Trying to choose...Masterbuilt?Bradley?SmokinTex?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by kelhw21, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. kelhw21

    kelhw21 Newbie

    Hi and thanks for the help in advance.
    I have been smoking for a couple years using a homemade ref smoker with a pan on top of a hotplate which works ok but hard to control the temp and needs a lot of sitting all night long. I'm trying to choose a smoker with good temp control and possibly will smoke for hours unattended. Also want it to be durable and not prone to breaking down. Is there such a beast that doesn't cost an arm roast and a leg of lamb? I'm wondering if anyone could tell me if they like or dislike the smokers above.
  2. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hands down MES. It's easy, accurate and you can set it and forget it after you get the smoke you want. Cheap to operate, about 10 dollars a month for 6 hours a day smoke. Excellent customer service, what more do you need? 4 racks, water pan, digital controls, Stainless Steel. And no modifications needed.

    And the best and most important thing for last, great results, I have smoked everything with great results. Just do a search for ronp100343 and see my pics.

    Good luck in what you choose. If you have any questions you can PM me.
    Oh, I have the MES 40" from Sam's Club.


    You can get a deal there. Buddy just bought one last week for 180 + SHIPPING.

  3. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have the "Cabela's Premium Electric Smoker" which is a Masterbuilt and it was on sale at Cabela's for $99, reg. $129 during hunting season last year. Haven't had a problem with it, set the thermo and it's on. It's a 3 grate smoker and for me and the missus it's just right to do what we can afford to put into it to eat. You're not gonna do what Ronp can do with the 40", but it smokes good and easy to clean up.
  4. I'm going to put my tuppence worth in for the bradley.

    The bisquettes make for totally controllable and consistent smoke and come in pretty much all the types of wood you'd want. I've had no problems with holding temperature either. It's nice and compact and in the states seriously low prices.
    Plus the new digital one has set and forget controls so you don't even have to fiddle occasionally with the heating element slider.
  5. erain

    erain Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    i also have a mes which i use ocaisionally for times when i dont want to tend a smoker as much. i have gotten good results from it as well except for lack of smoke ring which has nothing to do with taste. mine seems to work well and have had no trouble(knock on wood) with it but have seen others who have. but thats the price you pay for technology.
  6. evandostert

    evandostert Fire Starter

    MES has to be the best for price. I have an mes and love it. You get what you pay for 189 for a mes at bass pro. The mes is a great machine but it has that silly door seal which does not last all that long and some people have had issues with the control box. The smoke will not last for very long you have to reload it a couple of times. How much smoke to you want??? Unless you are using a very light wood like apple to much smoke just tastes bad. The smokin tex is way over built looks weighs alot more and does not use the fancy box just a nice rotary dial which I prefer. I have seen a bradley and was not all that impressed . They have a special wood disk you need to use. Looks like a joke. Funny litttle box on the side made to cost more money for a simple wood chip.
  7. evandostert

    evandostert Fire Starter

  8. My thoughts on the Bradley,My bro has one.loves it.I hAVE ONE.i LOVE has a smalll heat ele,I thinkl 500 watts,needs to be 750.........also,here in gets cold/windy,it wont hold its heat......I ended up,getting a cabinet at Walmart,putting a shelf in it and put the Bradley in it,close the doors and works pretty good.
    also the lil smoke pucks,there expensive [email protected]!! wish there was ways of makng some,maybe try some homemade ones.
    BUT it does a great job on brisket..when in controlled atomosphere,it will run steady at 225 for hours.But I still use the ET 73 probe on it as a guarantee.
    Im wondering on the other electric opr gas cabinets,how thick are they/insulated........what size heat ele?
    A friend has the gas smoker & does excellant with it.turned out some of the best Salmon I ever tasted the other day.
    hope this gives another view..I like the Bradley and i dont...I also use a GrillDome {BGE type}
  9. lol that's actually one of the selling points in my opinion.
    It means that you always get the same smoke without any hassle. The discs burn very evenly and work out pretty cheap.
    Plus you know exactly how much smoke you'll get as each disc lasts 20 mins.
    On a long smoke you might have to empty the used bisquit tray but that's pretty much it.

    I've never used anything else. I've seen some of the weber bullet smokers and they just looked way too complicated compared to the bradley.
  10. zapper

    zapper Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Tweek that old fridge smoker and you might have them all beat!

    A thermostat and or a rheostat to help control the temps if you don't already have it set up that way.

    I would say that a 10 to 20 degree temp swing when smoking large cuts is not really a problem if you are shooting for the 220-240 range. Lower temp smoking for like some types of sausage fermenting and such is typically more temp critical though

    Other than the waffer/bisquit eating Bradley (there are others too I am sure), watching the smoke and adding wood is all part of the process for electric smokers

    I have been kicking the idea of a new electric around for years. It is a tough call for sure. My advice would be to buy one and use it long enough to decide if you want to move on up to the next machine. There is no shame in owning multiple rigs.[​IMG]
  11. fishawn

    fishawn Smoking Fanatic

    MES for me, "set it and forget it", it is that easy. My good friend has a Bradley that cost about twice as much (or more) than my MES. It works
    well, but the "pucks" can be a pain to find (at least around here) and they are EXPENSIVE as well.
  12. evandostert

    evandostert Fire Starter

    Special wood disks are a pain and expensive!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  13. mrh

    mrh Meat Mopper

    I mostly use a Bradley original, and have had great luck with it. I did build a PID to control the heat which does a excellent job (It holds within 2 degrees +/- of where it is set once up to temp) The bisquettes do cost a little bit, but give consistant smoke. I can get things et up and smoking then walk away and do something else without worrying about it until it gets close to done. Like Smokin Nutz said the cold and wind will effect it, but I am sure it will do that too most smokers unless they have plenty of heat to offset it.
    I like it is what i am saying.
  14. kelhw21

    kelhw21 Newbie

    Hey thanks for the replies folks, I liked the looks of the bradley for a while, but the biscuit price could break me up. Need to figure out how to make my own sometime. Can't be that hard. I have a bunch of Frantz sawdust I could use.
    I like the size of the MES 40 inch compared with the Bradley, might get one, but the control panel looks kind of fragile.
    I made some amazing smoked salmon in my old fridge. Kind of attached to it, if I could just find a good thermostat cheap to run the hot plate I would keep it. I'm also running some ideas through my head about making a external smoke generator. That would be cool. Anybody have a good design? I saw the one Marvin made out of 2" tubing for the MES.
  15. jisgren

    jisgren Newbie

  16. kelhw21

    kelhw21 Newbie

    I thought about that but had read some about bradleys jamming up or only partially burning buscuits and wasting them. It would be ok, if it was reliable.
  17. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have built a couple fridge smokers using propane for larger sausage smokes, have a few charcoal smokers and have a 30" and a 40" MES; I have also smoked with a digital Bradley next to my 30" MES.

    In brand comparison between the Bradley and the MES I can tell you in the middle of a windy North Dakota winter the MES kept its heat setting much better than the Bradley.

    For the product cost I would choose a MES; but if a Smokin Tex is in your budget I do think they have better materials used to construct them and are better smoker. But I have no hands on experience with them. My question on the Smokin Tex is, where does it exhaust the smoke at?

    MES is a bargain at todays prices.....
  18. kelhw21

    kelhw21 Newbie

    The Smokintex and the Cookshack are just alike for the most part. From what I read on their web sites, they don't exhaust at all. They try to hold in all smoke and moisture and suggest you keep the door closed for the entire run of 12 hours or whatever. They say this makes the meat more moist and uses less wood. They say it only takes a couple oz of wood to do the job, and once the wood is gone the smoke just sits in there and penetrates. But they sure look well built.
    I kind of like the idea of pouring smoke on the meat for hours on end myself.
    Which brings up a question I have. Could someone explain the "Thin Blue Smoke" idea. I also saw someone say a lot of white smoke is not ideal.
  19. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    For the price I would say the MES is the best out there..... I am in the process of getting one.....Trying to get one off of Sam's Auction site.........Hopefully soon......
  20. smoke freak

    smoke freak StickBurners

    Cookshack is very well built in the good ol USA! The smokin tex is a poorly built Chineese knockoff for the same price. About $500 if I remember. I dont use either. MES is probably the way to go.

    Dont take my word on it, Im a stick burner.

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