Talk me out of getting an electric smoker!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by aintrite69, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. aintrite69

    aintrite69 Fire Starter

    Ok so I just got into smoking, and at this point I have a Smoke Hollow PS9500 4-1.

    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/smoke-hollow-4-in-1-combo-grill/prod3920115.ip

    I have done all the modifications to it and like it so far, but it is alot of work to keep the temp consistent. I'm kinda lazy anyway so I'm thinking of getting an electric smoker. I'm leaning towards getting Smokin-It #1 for the mere of fact of I can't possible justify (to me or my WIFE) spending more than $300 after just buying the Smoke Hollow. Well besides it's easier.LOL I do have a couple questions though.

    1. How big of a turkey will fit in one of these?

    2. Is this worth getting one of these instead of an MES?

    3. How long will this last?

    4. Or should I just shut up, quit crying about having to get up every 30-60 minutes to tend to the fire?

    Thanks for any input and opinions you guys have, in advance.
     
  2. Answers

    1.  I have a Smokin-It #2 and I have done a 20 lb turkey.  You should be able to fit one in the one you are looking at as well.

    2.  Is it worth it??  HELL YESSSSSS.  Go with quality and skip that MES stuff they are selling.  No mods needed to the Smokin-It line.

    3. My brother has had his 5 years and I'm on one year......should last as long as you take care of it.

    4.  Buy the damn thing......why sit around and tend when you can set and forget......and drink. 

    Scott
     
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I used to enjoy the quiet of tending the fire, Classic Rock on the radio and a cooler of cold beer next to the chair...BUT...My patients and the beer only lasts 8 hours max and I also like to smoke year round. There is NO WAY I am doing 15+ hours in January!!! I have 2 Gen 1 MES 40's. The Smokin-It line is nice and are reliable, but I would need the #4 for what I smoke and $1400 is way out of my price range...JJ
     
  4. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I still have my old offset stick burner. It is quietly sitting on the patio.  I switched to electric a couple of years ago and love the simplicity  and the fact that I do not have to tend to it.  No more adding fuel, rotating meat around the chamber, etc. Long overnight smokes are effortless.  The SI line are probably the smoker that gives the most bang for the buck.  Out of warranty, their replacement parts are less expensive than SmokinTex and Cookshack.  And from the get go, they cost less. Their accessories also cost less. My brother has had is SI3 for a couple of years and has had zero issues.  It took a while for him to get used to the temperature swings (read the FAQ of the smoker site be it SI or ST) but after that, smooth no worry sailing and great food. SI is a good solid smoker with a very strong and loyal following.  Shipping however, by FedEx is not cheap although it is quick.

    You will get what you pay for. Check warranties. As for what size turkey you can get into an SI1, I cannot say although someone here or at SI may have an answer.  And you can always smoke/cook less in a large smoker but can never cook/smoke more in a smaller smoker. Sometimes but not always it is best to go one size larger than you need today, just in case.
     
  5. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Smokin It makes nice unit. Great value for the money. But you may want to consider the #2. And forget the mes gen 2 models.
     
  6. aintrite69

    aintrite69 Fire Starter

    Ok first off I guess IF I drank we definitely wouldn't be having this conversation (I would just tend the fire and drink). I had to quit that as I liked having TOO much fun. I wish I could justify the extra 120 bucks and get the #2 but I would have a serious ration of shit from wife over that. I have told her I am getting one that's about $300 and she seemed half way fine with it, so I'm fine with not stirring the pot anymore than I already have.

    I really like the fact of just putting your food in, press a button, spin a knob, comeback in a few hours and get your food out. 
     
  7. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The SI1 will cost more than the $300 you are wanting to spend. FedEx is expensive and that is the way Steve at SI ships them. It is quick, but expensive.  He does offer PayPal, so if you are set up with PayPal and split payments over time, you should be ok.  It won't hurt as much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  8. aintrite69

    aintrite69 Fire Starter

    Shipping can't be to much more than $50-$60 I hope. It's not that I can't go a penny over $300, I just don't want to go $450-$500. I know how that works with me. My rational thinking is "well with shipping then the unit cost almost as much as the next model", then "well with shipping that next model costs almost as the next better model." Then I end up spending $600-$700 instead of the $300 or $350.
     
  9. Some notes on MES vs Smokin-It #1:

    MES Pros:

    Larger internal volume, you can get an MES 40 for about the same cost, the 40 comes with 3 racks.

    You can add wood chips for more smoke without flapping the front door, which drops the temperature.

    Auto shut-off.  The shut-of timer is programmable.

    Built-in light with the MES 40.

    Built-in meat thermometer with the MES 40.

    It can cook large stuff, such as a rack of ribs without having to slice the rack in two.

    1200 watt coil recovers temperature quickly, should you open the door.

    MES Cons:

    My meat thermometer is flaky, so I use the Maverick ET733 remote thermometer instead for convenience.

    Poor reliability track record for Gen II units (my thermometer being an example).

    Larger footprint on the patio, all that extra space comes at a small price.

    Feeding the chip feeder every hour is a pain, I purchased a pellet tray to resolve this issue.

    300 Watt coil on the Smokin-It uses less electricity. 

    If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would get the MES.  But then, I have a local Lowe's; returns are easy should I get a defective unit.

    Second time around, I would pony up the money for the extended two-year warranty.  This would give me some additional peace of mind.  The lack of shipping cost, allowed me to choose an MES 40, over the MES 30.  Lowes military discount made the price even more attractive.
     
  10. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    AintRite69 - That is the way a lot of folks think.  Might as well get the larger unit. Some do, many do not. 

    Addertooth - The SI1 now has a 400 watt element. And really, once loaded, there is no need to open the door to add more wood. What I have read on this forum and others, the general consensus is that once the meat hits 140 degrees surface temp, it ceases to absorb smoke.  The exterior cell structure is sealed.  More smoke just sort of layers up on the exterior and never penetrates.  Too much and the product is bitter.

    Yes, the MES is larger than the SI1. With the exception of the Generation 1 units, there  are a lot of reported problems with the Masterbuilt line on SMF. But Masterbuilt seems willing to handle all under warranty.  
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  11. I have the first generation MES 40 with a AMNPS and love it.

    Happy smoken.

    David
     
  12. aintrite69

    aintrite69 Fire Starter

    I have a Lowes, Home Depot, and a Sams, all about 5 minutes from my house. I have been doing quite a bit of research on this lately and the reason I was thinking of getting the SI unit was because I don't think I have read anything negative about them...yet. I don't want to get a unit that I have to modify/fix, worry about reliability, how long it will last etc etc. Thermometer wise I use a maverick 733, so I'm good there already.
     
  13. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It does seem that many users of the Masterbuilt  have a problem with smoke. I am not sure why.  And you can read about the AMNPS which handily solves this problem. And users are happy.  I would recommend PM'ing owners of the SI1 either on this forum or at Si and get their views, pro and con. As for mods, unless you want to add an Auber digital control for tighter temps (no 30 degree swings hi/low), you do not need to mod the unit for any reason. It just works.  Continue your research. And good luck.  By the way, the ANMPS will not work in a SI unit without drilling a second hole through the bottom of the unit to allow more air in. Again, no need to mod the unit.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  14. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Somkin' #3 owner here for a coupla years already. Good, solid unit....I've learned to live with the temp flucts as the end result is outstanding. I just got a pellet smoker to add to the arsenal...Char Griller $450 at Lowes. So far, really liking that to. Rec Tec offers 24 months interest free and is a real solid unit. I wouldn't own a MES with all the current issues. Just my 2 cents.....bite the bullet and get something decent so you won't have to replace it in 2 years or so.....Willie
     
  15. If you go with an MES you will have to modify it.....which adds cost to it and before you know it you are at the same cost as the SI unit. I see all these threads saying "I got my new MB and I ripped out the this and that and added a  this and that and purchased a this or that and it works fine now.....why buy a smoker YOU have to redesign to make work correctly?  If you want a unit that you don't have to worry about then pony up for the #3 and your life will be easier. 

    Tell the wife that what you currently have is a GRILL.....and you want a smoker.....tell her you will feed her marvelous Q whenever her heart desires and she should be fine [​IMG]  
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  16. divotmaker

    divotmaker Smoke Blower

    I have a SI model 1, and a model 2.  Once you see how these are built, comparing them to any of the "big box" plastic smokers is apples and oranges.  In my opinion, the SI can only be reasonably compared to Cookshack and Smokin Tex.  When you compare these 3, you'll see how much value the SI units offer.  The reason I say to compare these 3 makes is they're all constructed virtually the same; all stainless steel, with no plastic or rubber anywhere (except the thermostat dial).  All 3 are built like tanks, and (with the exception of Cookshack) replacement parts are pretty cheap.

    I first got the #1, as my reasoning was similar to yours - couldn't justify that much for an "unknown."  The #2 I have is actually a test unit from SI, and I run it with an Auber PID controller.  If I had it to do over again, there is no way I would not have purchased at least a #2.  Btw, the biggest turkey I've smoked in the #1 was 14 lbs, and not much more would have fit. 

    Head over to the SI forum (follow the link on the SI site), and see for yourself lots of real feedback from lots of loyal owners.  Ask questions there, too!

    One more thing - shipping rates are set by FedEx, and Steve at SI does not mark the shipping rate up.  It just is what it is, but you only have to bite the bullet on it once.
     
  17. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Amen and then some to all of the above!
     
  18. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Aintrite,

    You came to the wrong place to try to have someone talk you out of getting a new smoker. Not a single poster even tried. Instead, they were doing the opposite, trying to talk you into it.

    Did you really want someone to talk you out of it, after all? I am still laughing. It's like an AA member going to a bar looking for a drunk to talk him out of a drink.
     
  19. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    In fact, I didn't want or need another electric smoker, now I'm not so sure.
     
  20. divotmaker

    divotmaker Smoke Blower

    Uh oh...You're onto us!  Seriously, though, I absolutely love my SIs.  The convenience-factor is off the charts, and it allows me to smoke something 1-2 times a week.  I use it more than I ever thought about smoking with charcoal or stick burners.  Nothing wrong with that, if you're into the whole "fire fight" thing; I'm not.  I just want really good Q, with the least amount of prep and cleanup.  The SI smokers allow me to do that!
     

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