Newbie needs first smoker advice

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by clfergus, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. clfergus

    clfergus Newbie

    I had posted this in the wrong forum and hadn't gotten any replies so re-posting here...

    I have been reading the forum for awhile and have decided to buy a smoker. I am a newbie to smoking. I have been a life long Weber Kettle man and have tried some smokes on it but don't have the time to continue to add coals and babysit the temp.

    So I am mow looking at a Masterbuilt 30 inch electric. I just can't decide between the Gen I vs Gen II models    20070910 vs. 20070213

    I have read that the gen II doesn't vent well and adds too much smoke flavor in the meat. I have also read though that it is superior in terms of insulation/controls etc.

    Any advice on which one to pick. I want the easiest to use model that will make the best tasting BBQ. 

    Thanks...appreciate the advice.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you're trying to choose between a Gen #1 and a Gen #2-------Stop Immediately!!!

    Get the Gen #1---Much Better!!!

    And if you want the easiest to use & Best tasting, Get the Gen #1 MES 40, and get an AMNPS & Smoke Happily Ever After!!


  3. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    My vote goes for the MES 40 BT.  Great smoker. 
  4. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Although I love my new Bluetooth and with my not ever having had a Gen 1, I can't argue nor disagree with what Bear said here, especially when I read that others also love their Gen 1's. 
  5. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    What does a Gen 1 cost these days?
  6. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    At Academy ... 30" is $250 ... 40" $300

    Those are the cheapest I find at the moment. However, I have seen Academy have them on sale in the past for $280 for a 40"
  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    The Gen 2.5 40 BT at Sams is $330.  Seems like a worth upgrade for $30 no?  I think YES!
  8. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I have the Gen I MES 30 (20070910) & love it.

  9. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I hope all have no regrets on the MES Gen they own.  We all want nothing but success stories,  I researched the MES on SMF for a year and listened to comments and then bought ( 40" GEN 1) because of DaRiksta's find at such a great price and the polls on SMF.  I have inspected all MES GEN's and the Gen 1 is a completely different animal.  We need a thread on the fire box of the GEN 1 compared to the 2 and BT 2.5  because the others don't have a box/housing.  On the Gen 1, when the air comes in through the three holes in the chip loader the box contains it to the three holes on the exit side, to the middle of the smoker.  If you don't use chips and use the AMNPS, then you get 100% air shooting though the three housing holes to the center, stoking the AMNPS.  My God, make sure the foil covering the bottom drip pan hole is punched out when you foil it.  That's a lot of air coming into the CC!  I continuously tell people to try to keep a flame lit at the drain pan opening (on the outside of the smoker) to verify the draw of air that comes into the  smoker.  When your smoker has been going you can't keep a flame lit.  I look forward with great anticipation for any kind of feedback on this test.  Never once has anyone responded.  With  the GEN 1 chip tray installed all the way in and the loader all the way in (up or down loaded position), whatever, your getting something your not from the Gen 2 and 2.5 BT.  I have nothing but great results from the GEN 1 40" RF controller.  I can't comment on the 2.5 BT range.  Masterbuilt even tries to get you on to their other two Gen's in stock because the they can't keep the GEN 1's in stock.  Get a Gen 1!  

  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you're looking at the best starter smoker on the market at its price point, go with the Gen 20070910 only if you have a tight budget. That's why I bought mine and it's been a great smoker for the 3 years I've owned it. But it's only 30" or so wide. If you want something larger like a 40" there are MES non-Gen II choices but they'll be pricier than the MES 30 Gen 1.

    I use the AMNPS (pellet smoker) and I'm still impressed by the quality of smoked food that comes out of that little box. Call me conceited but I've posted in this forum that I'll put my smoked pork ribs, brisket, and pulled pork up against any of the BBQ restaurants in my area, which isn't saying much for them (Famous Dave's, Dickey's BBQ Pit). But believe me, what comes out of that little black box is real Q once you learn what you're doing which doesn't take long.

    And thanks for the kind words @Dr K!
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Advice Dr K !!!

    When I think about it, I wonder if for some people that drain is a problem??

    I don't get much fat or grease going down that drain, but I could see that being a cause for problems with the AMNPS.

    If Fats and grease go down that drain while the smoker is hot. Then the Fat cools when the Smoker cools, causing the drain to be blocked, and not allowing air flow through that drain.

    This could cause the burning of the AMNPS to be hard to keep going, until the smoker heats up enough to get the drain working again. Then the AMNPS burns much better.

    Like I said, this is just a guess, because I don't get enough fats & grease down my drain to cause this, but I could see it happening to some.

  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    With my MES 30  Gen 1 I've never had a problem with the drip pan hole plugging up. The water pan has always caught a good part of dripping grease. I still use it for that since I keep it empty and foiled over. I also foil over the grease pan on the bottom of the smoker and so the grease tends to pool down there. I foil below that rear hole in the grease pan so that if enough grease accumulates to actually travel to that hole it won't be blocked. The grease dripping through that hole drips through a hole in the floor of the smoker right below it. The grease then empties into the drip tray on the outside rear of the smoker. For the three years I've been using my MES 30 the grease actually dripping into the tray has been negligible. I never thought the holes were large enough to make them a decent air source and I still don't think they really are because of their small size. I keep them unblocked because they're part of the design of the smoker.
  13. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I guess you have to load up the smoker to get a pool of fat to run to the drip pan drain and into the external grease trap.  I'm not even close to that just drips here and there.  The GEN 2 and 2.5 BT have holes in the bottom with no elbow for virtually no clogging.

  14. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    The Gen 1 chip loader has three vent holes and the Gen 1 drain hole on the back of the smoker maybe bigger than the size of two of the loader holes.  When your  MES Gen 1 is chugging along at 225*F or higher, hold a lighter flame to the outside rear drain and tell me what happens.  There's a lot of play in the bottom drip pan and the pan can cover the drain hole if both holes aren't matched up.  I always move my smoker so I make sure the holes in the pan and drain are matched up before each smoke with the AMNTS.

  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I might be planning a smoke next week so I'll try that lighter flame test and post a full report. This is an instance where I'd enjoy being wrong since it would yet another reason to love my MES 30. I always make sure the two holes are aligned. My new default smoking temp forever more will be 225° ever since I saw Diners, Drive-ins & Dives episode where the Neely family said that's the temp they use in their BBQ restaurants.
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---That's one of the things I like about the Gen #2 and #2.5.

    I rarely smoke more than a rack or two of anything, and I started using coiling racks in foil pans with Butts, Prime Ribs, Chuckies, etc to avoid a lot of fat drippings.

  17. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Sounds Good!  I have tried a Kingsford briquette in the chip tray for a smoke ring attempt and had a slight pink color inside the bark but no definite ring.  I'll be doing a 5-6lb. brisket point tomorrow or the next day with 2 briquettes in the chip tray (it holds four briquettes.)  Keep in mind I have the replacement MES Gen 1 40" in my spare bedroom that has been seasoned (tested.)  I am using the original Gen 1 delivered by covered wagon.  I soldered the electrical supply cord back on for experimental purposes.  It's alive!  The Dr. is in! LOL

  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    By coincidence I've a 6 lb. beef brisket but after you trim the hard fat it might be down a pound. With my smaller MES 30 to concentrate the smoke and heat I'm going to go with five charcoal briquettes. It might not just generate a smoke ring but the entire meat surface might be a smoke arena or something.
  19. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Are you going to do 2-3 briquettes at a time or all 5 at once? 

  20. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    My Son in CA just got his first Smoker 3 weeks ago, a 40" BT Gen 2.5 like mine. He got his at Sams Club like I did. He tried some briquettes today on some ribs and got a smoke ring and it looked really good. He Emailed me a picture and I tried to post it here, but it doesn't work as I guess I don't know how to do that. Wish I could have as it was a really nice smoke ring for a smoker.

    Here is what he said he said he did.....

     I put my ribs on a cold smoker, after all the smoking takes place at a lower temperature was my thought so I figured I would just cold smoke up to temp.  In addition, the smoke ring is not created by smoke but by the product of combustion and a chemical reaction from those products of combustion. With an electric smoker you don't get much cumbustion so very little chance of a smoke ring. So yesterday I played around a little with leaving the wood chip loader out and putting more wood in than usual to create more products of combustion and this method created a small smoke ring about 3/16 of an inch.  I only did it for about ten or fifteen minutes but today I wanted to pursue it more.  Since I like charcoal too then I added a half a piece twice yesterday.  That didn't seem to hurt anything so I started smoker cold with ribs on today with two charcoals and wood as well, left the loader out to get lots of combustion gasses. Started smoking way before 220 so I was actually cold smoking as temp rose.  Temp over shot by 8 degree and then undershot by 7,  I then added two more charcoal and it over shot by 7 and undershot by 6.  Anyway, I don't know if that is better than normal but I figured I would share with you because I think that maybe the charcoal helps keep the temp from dropping so fast while the heater element warms up.  

    Again, I wish you could see his smoke ring as it looks almost as if it came off a charcoal grill.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015

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