Masterbuilt smoker vent position?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by northernsmoke, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I'm curious, is the full back panel screwed on or riveted on? 

    That access panel is a great improvement for helping to fix the contacts when they go bad (mine went bad after three years and again after another year).
  2. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The instructions say to close damper to retain moisture and heat.... not that you must close damper when smoking. As I stated before.... after reading a number of books on smoking... the damper is used to control the humidity... too much humidity leaves meat sour and keeps it from absorbing smoke. If you run the dampers closed on a wood stove over a period of time... your chimney will be full of creosote. The same process happens inside a smoker. Stagnant air creates creosote. I'm not sayin don't do it... I'm saying I have much better results with my damper full open. I want to keep a constant stream of smoke filled hot air passing over my meat. I have used my MES anywhere from once a week to 4 times a week over the last year and a half and not once have I had the benefit of a tray of chips lasting 5 or 6 hours..... and if I could possibly choke the chips to the point that a handful of chips would last 5 or 6 hours... I still wouldn't do it. That would be creating stagnant stale smoke and in my experience.... creosote.

    There are a lot of methods for smoking and we all have our ways we do things. I think each of us should do things the way we find work the best for us... as I mentioned before, to lead a new MES user into thinking something is wrong by not being able to produce 6 hours of smoke out of a single tray of chips is misleading. You are the only person I've ever known to achieve this result. I have never used the MES with the damper closed completely down either..... so I can't say it can't be done.
  3. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bravo! I agree whole hardeldy.

    I have used mine for 2 yars and only get 30 -40 minutes on a load.
  4. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I apologize for being harsh and casting doubt on what you said pertaining to the MES manual.  You have gone out of your way to scan and post the manual, and I appreciate it.  Obviously Masterbuilt's support site is not up to date.

    I have yet to run a test with smoking something with the vent closed.  I have a london broil for our Sunday get together dinner, but was thinking I would grill it.  I will certainly run a test some time this week.

    Again I am sorry, as I said above.

    best regards
  5. ryanhoelzer

    ryanhoelzer Smoking Fanatic

    The first thing I noticed was than none of those manual model #s listed are the new ones, 20070110, 20071009, or 20070810.
  6. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The full back panel is riveted, but the access panel is screwed on.

    I've never noticed any creosote nor has the taste of anything that I've smoked this way been any different than when I left the damper fully open.  I was concerned about the smoke becoming stale, as well, but this doesn't happen.  The chamber of the 30" is small enough and enough smoke escapes through the closed damper that this doesn't create a problem.

    That's because you use dry chips and leave the damper fully open -- both of which are contributing factors in how long the chips burn.

    There's no need to apologize.  We all want the same thing  -- to present the best and most accurate information based on our own experiences.

    This doesn't surprise me.  It's quite common for manufacturers to release a specific model number to be distributed at "big box" outlets.
  7. I bought a MES black last year and have smoked 3 turkeys, 4 chickens, lots of ribs, 2 meat loafs, and 3 briskets.  For a starter smoker it is great.  I am not all knowing about the smoking topic, I just love to cook meat.  For what it is worth, I am in dry desert country and have kept the damper barely open on most of my smoking,  I have found that the wood chips carbonize (don't burn or ash completely but the meat is always tender and juicy for the most part.  I am experimenting with the opening.  I know that when I have left the damper open full during the last 2 hours of smoking, I got dryer meat.  I think the answer is somewhere between, so today I am opening it 1/4 and see how that goes.  This seems to be a hot smoking topic and I am trying to learn and be the best.  I can't find much about damper openings except on the Cabellas units where it says that "closed for smoking, 1/2 for roasting (I think), and full open for jerking".  I get a decent smoke ring but I think it could be better.  I am willing to bet that there is a fine line between moisture and smoke ring.  I am smoking with ribs with JD Oak Barrels and chicken with a fruit wood.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you have one of the bad chip burners. If it's only a half drawer, and half of the dumper is blocked off, you should still be able to get the FREE retro-fix from Masterbuilt. Chips should turn to dust, not just get black.

    Also: Most electric smokers do not get any smoke ring, but it's only for show anyway.

    Welcome!  You should go to Roll Call, and introduce yourself, so you can get a proper welcome.

    captturbo likes this.
  9. We're all on the quest for the perfect smoke

    This is not a forum for a jab or a joke

    A serious mind and a patient hand

    Will surely lead to the Promised Land

    A rich smoke ring and a tender taste

    Will ensure that nothing goes to waste

    So share your thoughts with mercy and grace

    And all will benefit from this place!
  10. I am leaving mine almost completely open and the unit holds heat well.  The bark and color so far are amazing. 

    As for the wood not burning?  Mine is set at 225F right now and the chips are turning to white ash.  I apparently got one of the good chip burners!!! 
  11. What he said.
  12. domapoi

    domapoi Smoke Blower

    It is listed on the one that I downloaded from the Masterbuilt website. It is the one called "Masterbuilt smokehouse smoker 07092010 20070910 Manual". It has that same exact page. I would have attached the file that I downloaded, but for some reason when I click on the "insert attachment" tool,  this forum says I don't have permission to create an attachment. Go figure!
  13. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch Newbie

    I stumbled across this looking for some other info, but in reading some of the posts, it sounds like several people are talking past each other.  Here are some of my experiences that may connect some seemingly unconnected points made.  Its been my experience that the more the vent is open, the more heat escapes the smoker, ergo to maintain the temp, the heating element must remain on for longer durations.  Since the heating element sits directly under the wood chips, if its on longer, the quicker they're going to burn down.  So if you leave the vent wide open, you probably won't get as long out of your chips as you would if the element wasn't on as much.  Its not hard for anyone to test this--turn it on, bring it to temp, put some chips in and then see how long it takes to burn up the chips with the vent either fully opened or fully closed.  Then repeat putting the vent in the opposite position.

    There was another posting mentioning the burning of the chips.  To be frank, if you're burning your chips, you're doing it wrong.  The chips should smolder and smoke, not burn (thin blue smoke).  If you see flames on your chips, something is not right.  Now technically ignited wood and smoldering wood are doing the same thing--oxidizing, but the rate at which the ignited chips oxidize is much faster and though the total heat produced will be equal between burning chips and smoldering chips at the end of the day, burning chips are releasing that heat at a much faster rate.

    Now in my own experience, I've smoked meat with the vent is all different positions.  I've not found that it makes a whole lot of difference to the meat.  In my experience, how well the smoker is prepped before putting the meat in (bringing it to temp, getting smoke going, etc.) and the mass of meat going into the smoker have much more effect on the meat. 

    My preference is to leave the vent open just enough that smoke doesn't come out the smoker box.  My theory is that this way, as much of the heat as possible is retained while still moving the smoke through the smoker.  Doing this, I have found that I can get a few hours out of a load of chips (though my preference for long smokes is to use "log sticks" [small logs cut to the length of the smoke box and then split into quarters or so] one or two of those can often be used for several smokes depending on what's being smoked). Everything I've read on creosote formation is that it forms on a cold surface.  So if you let the meat warm up a little before putting it in the smoker, that shouldn't be an issue.  I would think that if a person was concerned about humidity in their smoker, they'd use sand in the water pan vs water.  Water is going to boil at 212F no matter the vent position.
  14. Can you tell me how to obtain the free retro fix ? I would like to update mine. Thanks you
  15. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Call Masterbuilt and ask them for one

    You'll need your Serial Number

  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---What Todd said.

  17. sonnyhad

    sonnyhad Fire Starter

    I have a new unit a few weeks old, and the chip space in my dumper is only a few inches long. Does that mean I don't have the retro fix in mine?
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like it, Sonny.

    This video should tell you---Bad one coming out---Good one going in:

  19. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't think any new MES 40's have the new chip pan included from the manufacturer

  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You could be right Todd.

    I had thought they just got caught with their pants down, and had to learn of the bad chip burners from us (the customers), and it was too late ---they were already shipped out.

    I had been figuring that once they catch up with the big push they had a year ago, they would start putting the bigger one (that works properly) in at the factory, but so far I haven't noticed that taking place. 


Share This Page