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Noob here. How close should chip bowl be to the element?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tralfaz, May 15, 2019.

  1. tralfaz

    tralfaz Newbie

    First timer, no experience here so I have no idea what I'm doing. How close should the chip bowl be to the heating element? I assembled a cheap Masterbuilt bullet electric smoker and the instructions were... vague. If I install the heat shield (beneath the heating coil) one direction, the chip bowl sits maybe 1/2" or more above the coil. If I have the shield the other way, the chip bowl is basically sitting in full contact with the inner ring of the coil.

    So which way should it be?
     
  2. Smiller15

    Smiller15 Newbie

    I have a smoke hollow and the wood chip box sits maybe a few inches from the direct flame. You want it close so the wood burns otherwise it'll just sit there and you won't be smoking anything.
     
  3. tralfaz

    tralfaz Newbie

    So... close but not too close? Not in direct contact? I smoked a chicken 225 and it produced enough smoke. Today I'm trying salmon at a lower temp around 180. I preheated fairly hot and it produced smoke, but turned down to 180 and the new chips haven't produced much visible smoke.
     
  4. Smiller15

    Smiller15 Newbie

    What I've found is that anything under 200 i won't get much smoke if any at all. I did Pork Belly burnt ends on Monday and had issues with my smoker flame blowing out (mine's Propane fueled) due to the wind. When the smoker blew out and the temp inside hovered around 175 there was no smoke whatsoever. Only when I turned it back on and got the temp back up did I notice the smoke returned.
     
  5. Smiller15

    Smiller15 Newbie

    But to answer your question, for electric I'd still get it close but probably not in direct contact with the coil.
     
  6. tralfaz

    tralfaz Newbie

    Thanks for the help!
     
  7. smokerjim

    smokerjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a mes30, chip tray is pretty darn close but don't think it's actually touching, anyway you should look into the amnps pellet or dust tray or tube that way you will get constant smoke, masterbuilts usually won't produce smoke until you get close to 200 degrees, so if you plan on cold smoking the masterbuilt chip tray won 't work for you.
     
  8. tralfaz

    tralfaz Newbie

    I did hot smoked salmon, and it turned out pretty well. The thing is that since this is all new, I don't know if I'm doing something right or wrong. I guess the proof of the salmon is in the eating.
     
  9. smokerjim

    smokerjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    that's the best part of smoking, even our practice runs are tasty, if it's eatable you must be doing something right.
     
  10. smokerjim

    smokerjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    should mention you should get a thermometer to check inside if smoker temp masterbuilts therm. are known to be off, also if your looking for some ideas of what to smoke check out bearcarvers step by steps they are very detailed and easy to follow and are proven to be good,
     
  11. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    First things first.. Welcome to SMF!

    Second; if you can snap some pictures of your unit and take a gander at..
    https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t...cognition-pictures-info-digital-units.246300/

    Mr Bear is the MES Guru. And Generally, below 200-225f <depending on smoker> the chips won't produce smoke, the element doesn't cycle enough. I use the AMNPS for the bulk of my smoking, and only use the chip tray for short smokes or to blend different woods together.

    Like Smokerjim said, you want to independently verify the probe and temp. Alot of earlier MES were notoriously bad, I think they've gotten better now, but I never trust the built in probe.
     
  12. tralfaz

    tralfaz Newbie

    Thanks for all the help everybody. And yes, I've been using my own probe thermometer in the smoker.