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Reading for hours, would like some input.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, I know this question has been asked because I have been reading on here for hours now.  I want to recap what i think I know and attempt to make a decent decision with input from the experienced smokers.  I am looking for a set it and forget it kind of smoker, would prefer electric, and will likely be smoking all types of things including eventually getting into cold smoking.

 

So from what i have read on these forums, the smokers of choice seem to be:

MES 40 (Model 20070311 only?) with AMNPS

Bradley Digital 4-rack Electric Smoker

Cookshack

Smokin Tex

Smokin-it

 

There were more, but these seemed to get mentioned the most in the threads I read.

 

From what I gather the MES 40 is prefered over the 30 and I should only get the first gen model number 20070311 because the others are prone to failures.  The Bradley Smokers seem to have a bad reputation for the heating elements (that was not in this forum, but may sites I went to to read reviews had this opinion) as well as I have to buy the proprietary Bradley pucks for the smokers.  The Cookshack, Smokin Tex and Smokin-It all seem sto have 5 star ratings everywhere I go to research reviews, however the cost is much higher. 

 

So what I am trying to decide is this:

 

Of the 3 similar sized expensive units:

     Cookshack SM009-2     16" x 17.5" x 30.6"                $675      (not similar size, but the smallest they make)

     Smokin Tex 1100           12.5" x 13.5" x 17.25"           $395

     Smokin-It #2                  15" x 15" x 20"                     $399

 

the Smokin-It #2 seems to be the best bang for the buck.

 

Having said that, I cannot find the internal measurements of the MES 40 but I'm assuming its around the same size.  I have found one online for $339 and the description says it is Model number 20070311.

 

Should I go for the Smokin-It #2 for $399 plus shipping, or do I risk the possibility of lots of breakdowns and repairs if the MES is not the proper model number for $339 with free shipping?

 

Does anyone have the internal dimensions of the MES 40 for comparison?

 

Does anyone have anything to add that I may have overlooked?

 

Thanks for any and all help,

Morgan

 

post #2 of 19
Did you read about the Amazin Smokers....... they are smoke generators... The MES 40, old model, and an AMNPS work together well.... MES controls the temp and the AMNPS makes smoke.... I have the MES 30 first gen... works for me but I wish it was larger.... several mods so it works like I want it to..... smokes good grub....
Pucks are expensive...... Most electrics do not make smoke well that's why the AMNPS is so popular here..... the guy that invented them is a great member here....

He has a contest going on now...... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/164476/win-a-prize-a-day-from-a-maze-n-products-enter-here-every-day-through-6-23#post_1192499
post #3 of 19

Agree with everything that Omak says.

 

 

BTW, if you are looking for "set it and forget it" type smokers, don't forget propane smokers.  Many of us have and use them with very good results.   I have the Smoke Hollow 44" and I use an AMNTS tube smoker from Amazen Products.    I dial in my temp, load a 12inch tube and I am good for hours and hours of smoky goodness.

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
 

Agree with everything that Omak says.

 

 

BTW, if you are looking for "set it and forget it" type smokers, don't forget propane smokers.  Many of us have and use them with very good results.   I have the Smoke Hollow 44" and I use an AMNTS tube smoker from Amazen Products.    I dial in my temp, load a 12inch tube and I am good for hours and hours of smoky goodness.

 

Raises a good point here also.

 

If you are going to need a crisp skin on your smoked fowl the easiest way to do that is to get a fire breather. You need that 325+ cooking temp. Also you realize that you'll not get a smoke ring with and electric, which is fine with me because it adds nothing to the taste only the accepted appearance.

 

Just things to think upon.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
 

Agree with everything that Omak says.

 

 

BTW, if you are looking for "set it and forget it" type smokers, don't forget propane smokers.  Many of us have and use them with very good results.   I have the Smoke Hollow 44" and I use an AMNTS tube smoker from Amazen Products.    I dial in my temp, load a 12inch tube and I am good for hours and hours of smoky goodness.

 

Thanks for the input!  I wasnt really looking at propane because I finally got away from propane bottles with my natural gas bbq.  I dont want to have to start dealing with them again.  If I get really serious about smoking and I decide that propane would be a better tool for me then I will consider that option, but for now I think I will stay clear of the propane bottles.

post #6 of 19
Heres a bit more to chew on..... consider a pellet cooker for good set and forget. Real wood fuel, much higher heat limit, convection cooking. Theres a char griller pellet smoker out there that got plenty of room and is a great value at around $450. Good option to electric.
As for MES models the 0311 has great features and is one of the last models put out before they changed to the gen 2 design (never figured out why). But there are other models in the gen 1 series that were good, too.
post #7 of 19

The MES40 has 4 - 19 X 12 inch shelves and top shelf to the chip/coil box is about 20". I hang Susage from dowels resting on the top shelve rails.The other electrics you are looking at work well, but have a 1" vent and fresh air/grease drain hole. Not enough air to take advantage of the AMNPS 10 hours of smoke. None get over 275°F so One Step Chicken cooking is not possible, Chicken skin has to be crisped on a grill or for a few minutes in a 425°F oven. Not a major downside unless you will be smoking Birds most often. The positive is there is nothing more easily controlled for every other kind of meat...JJ


Edited by Chef JimmyJ - 6/14/14 at 9:32am
post #8 of 19

the only real difference between a smokin-tex and smokin-it models is price they both have analog controls.. where as the cook shack is digital. these stainless steel smokers with stainless racks are very dependable ...low cost to replace parts on the analog  models. all three models use wood chunks  about 2 -4 oz per smoke. cant go wrong with these three!

post #9 of 19

Im a Smokin-It #2 owner (former MES owner) and I will tell you it is worth the xtra $70 bucks.    It is VERY dependable......not digital so very inexpensive to repair if needed.  Also these smokers are built like tanks......very tight seals and set and forget. 

 

My .02 is why chance yet ANOTHER failure from MES products when you can have a Smokin-It, Smokin-Tex or a Cookshack??  My MES (Gen 1) died after 5 smokes with the dreaded crappy wiring in the heating element......some people have great luck with theirs.....many others do not. 

 

Scott

post #10 of 19

What PadronMan said!

post #11 of 19
Moe, morning..... have you read the smoking-it forum..... it is below..... you may have to join to ask questions... On the opening page, where the smoker is pictured..... to the right is a "join group" button... smoking-it, smoking Tex and Cook Shack are all basically the same.... Check up on how well they cold smoke...

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/groups/show/31/smokin-it-owners
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeparry View Post
 

 

Thanks for the input!  I wasnt really looking at propane because I finally got away from propane bottles with my natural gas bbq.  I dont want to have to start dealing with them again.  If I get really serious about smoking and I decide that propane would be a better tool for me then I will consider that option, but for now I think I will stay clear of the propane bottles.

 

 

Cool.  FWIW, some people have converted their propane smokers to use natural gas.   There's some discussion about it in one of the Smoke Hollow 44 threads.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the input everyone, much appreciated.  At the moment I am leaning towards the Smokin-It #2 but I am not prepared to buy just yet.  I got a suggestion to buy a smoke box for my grill while I research so I think I will keep reading and learning to make a well informed desicion when I finally decide to pull the trigger and buy my smoker.  In the meantime I will use my grill as a cheap smoker.

 

Thanks again everyone!

post #14 of 19
If you do look at the MES, you do not need that specific model number. Any of the first generation units will be fine. Just be sure the control is toward the front (not the rear) and the vent is on the top (not the side).
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post

If you do look at the MES, you do not need that specific model number. Any of the first generation units will be fine. Just be sure the control is toward the front (not the rear) and the vent is on the top (not the side).

I believe all the 1st Gen models have the Controller on top in the Rear and a top right vent. The gen2 Has controls Up Front with a side vent...JJ

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

I believe all the 1st Gen models have the Controller on top in the Rear and a top right vent. The gen2 Has controls Up Front with a side vent...JJ

Just be aware......mine MES was a Gen 1 and it failed after 5 smokes.  Tripped GFI.......and controller also failed.   Now Gen 1 certainly has less issues then the crappy Gen 2.....but just letting you know it's not failsafe to have a Gen 1

 

Scott

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post

I believe all the 1st Gen models have the Controller on top in the Rear and a top right vent. The gen2 Has controls Up Front with a side vent...JJ
Thanks for correcting me Jimmy, I did indeed misstate it. Control should be in the top rear. Point is stainless sides or painted, specific model, all not critical, just avoid the new Generation 2 models.
post #18 of 19

PadronMan...You had an issue after a few cooks, that sucks. Mine is 3 years old and just started acting up and is most likely my fault. Bearcarvers is even older with no major issues. You can read about Failures from every one of the units listed. It's the Luck of the Draw with anything you don't build yourself...JJ

post #19 of 19
As with anything human made Chef Jimmy.
Always luck of the draw when buying something electric :-)
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