Got a Masterbuilt and inconsistent smoke...

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

quake guy

Original poster
Jun 20, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
Its a newer model with the vent and latch. However, I tried it for the first time and am having mixed results.

There is the lip and then the tray portion of the chip holder. I may have doublestacked the lip over the element the first time when I cooked a chicken at 230 degrees. I tried it with the lip under the element and the tray above it and had it at 130 degrees with no smoke at all. I cranked it up to 180 and got plenty of smoke.

Where should I expect smoke to start? Also reading the forum, it seems Masterbuilt recommends too much wood which after using it for only a day I can see why. I had filled the tray even with wood as per instructions, and it was way too much.

Thanks for any tips.
I have only smoked once (Besides seasoning it) with my post-recall Masterbuilt, but it did tend to smoke much different than my older pre-call models; until winter arrives again, I will be unsure if it is the outside temperature or a change in the burner area design.

A week ago with my post-recall Masterbuilt I had to add almost a tray and a half of chips to get descent smoke. With the pre-recall smokers I would put half a tray of chips in for quite a bit of smoke in the winter. Again, I am unsure if it is a product change or just seasonal adjustments I need to make.....

If I recall correctly, directions on pre-recall Masterbuilts suggested a full tray pending how much smoke you desired. Directions for post-recall Masterbuilts suggest 1 cup of wood chips and add additional chips if more smoke is desired. These directions do not make sense with what I am experiencing.
the lip on the wood try should be under the element. I've not had much success with it smoking below 180 unless I use wood shavings however most of my smoking is at 220 or so. Yes we have all discovered that the amount of wood reccomeneded in the manual is too dang much, so it's a trial and error thing with whatever you have until you get the good feel of it.
I've been using a Taylor thermometer and finding temperature variations as much as 40 degrees with the Masterbuilt temp indication. I called Masterbuilt's tech support and was told that the second thermometer was bad idea and to only use the built in temp indication.

This variation must have an effect on smoke production.

I do get allot of smoke from a few chips.

Sounds like that Masterbuilt folks don't know a hill of beans about smoking food. Maybe that's why there's always mods to be done on most smokers they don't have anybody that uses them.
I have run it at 200 and all it did was dry out the wood from a soaked state. The one time I got smoke at 180 was after the first run when I had already dried out the wood.

I have put a second temp sensor in there and the built temperature sensor is fairly accurate +/- 10 degrees at most.

Well, 5 minutes after writing the above I got off my arse and called up Masterbuilt, the lady on the phone told me not to expect smoke at under 225 degrees. Well, I guess this means its worthless for making beef jerkey which was one of my primary goals.

And that is probably a nationwide average, since I live in Phoenix the element probably even runs less than average so my number is probably 250 degrees... which would correlate to what I am experiencing.
I use to have two pre-ban Masterbuilts and could smoke a load with a half pan of wood chips. The retailer I got the pre-bans from let me exchange them for the new models.

Now I have three post-ban Masterbuilts with the damper, door latch and drip tray, I have only taken one out of the box to use. The other two are still in the unopened box. The one I have been using I load up heavy with wood, to start I put in two full pans of chips. Usually never add another pan of chips unless it is a really long smoke. But I have never had a problem getting smoke out of a Masterbuilt.

Also have a couple of friends that had pre-ban and exchanged them for post-ban Masterbuilts and they have not had problems getting smoke out of any of theirs.
I have had my MES for 3 months and I love using it. Here's my experience with it. Previously I used an offset smoker. The offset was more work than I wanted to put into cooking tasty meat. The MES is a tradeoff from woodburners, either charcoal or stick. The chicken, ribs, pork, sausage, and brisket I have smoked in the MES were very good. The offset smoker produced better. In the MES, don't expect a smoke ring. The smoke seems to be mostly on the surface. I don't get good bark either. I do get to relax and do other things instead of babying the fire. And I do get a consistently good product. I put 2 cups of boiling water in the pan, set the temp and time, then feed it a small handful of DRY mesquite or hickory chips. I check on it in 30 minutes and there's always smoke. Once an hour I feed another small handful of chips. I don't want clouds of smoke, just whispers. With gas or charcoal you have a constant source of heat to produce smoke. The electric element cycles on and off. More off at lower temps. The unit is well insulated and the thin tray doesn't hold residual heat. The smoke won't start unless the element is on for an extended period like heating the unit to 230 degrees. I would suggest heating to over 200 degrees, then backing off when it starts to smoke. You might use more chips than I do to sustain the fire in the chip tray. I would use a thermometer to check the cooking temp. I put mine on the middle shelf. The unloaded temp I read is about 15 degrees colder than the thermostat. When meat is added the margin may increase to 25 degrees depending on the initial meat temp and size. If the water evaporates, the temp may spike. Overall, I don't consider fluctuations significant during long cooking times. Your mileage may vary. I've had good response to my questions by e-mailing [email protected]

Here's to Great Eats!

Oak Cliff Boy
Hi all, I'm a newbie here and also to smoking meats in general. I recently purchased the MES from SAMS also. So far I have been pleased with the results for the most part. For starters the bottom hinge of the door seemed to be slightly bent which made the door not seal completely toward the bottom. Being to lazy to take it back and to anxious to smoke some meat I made a slight mod along the bottom with some aluminum tape and heavy gage wire to form a bead that would allow the door to seal better. That seems to have done the trick. One other thing I've noticed in regards to the door sealing is the rubber seal that is attached to the door tends to sort of stick when closing the door making a twist slightly and not forming a good seal. Just being aware of that and making sure to poke it back into place works for me, not too big of a deal. Now as far as getting smoke and how much wood to use here is what I have discovered with mine. It seems I got lucky as to how the wood tray slides in and makes contact with the element. I can easily see how inconsistent that might be when mass producing these smokers. If your having, "poof" problems or problems getting consistent smoke you might want to check that. As far as wood chips go, toss that part of the instructions that came with it into the garbage. I also do NOT soak my chips. leave them DRY. For a six hour smoke on racks of ribs at 225 degrees I use around 4 ounces of apple chips. I start by putting enough chips in the tray to cover the bottom and add a handfull via the loader about once an hour for the first 2 to 3 hours and I have no problem getting smoke. I leave the air flow adjuster on top about half open until I start to get good smoke. Then I choke it down until little whisps start to come out of the holes in the chip loader. I put the water tray in place, which is below all the racks, then I fill with only water using a pitcher. I fill it to about a quarter to half inch from the top as it seems to regulate the heat much better whenthe water tray is full. Using a good rub on them and spritzing with apple cider prior to foiling per the 3-2-1 method, my ribs have come out excellent and I am absolutely tickled about that! Tomorrow I am going to be venturing into uncharted territory as I smoke my first pork butt and several fatty's!

Sorry for the short book but I hope that info may help some that are having troubles with their MES. Food pics will be posted in the pork forum sometime on Sunday if anyone wants to check it out.

All the best,
Quake Guy....I have that same smoker and use it to do jerky with no will however have to play with the temps ...put it up to 170 or so and get your chips smoking ( use small chips or shaving as smoked stated ) after you get the smoke going you can then back it down to about 143 or so ....when doing jerky I don't put water in the pan and don't soak your chips will have to play with temps ( up n down ) several times to get good smoke flavor in your jerky...only ad a few chips 6 or 7 every 30 min or so will do the trick.
In mine I find it takes about 6-7 hrs to do my jerky without overcooking it ( slice your meat approx 1/4 inch ) play with your temps,you can make jerky just fine with that unit...IMHO .
Hope this helps ,Tim.
Tim hit it right on the head .............. Thats pretty much my jerky technique to a 'T' ....... no pun inteneded!
Smoked ribs all turned out good with enough smoke flavor. Tried a pork butt then a brisket and not enough smoke for me only on the surface. The pork butt had good bark and the brisket's bark was poor but the rub I made for the beef wasn't very good. I only loaded the box once full exactly a cup of wood hickory with the pork. The brisket was loaded twice with hickory too a cup at a time. Any suggestions more wood till it hits 140 deg. or just a poor smoker. Friend has a Smokin Tex. you can smell the smoke in his food wrapped up in plastic from a distance and when you eat it you have to wash your hands real good just to get it off. I know my MES-NWTF is know Smokin Tex but I expect some better results.

Are you offering the General up for Demo's? You always test drive a truck before you buy one right? Come on, please!!!!
icon_biggrin.gif is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads