Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jul 11, 2006
West Central Illinois
I have done some modifications to a Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse because of what I perceived to be too much smoke flavor. First I drilled a hole in the top near the front right corner (opposite of the temp probe that controlls the heater) and installed a 1" vent. Added a couple of latches to the outside to pull the door firmly shut. And a small aluminum angle iron to the inside of the door on the hinge side to physically push the door seal into place when closing a hot smoker. Now I can visually check the amount of smoke coming out of the smoker. To get the "thin Blue Smoke" only 3 chips need to be added about every 30 minutes. This has eliminated what seemed to be stale smoke taste (Creosote ?). I was concerned that the electric element might not be adequate for the smoker if vented but found that the unit only needs to be heating about 50% of the time to maintain 225 degrees. water consumption (in the pan) has not changed either. I did install the wood chip pan modification supplied by masterbuilt because of a recall and that has had no adverse effect either.


4†in from front and 4†in from right side use a hole saw to cut a 1-3/8†hole through the outer skin, foam insulation and the inner skin. Push in a 1†black pipe nipple and secure with (2) 1†electrical box connector nuts. I used a suitable O-Ring on the outside to seal from moisture. Attach a suitable piece of aluminum tubing to the threads of the exposed nipple. The longer it is the more it is going to condense water in cold weather so keep it short. If you want to cook without the vent remove the aluminum tubing and lightly screw on a 1†pipe cap.


Use a metal switch cover plate (Blank, no holes in it but the mounting screw holes) turned up to hold water and attach under the vent on the inside of smoker with ¾†spacers and stainless screws.


Use a length of ½†X ¾†aluminum angle and screw the ¾†side to the door at the hinge side so that the ½†side pushes the seal into place when the door is closed. This prevents the magnetic seal from grabbing the box and distorting itself when closing.


Attach (2) latches (top and bottom) as shown so that they pull the door shut an additional 1/8†when they are latched. This prevents all distortion to the seal which might occur.

Thanks for the post.

My eyes have been drawn to this unit in the Cabela's catalog.

How do you like this unit?

Does it hold temp pretty well or do you need to babysit It?

A friend of mine was thinking about getting into meat smoking a bit deeper and asked what electric unit I would recommend. I told him that if it was me that I would take a close look at this unit.
Very nice post! Great info for anyone intersted in better smoking with a Master Built, or considering a purchase. Thanks...
Thanks SmokeMack, I appreciate the kind words. It took a while with the picture update learning curve but now it will be easy next time!

Cheech. If you have only owned one car it is hard to judge the others.
Specifically the temperature controller is a no brainer (set it and forget it) will stay within a 5* spread but will flare 15-20* with adding new chips sometimes for a few minutes then settles right down. I don't get along with a lot of chips in the thing at one time as it generates too much smoke. So you will have to tend to chip maintenance about every thirty minutes to maintain the "thin blue". It only has (3) 5/16" holes for inlet air so the 1" vent I added at the top is more than adequate. If I were to complain it would be that the smoker is not well enough ventilated but then you would need a higher wattage heater too.

Masterbuilt employee I talked with said they are coming with a new model or update that includes a top vent and door latches so I was walking down the right path.
Hey Illini, have a question about your modification to the MB Electric smoker. I have the same smoker and was looking into putting the vent on. Couple questions for you if you don't mind.

You start out by drilling the 1 3/8inch hole in the top and you place a 1 inch long black pipe nipple. Where did you get a black pipe niple that goes in the 1 3/8 hole? Looking at Home Depot/Lowes the biggest diameter they have is 1 inch. In looking at the picture of the vent, it looks to be bigger than 1 inch in diameter.
You may get by using a 1-1/4" or a 1-5/16" hole through the cabinet
I strongly suggest you drill through a thin piece of metal first to see how the nipple fits through. Trying to make the hole larger would be difficult
I used a 1" black pipe nipple {that is 1"id (internal diameter)
the od (outside diameter) is about 1-1/4"}
The length of the nipple is whatever you need for the 1" box connector nut to attach on the inside flush with the end of the nipple and long enough for the other box connector nut to snug up on the outside and leave enough threads on top to attach a short aluminum flu somehow
my stack just sort of wedges onto the threads.
you will need something to catch the drips on the inside as it may drip moisture on the meat you are smoking
If you want further clarification post back
Just to let you know....I purchased the new revised version of this masterbuilt electric smoker today for 199.99. First thing that is noticable is the changes, they have added a damper at the top and a single latch for the door. I believe there are a few other small changes as well, so it appears they have listened to the few complaints and made changes especially after the recall a few months back. I've not yet fired her up, but thought I'd let you know the new model (20070106 or stainless version 20070206) will not need your modifications as they already put them in and still kept the cost at a bare minimum!!! :)
The only thing they have not addressed is the hinge side door seal
distortion :(
If this occurs on your unit the aluminum angle fix will be a good mod

When the smoker is hot and you open the door the magnetic seal on mine will grab the smoker box, when reclosing, early and the bellows of the seal can distort and not seal properly.

the angle piece physically slides it to where there is no distortion as the
door is reclosed :D
I'll keep that in mind, still determining on what is first to be smoked in this unit.....ham, ribs or pulled pork.......decisions decisions!!!!! but after the first run I'm sure I'll be able to tell if there is going to be a problem with the seal or not.....

On your angle iron, did you put it tight aginst the side of the seal? I just got a new Masterbuilt and I was thinking about doing this repair right away. Did you use short sheet metal screws to hold it in place?

Cut the aluminum 1/2 X 3/4 angle piece to length to fit inside the seal from top inside corner to bottom inside corner
A quarter inch short will be just fine
place against side of the hinge side seal sol that the seal is straight from corner to corner
Attach with small stainless steel screws through predrilled holes in the 3/4" side
Think I drilled 5-6 holes
Used 3/8" long screws so not to penetrate too far inside the door
When you close the door when hot you will hear it sliding the seal into place

Hope this helps! :D
HI Larry;
Considering it but no have not yet
Using water would be optional but would just set there at that temp 120-130*)

Think it would work just fine with no water at (225-or so) thats my next plan of experimentation

My concern is that there would be hardly any smoke generation at that low a temp (120-130) because the heating element would not be on very much

There was a post here somewhere about a guy smoking fish at low temp and not getting a wood burn. He finally returned the unit for another that would.

I remember now it was under FISH and titled TOP RACK

Hope this helps

I ran a season run today and the door would not shut after I opened it. So I put 2 latches on it. I hope this helps. I had some liquid come out of the bottom of the unit, is this normal? I will probably do your angle iron seal fix to it tomorrow but the bottom seal looks all weird as well. It angles down, wonder if that is where my liquid is coming out of. I did put water in the pan for the seasoning run. :oops: Maybe I should not have.
I am going to try not soaking some chips on my first meat run.

Thanks for the help and any other advise is greatly appreciated.

Is yours the newer vented or older nonvented model?
My smoker weeps a little under two conditions, too little venting (closing down the top vent too much) or excessive temp.
That mini invironment inside must be regulated... If you produce more steam from the water pan than can be dissipated out the top vent you are going to leak some.
So if leaking is a problem you gotta open up some venting or lower the cook temp some. Venting always works for me and I cook at the temp I want.
In some cases little or no water in the pan is a good thing.

What was the max temp while curing?....too much wood at one time can have a temp spike all by intself

Don't know about the bottom seal sag....have not seen that one!....adjust the latches you added to pull a normal cold smoker door closed another 1/8"

Hey...we can all mess up any cut of meat if the process is not right.....enjoy the learning experience, drink a cold one and try..try will get better!
Thanks Illini,

I am going after a pork butt on Christmas for my folks and my family so hopefully it goes well.

I will take some pics of it as it goes.

Thanks again for the help!

I got a friend that has a Bradley and it is a fine unit but I really think this unit will work absolutely fine for me and I am not handcuffed to the pucks. Oh yeah it's also a lot cheaper.
Planning on jerky myself soon
I am going to use metal skewers and let the individual slices hang through the racks openings
Think I'll use the top rack and the third rack
I've had one for a year now. I never heard of a recall. What was it for?
BTW I've been thinking of exactly the same mods but I will have an adjustable damper on a larger vent.
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