Looking for a better electric smoker

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tatts4life, May 17, 2014.

  1. Right now I have a Char-broil smoker roaster that works really good but I'm not happy with the shape of the cooking area and want to get a better one. Right now my smoker has round cooking basket that can cook only two ten pound pork butts at a time. I would love to have a smoker with a large cooking area and has a bunch of racks so I can cook a wide range of meats. My charbroil doesn't have the ability of letting me cook ribs the way most people would laying down and doing the 3-2-1 method. I have to hang them from the basket.

    Also what is the normal range for smoking meats. I've read a little bit about the MES and it looks like it can go as low as 100 degrees and only goes as high as 275.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I own 2 Old Gen MES 40's. Unfortunately unless things have changed, only the older models work well. This limits which model you buy and where. The most popular model is the MES 40 Model # 20070311. It is the only 40 inch model that both the body and door are Stainless Steel. The others have Black painted bodies with Stainless doors, with or without the window. Search this model for the best buy. There are other Electric smokers from Bradley, good smoker, only slightly more expensive, but you burn their expensive proprietary Pucks. Then there are models from  Cookshack, Smokin Tex and Smokin-it but to get a comparable size smoker, these cost many times more the price of the MES 40. The rest are pretty much Crap. Good luck with your quest...JJ
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  4. Sounds like this might be the one I'm looking for. I take it this model doesn't have the heating element issues like I've read about on the forum? Those other smokers look to be WAY out of my price range. Also back to one of my other questions, how high do I want my smokers temp to go to? Is 275 pretty much the max I would want to look for?
  5. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    I also have the first gen MES 40. You can still find them around. Last time I looked, they were still available on Amazon. I see no advantage of the one with stainless sides. Unless you leave it out uncovered year round and fear it rusting, it makes no sense to spend extra for SS sides. It doesn't make it last longer or work any different. The inside surface of both units is identical, so it just a difference in appearance.

    If you go with the MES, do yourself a favor and order a Maverick dual remote thermometer, and A-Maze--N-Pellet-Smoker (AMNPS 5x8).
    See http://www.amazenproducts.com
  6. I was all ready planning on buying an A-Maze-N pellet smoker so I could cold smoke in the future. That was also a reason for looking for an electric smoker that was fridge shaped. Is the wood chip burner on the MES really bad? Sounds like the thermometer on the unit isn't that good either?
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    JJ covered you pretty good on your other questions.

    As for the MES chip burner-----IMHO---If you want to hang close to the smoker & put chips or chunks in all the time you can get Great smoke half the time, too heavy a smoke 1/4 of the time & no smoke the other 1/4 of the time, just like with other electric smokers. It's the nature of the beast.

    Or you can get an AMNPS like I did 4 years ago & smoke Happily Ever After in the Enchanted Smoker World. [​IMG]

  8. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Basically if you find an MES with the exhaust vent on top and not on the side you'll be ok. Just be sure to verify the model before buying. Some sites are using a pic of the older units and selling the new models. The new generation 2 models have issues......beware. Having said that take a good look at the smokin it line. Their prices are very close to the mes and lots of happy owners.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Academy Sports and Outdoors still shows the older photo on their site. They may still have the generation 1 with remote, window, and replaceable elrment. Give them a call and get a model number. There are several model numbers that you may be happy with. I know they had the 0311 around the first of the year.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There are times, your in a hurry, or some meats, smoking Chicken, that it would be nice to have a smoker that goes up to 350°F. The MES can be set to 275 but will most likely be running closer to 290-300°F. This does a pretty good job on getting Chicken skin crisp but not always. Most meats, Ribs, Butts and Brisket are great smoked between 225 and 250° and Cured Sausage and meats  like Kielbasa, Canadian Bacon and Ham requires 100 to 170°F. So if you are always doing 20 things at the same time and eat mostly Chicken, there are better choices, Propane for one. If you can wait 16-18 hours for a Butt to get done and plan to make some tasty Sausage. There is no easier smoker to do the job unattended than Electrics and the MES is the best value, affordable and a great unit for the money...JJ

    BTW...The Smokin-it #3 is a great unit and a similar size, but it cost anywhere fro $100 to $200+ more. It only goes to 250°F and does not have the very nice Remote to control things from the comfort of your chair in the middle of the winter.
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Boy that really is small !!!

    Like JJ said the MES is fine for all kinds of meats, and as far as Chicken goes, IMO 275* is high enough.

    You can go to my Step by Step Index-------Just click on "Bear's Step by Steps".

    Then scroll to Poultry, and click on either of the "Chicken Thighs" Smokes I made there. The skin was perfect IMO.

    My MES 40 goes to about 280* when set at 275*, and like JJ said some go higher.

    However some only got to 250* when they're set at 275*. If you get one that doesn't get to 275*, I would send it back because you paid for 275*.

    If it goes to 325*----Enjoy the extra degrees!!

    So if you get a First Generation MES, you should also get an AMNPS. Then you'll have a perfect smoking combo----A smoker that goes to where you set it, and a smoke generator that will give you perfect smoke for up to 11 straight hours without touching it.

  12. LOL told you. Yeah I can smoke two 10 pound butts at a time but that's it. And if I want to smoke ribs I have to smoke them while hanging which doesn't work too well. I would like to be able to smoke ribs and some other meat at the same time and my smoker just doesn't work. Also the AMNPS and maybe a mailbox will be my first purchase and the dual thermometer like somebody else mentioned.

    Oh also what sucks about my smoker is I have to add a handful of chips every 30 minutes which sucks. When I would make my pulled pork I would smoke starting around 6 or 8 in the evening until midnight or until I was tired. Then when I wake up in the morning I would have to struggle to get the chips lit again so I could start smoking again.
  13. chiefwej

    chiefwej Smoke Blower

    The dual probe Maverick thermo,
    I used it a few times and confirmed the accuracy of my MES within 5-10 degrees. Now I have two meat probes on it, and with the built in one in the MES, I can monitor the internal temp of three items simultaneously. Sometimes it's surprising how similar sized briskets can require different cook times.
  14. That's pretty cool I'll have to remember that for the future.
  15. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    I highly recommend you check out the smoking-it #3 as suggested by others. I gave up on my older model 30 MES after repairing wiring at the heating element several times and it finally got to where it went to full heat and stayed there no matter where you set it. I will say that it gave me 5 years of service before it finally was replaced.
  16. Have you or anybody else used the AMNPS with the smokin-it #3? I would really like to be able to use that since it can last up to 11 hours.
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As far as I know, and from what I have read, the Smokin it smokers do not have the air flow for it to burn ..... Some have drilled larger holes for inlet and exhaust to get more air flow......

  18. I would say this statement is not true.....well maybe not completely.  I had the MES 30 with the vent on top.......piece of crap died after 4 smokes (tripping GFI)  I refused to have to "fix" a smoker that should be working.  I dumped it in the dump and bought a Smokin-It #2 (you could go with a #3 to keep price down). 

    Also in answer to the smoke generators not working in the Smokin-It I have found there is NO need for it.  My chunks will last through the smoke and I have never had need for MORE smoke.  I have done 15 hour smokes that were wonderful Q in my #2. 

    Do yourself a favor......don't go cheap or you will spend more in the long run replacing junk!!!
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I never tried a Smokin-it, so I can't tell about it. My Son had one that worked fine, except the top vent, which was right in the middle of the top used to drip down on his food.

    He needed to add chips and/or chunks often like any electric smoker, and the smoke was never consistent, just like any other electric smoker.

    My MES 40 is over 4 years old, and I've never had any problem with it. The Amazing Smokers complete the circuit making an Awesome smoking machine. I can keep perfect temp & just the right amount of smoke for up to 11 continuous hours (Bacon, Pork Butts, Brisket, etc) without touching anything.

    There are some Gen #1 MES smokers that have had problems, just like anything else, however the Gen #2 has a much, much greater chance of having problems.

    Last edited: May 31, 2014

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