New to site. Looking for some guidance....

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by donnie crawford, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Hello Everyone!  My name is Donnie.  I am new to the site and am looking for some of your expertise for guidance.  I am a bit of a novice when it comes to smoking.  I have a Charbroil Smoke'N Grill that works decently but it has no vent to control air flow besides the fact there is not a good seal around where the lid meets the base and the side door leaks quite a bit of smoke.  The location of the charcoal pan is poor and makes adding more charcoal challenging.  I am looking into a vertical electric smoker by Masterbuilt.  Leaning more towards the 40" than the 30".  In your opinion is there another smoker in the $250-300 range that would be a better investment.  It seems that there have been good and bad reviews of the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.  I would definitely be investing in the A-maze-N Pellet Smoker to compliment the amount of smoke.  Your help will greatly be appreciated!
  2. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have a 18.5 Weber Smokey Mountian. It's easy to use and provides excellent results with minimal fuss! Charcoal and some wood chunks holds temps for along time. Read up on them I think you'll be impressed, you can even look at building a mini WSM there very cost effective and if you weren't happy you could still buy electric later!
  3. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    The MES is an attractively priced smoker with some bells and whistles.  And yes, there are  good reviews (generation 1) and bad reviews (generation 2).  You asked for a unit in the $250 - $300 range that would be a better investment.  I would look long and hard at the Smokin-it line of smokers.  No bells, no whistles.  Just a well insulated all stainless steel box, inside and out. All analog. To be sure, your $300 limits you to the SI1, their smallest. But then you are investing in quality, not something iffy, or something that needs an add-on at extra cost to produce smoke. SI has a very active forum for a manufacturer.  Read over it and then decide. You may want to invest in something even larger.

    Regardless of what you purchase, look over each manufacturers  warranty.  The smoker should be built to last.  A longer warranty is typically an indicator of the quality of the unit and the faith the manufacturer has in their product. There is also the SmokinTex line and the Cookshack line.  Cookshack has smokers with all the bells and whistles and a 6 month payment plan through PayPal with no interest.  In order of cost from lowest to highest it is SI, ST, then CS.

    Good luck.

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Donnie! A little over two years ago, I researched smokers in my limited price range and chose the MES 30 digital smoker Gen 1 (didn't know about the Gen 2 then) so I can only speak about my experience with that model. It's one of the best purchases I've ever made. Had I had the budget I would have opted for the 40" but this smaller 30" more than suits my needs. It's a basic model with no window or remote. I've had zero problems with it and total enjoyment. Masterbuilt also provides excellent customer service as well.

    The two issues I've had with the smoker are these: the temperature controller is designed (I think) so that the temperature swings around your set point. For example, if I set the cooking temp to 235*, I'll see the temp rest on 235, then go up as high as 250 and down as low as 215 and ultimately return to 235 and then repeat the cycle throughout the smoke. However, I think it all averages out to the set point I programmed. The other issue is one of minor maintenance. On the back wall there's a high temp limit switch and a temperature sensor. Both must be cleaned every few smokes to work correctly and cleaning is just wiping with a damp paper towel and also making sure there's no deposits buildup in the high temp limit switch.

    Also with mine, I only use the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker and the wood pellets sold by the pellet smoker's inventor and seller, Todd Johnson. I only use wood chips when I grill and not for BBQ (which is what low and slow cooking over wood smoke is). I found using wood chips a hassle since I had to replenish them every 20-30 minutes or so. A fully-loaded AMNPS can burn for 6 hours or more depending on a few different factors.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  5. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    Love my MES 40 Gen 1. With the addition of AMNPS it's damn near perfect!
  6. I'm not sure what generation is out there now but I doubt it is Generation 1.  They are available at Lowe's.  I do have a few concerns after reading some responses.  I am concerned about the length of the warranty.  The Smokin-It and SmokinTex products have a 3 year and 2 year warranty respectively.  They seem to be build like a tank and no need to add any addition item like the AMNPS.  Still very torn.  For those of you who use the MES30 or MES40, can you put your slabs of ribs in whole or do you have to cut in half?  Do you have to finish in the oven or are they ready to eat right out of your MES?  The model numbers for the Masterbuilt Electric Smokers that I am looking at are as follow:  MES40 - Model#20070613, MES30 - Model#20071514.
  7. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    You can easily find the Gen1 units. In fact, as we recently found out, Masterbuilt is still building and selling Generation one units.

    You can identify a MES 40 Gen 1 as follows:
    The control panel is on the top at the the rear. vs front
    The door is hinged on the right side.
    It is vented on top, at the right rear vs left side.

    A MES 40 will hold full racks of ribs in fact each of the four shelves will hold a full (15+ lb) packer beef brisket.
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Those two models are both Gen 2. I've got a MES 30 digital Gen 1 model 20070910, which can hold up to four racks of ribs; I usually only cook up to three. The only thing with this smaller smoker is that the ribs push up against the walls at both ends a little when I place them on the racks, even if I try to position them diagonally. However, over the course of cooking the ribs shrink so that they're no longer touching the walls so it's no big deal. After I finish cooking the ribs all I need to do is to use a damp paper to towel wipe the little meaty and rub bits, and the finishing sauce off the walls just above the cooking racks.

    If I had had it in my budget I would've bought the 40" model. Still, I can fit a 6 lb. beef brisket in there which is more than enough to feed my family and guests and I've already talked about smoking three good-size racks of ribs at the same time in there, all without having to cut them in half.

    I know there are pro chefs who finish their BBQ in an oven, I think to crisp up the bark or the finishing sauce, but I do the entire smoke in my MES.  As a testament to both how good the MES and my cooking are, my favorite bro-in-law told me that the last set of ribs I smoked was the best he's ever tasted and anointed me King of Ribs. I used wood pellets primarily for smoke but I also added pecan wood chips (because I didn't have pecan wood pellets at the time) thru the wood chip loader just to integrate that smoky goodness into my overall flavor profile.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  9. Ok smokers.... After teeter tottering back and forth, I believe I have settled on a MES30 or MES40.  I have found two first generation smokers on Amazon.  The MES30 is Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller for $177.00, the MES40 doesn't have a model number but has the following description Size: 40" Features: -Thermostat-controlled temperature.-Digital timer with automatic shut-off.-Convenient side loading wood chips, 4 cooking racks.-Thermostat temperature control for even cooking from 100F to 275F.-Removable drip pan and rear-mounted grease pan.-Top air damper for $236.47 with a cover included in the price.  However it is shipped and sold by Wayfair.  Sounds to me like both are 1st generation due to the location of vent and controller.  I feel with the $60 difference, it would be better to get the MES40.  I'm a bit leery of it not coming directly from Amazon.  Any thoughts?  Do these sound like Generation 1's?  Price fair?  What is the difference between the amount of meat that can be smoked between the MES30 and MES40?  
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As I posted I own MES 30 you're looking at.  The price I paid for mine on Amazon was higher than the currently advertised price but I've seen lower prices there for the same model. I just checked and this unit for $177 is being sold by Amazon. I know I've seen Wayfair for years online and I might have purchased an item or two from them but I don't remember. I saw a MES 40 Gen 1 with a window and remote for considerably more, like $354, but I didn't see any basic models for a lower price.

    For me, the 30 inch is fine because, as I've also posted, I don't feed many people at one time. But the 40-inch would be great because it could handle large racks of ribs and bigger cuts of beef brisket which wouldn't touch the walls when they're first put inside the smoker. In my opinion, if an extra $60 would get you an MES 40 Gen 1, buy it. As for as cooking space, the MES 30 with an 800 watt heating element offers 730 sq. ft., the MES 40 with a 1200 watt heating element offers 975 sq. ft. It all depends how much space you need. More is always nice if it's in your budget.
  11. Donnie, The 30 inch is a first generation smoker. I looked for the 40 " and could not find a picture of it. Since you can find it remember the gen one smokers all have the controls in the back , You may not b able to see the exhaust on the top right but look for the hinge and latch placement. The gen one has the hinges on the right and opens with the latch on the left.

    I agree with daRicksta about the price, that  does not seem to be enough money. The gen 1 40 is usually more than a Gen 2. and they are more than 236.47.  Be sure of what you are buying and you will be a happy smoker.  Jted
  12. Here is the MES40 that I found on Amazon that I referenced earlier......

    Does it look/sound legit?  Here's my dilemma in regards to the size, I am a single male however many times I am asked to cook for groups up to 10-15 but for the most part I cook for 3-6.  I think I'd prefer the MES40 but just don't know if its necessary.  

  13. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    The 40 doesn't use more electricity or take up more room over the 30. You will never regret having the extra space inside. That is a very basic MES40. No window, painted black vs Stainless steel, and it doesn't come with the wireless remote control. But it will function exactly the same as the more expensive units with more whistles and bells. It will hold full racks of ribs, full sized packer briskets, a nice big pork butt on each of the four shelves. So if you ever want to invite 75-100 friends over for BBQ, you'll be all set. I also did a 26 lb turkey in mine last thanksgiving.

    I love my MES 40 and wouldn't want it any smaller. If you buy one, plan on adding an AMNPS and maybe a Maverick wireless thermometer. Makes for the perfect setup.
  14. nrdk

    nrdk Fire Starter

    Just to +1 on other comments here, if you can squeeze the extra cash I would suggest the MES40, however keep in mind your purchase isn't just the smoker but should also budget to include a AMNPS and a Maverick ET-732, as well as pellets and chips.

    Personally, with all the additional items I needed and the fact the MES30 was on sale for $140 at the time, I jumped on the MES30. Haven't regretted that decision yet, however I tend to cook for under 10 people (typically only 2 of us then take some extras to the brothers). If I had to (or expected to) cook for larger groups, then I would probably reconsider, but I'm relatively happy with my decision although I may upgrade as my family grows.
  15. Yes, You have picked out a MES 40 Gen 1 smoker. No bells no whistles just a dependable smoker.  I personally like simple and simple this one is. NRDK has recommended a AMNPS smoke generator. A great inexpensive tool. A lot of people want a maverick 7 series thermometer. They like them because they have a remote receiver that they can monitor the meat temp.  I use a very simple inexpensive single probe thermometer. $16.00 And spare probes can be had for 6.00 each.     Jted
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  16. Hello. I read your post about the MES 30" smokers Gen1 and Gen 2.  I have a 30" Masterbuilt Smoker 20070910 purchased in 2013. Please tell me what generation I have and when the gen 2 was available. It would be most helpful. Thank you. Dan
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Daniel, you've got a hold of the Gen 1 there, and it remains the most popular smoker in the Masterbuilt line--and it's the one I've owned for three years. I think the Gen 2 were introduced in 2012. Somewhere on SMF there's a post with every MES model number ever released. The MES 30 Gen 1 is superior to the Gen 2 in every way.

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