My name is Bart and I live in Eden, Utah, elevation approximately 5400 feet.
I've been trolling the site for a couple of months trying to get ideas on what smoker to buy and finally joined the forum. Thanks to all of you who have posted such useful information, making my decision a bit easier.
I'm a rookie to smoking although I'm fairly adept at grillin'. I ordered my MES 40 (20070311) the other day and it should be here Monday, the day after the Superbowl. By the way, although by searching the web I've seen past deals that were better than mine, I think I got the best deal out there currently for the model I just bought. Current low was on Amazon for $347. After a couple of weeks of searching I saw that Gander Mountain had it on sale for $314 with free shipping but with a $10 upcharge for oversized shipping. At checkout I saw the line for "promotional code" and wondered if I could find a code on-line. I found a $30 off of $300 purchase and applied it, giving me a total delivered price of $296.
I've gone though many propane grills, the latest ones I own are a large Brinkman (I'm all about bang for the buck, I'd like to afford the best, but budget dictates otherwise). I've had good luck grillin on it, adding smoke packets to flavor my grilled salmon, steaks and ribs.
After a year long patio/awning project that I completed last fall, I added another Brinkman with the built in smoker in the cabinet. I had very good luck with it, making very good St Louis style spare ribs and the best chicken wings I've ever had.
The success I had inspired me to get a bigger, dedicated smoker, thus the quest and the purchase of the MES .
After reading many posts I decided to go with the 40 over the 30 for capacity. The ability to smoke full racks of ribs was the deciding factor. Every year we have a family reunion camping trip that is attended by 40 - 60 people. My goal is to do the cooking for that this year and my hope is to smoke 15 -18 racks of ribs (with the assistance of rib racks) plus some chicken thighs. I'm hoping that if the ribs are left out overnight, covered in our trailer, the temperature of the meat will come up to about 55 to 60 degrees (the overnight temperature of where we camp), making it easier for the MES to get up to smoking temp with this much meat (any thoughts or input on my plan would be appreciated).
I know that people have had some issues with the heating element on the MES and many people have modified them. I plan on viewing these posts to get ideas. Any suggestions on what to do and read about would be appreciated.
I also plan on posting my thoughts on electrical extension cords for electric smokers (I've read that it is discouraged by Masterbuilt (and possibly others).