Newbie With a Slew of Questions!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by snazz123, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Greetings All!

    I've been poking around here for a couple of weeks now trying to educate myself a bit but now, as I consider the actual purchase of a smoker, I could use some further guidance and some specific answers (or opinions) in response to my questions. I also feel that many newbies like me could benefit from responses to my many questions as well. Here goes:

    1) I have decided that the way for me to go is with an Electric Smoker - for a variety of reasons. I have further narrowed my choices to either a 30" Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse Smoker with Window and RF Controller or, more likely, a 40  Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse Smoker with Window and RF Controller - NEW GENERATION - model 20070512. (Is this the newest version of this 40" Smoker?) Now, is a model with a Window a good choice? Is it hard to see inside with a) the smoke, b) the splatter grease? Is it difficult to clean? Someone mentioned heat leaking out around the window seal. Is that a known issue? For those of you who have used both types, which is your preference and recommendation: Window or Solid unit? The price difference between a 30" and a 40" seems to be only about $30. Is it a no-brainer to get the 40" and not have "size remorse" later?

    2) The model 20070512 has a meat probe however, you can only use this on one item, let's say a brisket. If I am also smoking, say, a turkey, and a rack of ribs, how do I know when the other items are done? What does one do when a couple of items need 4 hours of smoking and others need 8 hours? What about different heat requirements?

    2) Are these Electric Smokers easy to clean? I'm talking about the drip pans and water pans as well. Many folks suggest wrapping the pans with aluminum foil which sounds like a good idea.

    3) Are the MES units usually reliable? I've read of dents, dings, wires shorting out, necessary parts swap outs and modifications. I'd like to avoid anything that is flaky. I'd love to buy locally but don't have a truck. Would be a good choice if the shipping is free? Cabela's? Any idea who, online, will cover defective exchanges the longest?

    4) I live in New England where a change of weather from sunshine to a quick downpour can happen within minutes. How hot does the outside of the 40" Masterbuilt Electric Smoker get? Could I put the Masterbuilt cover over the unit while is smoking or is that absolutely dangerous? Put another way: How do I (or you) protect the electronics when mid-smoking rain begins to fall? Should I have my wife make a small cap or cover just for the electronics? What do you all do? If the electronics are covered against rain, can the smoker be kept on during a rainstorm or is is prudent to "pull the plug" during rainy weather?

    5) Many folks seem to swear by the MES 40" Smoker with an "A-maze-n Pellet Smoker" (AMNPS) as an add-on. Is this because the wood chip loading system does not provide enough smoke? Is the AMNPS used with the wood chip loading system or instead of it? I've noticed you need either pellets or dust and have to use a mini-propane torch to get the wood chips/pellets burning. I planned on using the smoker on my wood deck. How do I eliminate the risk of a fire? Where, exactly, does the AMNPS go? Does it replace something in the MES or is it just additional? Can the wood chip loading system work with the AMNPS? 

    6) The YouTube infomercial for the MES 30"/40" show a ham on one rack, turkey on another, ribs on another a veggies on top. My wife wondered: Do you really want the fat/juice from different types of meat dripping onto another? Is that an issue? Should you have pork ribs above pork butt so that the juices are "in the family" - that is the small flavors? 

    7) Do most of you eat the meats you have smoked right away? Do any of you cook up a batch of different things and then refrigerate or freeze your smoked products for future use?

    8) For those of you who have never smoked before, say, a year ago, if you had it to do all over again, would you buy your electric smoker again knowing what you know now? 

    Any other input you'd like to offer would also be appreciated. I think that's it from my end, for now.

    Thanks, in advance, for your feedback!

  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hello SNazz, after reading your post I can understand why you asked about the multi meats at the same time. This place is full of smoke Guru's. I have a MES, I will only tell you what my experience or my thoughts are. May here have much more experience and insight. But I will try.

    First and foremost there is no wrong way, only the way you find that makes you happy. Smoking is about exploring new ideas to see if they are better than your current way until you decide you have mastered your smoke. Get a notebook, keep notes so you'll know exactly what you did, and what you want to do, and why.

    MY opinions not necessarily in any order.

    Wow…. I have a MES30 w/o the window, why? Because I thought the glass would be useless as well as a heat sink. I don’t know that is true, but it was why I went with the metal door. You are smoking its about patience, enjoy it.

    I went with a separate RF because I learned my lesson long ago when stereos had a turntable, 8 track, and tuner combined. When one broke you were out everything getting it fixed. You may want to upgrade a better bigger RF or Smoker what then? Just my thinking, Besides I had an old RF already. Multiple meats multi- Rfs. Although they do make a double which I think would be handy as pockets on a shirt. You do know folks smoked long before there were thermometers, but they sure makes life easier.

    I only clean the grates, everything else is just smoke I figure, sort like a permanent cure. You spill or drip, clean it up. I am sure the site will have some type of USDA recommended cleaning info. I am cooking for me and my friends, if I get the screamers its my fault.

    Its electric, would you use the hairdryer out in the rain? Use it in a covered area. Even the Pro’s set up a tent.

    A-MAZ-N products is an addition that can be used with any smoker, it’s like an auxiliary smoke generator for even more smoke. You do not have to use one, but it sure makes life nicer. And yes a mini torch will again make life easier.

    Where ever you set up the MES you’ll want a stand, approx. 2 to 3 feet tall to set it upon. It makes a great heat break as well. Use your common sense, a wind break is not necessary but again, it makes life easier. The stand makes bending over not needed, did I mention life easier?

    Few people who need/use a MES will be doing turkeys, hams, ribs, and briskets at once. MES is for the family backyard. All meats cook differently and it’s a true master who can time ‘em out together. Walk before you run.

    Can you say Vacuum Seal 101, till then use ZipLocks. Vaccuum Seal will be my next investment, been wanting one anyway.

    Just a suggestion, up at the top you will see a list of supplier who support the site. Click on them and no they are not there simply because they gave support, they sell quaility products. They are smoker specific suppliers. BUT with the MES and all the products the warranty is between you and them. But from what I have bought from those suppliers I have been impressed.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  3. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome , Snazz. The forum welcomes you to the Family and hope you come to call this your home for all things BBQ.[​IMG]

    To get things goin , however ,please stop in at Our 'Roll Call' and get big reception from everyone.

    Also, please add your location to your profile. We have groups for folks in different areas of the (World) and it helps in answering questions.

    Have fun and as always . . .

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