Need some help with a new electric smoker PLEASE..

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by armyguy209, May 12, 2016.

  1. Hey guys! First time actually posting on here but been reading for a while.

    I am no newbie when it comes to Q or smokers for that matter. I am however new to electric smokers.

    I have 3 smokers currently and they each serve their purpose(Primo oval XL, Make 2 Star, and a WSM 22.5 with mods). The only problem with these is that none of them serve a purpose that I now need, making snack sticks, sausage, and jerky.

    I need a dedicated smoker that can actually hit these low temps and hold them(130-170°F). I've been eyeballing a few electric smokers, and actually went down to bass pro today to pick up their Redhead/masterbuilt 30 electric smoker. I also picked up the MES coldsmoker so that I can still pile on the smoke at the lower temps. They are sitting in the house unopened, and after reading I kind of feel now that I bought the wrong smoker. Good news is that I can take them right back tomorrow.

    The more I look, the more the MES40 seems like it would suit me better as it has more room. After reading tons of posts on here, it seems like the MES40 gen 2.5 is the way to go. But then I come across the Smokin-it 3D which doesn't look like it has the room like the MES40 does(need to compare specs still). Then I find another one that look even more suited for what I am looking for, the Sausagemaker 30lb smoker($1k though).

    The only problem I see with the Smokin-it and sausagemaker smokers is that there is no place to hook up a cold smoker unless I use an amps or something (which I personally am not a fan of and have tried them both). I feel chips and chunks just put off a stronger smoke profile(which I love).

    Please let me know what you guys think or if there is something I missed. Keep in mind that this will only be used for jerky, sausage, and snack sticks, and probably smoked cheese.

    Thank you in advance for any input.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First off, welcome to the forum,

    Since this is your first post, at your leisure, would you swing by Roll Call & introduce yourself.

    That way we can all give you a welcome.

    As for the smoker, there are a lot of guys on here who own MES 40's, me included.

    I only use mine for sausage, bacon, cheese etc. 

    Anything that is cold smoked or requires precise temp control.

    I also use the Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment. I like it as well.

    My MES is kept outside with the MES cover on it & it is about 6 years old.

    Never had a problem with it yet.

    It's a very reliable and well built smoker, and their customer service is very good too.

  3. Thanks for the info Al. One thing I am concerned with on the MES 40, at least pertaining to gen 2.5, is that I have read some reviews that say it can't hold low temps(130-170) for doing sausage and jerky. Bass pro said I can't return it once it's used because of temperature stuff. I can only return it if it's defective.
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  4. Not a whole lot of input huh? Lol

    Well I went and bought the MES40 at bass pro today and it is the 2.5 model with Bluetooth. Had it put together and set up within an hour of unboxing it. Did the initial seasoning as directed in the instructions. In 38 mins, it went from 80-275 degrees. Once it got there, it held stable for 3 hours. Then I decided to drop the set temp to 150 degrees. I opened the door for a bit to let some heat out and then closed it to let it stabilize. It sat at 150 for a bit. I was super happy until I decided to check it again about 20 mins later and the temp had climbed to 250 and was still climbing. This is not good. I'm OK with a little bit of temps swings but 100 degrees? That is no where near acceptable. It is 2am here and I'm beat. I have 3lbs of jerky marinating as we speak and planned on smoking them tomorrow (technically today now). I can't do that if this thing is going to be jumping around like that. If worst comes to worst, I'll throw the meat in the oven but I am not happy about that after spending $479 on this thing and jerky being the sole reason for buying it.
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  5. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I think you made the right choice going with the MES 40.  My guess is that by running it at 275 for 3 hours, you got a lot of heat built up in the insulation/body, and that's probably what kept the temp rising on you.  I've made jerky in mine before and never had a problem holding low temps.  I just haven't ever tried it after heating it up higher than I wanted first. 

    The thermometers on these aren't the most accurate.  I'd recommend getting a good remote thermometer like the Maverick, to keep track of your food & internal temps.  Also, if you haven't bought the cold smoking attachment yet, the A-Maze-N Smoker works great with the MES.  It's the only thing I use to make smoke in mine. 

    Keep playing with it, you'll like it.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  7. Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to go kick it on right now and set it for 150 to see what it does. If it can't hold it, I'm going to be forced to buy an Auber for it which adds on another $230. I did buy the cold smoker attachment because I thought it was the perfect solution for smoking that low of a temp. We shall see how it works.

    Thanks Dave! I will have to shoot him a message and see how he likes it.
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would say it could be a number of things:

    #1 Could be you have a bad controller----Every now and then a bad one turns up, and you get them to send you a new one---Easy to replace.

    #2 Could be it really isn't at the temps you're reading, because the MES digital read-out isn't accurate.

    Neither of these things can be known, unless you have an accurate Remote Therm, like a Maverick ET-732. I never smoke anything without my Maverick.

    A good working MES 40 will hold any heat you want, between 100° and 275°, for as long as you want, within a few degrees above & a few degrees below.

  9. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    Bear makes a good point about it possibly being a bad controller. My first MES had one that was way off. Masterbuilt was great about sending a replacement controller right out to me. But like he said, you really won't know until you put a reliable thermometer on it. Best of luck! Once you get it all figured out, it'll keep you happy.
  10. Hey thanks for the help guys. I actually have two temp controllers on it now. My digiq dx2 is hooked up on the actual MES probe on the back wall, and then I have my inkbird hooked up to the shelf above in the center. I have it running now with the MES smoke generator going so that I can see how much the smoke generator raises the temps and go from there. If it raises it too much, I'll go get some of that aluminum duct and run the smoke generator about 8' away to prevent it from adding to the MES40's temp. Right now I have the temp set to 150 and actual temp is at 161 and dropping it looks like.

    I wish Masterbuilt would add a graphing chart into their app so we could keep track of our whole smoke and what the temperature did the whole time(just like the rocks bbq controller)
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like your temp is doing OK now----Keep working with it.

    I have a tracking thing---"Me, a Pen, and a Spiral bound notebook".[​IMG]

    Go Army!!

  12. Well another update. I think the fluke last night had to of been operator error. Maybe I thought it had cooled back down and it hadn't.

    I've been watching it for the past couple of hours and it is holding pretty stable now at 150. It keeps fluctuating a bit both ways which is expected from heat loss and the element kicking on and off. The temp probe on the actual unit is about 5 degrees higher than the actual temp. To compensate I bumped the temp on the smoker up to 155 and the smoker is holding 150 +-5-10 degrees which I am OK with. The MES cold smoker is working great as well and putting out some nice constant smoke, which I can't do with my pellet smoker. I can't wait to make some snack sticks with this thing. I thing I'm going to get some stainless angle iron and tig weld a few custom hanging racks for it. So far I think this setup will be perfect for what I need it for if it keeps this up.

    Oh and Bear, your tracking seems to work just as good. Haha
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Take a look at this WSM mod I came up with for my 18.5" WSM.  I made it just for use with sausage, snack sticks and jerky.

    Short version is I took an extra door for the WSM body and mounted an electric element in the door.  The element plugs into a "plug and play" Auber Instrument PID controller.  When I want electric for those low temps for sausage & sticks, I use the element and an Amazen pellet tray in the empty fire ring of the WSM.  When I want to use the WSM like normal as a charcoal smoker, I just have to put the unmodified door back in the body.

    The element I used is the perfect size for the 18.5" WSM, as it is centered in the body on an extra fire grate I put on top of the fire ring.  I have a couple of extra 18.5" food grates and stack them using wood block spacers to load on extra layers of sausage & sticks.  I tried kielbasa hanging in the smoke hanger adapter for the WSM but had to flip the sausage as the lower section did not heat as quickly as the upper.  Laying it flat on multiple cooking grates at the top grate level and above gave much more even heating and cook times (I found no need to flip or rotate this way).

    I had the extra WSM door and the heating element was like $30 or so on Amazon if my memory serves correctly.  I tried the analog thermostat on the heating element to start with and it worked, but the temp swing was greater than I wanted (it's analog, and this was expected).  So I added the Auber PID.  I crank the analog dial to full on and plug it into the Auber PID box and the PID runs the show from there.  I think the entire mod with a ready built PID controller was around $150, but like I said, I already had an extra door.  It's still going to be less expensive to do a e-WSM mod than to buy a new smoker.  You may want a higer wattage element if you have a 22.5" WSM as you will be heating more air volume.  Another option would be to take a thermal wrap and put it around the WSM body to make it an insulated smoker.  I have not tried this, nor do I think I need it in my 18.5" model and I've used the e-WSM in the dead of winter (20* weather).

    Not an expensive mod and in my case it made the wife happy as I did not have to take up more real estate on the porch with another smoker (but I do have a huge warming cabinet in storage for the uber sausage machine conversion).

    Here is the link to the e-WSM mod and a couple of smokes with it:
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  14. Dward,

    That is awesome. I wish I would seen that before hand. I actually got to use my MeS 40 2.5 yesterday and it worked awesome. The one thing I really like about the MES is that you can actually cold smoke in it with their smoke attachment using some duct work and keeping it away from the smoker.

    If I did go the WSM route, I would probably get the stainless door upgrade, cut a 3" hole in it with my plasma, and then just tig weld a piece of stainless pipe on the hole. The you could use that for cold smoking, and then just cap the hole when not being used as a cold smoker.

    So many I'm actually getting ready to sell my 22.5 so that I can get the more portable 14.5" version for camping and stuff

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