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Temperature fluctuations on new electric smoker


Joined Nov 18, 2013
Last week I purchased an Outdoor Gourmet 30 inch split door stainless steel electric smoker I found at Academy on clearance.  When I seasoned the smoker I noticed a wide fluctuation in the temperature on the units lcd display during the seasoning.  This Saturday I used the unit to smoked a 4.5 lb pork shoulder setting the initial temp at 225.  I used my Maverick ET-732 to keep track of the smokers temp which showed the temp to be approx 25 degrees higher than what the units lcd showed it to be, which is no big problem, I just adjusted the units temp setting lower. The pork shoulder turned out ok but I left the damper closed during the smoking and found there to be a lot of humidity in the smoker.  The shoulder appeared to be more steamed than smoked. Next time I will leave the damper open.  Today I decided to check out the smoker out without food in it.  I set it for 200 degrees and got the following resulting temp ranges using my Maverick ET-732. The temps ranged with a high of 230 and to a low of 210.  The smokers heating element would turn off at 200 and then restart at 196 according to the units lcd display.  It would take approx 10 minutes for the smokers element to go from on to off and then back on again.  This is my first smoker and was wondering if this is normal for an electric smoker.  Do the temps on other brands of electric smokers stay pretty constant on what they are set at or do they fluctuate like this. I really like the features of the smoker.  It has a pretty big chip bin which burns the chips to a fine gray ash with lots of smoke. Also has a small and a large water pan. Only bad thing is the lcd is hard to read in daylight.  I would really like to keep the smoker but if this is not  normally the way an electric smoker temps ranges are supposed to be I will return it and exchange it for a Masterbuilt 30 inch that Academy has on sale this week.  Any help on this would be appreciated.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 2, 2012
That is about how an oven works. You may want to try your test again when you have a meat mass in there. It will work the element to get the meat temp up to your set temp. After the meat temp catches up you want it to cut in and out. Sounds like it is working to me. Your right about leaving the top vent open. Moisture and smoke need to escape.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined Sep 12, 2009
Like Todd said, that's pretty much how electric smokers & ovens work:

Set at 200*, my MES 40 comes on when the temp drops to 198*, and stays on until it gets to 200*, but the heat will coast up a few degrees above 200*, after the element shuts off.

The ET 732 is much closer to the built in therm once it settles down, however there can be a big difference in temp from one grill to the next, and from left to right. I put a tilted baffle in the bottom of mine, above the heating element, so I can adjust to even out the left to right difference.

I never trust the built in therm, and go strictly by my ET 732.



Thread starter
Joined Nov 18, 2013
Thanks for the help.  The control module on the smoker started acting screwy so I went ahead and returned it to Academy and got the MES 30. It was on sale for $199, but they will have the MES 40 for $199.00 on Black Friday. I thought about waiting for the bigger one, but was planning on smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving and the 30 inch will be big enough for my needs.  I think I will like this one a lot, considering it has a lot more features than the other smoker.  

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