpensive and they make all mistakes not only edible but delicious! They ensure you food is safe .
  4. I have used my mes 30 in the rain, and snow. I just prop something over the controller. Snow shovel, plywood, etc. If you decide to use it in your garage it will fill the garage with the beautiful smell of smoke for weeks to come. With mine I soak the wood chips in hot water and add a handful every 45 minutes for the first 3-4 hours. I find that this unit is really good at pork shoulders, average 18 hrs at 225 for a 10 pounds shoulder. I never wrap with foil during the cook and it is tender and most. I have also found that no matter how good I cover the water pan with foil it always gets between the pan and the foil and is a pain to clean, it's easier to just not foil and clean the pan. I always leave the vent completely open. I hope that this helps some, and don't be afraid to experiment. Good luck
  5. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AMZPS must have. 

    I put a tall can on the top vent as a bit of a chimney following a tip from Daveomak helps a lot to draw smoke through.

    Chicken a good place to start but also pork bones,hocks etc.

    I pre heat mine to running temp before I load it or put chips in.

    If at all possible I take out the chip loader thingy & face that hole towards the prevailing wind if there is one.But its humid here may not be necessary for you. 

    I think foam heart has most of it covered for you.
  6. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    If you use the chip loader you add a hand full of chips at a time and every 45 min or so I smoke the entire time the meat is in the MES.

     If you purchase the AMNPS you can fill it one time w/ pellets and get 8 hrs + smoke before having to refill.

    Please head Foamheart's warning and do not trust the thermometers on the MES / Once you get a good thermometer and figure out how far off the MES is then you can use it. I am on my second MES 40" .The first one was one of the original digital 800 watt units and it ran 20 degrees to the hot side. My new one is 2012 model 1200 watts  and it runs 15-20 degrees to the cold side of what the read out is.
  7. What does AMNPS stand for?

    Will the heat and smoke tear up meat thermometer if you leave it stuck in the meat while it is in the smoker?

    Where is the best place to buy a remoter thermometer?
  8. Not sure what amnps stands for but I googled it and I went to amazon where it comes up as a pellet tray for smokers. Costs about 35-40 dollars and will provide smoke for up to about 8 hours without having to add. I just bought a new mes 30" and the thermometer was all over the place so I don't trust it. I will be trying it again but I did invest in an instant read digital thermometer for about 20 at target. I'll use it to double check temps and keep the built it thermometer honest! Good luck!!!
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you have a good digital I wouldn't leave it in the meat while cooking. There are many different brands of remote thermometers with different features.

    I say don't worry about all the horns whistles and mirrors, just buy a dependable brand name from somewhere you know you'll be able to get assistance and parts. I personally bought a Maverick, Redi-Chek close to 15 years ago. I replaced a probe for the first time last year. But I may be the luckiest owner in the world. 

    One of the site sponsors A-MAZE-N Products sells 'em and sells parts. Go simple first. Then if you see the need you'll know more about what you want cause with all the horns and whistles and phone apps they can get pretty expensive.

    If you have a remote sensor and an Amps you can plug and play any meal. Set it forget it, and it alarms when its done. it insures even when you mess up, its still not only safe to eat but delicious.
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
  11. what is the best size for a masterbuilt 30?  Or does it really matter, because your just going to light it and throw it in the bottom of your smoker where ever there is room?
  12. I would just try the wood chips before buying an amnps or other supplemental smoke source. I get amazing smoke just adding a small handful of Apple chips every 45 minutes for the first 3-4 hours.
  13. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The 0910 is a gen 1 mes if I recall. Temp readouts usually weren't too bad but a Maverick et-732 or 73 is a great tool to have to monitor chamber and meat temps. I used small chunks in the chip tray and got great flavor and longer lasting than dried out chips. It may work for you but for those long smokes an AMAZN dust or pellet smoker with the gen 1 mes is great. A couple of hints for new smokers....... you don't need to provide constant clouds of heavy smoke to your meat. Just a nice steady flow of thin blue smoke will give you that nice smoky flavor. And another is to not be peeking in on meat every few minutes. Opening that door is going to add to your cook time significantly. Best of luck and happy smokin'.
  14. tubro

    tubro Newbie

    Just finished my maiden voyage.  It went well.   Did a chicken (5 lb) Seasoned with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper with a little olive oil on top before it went in.

    Made a last second call to go with a mixture of maple and pecan.   I had both those bags open and hadn't opened the cherry one yet.  

    I used to have a remote digital thermometer but it broke last year and I was late in getting a replacement.   I ordered one recommended on here (Maverick) with dual probes.  One for the meat and one for the temp inside the smoker or on the grill.

    Unfortunately it does not arrive until next week so I had to use a basic meat thermometer to test this one.

    Tested it after 1 and 1/2 hours (5 lb bird) and the damn thing was already at 177 in the breast.   Thought I overdid it and maybe I did but that thing was so juicy.   I let it sit for 30 minutes covered in foil then had at it.   Like I said it was extremely juicy and one of the most tender, flavorful chickens I ever had.

    The smoke I think would fit better with ribs or something along those lines.   Wife and I both liked it but I'm excited to try it with Cherry or Apple next time.

    Overall for my first effort I thought it was really good and it should get a lot easier with the digital thermometer the next time.

    Thanks for all the help.
  15. muck man

    muck man Newbie

    I've had a MES for many years and love it.  Yes, temp gauge is not accurate, haven't had the best of luck with sticking another temp gauge in there w/o it touching one of the metal racks.   I do have an idea mine is off about 14 degrees (hotter).

    I do spray my racks w/PAM or some olive oil prior to putting in the smoker, helps when I go to clean them.  I do the same with the drip pan.  I've found that steel wool works best when cleaning both of these and good 'ol elbow grease!  Only part of smoking is that clean up.  If room in the dishwasher I'll put the racks in there and it cleans 90% off.

    After all these years a buddy told me he uses a cheap 3" fan from Wally World mounted to the handle of the chip holder to blow air into the 3 holes on the end, helps produce good air flow and more smoke.  Going to try that next.

    I just purchased an A-Maze-N-Pellet smoker from at a very good price, purchased the "scratch N dent" one for good price and it is in good condition.  Can't wait to try it.
  16. burkempers

    burkempers Newbie

    you guys refer to the temp gauge as not being accurate.   are you referring to the meat probe thing, or just the overall temperature or degree that you set the smoker for?    is using the meat probe thing accurate and can use that for a temp gauge?     also, even if the digital temp setting gauge is off either way by 10-15 degrees,  you can still generally be safe with it at 220 degrees and even if it's up or down from that, it shouldn't make a real big difference in the smoking,  would it?

  17. beadlock

    beadlock Newbie

    I am new to the group/forums here on the site.  I have a MES 40 with 1200 watt burner.  I get great smoke and not many problems with the accuracy of the temps between the probe and the box.  I do not rely on it as I have an extra remote thermometer that I use.  So temps and times are not my issue really, but having trouble getting any type of good bark on my meats.  I have tried different rubs with ingredients that should caramelize and produce a bark.  Tried leaving the pan dry and still no bark.  Any suggestions or any help with this would be wonderful!!
  18. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Take your meat probe and see how far off, your smoker is. Your smoker may be running hotter and finishing your food before you can get a bark.

    Mine runs 20* hotter and I always use an extra probe besides the 1 in the meat.

    You can check it with the probe you have before your next smoke.

  19. beadlock

    beadlock Newbie

    I just checked it.  The digital on the Unit is showing 257* and my remote thermometer is showing 227*.  So about a 30* difference.  I always base times and temps of my remote thermometer, but how does this relate to getting bark on the meat?  Sorry if this sounds blunt, just new to this and trying to get it figured out.  Thanks
  20. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I would give it a longer test then what u just did, at 30* hotter you did not get to caramelize as u wanted the meat. Low and slow will get it done right. Welcome to SMF

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

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