New Smoker For Birthday

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by jmoore1231, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. Ok folks need some help. The wife has told me to pick out a new smoker for my birthday coming up. The budget is $200 or less. I have researched about every possible type of smoker along with fuel source(charcoal, gas, electric, etc). My past smoking experience is using my charcoal grill, with good results but hate tending to it every 30 mins with temp control.

    The electric Masterbuilts intrigue me due to ease but I've read some of the problems they can have with equipment malfunction. For my budget a good charcoal smoker seems out of range. I should mention I don't want to do a build, like the UDS.

    What does it sound like my best options are to some of you vets? Does the good outweigh the bad with the Masterbuilts or is there a solid charcoal smoker for under $200 that maintains temp for long smokes?
  2. Get a 1st generation MES and a AMNPS and you will be good to go.

    Happy smoken.

  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've seen some decent sized side fire box Char Grillers for about $179 at Wal-Mart. Check out some posts from 5oclocksomewhere.....he's pretty much got that down & cranking out some awesome looking chow.....HTH, Willie
  4. When you say 1st Gen MES, clue me in to what the difference is between it and the latest model?
  5. mathman

    mathman Smoke Blower

    From Amazon reviews.

    I bought this Gen II as a gift for my brother, thinking that Masterbuilt had solved the only three problems I found with their Gen I model (which is excellent, by the way), those being 1) the vent and electronics module were side-by-side on the top rear of the unit which allowed smoke to get on and in the module, possibly shortening its life, 2) the heating element was non-replaceable, and 3) the external grease tray was rear mounted meaning it had to stand away from the wall and was a bit of a pain to dump, clean and replace.

    Well yeah, they did fix those deficienciesand then broke everything else. They admit that they have a known problem with the heating element being too far below the chip pan on this model which means the chips don't smoke consistently or burn completely and are now recommending that you cut or bend the element support to either raise the element or lower the panI honestly can't remember which. The chip tray is very shallow and a fourth the size of the Gen I tray, meaning you have to put in new chips every 45 minutes instead of two hours (after you jury-rig fix the element problem). The entire interior lower section below the four smoking racks is re-arranged, including the water pan, which is also down-sized to a narrow deep rectangle contraption instead of the nicer stainless tray in the Gen I, and is now positioned off center to the left, not over the heating element, at the down angle of a new drip protector over the heating element and chip tube, and acts as more of a a grease trap than a moisturizer. I could go on, but the net result is that Masterbuilt took one of the best (if not THE best) electric smokers on the market and TOTALLY SCREWED IT UP!

    I really can't imagine a company like Masterbuilt sending out a model revision without field testing it first, but that is obviously what happened in their ill-conceived rush to get the new model to market. This baby had to have been designed by some armchair engineer that can't spell "smoker" much less know how to use one. Save a ton of money and angst and get the older model that is still available on Amazon (for much less money). In as much as there are still the issues with it, at least the darned thing SMOKES!

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