Newbie needs help on smokers masterbuilt gen 1 or gen 2???

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by dpdguns, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Gen 1 20070910

    0 vote(s)
  2. Gen2 20070213

    0 vote(s)
  1. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I dig that sunshield. Would have come in handy on  mine.

    I may have to makes something.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Make a little Chicago Bears hat or visor for it???[​IMG]

  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I also dig that sunshield, daddy-o! But I go old school and use the cupped palm of my hand as a human sunshield and it works fine! Man--it's the most!
    tumbleweed1 likes this.
  4. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    Now that sounds like an idea.
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think I'll make a little sunshield out of the smiling mug of John McLemore so I can place him right on top of my smoker with a dialogue bubble above his head saying "Dadgum That's Good!"
  6. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic


    We'll be needing pics though.
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm on the job!
  8. Hey guys...

    I'm considering smoking meat, so I'm completely new to it, though I've done some research and gotten good feedback from this forum to know to move forward.  I saw this thread which seemed to be talking exactly my dilemma now, which is:

    Gen1 or Gen2?  But theres more...

    I have an opportunity at getting a used Masterbuilt 40" Sportman Elite 20073012 on Craigslist.  The listing states it's in excellent condition and the photos seems to support that. It's got the 4 racks, remote, probe, windows, etc. Asking $250, but we've settled at $175.

    BUT... then I read all these "scare" about the Gen2s.  Yet still I heard (at least) one person say there's ways to overcome the issues on the Gen2, but did say what exactly those are nor have I found any topics on that exactly.  So I don't know what measures I'd have to take to over come these issues.

    From what I can tell (correct me if I'm wrong), it seems like the biggest issue with Gen2s is the air flow having something to do with the side air vents versus the top (as with Gen1).  I think other issues seem more related to manufacturing, such as faulty control module and HE failure... and people having to call in for warranty issues.  

    When I check out this used item, I do plan on seeing it operate to set temperatures and see it it can get up to 275 degrees.  I plan on bring an analog temp gauge and put that inside the unit to make sure the digital display is showing the right temp.  And if all that pans out... then it seems like I just have to deal with what probably inherently makes the Gen2 inferior to the Gen1 - air flow design?

    I also understand that with these electric MES units, you just need to go with AMNS pellets/dust.  And after reading all that people said about it, I don't know why I would go with wood chunks (may you can elaborate on the pros/cons of chunks vs AMNS).  But if I do plan on using AMNS, is the air flow still a huge issue with the Gen2?

    Or am I still missing the big (bad) picture about the Gen2??

    The other side of the dilemma is that the Gen1 40" MES 20070311 are available on Amazon: $309.99 shipped.

    Given all this... what's a newbie to do?

    - Used 20073012 Gen2 $175

    This is already more than I was planning on spending.  I'd hate to get into this and find there SO MUCH more I have to do to it to get working properly.


    - New 20070311 Gen1 $310

    Ouch... this may just break the bank.  But it is worth $135 more??
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm not sure when this model came out but I'd wonder why the person is selling it now seeing as how it's only a year or two old (I think it was released in 2013). Yes, lack of adequate airflow has been an issue with the Gen 2 models but many guys use the mailbox mod to fix that. Keep in mind that, like most MES models, the temp display can be mostly fiction and can fluctuate so you'll want a good therm designed for barbecue/smoking. I own and like the Maverick ET-733.

    Brand new this costs $430 so if this is a good, working unit it's a bargain at $175. There have been a lot of complaints with the Gen 2 models but a lot of people also say they've worked great. Here's a listing for this smoker on Bass Pro where you can read customer reviews. As always, some customers think it's garbage and other customers give it raves and 5 stars. Any individual unit of anything can be outstanding and any individual of anything can be a lemon. If QC at the various factories is variable then luck plays a part in getting a good or a bad product. And from what I've read QC at Masterbuilt factories in China can be really spotty.
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  10. OK... the other thing I'm trying to determine is if the airflow issues with Gen 2 still an issue if I'm using AMNS?  I thought the air flow issue was an issue with TBS when using chips, but from what Ive read, seems like AMNS seems to be the fix for that.  Can you confirm?

    Yes I agree... I think this used items could be a heck of a deal, but I'd hate to find I just end hating this Gen2 model.  What's the cost of adding this "mailbox" mod?  I still have to look it up and see what exactly this is.
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think there are a couple people who have had at least what they felt was success with the Gen #2.

    However IMHO even if MB has fixed the electronics problems, the Gen #2 still has a design problem in that slanted drip plate that forces heat to stack up under the plate on the highest end, which is the right side. Then it gradually trickles out around the highest point of that plate & continues up the right side of the smoker.

    If I had a choice between a Gen #2 for $175, and a Gen #1 for $310 (I paid $350 for mine), I'd jump all over that Gen #1.

  12. I have read that too, that with the airflow issue, there's also heat distribution issues.  I think the right-bottom side would naturally be hotter just because it's the closest to the heat source, which then I would think applies to both Gen1 and Gen2.  

    I can imagine perhaps the slanted drip pan could possible make this worst as you described.  

    Question:  Couldnt you just remove that slanted drip pan?  I don't get why MES introduced what seems to be a "second drip pan" anyway.  
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That slanted drip pan is a confusing part. There's a slot over the water pan and perhaps MB thought owners would appreciate having two ways to catch grease and drippings. As for removing it, I think either Bearcarver or Todd Johnson could give advice as to if it'd be wise to do or not.

    If you want to go 40-inch and kind of Gen 1 I think it'd be worth it to buy the 20070311 and here's where you can get it for $300:
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You're right about the right side being hotter on both of them, but the slanted drip pan does make that worse.
    That little pan hanging in the slanted drip plate is a Water Pan. The slanted drip plate is supposed to catch drips & let them run down the plate to the water pan. The big water pan in the Gen #1 works much better, and doesn't interfere with the air or heat flow. This is why I suggested they go back to the old way with the Gen 2.5. The only bad thing there was with the Gen #1 is the top vent being on the same side as the heating element, which is why I was always in favor of changing that to the back left corner for 6 years, which is what they have also done with the Gen 2.5.

    As far as removing that drip pan, I wouldn't do that unless I had the right kind of thing to replace it with, like MB did with the water pan they put in the Gen 2.5, making it more like the Gen #1.

    They both have a big drip pan on the floor which doesn't hurt anything----Just makes it easier to keep the floor clean.

    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So you're saying that with the top vent on the left side and the heating element on the right side, the heat would be drawn across and up the inside of the smoker and be more evenly distributed? Is this the case with the Gen 2.5?
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes & Yes.

    In order to get from bottom right to top left, the heat has to cross the inside of the smoker, instead of shooting straight up & out the vent on the right.

    This is similar to what my deflector plate in my Gen #1 does, only built in.

    I'm sure if I wanted to spend the time, I could find replies from 3, 4, and 5 years ago where I said a good thing to do would be to move the top vent to the left side, but I didn't want to drill big holes in my smoker.

  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow--I actually understood the concept! But having said that, remember that the last time I smoked my ET-733 showed the hot side shifted from the right side to the left about 2/3rds through.

    I fully agree. I didn't buy my smoker just to drill holes in it. On Memorial Day I'll be using it as it came from the factory along with the AMNPS to smoke a 4 lb. brisket that has both the point and the flat. Plan to make my first Burnt Ends!
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup, later in the smoke that often happens, and I have to adjust my deflector sometimes. However sometimes it's because once the meat gets hot, it acts as a Heat Sink.


    A 4 pound Full Packer!!!  I heard about things like that, but was never lucky enough to find one.  That'd be Awesome!!

    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's just the half of it--literally. Well, almost. Bought it at Costco and I think it was originally a 7-8 pounder. Cut off about 3-4 pounds to give to the wife for a slow cooker recipe. The remainder will fit perfectly on my MES 30 rack!

    Typically all Costco beef briskets contain both the point and the flat.

    I never thought of meat as a heat sink but it makes sense.
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  20. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here's an outstanding deal on a MES 40. It's an updated Gen 1:

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