Masterbuilt propane double door model # 20051311 Temperature issues

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by richdm, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. I am new to smoking and can really use some help. I am having issues keeping my temp. steady. I am having to keep the bottom door open just to keep the temp down. Today is my second time using the smoker and I wrapped my soaked chips in aluminum with holes in it. I got good smoke for like 30 minutes. Then I took them out of the aluminum because of some other info I read online. However, I cant keep the damn temp down to 225-250. It just steadily rises and I have the flame from the propane tank as low as possible. Help please???!
     
  2. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Are you using a water pan?
     
  3. yes i filled the stock pan that it came with. It holds about 2 quarts of water.
     
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    First of all don't soak your chips. The aluminum foil packet is a good idea for chips if that is all you have. Chunks work better. Do you have the top vent all the way open? If not that could be part of the problem. I have seen lot's of folks that have this same problem with that smoker. It seems you can install a needle valve from Cajun bandit and it helps you control low temps much better. I have also seen people use a cast iron pan instead of the chip tray that comes with the smoker and this seems to help too. A little more information would help. Also are you relying on the factory thermometer on the door for your readings? They are known to always be off and most times more than just a little off.
     
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Most of us on here use sand or pea gravel in the pan. Steam causes all kinds of issues inside your smoker and I won't get into that but that is what a lot of us do. Plus wrap that in foil for easy cleanup after.
     
  6. I read the theory on soaking chips. These were already soaking since before I read- won't be soaking anymore. Top vent has been all the way open the entire time. I am going to switch to a cast iron pan eventually but right now I am trying to stop this smoke from going down the toilet. 

    I am using the factory thermometer and I have heard the same-no good. But I don't have another one. I am looking into getting a wireless one. Should I just trust the temp is wrong and leave the doors closed and flame on low?
     
  7. So sand is a better alternative to water in the pan to keep temps down?
     
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Well, water has many drawbacks as a temperature stabilization material in your smoker. 1 it takes a lot of energy to heat water. 2 once water reaches 212 degrees it boils and creates a lot of steam. Steam could be part of the problem in there causing a pressure cooker like effect. Now, to help you get through this smoke. You might need to add cold water now and then to the pan to keep your temp down. What are you cooking? If it is a Butt you can get away with higher than optimum temperature and it will still turn out fine. I take it you don't have a meat thermometer If not then all of this is a big shooting match as to how it will turn out. You need to know the temp. of your smoker and the meat whatever it is you are cooking. Can you get a cheap meat probe from a store close by? If you do have a meat probe test it in boiling or very icy ice water. Ice water is 32 degrees. Then you can take that out to the smoker and put it on the rack close to where the door one is and compare. Then you can do the math and see how far your smoker therm is off. You need to know these things or all of my advice will do you little good.
     
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    The water pan is not for adding moisture to your meat. It is there to stabilize the temperature and help with heat recovery when you open the door. It adds no moisture to what you are cooking. Therefore you can use sand, gravel, whatever to act as the same heat sink. It takes less time to heat this stuff up in there. Creates no extra moisture in there for creosote to stick to. There are lots of other reasons to not use water but those are at the top of my mind right now.
     
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I know I am hammering you with stuff here but one more thing if you do have a tested thermometer to compare with. Sometimes there is a nut on the back of the factory thermometer that you can turn to calibrate it a little better. Sometimes not.
     
  11. I need as much help as possible so throw it all my way. I appreciate it. 

    My wife says it is a pork shoulder. I tested the internal temp with her oxo thermometer and it was 100 degrees. I then closed the door with that thermometer in there and watched it fluctuate the same as the smokers thermometer. Its been over an hour by now and it seems to have leveled out around 250 so maybe it just needed some time? obviously the chips stopped burning long ago and right now the water has about halved. 
     
  12. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I'm trying to help you. Are you still there?
     
  13. And by internal temp I mean that of the pork
     
  14. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    With chips that is about all you are going to get out of a load. You just have to keep adding another foil packet with a few holes punched in it every half hour or so. You don't want billowing smoke. You want a barely discernable thin blue smoke that has a nice odor. Did you test the oxo thermometer? If it is in the meat it's not helping you to get the CHAMBER temp. You need to know what the temp really is in there. It is ok if the temp is fluctuating a little bit. Say 15 or 20 degrees. Do you have a picture of the meat so I can see what it is that you are cooking? Pictures help as I am not getting much specific information from you.
     
  15. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I will get you through this if you follow my advice Rich. Don't get frustrated, It will take a little doing but we will get this fugured out. If this is a large pork shoulder you will be smoking it for many hours and by the time you are done you will have that smoker figured out. Just keep feeding me information.
     
  16. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit


    This is a pork shoulder. Is that what you have in there? How many pounds?
     
  18. Okay I went and added more chips, as well as covered the chip pan with tinfoil where the flame comes up. The flame is still on low. Here are the pics



     
  19. I tested both chamber and meat temps. Meat was at 100. Chamber was at 160 with the door open and that was the same temp reading as the machines thermometer so I am going to say it is legit
     
  20. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    when you make your next foil packet. Make it very tightly sealed. Then just poke like 4 small holes in the top with a small sharp object. Your wood is catching fire as soon as the water evaporates off of it. You want to limit the air to the wood so it does not do that. That is what is causing the temp. fluctuations. You want the wood to smolder and not flame up. That is a pork shoulder. It would be good to put a pan under it to catch the drippings that will start flowing after a while. You will want to save that stuff for later and also you don't want grease all over the place in there. I can't stress this enough but YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT THE SMOKER TEMPERATURE IS! How long ago did you start smoking that shoulder by the way?
     

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