Looking for Suggestions on a new Electric Smoker....other than a Masterbuilt 40" Bluetooth

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by swampmouse, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. swampmouse

    swampmouse Fire Starter

    Hey Guys,

    I am looking for some feedback on those of you who have an electric smoker or pellet grill. Specifically I would love feedback from those who have had theirs a while, and have been smoking for a while. (no offense to newbies - just looking for something tried and true, and 2 weeks of use does not really count as tried and true). 

    Let me say that I have owned a MES 30" Gen 1 for several years, and could not have been happier with it. It is an absolute tank, and has performed flawlessly! The only problem is that its too small when i have a lot of smoking to do. SO.....naturally i "upgraded" to the MES 40" Bluetooth model from Sam's a couple months ago. I will tell you that i had very high hopes based on my MES 30. I will also tell you that i am VERY disappointed with the lack of any sort of performance from the 40" BT versions.

    The smoker would not come up to temp (240) for many hours...like 5-6 hours, then had runaway temps north of 290.....I had a grease fire inside it, etc. etc!

    I had a very large smoke i was doing and had to have one, so I went to Sam's and got another one. Same problem! I took one back to Sams and called Masterbuilt and they sent me a new control panel unit and a new element for the other one, but said they thought it was the controller. I installed the control panel into the smoker, and it jumped right up to temp (smoker empty). Today i filled it back up with butts and guess what.....taking a few hours again to get to 240......yikes. I think i am done with this MES 40 BT. I WANTED this thing to be like my MES 30, and especially since i love the large spacious interior of that new smoker. I guess it just isn't meant to be.

    So, now i think i will be finding another smoker. I want one with some size to it, like the MES40. I would like to stay under $600, but might could go slightly higher if need be.

    I am considering a Traeger, but that would be north of my ideal budget for sure. I cant afford a Yoeder...or I should say my wife would not tolerate the price tag of a Yoeder........

    So for those of you who have an electric smoker or pellet grill, which one do you have, and why do you like it?

    How much food does it hold (I smoke more butts than anything else)?

    Thanks for all input!

  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just a bit of clarification...You Preheat and once loaded takes hours to recover? It is critical to have about 2" clearance all around the meat on each shelf. Opinions vary but Masterbuilt had a winner with the all stainless Gen 1 20070311 and 411 and hurt themselves messing with changes. I don't have one but the Smokin-It 3 and 3D guys register the least number of complaints...JJ
  3. swampmouse

    swampmouse Fire Starter

    Yes, I turn it on, go back inside, get meat out of fridge, put it on the racks, then go back and load the racks with meat into the smoker. Usually takes me about 10-15 minutes. My MES 30" will heat up in almost no time flat. the 40" literally takes a half day to come up to 240 degrees. Probably 5 hours or so. The element is undersized in the 40" IMO, but i think there is something  else going on. Like i said, after i switched the control panel, it heated up very quickly, but it was an empty cabinet...not sure whats going on, but i don't think i have the patience to keep fooling with it. 3 trips to Sam's already, and a repair job, and 2 smokes that took too long!

    I will take a look at the Smokin-It and 3-D. Thanks Chef! 

  4. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    You're turning on the smoker, setting your temp, and then 15 minutes later putting a load of fridge cold meat in it? You're not preheating then. Depending on the temp outside neither my 30 or my 40 reach 240 rock solid in 10 minutes with empty chambers. I can't imagine the time it would take with a full load of ~40 degree meat in it. That's going to drag your temps down something fierce and I would imagine it would take forever to recover.

    The 30 does heat up more quickly loaded or not but there's a whole lot less space there than in the 40.

    I've never had an issue with my 40 heating slowly but I always preheat the empty smoker and then load it with meat that has been brought closer to room temp.
  5. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How about looking on Craigslist for a used MES40 Gen 1 ?     I got one which was donated by a fellow member.  It needed some work to it but it now works like a champ.
  6. chuck t

    chuck t Newbie

    Well, to get back to your original question, I've had the Traeger Lil' Tex for about 4 years now and really do love it.  I also have a BGE, but normally use the Traeger because of the ease.  The temp is consistent.  The only issue I had was the control module failed under warranty, but they sent me a new, improved one within a couple of days.  Their Customer Service Line is also very good.  HTH.
  7. m00se

    m00se Fire Starter

    You could do what I did and cob an Auber PID controller on the 40. It cost me close to $200 with the additional parts from HD but it works quite well. Keeps temps within 2F and will ignore the max temp that the OEM controller maxes at. In fact it completely bypasses it.


    I guarantee you that you won't have temp problems with this set up if done correctly. Use the Amazen pellet smoker for your smoke. Sorted.
  8. swampmouse

    swampmouse Fire Starter


    It is a valid point that cold meat would drag down the temps for a while. However, not 5-6 hours. I have never had my 30" do that to me.  

    Chuck T - how many butts can you get onto your Lil Tex at one time?


  9. I have several smokers, including a Smkin-it#2 and a Traeger Lil Tex. I upgraded my Traeger controller and advise anyone looking ata a pellet grill to pay attention to the controllers. Frankly I think you would need to increase your budget to get a Pellet smoker with good capacity. I could get mayb 3 full butts only Lil TX max. Likel only 2 if they were large.

    Smokin-It makes a #3 that has good capacity for about $500. Shipping will take you to $600 or more. I think it would run circle around any Masterbuilt. MBs are great for the money but the Smokin-It's are a cut or two above. I reckon a #3 could hold 4-6 butts.

    For the record I prefer the product I get off the pellet grill. My #2 is relegated to a sausage smoker only. But a good sized, decent pellet grill will likely exceed you budget. But keep an eye out for a used maybe.
  10. I have had a Smoke-it #2 for about 3 years now.  It is a very quality solid unit, little pricey, but well worth it.  I have standard on off thermostat model purchased just before they came out with the digital.  I fretted over what it was doing for a while, measuring the rack temperatures, listening to all the hoopla about temp swings + or - a few degrees.  Then I decided, so what?  I stopped worrying and just use it.  No way I could keep a charcoal or wood burner as close as mine holds even with little swings.

    I put a few small wood chunks in, load the racks, plug it in, turn the knob to 225, wait for the meat temp beeper to go off to take the meat out. Stupid Simple. It works well, even down in colder winter smokes.

    If I had to do it again, I might get the larger #3, but the #2 works well for us most of the time.  I do not think I would pay the extra for the digital option,  I came out of the digital instrumentation Industry, so I am familiar with all that technology, but I can see not see a big advantage for it here vs cost and possible future replacement someday.

    Good luck at finding what works best for you.
  11. chuck t

    chuck t Newbie

    I've only done 2 at a time, and like what was already stated, I think you might be hard pressed to get more than 3 total, depending how big the butts were, of course.

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