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Masterbuilt MES 35B MB20070210

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by MW196, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. MW196

    MW196 Newbie

    My apologies on if I'm posting this in the wrong place.

    After some failed attempts at trying to smoke various things using our all in one grill, my wife and I decided to purchase an actual electric smoker. We ended up purchasing the MES 35B model for $100 at our local BJ's Wholesale Club. We figured this would be a good starter unit for us.

    That being said, we have not built nor operated this unit yet. I was looking for some suggestions on the best ways forward. I have searched these forums for the past couple of days, but there's a lot of information and I seem to be having trouble understanding it all.

    Perhaps a good place to start would be these two questions:
    1. For seasoning the unit as per the manual, should we use the wood chips during the last 45 minutes as suggested? If so, which wood chips would be best? I would think hickory, as usually hickory can go with anything.
    2. I am looking at purchasing the A-MAZE-N tray with the 2 lb. of wood pellets. Many posts on here recommend doing so. So the questions that arise for me are, where in the unit should the try be placed, do I need to light the pellets before I put it in the unit, and would it be better to season with these wood pellets instead?

    Any help and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  2. Braz

    Braz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I would go ahead and use hickory chips and follow the factory pre-seasoning instructions. No need to use the AMPS pellet tray for seasoning the smoker. When you do get to the point of using the AMPS it helps to "cook" the pellets in a microwave for a minute or so to drive out any moisture. Then light the pellets and let them burn for a few minutes before blowing out the flame and putting the tray inside the smoker. You will probably have to experiment a bit to find the best place to put the tray so it gets a good enough draft to keep smoking through the cook.

    Congratulations. With a little practice you should be able to get some good Q out of that box.
  3. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Agree with Braz . Get it seasoned up , and use it . I suggest you us it as is out of the box first . That way you have a starting point for improvements . Get a tray and some pellets on the way if that's your plan .
    Take time to learn it , and you will get some good results for sure .
  4. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Welcome MW, Glad you joined the group. As far as seasoning I would follow the smoker's directions. The type of wood used shouldn't matter at all. For question #2 reference the two links I'm posting below. Bearcarver is the the site expert on MES. Also if he doesn't see your thread in a day or so you can always send him a PM. He's very easy to talk to and more then willing to help out anyone with a question.



  5. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome! I jumped right in and went MES and AMNPS and have not looked back! Love it tons more than my charcoal or gasser. I "seasoned" or did a few dry runs a few times with the tray so I could get a feel for how it would work. Strongly suggest this.

    WRT your questions, yes hickory is a good choice and versatile. Eventually you will want to get creative and maybe do some cold smoking and you will want other wood for that. Apple or pecan or my fave corn cob. I was quite surprised how well the blend that came with the tray was... Works great on chicken.

    I light the pellets before placing in smoker and wait 5-10 minutes to ensure it's going strong. Your first few times will be weird and new but eventually you will find a method that works for you.
  6. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong:
    Masterbuilt 35B is not actually an MES (Digital "Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse")

    Masterbuilt 35B is an Analog Smoker, and not digital.
    I don't have much on the Analogs, other than you'll probably have to drill some holes top & bottom to get better air flow to use your AMNPS in it.

    If it's not an analog, and it is Digital, please post an inside & outside picture of it, so I can tell which one it is.

  7. MW196

    MW196 Newbie

    I appreciate all the feedback. I think we may use it out of the box first to sort of get a feel for it, as was suggested above, and then upgrade to try using the tray and pellets.

    Bear, it is an analog one. Our store didn't carry the digital one for some reason, and the digital one also appears sold out at most other stores within driving distance, which is a shame as it was a better value ($120, 4 racks instead of 3). That being said, we think this analog one may be a good starter unit for us to use for a couple years until we can possibly upgrade to a new one, and doing some looking around the price seemed like a good deal.

    I thought of a few more questions well.
    1. In general, it's my understanding that the thermometer on the front of the unit generally isn't a good gauge of temperature. What are the thoughts on this? For our first few attempts, can we use that thermometer before buying a specific probe thermometer just for measuring the temperature inside the chamber? Or is getting a probe thermometer for seeing the temperature inside the chamber absolutely necessary the first few times?

    2. I wouldn't mind suggestions on what to try smoking first, probably the weekend of June 16th/17th. What's good for beginners? Chicken, ribs, pork shoulder? We don't need anything fancy as beginners, just a suggestion on what meat(s) might work best for the first few times. Basically we plan to put a rub on it, put it in the smoker, and let it cook.

    We are looking at possibly assembling it tonight and trying to do the seasoning of it tomorrow night.
  8. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Don't get me wrong---There's nothing wrong with an Analog. I just don't have as much help for you in my bag of tricks.

    I would say you can try it out without using a set of wireless Therms, but it will make your smoking a lot easier if you have an accurate Therm telling you the Smoker Temp in the area of the meat, and something to tell you what the internal Temp of the meat is at various times near the end of the smoke.

    Ribs, Pork Butt, Chicken---All good choices, just be sure they are done to a safe Internal Temp.

    Maybe this collection will give you some help:
    Just click on "Bear's Step by Steps".

  9. Welcome to the group. You can learn a lot and get many opinions. Technical questions will be answered fairly accurately where as questions on personal taste are just that. A Example is the amount of smoke on a piece of meat and the flavor. Not everyone likes oak and mesquite is too strong for some. Remember they are just opinions. When you season your smoker you will get a feeling on how long the chips burn. In the recent past there have been several folks that have had good results with the analog smoker and chips.
    Normally I don't Disagree with Bear' Opinions, but I would not start out with chicken It can be tricky to get the skin right. You might try a nice pork tenderloin. It is a fast smoke and very easy not to mention great eating. You will need a meat thermometer to watch the progress . As I said it is a fast smoke.. Don't over cook the pork try to hit your desired finished temp. Jted
  10. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would also recommend leaving the exhaust vent wide open for good air flow.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't think there is an adjustable vent in an MB Analog Smoker.
    That's why most owners end up drilling holes to add to the minimal stock venting.

  12. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep, got to have draft to make it flow. I tend to like an exhaust a little bigger than the intake, especially on a stick_burner like an off set smoker, in case you need to dump some of the heat quickly
  13. MW196

    MW196 Newbie

    First, I appreciate all the advice.

    Second, we opened, assembled, and pre-seasoned the unit last night. Some observations:
    The thermometer on the door generally stayed a constant 275 F during the entire pre-seasoning process once it was up to that temperature.

    We added the one cup of hickory chips during the last 45 minutes as per the instructions. It did seem to be creating a good amount of smoke. One thing that worries me here is that the chips looked used up (all black) when we took the wood chip tray out. We had them in for the 45 minutes as per the instructions with the heating element on, and then it was about a half hour cool down before we opened the door and took the wood chip tray out. According to the manual we should not use more than one cup of chips at a time, but I also know that having to open the door every 45 minutes to an hour is not a good idea when trying to smoke something. This could also be me worried about a non-issue and I'm misreading the way the chips looked when we took them out. It was still producing smoke for a good 10 minutes after we turned the heating element off.

    One area of concern was that every time the heating element needed to kick on, our lights would flicker. I'm not an electrician, so I'm unsure of if this is an issue we need to be concerned about or not. When we have our vacuum cleaner plugged into the same place with the lights turned on, that causes a light flicker when we turn the vacuum cleaner on. We had to run the unit using a heavy duty extension cord plugged into a power pack just because of how our apartment is set up. Should this be a concern?

    As for a thermometer, we had a probe thermometer for measuring internal temperature of the meat, but due to an accidental lack of intelligent thought, I managed to break it by putting it on an extremely hot part of our grill and melting the back of it last time we used it. Since we need a new one anyway, I'm trying to convince my wife we should just spend the money and get the Maverick one and be done with it.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  14. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Since you're only 29 years old, you might like the Maverick ET-733, but many of us Old Guys like the ET-732 better because it's less complicated to use.

    Hope These answers help,
  15. MW196

    MW196 Newbie

    It won't let me quote the whole post, so I'll respond below.

    The thermometer on the door is set to read higher than 325 F, although I don't know the top temperature on the dial off the top of my head.

    I agree it could be too much smoke, but it seemed like an okay amount. It wasn't a heavy, thick, billowing smoke, but a light one. It seemed to be about what it should be to me, but I'm also new to this.

    While most of the chips were black, some had started to turn to a gray ash and were still smoldering when we pulled the tray out. Perhaps they weren't in long enough to turn to gray ash?

    I have looked into getting the tray and some pellets. We will most likely do that, but for our first few tries I think we'll just go the out of the box route.

    Unfortunately, being an apartment, there's no way for us to get a dedicated outlet. I do wonder if our entertainment stand stuff is running off that same breaker along with the sub woofer and floor lamp. They just fixed one of our broken outlets today that's actually closer to our sliding door, so maybe they wired that to a different breaker than the one we were using. It's something we'll definitely keep an eye on. (Side note: We were given permission to purchase and run this unit by management.)

    I'll take a look at both Mavericks and decide. I guess the real question for us is, is the Maverick $15-$20 better than the ThermoPro?
  16. normanaj

    normanaj Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Everybody here has their personal preference.

    I have a ThermoPro TP-08 and have zero issues with it.A good basic dual probe unit.Plus they are a site sponsor and members get a discount when buying.

    I can't speak on the Maverick as I've never owned one.
  17. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sounds to me like you got everything covered, and it all makes sense.

    As for the ThermoPro, I have no experience with it, but I'm still using my original ET-73, and I have 2 of the ET-732s.
    I get my Mavericks from Todd, at "Amazing Smoker". He invented the Amazing Smokers & sells them with the Pellets.
    Mavericks are in his store with a bunch of other items. FREE shipping on orders over $50.

  18. MW196

    MW196 Newbie

    Just some updates...

    We ended up ordering the ThermoPro from a cost standpoint.

    This afternoon we're heading out to a local farmer's market and want to find a pork shoulder to try out tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

    Plus the 24 Hours of Le Man is this weekend, so that's a great reason to stay home and use our new smoker.
  19. MW196

    MW196 Newbie

    Our first try. Used some extra virgin olive oil and a commercial rub called Rub Dat Butt from Pepper Palace.

    Having some issues with temperature swings though.

  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member