Last Updated on: 21st May 2023, 11:25 am
Brand new masterbuilt smokers often don’t require any tweaking, but with time they can start malfunctioning.
We are going to discuss the most common problems faced by pitmasters while using masterbuilt smokers and the best troubleshooting tips to solve them.
Are you one of those pitmasters who faces different problems while using your matserbuilt smoker?
Well, this was me a couple of years ago, but after tweaking and researching for several hours, I can now figure out what’s wrong with my smoker within a few minutes.
Some pitmasters even think of just throwing their smoker out, while others are on a budget or want to fix it.
I also prefer to fix my smoker because, in this way, you can learn something new while fixing your smoker at the same time.
The common issues faced by pitmasters while using masterbuilt smokers are temperature issues, controller issues, thermostat problems, and several other issues.
But we are going to explain the causes and solutions to most of these issues in detail in this article. Let’s get started.
Temperature is the main factor in determining the effectiveness of smoking.
If the smoker cannot heat up to the desired temperature or the temperature keeps fluctuating continuously, then it can affect the flavor and quality of the meat being smoked.
When adjusting the temperature of a masterbuilt smoker, you may encounter a number of issues.We have discussed the most common of them and their solutions.
However, remember to consult your user manual on a regular basis.
1.1-Masterbuilt smoker not heating up
Smoking is the most sensitive cooking technique, and it requires different cooking temperatures for the cooking of different meats.
If the desired temperature is not reached, then you might end up overcooking or undercooking your meat.
While using masterbuilt smokers, you can face the issue of the smoker not heating up to the desired temperature.
There are various reasons for this issue, which require different troubleshooting. Here are the most common reasons for masterbuilt smokers not heating up.
The most common reason for smokers not heating up is the low external temperature.
If the weather temperature is low, then the smoker will take longer to reach the desired temperature and sometimes it might not even reach the desired temperature.
It usually occurs in smokers which are not insulated. If a masterbuilt smoker is not insulated, then the weather conditions will have a huge impact on the internal temperature.
Even if your smoker is insulated, it might not reach a higher temperature if it’s freezing outside.
Gap in the lid
The cause of the smoker not heating up is the gap in the smoker’s lid. If there is a gap in the smoker lid , then the heat might leak out of the smoker and it will not heat up to higher temperatures.
The gap can occur as a result of poor construction or physical harm to the smoker.
Opening the lid too often
Another reason for the low smoker temperature is opening the lid too often. It is the most common mistake that beginners make while smoking.
Smoking is a kind of delayed gratification process that requires patience.
If you keep checking your meat every few minutes, then the heat will leak out and the smoker will not reach the desired temperature, no matter if it’s insulated.
Opening the lid can also result in temperature fluctuations, which can affect the food quality.
A thermostat is a key part of masterbuilt smokers, which helps keep the smoker temperature within the specified range.
When the temperature of the smoker increases above the specified range , the thermostat automatically turns off the smoker.
If your smoker has a faulty thermostat, then it will turn off the smoker before it reaches the desired temperature due to an inaccurate reading.
If the smoker keeps shutting off , then it will not heat up to the desired temperature.
A heating element is a part of masterbuilt smokers that is present at the bottom of the smoker. It is responsible for the production of heat in a masterbuilt smoker.
After a while, it can start to rust and malfunction. Due to this, the smoker fails to heat up.
Water pan in smoker
The final reason for the low temperature in a masterbuilt smoker is the placement of the water pan in the smoker.
A water pan is usually placed in a smoker to avoid drying out of food during the prolonged smoking process and avoid sudden overshooting of temperature.
But sometimes, placing a water pan can result in a low temperature in a smoker.
The reason is that when the temperature of the smoker reaches the boiling temperature of water, the water evaporates and the temperature is lowered. So it will require more time and fuel to heat up the smoker.
Now that we have discussed the common causes of low temperature in a smoker, let’s discuss some troubleshooting tips to overcome these issues.
You should first identify what’s wrong with your smoker and then solve the issue accordingly.
Plan bbq effectively
The most effective solution for heating up the smoker is to plan the smoke effectively. Smoking is a prolonged process, and it can take several hours to days to complete.
You have to make sure that the weather conditions are favourable during this time.
You can use the weather forecast to help you decide on which day you should smoke your meat. If the weather is cold or snowy, then you should probably skip that day.
It’s better to plan your smoking on a sunny day rather than panicking later.
As mentioned above, the element is the most important part of the heating in a masterbuilt smoker. If none of the other solutions are working, then it could be your last option.
- It is usually not a problem for new smokers, but after 3-4 years of use, it can begin to malfunction.
- To replace your element, you will have to remove its screws first.
- After that, you should pull it out and check its appearance.
- If it’s rusty and has small pits throughout its build, then there is a higher probability that it’s not working correctly.
You can buy a new element for a few bucks if your smoker is out of warranty, but it will be worth it.
Check the thermostat
A thermostat can also be cause of low temperature in a smoker. It is usually the result of poor cleaning and maintenance.
If that’s the reason, then cleaning the build of your smoker can help . Here is the step-by-step guide to cleaning your smoker’s thermostat.
- First of all you should make sure that the smoker is not connected to electric supply
- After that , remove the cooking racks and other removable parts.
- Now that you have removed the cooking racks , prepare a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water or simply soapy water.
- After preparing the solution, wash the internal side of the smoker with paper towels
- Make sure to clean the thermostat probes present on the internal side of smoker
- Let it dry before use.
While cleaning, you should rub the area around the thermostat probes to remove any grease build up or rust. It will allow thermostat to measure the temperature accurately.
If your thermostat still seems to not work accurately, then replacing it is the only solution.
Seal and insulate the smoker
Sometimes, there might be a gap in the lid or construction of the smoker, which can result in heat loss. You can use different sealing materials to avoid such heat loss.
But before selecting a sealing chemical, you should make sure that it’s food grade because it can come into contact with your meat.
The second way to avoid heat loss is to insulate your smoker. A good quality smoker will usually be insulated, but if you are smoking in cold weather, you can improve your insulation to heat up your smoker.
There are several different ways to insulate your smoker, which include an insulation blanket, a smoker canopy, tuning plates, etc.
Open the lid only when necessary
It might be obvious, but we still need to emphasize for beginners that opening the lid too often doesn’t speed up the process, rather it can result in heat loss.
You should only open the lid when it’s necessary and you don’t have any other way of checking your meat.
With most of the smokers , you can check your meat by just seeing through the glass window without opening the lid.
Moreover, you can also use a thermometer to check the doneness of meat without opening the lid.
1.2-Masterbuilt Smoker Overheating
After following the tips above, your smoker should heat up to smoking temperature, but low temperature is not the only issue.
Sometimes your smoker can start overheating, even if you have set a low temperature on the control panel.
Smoking meat requires the maintenance of the exact desired temperature to result in good flavor.
If the temperature of the smoker is higher than the desired temperature or the temperature keeps fluctuating, then you may end up burning your meat.
There are several causes of overshooting of temperature in a smoker, but the most common of them are discussed here with their solutions.
Overheating is usually a result of user error, and the smoker might be working correctly.
Too much airflow
As you might know, oxygen is required for combustion. which is provided by the airflow in a smoker. If all the vents of the masterbuilt smoker are open , the airflow is increased.
Due to this, the temperature of the smoker overshoots the set temperature.
Moreover, if you have set the vents correctly but you are cooking in an open area with wind, then you can also face the overheating problem.
Wind can also result in temperature fluctuations , so it’s better to protect smokers from wind.
Too much fuel
Masterbuilt smokers usually work by using electricity and propane as fuel , but you can also use wood chunks to add more flavor. (you can also check our guide on Masterbuilt propane smoker troubleshooting)
If the wood chips are used in an excessive amount, then it can result in a sudden flare up and an increase in temperature.
If your smoker is overheating, then you should consider reducing the airflow by closing vents.
By reducing the airflow, the oxygen supply is also decreased , due to less heat being produced by combustion. In this way, you can avoid overheating your smoker.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should not close all vents because it can smother the flames and stop the production of heat.
In addition, the top vent helps in the removal of unwanted gases. So it is better to keep the vents a little bit open .
Place the water pan
Overheating of the smoker can be due to several reasons, but using a water pan can be effective in most cases. The water pan prevents temperature overshooting and keeps the temperature constant.
When the temperature of the smoker exceeds the boiling point of water, the water starts evaporating and the smoker is cooled down.
You can also use different liquids like apple vinegar, fruit juices, etc. to avoid overheating while increasing the flavor at the same time.
Use less wood
Wood chunks are used in masterbuilt smokers to add flavor to meat. But sometimes, using too much wood can result in a sudden flare up and overheating of the smoker.
Usually, it’s recommended to only use a maximum of two fist-sized chunks when smoking meat.
1.3-Masterbuilt smoker stuck at the same temperature
Sometimes you can also face the problem of a smoker’s display being stuck at the same temperature despite increasing or decreasing the temperature from the control panel.
It can be caused for multiple reasons, but two are the most common.
The first reason for the temperature being stuck is the faculty power circuit.
If the power circuit is not working correctly, then the smoker temperature might not increase despite setting a higher or lower temperature through the control panel.
The second reason is the faulty display. Sometimes the temperature of the smoker is changing but the display screen of the smoker is not working correctly and is frozen at the same temperature.
Both of these issues can be solved with simple tweaks.
Replace the power circuit
If your smoker is stuck at the same temperature despite increasing it through the control panel and resetting the smoker, then it’s a good idea to just replace the power circuit of the smoker.
It might cost a few bucks, but it will be worth it.
Clean thermostat probes
Another tip for solving this issue is to clean the probe of the thermostat. The probes are present on the internal side of the smoker and can get rusty if not cleaned properly.
Sometimes, cleaning these probes can solve this issue.
Reset the smoker
Finally, if you can’t solve the issue with the abovementioned solutions, then you should consider disconnecting the smoker from the power supply.
After disconnecting, you should leave it for a few minutes and then plug it back into the power supply to check if it’s working correctly.
Different kinds of meat are smoked at different temperatures, which need to be maintained constant throughout the cooking process.
If the temperature keeps fluctuating during the smoking, then you might end up burning or undercooking your meat.
Temperature fluctuation is a really complicated issue, especially when you are getting started with smoking.
There are several reasons for the fluctuation of temperature in a masterbuilt smoker, but the common ones are solved here.
Weather conditions have a huge impact on the internal temperature of a smoker, even if the smoker is insulated.
If the external temperature of the weather is too low, the smoker will not heat up, while if the weather is warm, the temperature can overshoot.
If your smoker is insulated, it will not be affected by the weather conditions, but if the weather conditions are too harsh, then you may need to protect your smoker from the weather. We will discuss it in detail later.
A thermostat can also be responsible for the temperature fluctuations in a smoker. It is usually used in a smoker to keep the temperature within a specified range.
When the temperature drops below the set range, then it turns on the smoker.
Similarly, when the temperature exceeds the set range, then it shuts off the smoker. When the thermostat malfunctions, it can randomly shut off the smoker before it reaches the set temperature.
which can result in temperature fluctuations.
a gap in the lid
The temperature fluctuations in a smoker can also be due to heat loss. Heat loss usually occurs due to gaps in the smoker’s build.
These gaps are usually present in low quality smokers , but they can also be produced by physical damage to the smoker.
If the lid of the smoker has a gap and is not sealed properly, then the heat might keep escaping from the smoker and the temperature will keep fluctuating.
Your smoker can also have a gap in the firebox or any other part that can contribute to heat loss.
Placing too much meat at once
Placing too much meat in a single batch into the smoker can also be the cause of temperature fluctuations in a smoker.
The temperature of meat is low when it’s uncooked . But when it is placed in a smoker, it can start absorbing heat, which can lead to temperature fluctuations.
Plan bbq effectively
The most effective solution for temperature fluctuations in the masterbuilt smoker is to plan the smoking effectively.
Smoking is a prolonged process, and it can take several hours to days to complete. You have to make sure that the weather conditions are favourable during this time.
You can use the weather forecast to help you decide on which day you should smoke your meat.
If the weather is cold or snowy, then you should probably skip that day. It’s better to plan your smoking on a sunny day rather than panicking later.
Insulating your smoker is a really underrated tip for solving the temperature issues in your smoker.
If a smoker is insulated, it is not affected by the changes in the external weather conditions. It is really helpful when you are smoking in cold weather.
It is not expensive to insulate your smoker. It can cost around 50-100 bucks, or you can even do it yourself without any cost.
There are several ways to insulate your smoker, which include insulation blankets, tuning plates, etc.
Smoke in small batches
Smoking is a really sensitive process, and you should avoid stacking a whole lot of meat into the smoker at once.
Although it might be necessary when you are smoking meat for several guests and you don’t want to repeat the process again.
But it can result in the fluctuation of temperature in the smoker. When multiple chunks of meat are placed in the smoker at once, they absorb heat and result in a decrease in the smoker’s temperature.
So it is better to smoke meat in small batches to make sure each chunk is smoked to perfection.
Tips for minimizing temperature issues in a masterbuilt smoker
Smoking is a kind of art and you need to be careful about each part of it to make sure the meat is smoked perfectly. Here are some tips that you can follow to avoid issues with your masterbuilt smoker.
- First of all, you need to avoid opening the lid of smoker too often. You usually don’t need to open the lid of smoker.
You can check the doneness by using a thermometer.using lid too often can result in heat loss and temperature fluctuations
- You should consider cleaning your smoker regularly. By cleaning you can make your smoker and maintain it for longer time.
Poor cleaning can result in rusting and malfunctioning of smoker thermostat
- Seasoning you smoker is often neglected aspect of smoking. Seasoning can help in avoiding the development of rust and also enhances the flavor of meat.
You should consider seasoning your smoker after every couple of weeks.
- Preheating your smoker before placing food inside it is also a good practice. Smoker often take longer time to heat up depending on the weather conditions.
So if the meat is placed prior to heating, it can result in uneven cooking.
- Another tip to avoid temperature issues in your smoker is to use cord shorter than 25 ft. Longer cord often results in low voltage supply to the smoker .
Due to which the smoker fails to heat up.
- Meat chunks absorb heat when they are placed into the smoker. So its better to smoke the meat on batches to avoid temperature fluctuations.
Overloading your smoker can also result in airflow obstruction within the smoker.
- Finally, you should keep in mind that smoking is low and slow process. It can take several hours to even days to smoke a meat chunk completely depending upon it’s texture.
So its better to avoid rushing smoking process
Other masterbuilt smoker issues and their troubleshooting tips
there are also some less common yet frustrating issues that i want to take brief loo on those facing these ones. lts have a quick look.
Wood chunks not smoking
- Decreased airflow
- Damp wood chunks
- Open air vents
- Use good quality wood chunks
Wood chips starting to flare up
- Increased airflow
- Low moisture
- Overloading wood chips
- Close air vents a little bit
- Place a water pan
- Soak wood chips in water prior to placing in smoker
- Only place a handful of wood chips at start.
White smoke coming out of smoker
- Low quality wood
- Damp wood
- Placing too much wood in smoker
- Use good quality wood
- Only place dry wood in smoker
- Don’t place more than two chunks at start
Low voltage in masterbuilt smoker
- Longer cord
- Cord not plugged in correctly
- Don’t use cord longer than 25 ft
- Make sure the cord is plugged in correctly
Masterbuilt smoker keep shutting off
- Faulty thermostat
- Poor cleaning
- Cord not plugged in correctly
- Faulty cord
- Clean thermostat probes properly
- Replace thermostat
- Make sure cord is plugged in correctly
- Replace cord
Masterbuilt smoker control panel buttons not working
- Physical demage
- Faulty control panel
Masterbuilt smoker control panel buttons usually don’t work due to dust and physical demage. It they are not working due to dust , then you can follow this step by step guide to clean them.
- Remove screws
- Pull of control panel
- Remove screws of the control panel and remove circuit board
- Spray WD-40 spray onto it.
- Dry with with air blower or compressed oxygen can
- Put back in its place
If the control panel buttons still don’t work,then you should consider replacing it .
Masterbuilt smoker fan not working
- Physical damage to fan
- Lid not closed properly
- Something is stuck in the fan
- Check for physical damage. Replace if necessary
- Clean properly
- Seal the smoker completely
- Replace controller if necessary
Masterbuilt smoker not turning on
- Power cord malfunctioning
- Not plugged in correctly
- Replace power cord
- Make sure it’s plugged in correctly
Masterbuilt smokers usually work without any issues if they are maintained properly. But after few years , you can start experiencing few issues that can be troubleshooted easily.
We will keep updating the list over time .so make sure to visit this page from time to time.
if you want to learn more about propane smokers then make sure to check out our guide on How to use masterbuilt propane smoker
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