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Masterbuilt 30'' Electric Smokehouse 20070210 Tips for a Noob


Joined Nov 1, 2013
First, thanks to all the vets for such a great forum.  Lots of great advice and have already learned some great stuff.

I bought this model:  http://www.masterbuilt.com/index.php/smokers/30-electric-smokehouse.html earlier this year and *thought* i had a pretty good handle on smoking through it.  Although the site has great insights into cooking tips, I'm finding that quite a bit about smoking in general can't be replicated on this unit.

It suffers from two major problems, IMO.  First is that the covered wood chip tray is small.  With a cup of dry wood chips, it takes 25-30 minutes on "high" setting to get wood to start smoking.  The next major problem is that the chip tray is not easily removed/refilled.  It requires the entire smoker to be open and then the task of replacing old wood chips with the new ones in a scorching hot tray isn't easy.  In other words, the major compartment loses all or most of its heat and the process of replacing the chips is onerous .

A cup of wood chips gives about 1 hour of consistent smoke once the chips have been brought to temperature.  Once the smoke fades, the chips have to be replaced and then it takes another hour or so for the new wood chips to start smoking again (remember this time the smoker is on a "LOW" setting).  So on a three hour smoke session, the tray has to be refilled twice to give the chips a maximum of two hours of smoking time.  This, plus opening the doors and letting go of all the heat has an effect on the meat.

So my question is this 

1)  Have any of you experimented with or advise boiling water and pre-heating wood chips with electric smokers?  What are ways I can extend life of the smoke or perhaps make the entire process of replacing the tray/water negligible? 

2)  There are some suggestions to punch holes the chip tray on the forum.  Is this advisable for an electric smoker?  If I consider doing this, would I leave the wood chip tray open?

3)  I nearly always wrap up my meat in foil leaving the top part open for the cooking.  Uncovering it makes it dry IMO.  Is this because I'm not prepping the meat correctly or does it have something to do with my smoker?


az jim

Joined Nov 7, 2013
I just bought the same smoker and I'm seeing the same problems. The smoker gets up to set temp and element shuts off and smoke doesn't last too long. Need to get some tips on how to get the most of this smoker.


RIP. Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 4, 2013
If you are going from a fire burner to electric, think of a stove in the kitchen. A gas stove heats water quickly where an electric takes its time. It’s the same with the smoker. Electric is a more precise temp. but it has to really work to recover lost heat. A charcoal or gas recovers fast but it fluctuates (OMG, spellchecker says I spelled that right).

This means with an electric it is very important that you leave the door closed. I read somewhere it takes 15 mins. to recover from opening the door although I doubt that long it does take time. lets say 10 mins. when you expect a 12 hour smoke and open the door once an hour that's a 2 hour adder. Whereas with a fire burner you have to tend the fire, which means you are allowing the moisture to dispensate.

Electric, keep the door shut and it doesn't require the moisture like moping, spritzing, injections. In over 30 years of being around electrics I can't remember a smoke ring. Push/pull, I can live without the smoke ring, and I can sleep all night not needing to tend the fire.

Water pan........Suggest you either remove the water pan, I use mine for a drip pan. You can foil line it and fill it with sand building a heat sink, in regards to the heat loss.

Now we move to the disputed subject of vent position. If you have a vent:

If you throw it full open, it will dry your food some, which is desired with brine or cured smoking. But..... if smoking a normal piece of meat/fish/fowl I use the vent to regulate the smoke. When full open you are working the heater maintaining temp. and you are burning excessive chips/pellets to smoke. When the vent is regulated or partly closed depending upon the adjustment, it is better using the smoke while more easily holding your temperature.

You can invest in a good aux. smoke generator and not use chips, it is fine either way you decide. If you want to use chips as designed, you need to regulate it. Your call, you must decide how you want to run your smoker. I have done both ways, I have even smoked for years in a totally closed smoker which when done right does fine. It’s about mastering what you want to do.

IT (internal Temp) this is how everything is gauged. I assume you know about it since I am sure you have researched your subject here first. If you have a good remote response thermometer and you are smoking, you can go to bed. It will tell you when the food is done.

Lastly, if using chips, I think the general consensus is don't soak them. The only reason I can see for soaking them is allow the food to preheat before it starts smoking. Why? Good Question. Because from what I have seen here somewhere, maybe Jeff E-Message or a book.... Well from 100 to 140, food is really susceptible to smoke, above and below it has diminished effects. 100 to 140 is when the food is the happiest, other than that you are just pouring the smoke out the vent. Its all your call. Some like a lot of smoke. This is NOT a fire burner, its not meant to be operated as one.

All the other smoking rules I believe are still in effect. LOL....

Let’s see.... Slow recovery keep the door closed, smoke sweet spot 100 to 140 IT, no smoke ring, no moisture needed, learn what you want for your vent adjustment. Add a RF thermometer and sleep all night. It’s really easy to use.

I always forget something and surely someone will come along and give you their opposite opinions. That's smoking, its mastering how you want to do it.

For a while I suggest you take notes, that way it’s easier to learn a new smoker and different techniques. Have patience, it’s hard to mess up as I am sure you already know.

Most of all just enjoy the smoke!  It is supposed to be a stress free environment. A day when you smoke is always a beautiful day.

1. You don't need water, would would be the purpose in preheating chips? If the heat is not on now, it will come back on during the cook. The heating element is on near constantly when starting up the unit. If you leave the door closed it will smoke.

2. punching holes would serve no purpose, you want smoke not flame anyway.

3. As above, you need to learn to master your pit. There are a gazillion things you can do, or none. Its about how you want to smoke. If you want to foil by all means do so, I have used electrics over 30 years and the only time I can ever remember something dry, was because I over cooked it.

4. Remember this is not a pit, its not a fire burner. You must operate an electric like an electric or you can do conversions to make it more in line with a fire burner. Again, its how you want to smoke.

No smoke ring

No water needed

No hourly fire tending

Keep the door closed

Use the vent to regulate

Apply smoke from 100 to 140 IT (Sweet spot)

Make sure and check calibrate you smokers temperature

Hope it helps...... I don't know exactly which Model, but I have heard some had to get replacement chip holder because of insuffuent conductivity to cause smoke, but if you have smoke, its probably not your.

Good luck, and I hope something above helps with your process.
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Fire Starter
Joined Sep 27, 2012
Masterbuilt makes a cold smoker for 50 bucks, I bought one when they first came out about a year ago and that is all I use for hot or cold smoking. It will generate smoke for up to six hours depending on the type of chips. Works great. Bruce


Fire Starter
Joined Nov 4, 2013
Great information Foamheart.

I'm very new to Smoking, so this is not from experience.  I was just thinking two things, 1st you lose your temperature from opening the door and having to leave it open so long because of trying to, 2nd replace the wood chip in a hot tray.  So what if, just prior to replacing the chips you turn the heat up high?  (I don't think this short time at high will effect the IT very much.
)  2nd you purchase a 2nd wood chip tray and have that tray full of chips and ready to be installed as soon as you remove the hot tray from the smoker(with a glove of coarse).  That way the Smoker door is only opened as long as it takes to remove the ash tray, install the new chip tray, and close the door.  Then turn your Smoker temperature back to your cooking temperature.  Recovery of the Smoker temperature will probably be pretty quick.

Again just about ZERO experience here, just my view on the issue at hand.  That's kind of my job at work, They come to me with issues that need quick results, so I'm always trying to think of solutions to problems.  Not always right but I never give up.  Good Luck.


RIP. Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 4, 2013
Well as to the chip tray reload, I am fortunate in having a re-loader built in.

Also the sweet spot for smoke absorption is 100 to 140 IT, I am not one of those who believe you need smoke coming out the stack continuously. But for those long smokes like drying out meats or cold smokes, one of the site sponsors A-MAZ-N Products has a great little inexpensive aux smoke generator that I have myself seen about 22 hours of smoke. Although the product is only advertised at 12 to 18, I believe.

But I am sure that your ideas would help in a different system.

tenacious bee

Joined Jun 6, 2012
I use both electric and charcoal. I am getting excellent results from my MES 30 Digital . I do not nor do I ever intend to use the chip loader . I use the aforementioned AMZNPS with mine. The MES does it's job keeping the temperature pretty much exactly where I want while the AMZNPS keeps the smoke going for as long as I like. Pretty much goof proof especially with the temp and meat probes.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Jul 28, 2013
http://I hope you did not pay much for your MES. Your model does not have a chip loader. Buy a AMPS. With it it will eliminate all of your problems with the smoke and the cooling down of the box. You will pre heat the smoker, light your AMPS insert your Meat and close the door for a very long cook. The beauty of the electric smoker is fairly constant heat with in a small range. The problems with one is the smoke. Using the AMPS  eliminates all those. I agree with most of the comments of the other contributor. I have reiterated some of the same  with the same solutions. With a AMPS and a good digital thermometer (so you won't have to open the door) you will have instant success. Amy other problems  just ask. JTED
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