Found a MES on clearance

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by ryan y, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. ryan y

    ryan y Fire Starter

    Was at Lowe's this morning amd they had MES 30", digital display. The plain black one, no glass door. Clearance price was $170. Pretty close to Amazon pricing, but no shipping would make it significantly less. My only real concerns are the display and size.

    I will be storing outside, and plan on getting a cover, but don't know how dependable and durable the display is. Is the analog harder to control temp on than the digital? As far as size goes, I wonder if I should just go with the 40" right off the bat. I only have a Little Chief now, but when I make jerky it gets pretty crowded. Last run I crammed in 4 lbs and it was tough going. Have any of you regretted getting the 30 instead of the 40? I do mostly jerky, and some trout. Would definitely branch out to butts, birds, briskets after the upgrade.
    Already visited the Amazen site, definitely plan on getting a starter kit from there. Which would be more ideal for the MES, tube or tray? Mailbox mod is a definite possibility depending on how it goes initially, the deck is small so space is an issue.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  2. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    The 30" is a great jerky smoker. It'll hold 12-15 pounds pretty easy if you're hanging sticks. I haven't done any whole meat jerky in it but I'd think you could get 8-10 pounds in there easily enough.

    That said, I bought a 30" and then upgraded to a 40" after a year because it makes ribs and brisket easier. If all you're planning on doing is jerky and trout, unless they're lunkers, then the 30" will probably do you just fine.

    Both my electric smokers spent the better part of 2 years hiding out under the eaves of my house under Masterbuilt covers when not in use. They both still function perfectly. I've since kind of hollowed out a smoking area in my shed and moved them inside but that was just so I could still smoke when it's raining, dark, etc.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did you buy that MES 30? I just checked my local Lowes and this week the price is $189, which is what I paid for mine off Amazon about 5 years ago. It's a great little workhorse of a smoker. I would also prefer to have a 40" but until my smoker breaks down, I'm sticking with having only this one. I agree with SmokesOnTuesday that the 40" is better for briskets and ribs but I've smoked a number of each in that little guy. At the beginning of the smoke the meat can touch the sidewalls but briskets and ribs shrink while they cook and about halfway through the smoke they're no longer touching. 

    I've also made a few batches of jerky. I don't have any sticks, I use QMATZ on the racks and place the sliced meat on those. I turn them over once during the cook. As for smoke, I use the AMNPS tray, which is a challenge to use in cold smokes in the MES since air circulation at low temps is an issue with the MES 30. This year I'll be burning Dust in cold smokes and I'll find out if it works better. I won a 6" tube last year and have found that in the MES 30 it hasn't performed any better than the tray. I use it more in my 22.5" Weber charcoal kettle grill but have had issues keeping the wood pellets lit there, too. Proper placement is key and I haven't found where it is yet in the Weber. 

    I've thought about building my own mailbox mod this year but I may not take the time. Also, I keep my MES bungee corded to a handtruck. I wheel it in and out of the garage. I place the MESon a small table in my yard to raise it up off the ground.With a mailbox mod it would be something else to store in my garage and to bring out. I'd also have to buy enough flexible duct to reach from the ground up to the woodchip loader. I'll wait to see how the Dust works out before I decide if I'll build the mod or not. 

    The analog and digital versions of the MES are different animals. With the analog heating cycles are continuous with the controller. It will overshoot the setpoint, drop down below it, and then rest more or less on it until the next cycle. There are methods to stabilize which I haven't yet tried but plan on doing this year. From what I've read of both designs, I'll stick with the digital. So far I've only needed to replace the controller once. 

    I store my MES in my garage and keep it under the cover I bought at the same time as the smoker. Many times I'll leave the MES out overnight so the cover protects it against air moisture when the cold night air condenses into heavy dew in the morning. If it happens to rain during the night, the cover shields against that as well. 
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  4. ryan y

    ryan y Fire Starter

    Thanks for the responses guys, very helpful information. I ended up not pulling the trigger on it, started looking at the 40" electric model, but it's nearly double the price, so I'll probably stick with a 30 for now, that way I can still have room left in the budget for some qmatz, amnps, and pellets. I've been reading through the MES section here on the forums, still trying to narrow down my choices. Will be sure to post when I make a decision!

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