How to distinguish between Masterbuilt generations?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by bej08, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. bej08

    bej08 Newbie

    Hey all, long time reader but first time poster on SMF. Gotten some good recipes/techniques from this site!

    Looking at buying a MES to replace my UDS, as I'm getting lazy and want to be able to 'set and forget.' I just read through all 28 pages on the thread about the new bluetooth MES, and learned that Gen 1 = good, Gen 2=bad, and Gen 2.5=decent.

    Now my question is, how can I tell which model generation I'm looking at? Is the vent placement enough to differentiate what I'm looking at? I've seen the drip pan and side that the door hinge is on also being mentioned, but am not sure what varies between same-generation models and what changed between generations.

    Any help is appreciated! (This is the one I've been looking at, specifically.)
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  2. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Gen 1 vent is on top, gen 2 vent is on the side. Gen 2 also has a much larger window in the front. Gen 3 has blu tooth so it's pretty easy to figure out.

    With that out of the way I have a gen 2 and with the very cheap, and easy mailbox mod and the amazn pellet smoker it works great. The master built thermo is way off but I know people with gen 1's who's thermos are way off. I haven't seen a master built thermo that's worth a crap on any of the smokers.
  3. bej08

    bej08 Newbie

    Thanks - so the vent placement is a surefire way to tell?

    This is the first I'd heard of the thermo being off on the MES. Are you talking about the digital or analog? From what I've been reading the digitals do a good job of keeping temp +/- a few degrees, but I guess if that temp is off to begin with it's not worth much.
  4. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    Water pans are different also. The Gen 1 & Gen 2.5 (Bluetooth) have similar water pans and similar vents out the top, but the Gen 1 has the controller on top and to the back of smoker and the Gen 2.5 has it on the front and even with the front trim and not on top. ... The Gen 2.0 has a different water pan that hangs off the bottom on the left side  of a slopping plate and the Vent out the side. A very late model Gen 2.0 has the vent out of the top, but still has the same water pan that hangs off the bottom on the left side  of a slopping plate.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The smokers can be set and will maintain temp, with about a +/-15° swing as the coil goes on and off, without issue. It is the built in meat probe that is rarely accurate. It is not uncommon for the read out to say the smoker is at X°F and a separate Maverick therm will give a different temp reading but most of that is probe placement. I have 2 Gen1 MES 40's which work great...JJ
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    From what I've read the 2.5 models seem to be pretty good. The BT feature has gotten mixed reviews. I've got a MES 30 Gen 1 and it's been a trustworthy workhorse for 3 years. Unbelievable the high quality of "Q" that little electric smoker puts out. I also use the AMNPS with wood pellets. Haven't used wood chips since I first got the smoker. I found out about it here on SMF.
  7. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    As I previous reported in a post somewhere in this forum but don't recall where, I seasoned my BT several days ago and smoked with it for 5 hrs this past Sunday and the temp never varied more than 3 degrees over or under the set point. It simply cruised like a car on cruise control going down the interstate. I am anxicious to see it it will continue to do that or if it will start varying more and more as it gets used again and again.
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My friend Jted pointed something out to me about the MES 30 Gen 1 that I had previously noticed but hadn't consciously registered: a few hours into a smoke the controller stabilizes the temperature instead of continuing the temp swings. I saw this in action yesterday over my 10.5 hour smoke. The MES temp more or less stayed on one temp beginning in the 3rd hour or so. I described it all in my post "My First Pork Shoulder". I monitored it all with my ET-733.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    This is common, 10 to 30+ pounds of 38°F meat will cool the MES smoker temp pretty fast once the coil shuts off. 3 to 4 hours in the meat is 140°F and the swings even out dramatically...JJ 
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Chef JimmyJ. I've never under the physics (I guess you could say) of how the MES controller works although I did figure that cold food would bring down the interior temp. But now thanks to you, Bear, and Jted I now understand why there are temp swings at times with the MES, how to deal with them, and that the temp will stabilize later in the smoke. I think Masterbuilt should have included this info in its owners manual. It would have prevented a lot of upset posts by new MES owners and bad reviews.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    No problem. All the quirks of these smokers and learning the fix is what keeps things interesting. I just added the above info to Bears post since it was related...JJ
  12. BE, I understand your dilemma.

    Master built has been trying to produce a better smoker than their Gen 1 for the last few years The gen 2 is not the greatest The 2.5 is better but not up to the gen 1. I won't comment on the Blue tooth model since I know very little about it.The smoke dampers are in different positions the gen one is on top the gen 2 is on the side and the 2.5 went back to to the  top on the left.  I think I have that right. The one thing that I know for sure is that the gen 1's are hinged on the right. all of the others are on the left. It does not matter on the size gen 2's 2.5's and the blue tooth's are on the left.

    The smoker you have been looking at the 20070910 is a gen 1. a solid starter smoker. Not the biggest but very use able. If you are smoking for more than several folks get the 40" from the start. A good model gen 1 40" is the 20070311.

    With all the master built smokers the temp sensor for the box is in a fixed  location. Temperature's will vary From one  rack to another. The easiest way to deal with this is a dual probe thermometer. That way you monitor the box temperature from the exact location you want and one probe for the meat Internal temp. A popular one is the Maverick 733 series.

     They are accurate and are  wireless  The receiver has good range. You can monitor the box and meat or 2 meats inside the house while the smoker is outside. Other members will read my post and if I am wrong they will correct me.  Jted
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015

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