Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Vent Open Or Closed (Answered)

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As you are here, you are probably struggling with your Masterbuilt smoker to control the temperature. No worries, I will get you covered. 

As a dedicated Masterbuilt user for years, I know all the nitty-gritty details of their electric smoker.

The most common question I get from newbies is, should we open or close the vents while using a Masterbuilt electric smoker? 

Below, I will share my experience regarding the masterbuilt smoker vent open or closed for maximum heat, smoke, and air control. 

So, let’s dive in!

“Electric smoker vents are like the throttle on a flavor engine, giving you the control to take your culinary creations to new heights.”

Michael Chavez

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Vent Open Or Closed – Tips On Vent Control

There are two vents in a Masterbuilt electric smoker, one is at the bottom and the other is at the top.

Initially, you need to keep both vents open so that the air can enter inside with adequate oxygen. To facilitate enough air circulation, it needs a way in and out.

When your smoker is hot enough, you can close the bottom vents to retain heat and smoke inside. 

However, the top vents should be wide open at this stage. 

As a general rule for electric smokers, the top vents should always be partially opened for better temperature and smoke regulation. 

When To Open Masterbuilt Smoker Vent

When you start smoking in a Masterbuilt electric smoker, keep both bottom and top vents open. In that way, adequate air will enter into the smoker leading to hotter burns and more smoke production. The vents should be kept open until you reach your desired temperature. 

When To Close Masterbuilt Smoker Vent

Once your smoker is hot enough, it’s time to close the bottom vents. You don’t want to burn your food, right?

Do you remember my discussion about using a Masterbuilt electric smoker? As I stated there, if the temperature rises above 250° F, you should close the bottom vents completely to let the smoker cool down.

This is because the bottom vent in a Masterbuilt electric smoker is mostly responsible for precise temperature control.

Nevertheless, you need to set the temperature manually in an electric smoker. But vents are the components that decide how intensely the meat will be smoked, whether you can create a smoke ring or not, etc.

So, you must be well aware of the vent adjustments of your Masterbuilt smoker if you want to achieve restaurant-quality results. 

If you want to store the smoke inside, keep the top vent closed as well.

Also Read: Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Tips And Tricks To Become A Master Of Smoking

How To Use And Adjust A Vent On A Masterbuilt Smoker

As I suggested in my earlier article,  you should start using a Masterbuilt electric smoker by seasoning and preheating it. 

So, do you need to keep the air vents open during these procedures? Or is it okay to keep them closed?

Well, if you are seasoning your smoker using wood smoke, it’s better to keep the vents open. It will help reduce humidity inside the cooking chamber.

The same goes for the preheating session. Though it’s technically not wrong to keep the vents closed while preheating as a Masterbuilt smoker has its own heating element. 

But if you suddenly open the air vents after preheating the smoker and placing the meat inside, a sudden temperature swing is bound to happen. To avoid such issues, you must keep the air vents open from the very beginning. 

Now the question is, how do you adjust the back and top vents? 

It’s so simple. Leave both the vents open while smoking and you can close them while storing. 

But then again, it’s not all about closing or opening them, rather beyond that. 

As the rear vent is primarily associated with entering air and oxygen inside the smoker, keeping it completely open will ensure smoking the meat with absolute perfection. The meat will be tender, flavorful, and juicy with enough fresh smoke around. 

At the same time, leaving the top vents wide open allows the smoke to escape rather than accumulating inside.

This will prevent the meat from bitter creosote dust. After all, you need an exhaust for the stale smoke to escape. In this way, there will be new places created for more air and smoke to come into the smoker.

Without the top vent open, there will be no air exchange even if the bottom vent is totally opened. 

Later, when the smoker is hot enough, you need to retain the heat and smoke inside. So, I close the air vents to trap heat inside.

However, I close both the top and bottom vents completely. After a while, I opened the top air vent partially because too much smoke trapped inside the smoking chamber could overdo the meat.

Thankfully, Masterbuilt air vents are adjustable and you can adjust the opening and closing according to your needs.

Nevertheless, if the smoking temperature falls under 225° F,  open the bottom rear vent again to let adequate air enter.

So, in terms of increasing heat, the bottom vent should be fully opened. And for reducing temperature, you need to close the bottom vent completely and open the top one.

Also Read: From Ribs to Brisket: Delicious Masterbuilt Smoker Recipes for Every Occasion

How Open Should The Vent Be On A Masterbuilt Smoker?

That basically depends on your desired temperature. How open the air vents should be is also decided by what you are cooking. 

For instance, I keep the intake vents ⅓ open while smoking beef at 225-275° F. For more tender meat like chicken, I prefer keeping the bottom vents open ⅓ and the top vents totally open. 

Do You Leave The Vent Open On An Electric Smoker?

Oh yes. It’s always suggested to keep the vents wide open in an electric smoker while you are smoking meat. It facilitates adequate ventilation to control heat and smoke better inside the smoker.

On one hand, keeping the bottom air vents fully open allows adequate airflow to produce more heat and smoke inside. 

On the other hand, the wide-open top vents make excessive smoke and moisture escape, preventing stale smoke buildup. 

Resultantly, your food doesn’t taste bitter.

When Smoking Meat Do You Leave The Vent Open?

Yes. You must leave the air vents open while smoking the meat in an electric smoker. However, you can adjust the vents depending on your cooking temperature requirements. 

To enjoy a hotter fire and deeper smokey flavor, keep both top and bottom vents fully open. And to reduce temperature and smoke intensity, you can partially close the vents. 

Also Read: Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Instructions (Using, Cleaning, Maintaining & More)

Does Opening The Vents On A Smoker Make It Hotter?

Yes, absolutely. An open vent always leads to more oxygen flow inside the smoker. That’s how it results in more heat production by burning the fuel faster.

Is A Smoker Hotter With A Vent Open Or Closed?

An electric smoker is always hotter when you leave its vents wide open. Closing the vents will cut the oxygen flow causing slow fuel burning. That’s why leave the vents open to facilitate faster burning of fuel.

What Does Closing The Vents On A Smoker Do?

Closing the air vents on a smoker leads to reduced air circulation. Thus it restricts the oxygen supply as well. That’s how a closed vent reduces the temperature inside the smoker. 

At the same time, it can reduce the amount of smoke production as well. Because less oxygen flow leads to make the combustion of the fuel source less effective. 

That’s why keeping the air vents closed while smoking will not infuse adequate smoky essence into your food.

Can Smoke Go Through Closed Vents?

Yes, smoke can still go through closed vents. But if you keep the vents fully closed, very little amount of smoke will sneak through. Of course, the air vents should create airtight seals to minimize the smoke escape.

What Temperature Should The Vent Be On A Smoker?

In an electric smoker, the ideal vent temperature should be 225°-250° F.


That’s all about the masterbuilt smoker vents open or closed. I hope you found this guide helpful.

As I discussed above, the bottom air vent is the entry route for oxygen to ignite the wood chips. And the top vents facilitate the escape of smoke and moisture.

Though it’s suggested to keep both vents wide open while smoking meat, you can certainly close or adjust them according to your heat and smoke requirements. 

Any more queries in this regard? Let me know by commenting below.

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