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MES, Tex, Smoking-It, or something else?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I want to get back into smoking.  I used a standard wood years ago and want to start again.  I've looked at a lot of reviews and info on this site (a wealth of info!) and here's what I have so far:

 

1. I'm looking for something around $500.

2. I prefer electric for less interaction and longer smoke times.

3. I live in the north and want to smoke in the winter (months below freezing).

4. Normally I'll be smoking for a small group.  I don't need anything huge however it wouldn't hurt.

5. I would prefer it being mobile (ie wheels/weight).

6. I may get a cover and leave it outside.  Can it stand up to the elements?

7. I would smoke pretty much everything (meat, turkey, fish, etc.).

 

 

I've narrowed it down to three smokers so far:

 

1. MES 40 ($300)

30+ pounds per load

Stainless door; everything else plastic

Digital w/ RF remote and probe

Internal light

4 Racks

Wheels/Handle

1200W Element

65 Pounds

Chips load in side

 

Pros:

Best bang for the buck.  Most tech included.  Highest rated element and lightest unit (this is a pro and con).  Side load chips help maintain temp.

 

Cons:

After adding AMNPS and door mod it is priced closer to Smoking-It and Tex.  I'm not sure about quality and longevity.

 

2. Smoking-It #2 ($429)

35 pounds per load

18 Gauge full stainless

Analog controls

4 Racks

Wheels

700W Element

79 Pounds

Chips load in main door

 

Pros:

Good overall price; seems comparable to Tex.  The door has two latches.  Seems very well built and great reviews.

 

Cons:

Analog controls, would need to add any tech if needed.

 

3. Smoking Tex 1400 ($539)

38 Pounds per load

Full stainless

Analog controls

3 Racks (can support 5)

Wheels

700W Element

93 Pounds

Chips load in main door

 

Pros:

Very good reviews, seems like the best built smoker in the group.

 

Cons:

Expensive, analog, and heavy.

 

 

Can anyone speak to the three options above?  Should I look at any other models/brands?  Are there any additional costs or add-ons I need if I buy one of the smokers above?  I'm really stuck on which one to go with.  I was leaning towards MES 30/40 but I want it to last and may just cover it and leave it outside.  I'm also concerned about failures for the unit with all of the tech.  I really like the Tex but that is the most expensive.  The Smoking-It looks like it is a Tex clone and may be the best compromise.  Thanks everyone!

post #2 of 5
I have the tex 1400. I have found it easy to use and well built. I use it once or twice a week, pork butts or tenderloins, brisket, fish (catfish or salmon)I keep mine in a small wagon like you would haul behind a lawn mower and move it from the garage to the back porch easily. I use a car jack stand to prop up the tounge of the wagon and level things out. The only issue I have had is I have to crank it in 20-30 degree weather when the wind is blowing. Wind seems to suck the heat out more than I expected but still extremely usable. The more wind protected the better but I think that is true with pretty much any smoker based on what I have read on here's when it is "cold" (Memphis, TN isn't exactly know for really cold stuff).

Based on what I have read the smokin it, the tex, or the cookshack are similar. I was going after the smokin it but found the tex local and with the shipping charges it wasn't that much ( About $30 for me) different in price. I personally feel the best accessory you can get is the maverick dual temp thermometer or something similiar makes it almost set and forget in my experience. Just learn where the temp on the knob needs to be to get the maverick to read the temperature you are looking for. The other learning experience is the amount of of wood to put in the box, start small (approx Match the size of the blocks sent to season the smoker) depending on the amount/time you want smoke.
post #3 of 5

Here is my Smokin-It #2.  LOVE it and well worth the price.  As you can see I added the cart (which is BOMB) and I also added the cord hanger and got a cover (that fits the smoker AND the cart.  Can't go wrong with this buy.

post #4 of 5
I have a mes 40 (gen 2) and if you want to set it and forget it you need to add the mailbox mod, and AMNPS. It's just the way it is. After that it's easy as can be.

Honestly if I knew all this when I bought it if have went with one of the other two you mentioned. But now that i have it all squared away I have to say it works great.
post #5 of 5
Vote here is for the smokin it line. All stainless, built like a tank, reliable. Don't worry about the wattage. The box is very tight and holds heat well. Smokes a good long time on small chunks. A great value electric in my opinion.
BTW....If you think you may like a bit more room and a larger element the #3 is only about 70 bucks more I believe. As for weight, yeah they're heavy but come with casters to easily roll.
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