Masterbuilt 30" arriving tomorrow, I'm a total newbie and I have a couple Q's

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by portlis, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. portlis

    portlis Newbie

    Hey all, great forum.  My Masterbuilt 30" model 20070910 (should be the newest version of it?) is arriving tomorrow and I'm excited to start using it, but I have a couple pretty noobish sounding questions.   I've never owned or used a smoker of any kind before.

    1)  I live in Minnesota.  It's cold here during the winter.  Is this going to be a problem using it in the winter?  I've read tons of reviews and MANY people report that it works just fine in "cold temperature", but they're usually referring to it being in the 40s.  I'm talking about being in the single digits to 20s.  I guess my main concerns are a) that it will properly heat up and retain heat and b) that I won't damage any part of the unit from leaving it out in the cold for an extended cook of 10 hours in actual freezing temperatures.  If I need to only use it in more moderate temps, so be it, but I'd like to know the experience of others beforehand.

    2)  I live in a townhouse complex, and storing it outside isn't something I want to do.  It's probably not good to store it outside in the cold anyway, but that sort of goes back to question #1.  So my options are to either store it in my garage or literally in my house.  Going back to the whole cold temperature thing, would storing it in cold but not ridiculously cold temperatures in my garage (probably 20-40 degrees) for extended periods of time be a bad idea?  Alternatively, I'll store it inside, which leads me to wonder just how messy a smoker like this gets after being used?  What do you guys who live in similar temperatures do for storage?

    3)  I keep seeing everyone referring to this AMNPS acronym, which I believe I've gathered to mean some sort of different tray?  I'm super confused though.  Most of the reviews of this Masterbuilt unit seemed positive with it just how it is.  What makes this add on thing better?  Many people here seem to talk about it like it's almost mandatory, so I'm just looking to understand why.  If any of you can explain this whole deal to me in terms like you're talking to your 80 year old grandma who has never used a smoker a day in her life, I'd greatly appreciate it :)

    4) Do any of you use your smoker to smoke freshwater, non-oily fish that you've caught?  If so, how does it turn out?  I'm talking about panfish, pike, walleyes and the sort.  I'm sure the smoker does great with stuff like salmon, whitefish, tulibee and the like, but I'm not sure about the more common less oily sorts of fish.  I catch a lot of fish, especially in the winter, and I've been looking for new ways to cook it rather than just frying it in oil. 

    5) What would you suggest starting with, meat wise, for a beginner?  Are certain things just easier than others?

    Lastly, any other suggestions for someone in my situation?  Anything you wish you knew starting out that you only learned in time?  Any good guides or resources you like to use that you might provide a link of?  Thanks a ton in advance!
  2. Hey Portlis,

    Welcome to the group, glad to meat ya ( pun intended ) ha.  JMHO but I wouldn't worry too much about the temps your dealing with. Your MB electric shouldn't have any issues with storage outside other than protecting it from snow/rain/rusting of non protected components. I'm originally from Alaska and until recently have used only electric smokers which have always been stored outside. Just keep it covered from weather when not using it, preheat to get up to temp before you start.  If you're having trouble getting your chamber temp where you want it during windy / very cold days, try wrapping a thick blanket around it.  I've smoked lots of fish with outside temps as cold as ) 0* or so without any major problem other than having to wrap with the blanket.

    No advice for  for non-oily fish as I've only smoked salmon. I'm sure someone else from the forum will chime in with some good advice.  There's a LOT of good people with a lot of experience here.  Remember, the search bar holds a TON of good info.  Use it to your advantage.  When ya get crankin out some good stuff please post some pics, recipes, insight.  We all learn from each other and love to share. Happy Smokin' ! - Ed
  3. I just bought the same smoker but have had a MB Extra Wide that I have used in the past for a few smokes. I am an smoking newbie too but will try to help out with some of your questions.

    The AMNPS is a wood pellet "maze" tray, what it does is give off a long consistent smoke so that you don't have to worry about adding chips to the tray every half hour. It makes it more of a set it and forget it type of thing. I just ordered mine and it should be here tomorrow. I have used a similar one with his dust for cold smoking cheese and it worked very well. Todd's customer service is second to none also if you have and questions he is always willing to help. 

    Here is a link to the AMNPS if you needed it

    When I first started I did a Boston Butt for pulled pork as they are a little more forgiving and they turned out well and I learned a lot of things as I went also I didn't have a lot invested in the meat if I ruined it. I then went on try some veggies and chicken with good results.

    Good luck with the new smoker and there is a ton of useful info on this site and lots of people to help you out. Happy Smoking
  4. Hi, welcome to the wonderful world of smoked meat.

     I will take a stab at several of you concerns/questions. Get a good cover for your investment. I use this one It's a rear and a half old and does not leak It is big enough that I put a big bowel over the controller just in case.

    If you ever have a problem with it not heating, wrap a hot towel from the dryer around the controller and warm it up.

    AMNPS Your best friend , Once you get it burning it give you up to 9-12 hours of smoke. It has 3 rows and I figure 3 hours per row then 1 more per turn. It depends on how much wind is blowing. Contact Todd at amazingproducts .com. He is a great guy and will help you.

    You might start with ribs. If you use the 3-2-1 method you will be on the right track and learn how your smoker acts. There are pages written on the 3-2-1 method but here is a link sign up for his 5 day school It's free so why not. Look around his recipes for ribs.

    I have had a lot of hobbies but this is one productive one.  Hope this helps. You will have questions just ask.  Jted
  5. parrot-head

    parrot-head Meat Mopper

    I just ordered an AMNPS also and should be here in a day or two.  I can see how it is beneficial for not having to constantly keep adding chips every half hour, especially on long smokes.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Everything said above pretty much answers most of your questions.

    I have my MES 40 for over 4 years, and it is outside all the time, but I keep it dry. PA is almost as cold as MN, but not quite, but my MES works better than I do at below Zero!!

    The AMNPS is in my opinion---Mandatory if you want to sit back for up to 11 hours straight without worrying about having to much or too little smoke.

    As for smoking fish other than the oily ones, here's one might interest you:

    Smoked Brook Trout & Tilapia

    And here's something that should help you some too:

    Just click on "Bear's Step by Steps".

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    PaRRot-HeaD, you will LOVE the AMNPS if you read these forums for Todd Johnson's, Bearcarver's, and my suggestions on how to light it and keep it lit. And of course being You Tube there are great how-to videos on lighting the AMNPS there. Remember that you'll need a torch of some kind to light it. I bought a cheap propane torch at Lowe's but there are others. Todd sells a butane torch on his website.

    Thanks to using wood pellets I've been freed from adding wood chips all the time and with the Maverick ET-733 I can sit at the computer or watch TV until it's time to do stuff like un/foil the meat or flip it around or take out the finished product or whatever task is called for.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I live in the Pacific Northwest and in my area night temps under 20 degrees are rarely an issue. I store my MES 30 in my garage bungee corded to a hand truck. I only smoke outdoors because I don't want my garage and everything in it including my vehicles to permanently smell like wood smoke. Also, I prefer to smoke in nice weather because then I'm not battling the elements while battling to get a beef brisket internal temp up to 200°.

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