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Thinking of upgrading from MES 30 G1, looking at MES 40 G1, vs Smokin-It Model 3. Advice?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

So as the title says I'm thinking hard about upgrading. I currently have a Gen 1 MES 30 (no window) and don't get me wrong I love it, but I wish I would have gotten the 40 for the increased size. I'm only cooking for two but I like to have a lot of left overs for later and I want to be able to smoke full packer briskets and full, uncut slabs of spare ribs. With the 30 I would have to cut either down to smaller pieces to fit. I'm a little sick of that.

 

I've been looking at the Smokin-It site today and have to say the build quality looks very impressive and I think I am leaning in that direction. I went half ass on my first smoker and wish I would have spent the extra to get the larger size and I don't want to make that mistake again so I'm thinking of going with the model 3 and maybe getting the cart and cover as well (what the hell, might as well do it right from the start).

 

I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone who owns the Smokin-It 3.

 

A few things I'm currious about:

 

1. How far apart is the spacing of the racks. My MES 30 they sit about 4" apart so I'm wondering how the Smokin-It compares.

 

2. I have come to love using an AMZN Pellet smoker inside my MES sitting right next to the heating element/smoke box. Will that fit next to the element/smoke box in the Smokin-It 3? I realize I may find I don't need to use the AMZN pellet smoker, but I like to have the option.

 

3. I like to fill the water pan in My MES 30 with Apple Juice which catches the drippings and absorbs the smoke and makes  what I laughingly refer to as "the love juice" which makes a really tasty finishing sauce/aju. Will a water pan or foil pan fit anywhere inside the Smokin-It 3 whithout taking up one of the 4 racks? It doesn't look like it.

 

4. One thing I would LOVE to do but just have never felt comfortable with is overnight smokes. Get it started, monitor for a little while and then go to bed. Living in an apartment I just always worry about "what if something happens?". I'm curious if I should be worried about that and if the Smokin-It 3 is up to that task.

 

5. When I bought my MES 30 I had to return 2 seperate units because the gorillas at UPS damaged them. How is the packing job on the Smokin-It? Anyone had any issues with damage in shipping?

 

5. And last, with either the Smokin-It 3 OR the MES 40 they both use a 1200 watt 10 amp element. I think my breakers at my apartment are 15 amp ( the switches have a "15" on them), but I'm not 100% sure, could they be 10? If they are is that ok or am I pushing it? As a renter, I'm not big on taking chances.

 

Any advise is much appreciated!

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 10
Kevin,
I can only address several of your concerns with out blowing white smoke.
Your first 3 questions should be addressed only by a #3 owner or past owner. Old Sarge comes to mind as a currant owner. If he does not see this send him a P/M I don't think he would mind
.
I have a MES30 and thought It would be big enough for 2. It would but I find I am cooking for 5 and 6 regularly so I see the need for a bigger unit.

Your fourth concerns are overnight smokes. Open your MES 30 door and look at the back about half way up. You will see a thin probe in the middle that is your temp sensor for the controller. On the left the nickel sized flat sensor is your Thermal breaker. It has several names depending what appliance uses it. Basically if the box temp exceeds the manufactures max temp it cuts off the power to your element. That max is north of 275. Actually at night the ambient temp is normally low so that helps. I monitored the outside surface temp on my 30 and it was now where near 150 degrees. The hottest parts were the top very near the exhaust, The chip loader area and the door at the top at the seal. You can check yours easily enough.

The fifth is the luck of the draw. UPS moves a lot of stuff and they don't care.

Now lets talk about your power requirements. You say you live in a apartment. You most likely have 15 amp breakers with the wire sized to it. You can check it by opening the panel box and it should be on the breakers of fuses. What you cannot check easily is the current load on the circuit. With a 10 amp draw from the 1200 watt element you don't have much left. You don't want to pull a full load. Most all receptacle circuits have a number of receptacles in line. I hope this helps. That Smoke-it # 3 is a great smoker. You might check out the #2 it's deeper than the MES. It is also a bit less In shipping weight and charges. The #2 has a 700 watt element but is very well insulated . I think it would recover faster than the MES 30 Jted
post #3 of 10

Kevin,

 

First a disclosure:  I do not own  SI3 or any Smoking-it smoker.  That would be my brother (a Christmas present from me to his family).  Having said that, it is a solidly built beast. I have to say that it compares very favorably with my Cookshack (CS) in quality of build. The major difference is my CS is fully digital and cost more.  A lot more. But the quality of the finished product coming out of the SI3 smoker is perfection.  

 

There are temperatures with the SI as it is analog, like the SmokinTex (which also costs more that the SI).  The swings are 20-30 degrees high/low of the set temp. This is normal. The swings are caused by the controller turning on/off the heating element. It all evens out in the end.

 

Some folks like to eliminate the swings and install an Auber digital controller. This lessens the swings to within a a couple of degrees. On my CS

the controller clicks constantly powering the element on/off. My brother has not found it necessary to add an Auber. He is good with the swings and the family is more than satisfied with the food. He is also of the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' club.

 

Below are some links.  The first deals with installing an Auber.  It is NOT necessary, but the technology is there so why not?  I include it primarily to show how well insulated the SI units are.  As for the other links: there are a lot of posts on SI here and you can glean a lot of knowledge from owners. The Facebook link provides a 5% discount. 

 

As for SI smokers, you get  larger wheels and a longer cord, both a plus.  The racks are also larger than those on my CS 066.  Full stainless steel in and out, 3 year warranty, and a very active forum.

 

As for an auxiliary smoke device, not needed. And by all accounts would not work without drilling an additional hole or two in the floor of the smoker.  That seems to be the general consensus scattered about in various SMF posts. At SI, an owner of the SI 4 says the AMNPS works fine without any additional vent holes being added.

 

I hope all this helps.  Visit the SI section here and post there as well as PM some of the owners.  DivotMaker, Chef Willie and others would be more than happy to provide info and experience.  Money is hard to come by these days.  Spend wisely my friend.

 

Dave

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/171613/installing-an-auber-controller

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/97559/smokin-it-smoker

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Smokin-it/182919855212905?sk=app_211311762253380

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. Yes, I had thought about the Model 2 based on the 700 watt 6amp element. The problem with that is that the real reason for the upgrade is space, the racks in my MES 30 are 12.5" wide by 14.5" front to back and a packer brisket will not fit (not even close lol) nor does a rack of Spare Ribs. Both need to be cut in half which I don't like.

 

The inside dimensions of the Model 2 are 15" x 15" according to the website, not not enough to really make any difference. While it still certainly is a better built unit I can't justify the money if it's not going to solve the problem that had me thinking about upgrading in the first place.

 

After doing some reading on the SI forum I am also concerned about something else with the Smokin-It smokers.... flare-ups seem to be a common problem. If I had a house with a large back yard where I could sit the unit out in the open I wouldn't care, but with my tiny patio at my apartment I can't take chances with that. I actually had a flareup in my MES when I seasoned it and had to hit it with a fire extinguisher wich caused a huge mess and scared the living sh*t out of me. Got the AMNPS after that and no problems of that type ever again. It seems the SI units will not work with that without mods (that void your warranty).

 

Gonna have to put some more thought in to this, which sucks because I almost pulled the trigger yesterday, glad I decided to do more reasearch first.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin James View Post
 

So as the title says I'm thinking hard about upgrading. I currently have a Gen 1 MES 30 (no window) and don't get me wrong I love it, but I wish I would have gotten the 40 for the increased size. I'm only cooking for two but I like to have a lot of left overs for later and I want to be able to smoke full packer briskets and full, uncut slabs of spare ribs. With the 30 I would have to cut either down to smaller pieces to fit. I'm a little sick of that.

 

I've been looking at the Smokin-It site today and have to say the build quality looks very impressive and I think I am leaning in that direction. I went half ass on my first smoker and wish I would have spent the extra to get the larger size and I don't want to make that mistake again so I'm thinking of going with the model 3 and maybe getting the cart and cover as well (what the hell, might as well do it right from the start).

 

I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone who owns the Smokin-It 3.

 

A few things I'm currious about:

 

1. How far apart is the spacing of the racks. My MES 30 they sit about 4" apart so I'm wondering how the Smokin-It compares.

 

2. I have come to love using an AMZN Pellet smoker inside my MES sitting right next to the heating element/smoke box. Will that fit next to the element/smoke box in the Smokin-It 3? I realize I may find I don't need to use the AMZN pellet smoker, but I like to have the option.

 

3. I like to fill the water pan in My MES 30 with Apple Juice which catches the drippings and absorbs the smoke and makes  what I laughingly refer to as "the love juice" which makes a really tasty finishing sauce/aju. Will a water pan or foil pan fit anywhere inside the Smokin-It 3 whithout taking up one of the 4 racks? It doesn't look like it.

 

4. One thing I would LOVE to do but just have never felt comfortable with is overnight smokes. Get it started, monitor for a little while and then go to bed. Living in an apartment I just always worry about "what if something happens?". I'm curious if I should be worried about that and if the Smokin-It 3 is up to that task.

 

5. When I bought my MES 30 I had to return 2 seperate units because the gorillas at UPS damaged them. How is the packing job on the Smokin-It? Anyone had any issues with damage in shipping?

 

5. And last, with either the Smokin-It 3 OR the MES 40 they both use a 1200 watt 10 amp element. I think my breakers at my apartment are 15 amp ( the switches have a "15" on them), but I'm not 100% sure, could they be 10? If they are is that ok or am I pushing it? As a renter, I'm not big on taking chances.

 

Any advise is much appreciated!

 

Thanks.


I own the MES 30 and I also love it but, like you an Jted, I'd like the 40-inch version for the same reasons, but that's not going to happen until my MES 30 breaks down at some point and it's too expensive to fix. I've owned it for over two years now with no real problems. It's produced some outstanding "Q".

post #6 of 10

I get the occasional 'flareup' in my CS. Also a whoomph or belch once in a while.  It is all contained in the smoker so no fire hazard.  It is momentary. And is very infrequent. 

post #7 of 10

I just did what you are loking into. I bought last year a MES30 to replace and old Redi-Smok (analog smoker no longer available, I wore three of those puppie out!) I like, I like it alot. Mine was a Gen 1. I started into hams, sausages, bacons, briskets, and ribs and realized I should not need to either cut meat in half to fit it in or do multiple smokes.

 

Liking my MES3 so much and hearing the woeful tales of the MES40 Gen 2, I was sadened I had not sprung for the MES40 in the first place. It was my southern frugal education that made me not spend those extra coins.

 

Then one day a month or so back I had the chance to buy a MES 40 Gen 1, w/ a cold smoke attachment at a sizable reducion in price. So far I have learned that the MES30 and the MES40 are 100% different animals. They both smoke well but differently.  I am learning to use the MES40 now. Its fun, but its not nearly like a MES30 with just a larger area to use.

 

I have no complaints, Takes a bit more patience, and you'll have a new learning curve, but I am looking forward to cold smoking with it thise year.

 

FYI I use the MES30, MES40, and the cold smoker all at the same time on the same curcuit. I was fine till I used the garage door opener.....LOL

 

I am currently enjoying the learning process. As with all MES you'll expect some electronic temperature deviation. What do you expect for the price? Just learn to offset it, math is no biggie.

 

I don't use water, I used water in my Redi-Smok but it was also a steamer. MES isn't. I have not needed it yet. You'll want to keep that AMPs, I am having troble getting my chip not to flash, but I have been trying them dry. Thinking maybe soaking will help. I told you its a learning experience.

post #8 of 10

Hello Kevin,

 

First off, I do have a Smokin-It #3 and have owned it for about 1.5 years now.

 

I will do my best to answer your questions below based on my experience with the smoker.

 

1. How far apart is the spacing of the racks. My MES 30 they sit about 4" apart so I'm wondering how the Smokin-It compares.

 

The default rack side rails are about 3" apart and have room for five trays. Smokin-It recently released a new 9-rack side rail for the #3 that I did purchase. I also purchased 5 seafood racks because I like to smoke large quantities of jerky and snack stix. This distance between trays on this optional side rail is about 1.5 inches. Essentially, they just took the standard 5 rail assembly and added another rail between each of the 5 shelves to get a total of 9. This is well worth it in my opinion because it gives you so much flexibility where you want your racks.

 

2. I have come to love using an AMZN Pellet smoker inside my MES sitting right next to the heating element/smoke box. Will that fit next to the element/smoke box in the Smokin-It 3? I realize I may find I don't need to use the AMZN pellet smoker, but I like to have the option.

 

I really don't think you will have the need for the AMZN with the Smokin-It smoker. They put off plenty of smoke during the smoke absorption period. Smoke can only be absorbed until the meat gets to about 140 degrees internal. So any other smoke is just piled on top and can make the meat bitter.

 

For low temp smokes like Jerky or cheese, I use the optional chip screen and chips instead of chunks. But for my normal smokes I only use chunks and have never wanted for more smoke.

 

3. I like to fill the water pan in My MES 30 with Apple Juice which catches the drippings and absorbs the smoke and makes  what I laughingly refer to as "the love juice" which makes a really tasty finishing sauce/aju. Will a water pan or foil pan fit anywhere inside the Smokin-It 3 without taking up one of the 4 racks? It doesn't look like it.

 

I use a water pan filled with Cider/Beer/Soda/Water/etc in virtually all of my smokes with the exception of Jerky, fresh sausages, and poultry. I have never used the "love juice", but that sounds like a very interesting idea.

 

4. One thing I would LOVE to do but just have never felt comfortable with is overnight smokes. Get it started, monitor for a little while and then go to bed. Living in an apartment I just always worry about "what if something happens?". I'm curious if I should be worried about that and if the Smokin-It 3 is up to that task.

 

The overnight smokes will not be a problem at all with the #3. For virtually all of my longer smokes for Pork Butts or Brisket, I start smoking around 10:00PM-12:00AM and go to bed and sleep like a baby knowing that my meat will be at the right temperature all night long and be awesome the next day. I do have a Maverick et-733 that I remotely watch the temps with, but that is only for curiosity sake and for monitoring Internal Meat Temperature. As far as the amount of smoke and worried about your neighbors, with a very small hole on the top and bottom of the smoker as the only inlet/outlets, they do not put off a lot of external smoke. This is the main reason that you do not have to periodically add wood and can get by with so little wood to begin with. You will typically only use 2-6 ounces of wood depending on the meat that you are smoking.

 

5. When I bought my MES 30 I had to return 2 separate units because the gorillas at UPS damaged them. How is the packing job on the Smokin-It? Anyone had any issues with damage in shipping?

 

The units from Smokin-It are double-packed and I have only heard of a couple of issues with shipping and all were immediately taken care of by Steve the Smokin-It owner. These smokers are truly build like tanks and the main reason why I sprung for the #3 verses the #2. I do not plan on buying another smoker for 15-20 years.

 

6. And last, with either the Smokin-It 3 OR the MES 40 they both use a 1200 watt 10 amp element. I think my breakers at my apartment are 15 amp ( the switches have a "15" on them), but I'm not 100% sure, could they be 10? If they are is that ok or am I pushing it? As a renter, I'm not big on taking chances.

 

My smoker works absolutely fine on my 15amp breakers and I have never had a problem.

 

7. In your second post, you mentioned being concerned about flare-ups. When I hear the term flare-up, I think about the juices from the meat starting on fire and charring/burning the meat. I think you were misinterpreting some of the posts, because I have never heard of any issues with flare-ups with the Smokin-It smokers.

 

What many of us have experienced and Old Sarge mentioned above is what is called the "Belch" that can occur when your wood combusts. I have had this happen and it did not affect the results of my meat at all. The "belch" is mainly evident on the #3s because of the large heating element and how quickly it brings the smoker up to temperature.

 

There are however, 2 main ways of avoiding this. The original way that we resolved this issue was by ramping up the temp instead of going full blast at 225-235 right away. Instead, start your smoker at 150 for 45 minutes or so, and then ramp up to your main cooking temperature (usually 225-235). Recently many have been foiling the bottom half of their wood chunks and going full blast from the beginning. Using either of these two methods will reduce or in most cases totally eliminate this issue.

 

And like Old Sarge said, even if this does happen it is well contained in your smoker and there is no danger externally and definitely no need for a fire extinguisher. In fact if it ever does happen, I would recommend not even opening the smoker and let it ride.

 

The one thing that I found though is that the foil method does not work for low temp smokes. For low temp smokes, you would want to use the ramp-up method.

 

 

As a final note, I know you have a post or two on the SmokinItForums community and we are very happy to have you over there. So, you already know what an active and vibrant community we have over there. I have belonged to a lot of similar forums over the years from vehicle forums to computer and household devices and the SmokingItForums site is probably the best one that I have ever belonged to.

 

This ended up getting kind of wordy, but hey you were looking for feedback and I got on a roll. Can you tell that I am excited and happy with my smoker? :)

 

Feel free to ask more questions or PM me here or on the SI forums site and I will do my best to answer any other questions that you may have.

post #9 of 10

SI #3 owner here for about 2 years.....couldn't be happier I got the SI and not the MES. I doubt I would use a MES if somebody gave it to me......Willie

post #10 of 10

SI #2 and a #3. Both work very well and very reliably. No regrets about buying either of them. Guess I second what chef Wille said!

 

Mark

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