Masterbuilt question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by pinebarrensbbq, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Hey everyone. New to the forum but not to smoking. Worked as a BBQ chef for a few years but due to a combat injury, I can no longer work. I now have a small, home based BBQ & jerky operation. I was using propane but it was killing my profits and wanted to keep consistent so, I purchased 2 40 inch electrics. Now, this one is fully insulated where as my others weren't. I noticed when making jerky during the first run, the temps were fluctuating a lot. As in it was set to 140, but was climbing to 155. I adjusted the door to get more ventilation and stabilize the temp which, since it outdoors but sheltered from the wind, kept the temp swing to 3-4 plus or minus during the on off cycles. Is this normal for electrics? I don't mean to sound dumb, but I'm very new to the electrics outside of the restaurant which was indoors and held a solid temp. Thanks for the help in advance.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yes it's normal for electric smokers to have large temp swings, just like the oven in your house. When it cycles on & off the temps rise & fall. If you can keep it to + or - 3 or 4 degrees your doing a fantastic job!!

  3. Okay, thank you for the info. The only thing I could think k of to get more ventilation and stabilize it was to adjust the door. The ones I've used at the restaurant always held solid temps because it was in a controlled environment. Now, it spikes about 15 degrees when I first add the wood chips and ten drops back down after a few minutes. Thanks again for the help!
  4. walta

    walta Smoke Blower

    I think masterbuilt designed the controls to have this swing from the set point deliberately for 2 reasons.

     If the smoker were controlled very closely the heaters run cycles would be short and frequent.

    1The frequent cycles would shorten the number of hours the smoker will work before the smoker fails.

     The relay that turns the heater on and off will fail after X number of cycles.

    2 The short cycles under certain conditions may not have the heater on long enough to insure the wood in the tray will burn.

    In my opinion as long as the average temperature is at the set point a 15° swing will not change the end product.  

    pinebarrensbbq likes this.
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF! I've never smoked jerky in my MES. Do you have a how-to that you've come up with? I know that other members make jerky in their electric smokers but I don't know how you dry out the meat without making it inedible.

    And yes, you will see temp swings with the MES. I use a Maverick ET-733 to monitor smoker and meat temps.
  6. Ricksta, can you define a how to? Do you mean the temp settings? Or from dressing the beef till finish?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016

  7. The way I had it set last night, it was between 140-143 and I baby sat it for about 40 mins and the cycle only came on a few times. It sat at above 140 for the most part with very little dipping and cycle swaps.
  8. I'm happy to give as much of my knowledge as possible. I don't want to seem like I'm patting myself on the back but I get a decent amount of jerky sales with about 85% return clientele.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, PInebarrensBBQ, Bearcarver has amassed a collection of his Step-By-Step directions for smoking a bunch of different meats in a MES. He has one or two MES 40's. I saw from a later email that you sell your jerky professionally. I'd love to see photos and--if you're willing to share your proprietary recipe and methods--how it's done. I'm not even sure which is the best beef or pork cuts to use for jerky. I'm not interested in poultry jerky but salmon jerky is also something I'd like to try making.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have a MES 30 Gen 1. I make it a point to keep my Maverick probes in the same place with every smoke, whether one's in the meat or both probes are clipped to separate racks on opposite sides of each other. During the first couple of heating cycles the controller temp might be 20-30° higher than the ET-733 temps. The right side of the smoker is typically hotter than the left. About 3 hours in the temp differences between the controller and the ET-733 become either negligible or non-existent--both temp displays will be the same. The temp differences between the two sides will shrink to about 5 degrees or less, for a period they may be the same. Frequently the left side will become hotter than the right. I've never figured out how that shift works.
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'd like to up my game to produce smoked foods I could sell.  My wife owns a home daycare and I'm always cooking her breakfast in the kitchen (not in my smoker). I cooked one of the breakfast sandwiches I created for one of the daycare dads and he said he'd be willing to pay if we started offering to-go breakfasts for daycare parents dropping off their kids in the morning. In our state we could run a food business out of our home kitchen. But it'd be too much work in addition to everything else we have to do.

    My wife and I like to imagine that if our home cooking was as good 10-20 years ago as it now, we would've looked into buying a food truck. That would've put us on the cutting edge of the business. We're too old to do it now--dang it.  
  12. Home food service and food trucks are both tricky when it comes to health codes and standards. Having the "homemade" and not selling retail are how to start as well has farmers markets. I'm just now starting to see a small profit. Having an Llc and getting meat and other items at wholesale is essential. I pay 3.15 per lb for eye of round but still have razor thin profits. I generally buy about 150$ dollars worth of pork or beef at a time since I refuse to freeze anything in the inventory. This makes things tricky, but also a better product.
  13. Absolutely. I can put something together tonight and post it up if you'd like that goes from start to finish. I just snapped this before a customer arrived for a pickup. I can tell you right off the bat that having an LLC and getting beef and spices wholesale is essential. Even with the prices I pay my profits didn't arrive for a while and even now they are very minimal. More of my profits come from the catering side. I don't do mass quantities yet, but doing pulled pork pans and brisket is where the profits increase. The jerky is a stay busy and get my name out kinda thing at the moment.
  14. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    pinebarrensbbq likes this.
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In our state, you just need to pass an online food handlers exam to get your permit. I really don't know if food inspectors are required to come to your home or not.  But, the cooking side business is just a nice dream for us. Running a home daycare is a labor-intensive business. My wife routinely puts in 12-14 hour days Mon-Fri, not including food shopping on the weekends and whatever bookwork and such she needs to do on the weekends. We've become really good home cooks because we can't afford to eat out much.

    I admire you for being able to build up a business like you have.
  16. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wish you lived in my area. I'd be a customer. How long have you been doing this professionally? And how did you start? Did you post earlier you had a catering business? I'm curious about your background. My wife and I watch a lot of cooking competition shows. Our favorite is Top Chef and we're always interested in how the chefs' histories.

    What's a pork pan?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  17. I do a lot a lot of jerky and dry rub sales online which, I will post a Facebook and online store link in the end of the post. I've been selling to friends and family for about 6 months and when other veterans in various states started asking how to purchase, I decided to get serious, register an LLC, purchase 2 more smokers and start buckling down and getting serious. My online sales have been going for a week and so far so good. I've been having to smoke at least 9 lbs a day to keep up with orders. I started years ago at a friends BBQ restraint here on the NJ coast at a resort town and because I can't work due to my combat injury my only option is to be self employed. NJ before that I've worked in kitchens on and off my entire life and always enjoyed it for the most part, but BBQ is a whole other animal. People are amazed when they really see what goes into smoking jerky. I've found ways to cut down on my marinading time and the key to making any money at all is buying things wholesale as I stated before. A store may sell a 3 lb eye of round for 18 dollars, where I'm getting a 9 lb cut for 30. It's a fine balance between producing the best quality you can without going overboard and going in the hole. At the moment, I have two flavors of jerky out called Bee Sting which is a sweet taste of honey followed by a nice amount of heat using home made hot sauce that I call white lightning. The other is teriyaki. I will have 3 main flavors with some other batches thrown into the mix every month but I'm not going to overstretch myself by offering too many choices at once. The local sales which aren't too intensive, consist of small order for people are the dry rubs, pulled pork, brisket and my signature item, which is pig candy. My rub is a blend of salty, spicy sweet with brown sugar, coffee grounds and a few other items. It's rubbed onto thick cut bacon that I smoke then slice myself, baked at 325 while rotating the racks for about 20 mins. The end result is a caramelized, sticky sweet and salty piece of bacon that people go absolutely insane for. I have one person who wants to buy 5 lbs at a time. Shipping isn't an option with the pig candy, but everyone online is begging for some so I decided to jar and sell my rubs and give them instructions on how to do it at home. Here's a link to the online store. It's not much at the moment, but it's a safe and secure way to sell which is most important for the time being. I use Square for debit and credit orders and they recently came out with the online store version which is free to use.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  18. Thanks! I am going back to hanging my jerky. You can hang a lot more that way and I was using skewers. A bit more time consuming but worth it when rack space is at a premium! I'll give this a shot for sure!
  19. RickSta. I'm going to be prepping a cut tomorrow morning so I'll take pictures and then post em up with a play by play. I will tell you this. I've read a lot of posts where people say you can't smoke jerky, that they've tried and failed, just use a dehydrator etc etc.. I see the temps that some people are smoking at and for how my jerky comes out, which bends, doesn't break and is cut along the grain, you need to smoke it under 150. I set my smokers around 135 on the electrics to keep the temp swing from going over 150. It takes a bit longer, but it's worth it. Most postings I've read say people smoke at 180 for 3 hours then finish it off in the oven. That's not necessary, you just need a very low heat that may take up to 4 hours. Since my MES smokes so much, I only smoke it about half way through for about 15 mins so I don't overdo it, where as my propane smoker I can leave a chunk on a cast iron skillet and let it give nice call smoke the entire time.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  20. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    I know you've gone way past the initial start of this thread, but I wanted to check if you've looked at a version of "mailbox mod" for your smokers? By the sound of this statement putting the wood in is a contributing factor. For cheap or nothing you can make a mailbox mod that keeps steady smoke without added oxygen. Good luck.
    pinebarrensbbq likes this.

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