If you were starting new today....

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by shortcut, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. shortcut

    shortcut Newbie

    .....what would you buy?  

    Hello Electric Smokers.  I'm trying to decide which electric pit to buy.  I've been reading this forum for a while now and it seems that the MES40 gen 2.5 with an AMPS is pretty popular combination.  In particular the Cabelas unit with the solid door looks like it might be a good choice.  That set up would be within the budget so it is definitely an option.  The main question I have about it is what happens if it fails?  Some people seem to have had some pretty negative experiences with Masterbuilt CS.  I'm pretty handy with repairing things though.  Are all of the parts serviceable?  For example, if the controller unit fails, can it be purchased and replaced?  Where we live, it rains frequently.  Is the unit going to be ruined if it gets wet at all?  The space where I would like to put it during operation is a patio.  There is no cover there now so if it can't stand getting any rain on it at all then I guess I would have to make some kind of little enclosure to put over it.  Maybe PVC and couple of the corrugated roofing panels might be one idea to shield it.  Also what about the MES30?  It's of course smaller but it would also save a good bit of money.  I'm mainly interested in doing ribs, brisket and pork shoulders.  I might want to try some of the fatty recipes too. Would the smaller unit make it difficult or not possible to do any of those?  I haven't seen a 40 that is analog.  Is such a unit available?  If so, how about that with an external temperature controller?  Do any of you run a set up like that?  It was pretty easy to use an STC-1000 and an old Crockpot to make a sous vide.  Seems like this idea would be a similar deal.  Overall, my main concern with any MES is that I want to really think through in advance what might go wrong and be ready with a countermeasure to handle it.

    I've also looked at the Smokin Tex and Smokin It units.  They look pretty bullet proof.  They also are a bit more expensive.  I could stretch a bit if those are truly a "once and done" solution.  Are those units known to need any particular mods?  For example, does the factory smoke tray need any help?  Will it generate TBS for long smokes without needing extra fuel?  These units look to have very small openings for air flow.  Do those small holes have enough draft to keep the combustion going?  Does anyone use an Amazen tray/tube with these?

    Lastly, how about thermometers?  Is the Maverick ET pretty much the standard unit?  Looks like one probe goes in the meat and the other gets clamped to the grille near it to monitor the pit temp.  Is it any more complicated than that?  Or do the stock probes that come with the electric pits do a good enough job right out of the box?  Can the factory (MES/ST/SI) probes be calibrated at all?  

    Any of the group's collective experience and wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Folks.

  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been very happy with both the AMNPS and the Maverick ET-733.
  3. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I have this exact combo.  I love it.  Im enjoying it thoroughly. 

    1) The Cabelas unit has a 1 year warranty.  That is something at least.  MB having a 3 month warranty is BS.  Call a spade a spade.  No excuse for such a short warranty.  But Ive read a lot of posts about people having good customer service experiences even after the warranty has expired (free replacements etc).  Who knows.  If you are worried about warranty, get the Sams version with a 3 year Squaretrade warranty for $35 (but then you will get the glass window).

    2) About the cover and storage situation.  This is a thorn in my side.  Why MB doesnt have a proper weather proof cover (like the Classic Accessories hickory line with lifetime warranty), is beyond me????  Their stock cover is a dust cover.  It will never be waterproof.  The unit will get ruined in the rain.  It needs to be stored in a dry place and covered if you are smoking during a rain storm.  Right now Im rolling it out of my garage and carrying it up to my front porch with my wife.  Serious pain in the butt.....  Otherwise I have to pitch a tent canopy in the back yard which is a mission too.  My solution is going to be to buy a small horizontal shed at some point, but be prepared to drop $350+ on that........

    3) Get the MES 40.  I havent had a 30 before and this is my first smoker, but the overwhelming response when I asked the same question was to go for the 40.  I looked at the 30s in store and they looked very small.  I've only used 3 racks at one time, but I anticipate using more in the future.  I like that I dont have to cut any meats.  I like the 1200W element.  I love my door without a window (the 30 BTs have windows).  Get the 40.

    4) I went with a Maverick 733.  Great decision.  I did a 14 hour smoke for my first pork butt and went to bed.  I had the controller next to me, with an alarm set, to tell me if anything was going wrong.  I could check my IT at anytime during the night when I woke up.  Fantastic device.  The only thing I wish it had, or the Masterbuilt bluetooth app had, was a charting function.  I need to sort this out!  Otherwise I would not go with any bluetooth option before getting a RF type monitor.  They have huge range.  Bluetooth is maybe 30 feet in real world conditions. 

    5) Get an AMPS.  Nuff said!

    I spent too much time researching my purchase (2 months), but I am glad I did, because everything worked out perfectly!  So take what I learned and get smoking!
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You are totally set, my friend, even without an improved MB BT app. You did it right.
  5. shortcut

    shortcut Newbie

    Great input.  Thanks for sharing that Mummel
  6. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I hardley ever buy  extended warrantys on most anything, but due to some problems with my Generation 2 bought at Sams 2+ years ago, I did buy the extended warranty this time when I bought my new  40" Bluetooth. The cost was $29.99 for 3 years. Well worth the cost based on my problems with my old one plus Masterbuilt on giving a 90 day warranty.

    I will say this about Masterbuilt though, when My Gen 2 was almost 2 years old, they still replaced the Controller and Heat Coil at no cost to me and would have replaced the cabinet also had I kept my receipt when I bought it. Unfortunately I didn't keep it, so they said they couldn't replace the cabinet with out it, which is understandable.

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