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PropsterII

Masterbuilt Electric smoker questions

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Hey all, I picked up the MES in late winter and this weekend I thawed, ground, stuffed about half the venison trim I had. Half went into breakfast sausage and burgers which I froze, with the other half I made two ten pound batches of sticks..This was my maiden voyage on the smoking and was hoping you guys could set me straight on a few things.  First of all, the instruction booklet seems a little lame and leaves some detail out but here goes:

1. I added one cup of water at the beginning, and didn't add any more. Should I have? I was afraid to open the door and lose the heat/smoke but I did later to test the temp and the pan was half full of other juice/drippings it seems, so maybe didn't need to add more water? 

2. How often should I add wood?  When it seemed like there was little or no smoke coming out the vent, I added another batch of chips

3.  How do I run the vent - open, partially, or closed - for things like sticks and summer?

4. How many racks do you fill with meat, and do you feel like they all cook evenly?  I did about 10 pounds per time, and used all 4, but they seemed to all come out with a bit different look, some more "well done" than others.

5.  Do you trust the meat probe completely?  At one point it read 167 so I though I better check (going for 160 internal) and when I opened and stuck another thermometer probe in I only got 150, so I kept going for awhile.  Do you worry about opening the door too often, or is a couple few times okay?

6. What rack level do you like to put the probe into a piece - high or low?

7.  I used one of Reinhard's recommendations for heat and time - 110 first hour, then add wood and set to 130 for second hour, then add more wood and set to 140 for hour 3 and 4, then set to 190 until it reaches 160 internal.  Others I've read say go with say 225 from the get go.  Your thoughts on the process?

7. Other than cleaning the pans and racks, anything you do to the inside walls of the smoker itself, which has some brown or black stains it appears that are not coming of I don't think.

Thanks from a rookie!

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Well as far as smoke goes I use an a-maze-n smoker to produce the smoke. It paired with the electric is the best way to go steady smoke and don't have to worry about adding chips or anything its about 30 bucks

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Edited by ZachD

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I don't ever add water or anything to the tray I have it filled with sand and cover with tin foil.

 

I always run my vent all the way open

 

I fill my racks with as much as I can AI don't know what model you have but my mes cooks hotter on the right side where the heating element sits below. I usually just pull the meat from that side a little earlier

 

No don't ever trust a MES smoker probe Get yourself a maverick with dual probes I run one for meat and one for inside smoker temp I find that I have to run my mes 10 degrees hotter to achieve the smoker temp I want on the inside

 

I also start at a low temp for sticks and jerky to rid some of the moisture then apply smoke and raise temps . I found with sticks especially if you start at high temp you will cook the fat out and wont get a nice finished product 

 

As far as cleaning I don't clean anything besides the racks and those I just stick in my propane grill and blast at high temp

I do put tinfoil on the bottom tray and just switch it out scrubbing is for the birds.

I don't touch the walls of the smoker I worked hard to get that seasoning on there.

 

 

 

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It's not uncommon for an mes to have faulty temp probes. Mine did and they sent a new one to replace it.

 

I have a 40" with the bigger heat element and I actually think it may be too big of an element for smoking as it heats up so fast the temp can spike if you don't watch it. 

For me, I start low and build up the temp. 

 

I didn't like the amount of smoke generated so I bought the cold smoker add on. I added a fitting to run an air pump into that which made a huge difference in the smoke it makes.

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I prefer the insta probe for checking meat temp. It's fast. I run my vent open about 1/8+ inch on the wide end. This seems to keep the temp more accurate in my smoker. I dont use water while smoking eggs or fish, I do with pork, fowl and beef. I was taught that the water pan is for water, nothing else so I only use water. You will just need to play around with wood amounts and types to see what your taste buds like. Once it gets good and seasoned you wont need much wood. I have never done meat sticks so no advice. Maybe smaller batches and 2 racks?  Practice will help with opening the door. Dont open it. :) Keep notes on what you do. Temp, time and such. All I clean on mine are the racks and the pan. After a lot of smokes maybe the inside top if stuff is hanging. I normally get the smoker to the temp I want, then I add the wood and meat. Eggs I start the temp and add wood and eggs go in at same time. Lotta ways tp try. Have fun !

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I like your idea of foil on the bottom rack Zach, I gotta try that. Water pan sure get yucky with ribs and canadian bacon LOL  

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Well different brand but I got this baby from my kids for my birthday last week.  It's funny how all you thought that you use to know about smoking goes out the window when you get something with timers and heat probes on it! :crazy:

 

It will be fun to play around with. I like the more load-set and go about it then my old one which was bare bones heater with a lid! :lol:

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Thanks for all the help guys.  Sounds like experimentation and getting to know the quirks of your unit is the way to go.  Zach, is Maverick the brand name of the dual probe?  Eyeguy, is Insta Probe the brand that you use?  Or are they both just generic descriptions you both gave?  I'll add the foil as well to that drip pan at the bottom.

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8 hours ago, PropsterII said:

Thanks for all the help guys.  Sounds like experimentation and getting to know the quirks of your unit is the way to go.  Zach, is Maverick the brand name of the dual probe?  Eyeguy, is Insta Probe the brand that you use?  Or are they both just generic descriptions you both gave?  I'll add the foil as well to that drip pan at the bottom.

 

the one I have is made by weber. 

WEBER-6492

 

51D5UdnoCRL._SL1200_.jpg

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I have had 3 Masterbuilts over the years since they came out. I don't use the water pan when making sausage. I know some use temps over 200. When I first started out with a Masterbuilt, I used higher temps. The sausage always turned out dry and crumbly. I asked Masterbuilt why.They told me never go over a temp of 175. Any higher and you will render out the fat. They asked if there was fat on the bottom of the smoker. I said yes. So I know some here use those higher temps. I go by what they said.Never had a problem after that. You say you have fat and drippings in your water pan. To me that means you have the temps to high.

 

All my Masterbuilts have had the hot spot in the back right corner. So I try not to put any sausage there.

 

I have always cleaned my Masterbuilt once in the spring. If I don't....the meats start to get a sooty taste. I take it out and use heavy duty oven cleaner and then blast it clean with a power washer. Some don't ever clean theirs. I do.

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Thanks for the additional info guys.  I think the back right corner is where mine were too well done also. How about your experiences with Collagen casings - I used up some that were a year old, and they seemed to fall apart a bit or almost get a little mushy.  Should I stay away from old ones?

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