Originally Posted by eastwa
Have been lurking for awhile, I have done the soldering iron / tin can method for smoking cheese, and then stepped up to the AMPS 5x8 placed in a Little Chief smoker cabinet... works great for smoked cheese by the way.
I would like to try for more quantity, and try my hand at various meats. The MES 30 will be enough for my needs capacity wise. I missed out on the holiday sales, but found this in my email today for $135 delivered:
EDIT: Saw that outside links are not allowed - it is at Gander Mountain.
From searching here, this is the Gen 1, and seems to be a reasonable price.
It has the older electronics panel, not the current rounded version.
Gander Mountain can not confirm the Masterbuilt stock number, so I have a few questions.
Can I place my AMNPS in the bottom next to the element as others have done?
Does this unit have the 800 or 1200 watt element, and is the element replaceable?
Am I missing anything? I am about to hit the buy button...
Another edit: Finally got through to their customer service. It is the #200770910.
Seems to about the same price as Black Friday, and was a popular item here at that price. They have 15 in stock, soon to be 14. Will post a photo when it arrives.
Outside links aren't allowed? People here post links to Amazon all the time but I read that Jeff Phillips gets a payment for those or something. Today I posted a link to a ThermoWorks video on how Thermapens are made. If I'm breaking any rules I'm sure a moderator would let me know.
Yep, that's MES 30 Gen 1 is the same kind I bought over two years ago: black, no window, rectangular control panel on top. It has an 800 watt heating element. Add the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker for hot and cold smokes and you're all set.
The heating element is replaceable and there's at least one You Tube video showing how it's done. You can order a heating element from Masterbuilt and it comes with written instructions on how to install it.
I paid $189 on Amazon because I didn't want to wait for a better sale. $135 is an outstanding price and the lowest I've seen. A couple of other retailers were selling the redesigned version of the Gen 1 (different cosmetically but with the controller still on top) during Xmas for that same price. It's among the best purchases I ever made. Buy it and you'll be producing barbecue that will compare in look and taste to what the big boys and restaurants put out. But make sure you have at least one good remote therm with probes like a Maverick ET-732 or 733. I also have a good instant read therm.
If I'd had the extra cash I would've bought a MES 40 just because ribs and larger cuts of meat push up against both walls on the racks when first placed in the smoker. But after cooking a few hours they always shrink down and the MES becomes plenty big for them. Besides, I usually cook for 2-3 people so he MES 30 is perfect. Besides, it's smaller size makes it easily portable (I bungee cord mine to a small hand truck) and it easily sits on top of a small kids' card table I use as a stand.