Originally Posted by Bearcarver
Masterbuilt Smokers (Bear’s Thoughts & Findings)
Before I start, I want to say the following are my findings & my opinions. Not all Smokers are alike, and not all people look at things the same way. Some may have success where I haven’t & some may have had problems where I haven’t. However after posting & reading many threads & posts about the MES smokers over the years, I believe many people will agree with much of my findings below. I’m hoping this information will help some of you when you have to decide which MES Smoker to purchase.
MES 30, Gen #1:
Back about 6 years ago, I bought my first Masterbuilt Smoker. It was an MES 30 Gen #1, all black exterior, with the squared corner Digital control box on the top back of the smoker. It worked Great, and I loved it, except for the size. Most of the time I only cook for the two of us, but I didn’t like having to cut Rib Racks and Briskets in half, and I really hated only being able to smoke 7 pounds of my Bear Sticks at one time.
The only trouble I ever had with that smoker was when one of the Digits on the control Read-out stopped working. By that time it was no longer in Warrantee, but Masterbuilt sent me a replacement control box, Free of charge. They said they wanted to look into it to see what the cause was. Other than that the only weakness this one had was the right side was nearly always hotter than the left side, and I had always said the top Vent should be in the left side of the top, instead of the right. I figured then that would balance the heat from right to left.
I ended up selling this smoker cheap ($50) to one of the guys who works for my Son, after getting my MES 40.
MES 40, Gen #1:
Then about 1 year later, I got my MES 40 Gen #1, all SS, with Remote Control & Glass window in the Door. This thing worked Great for 5 years, and I smoked an awful lot of Great tasting food with that Smoker, until the Heating Element connector corroded off. It was easily repaired with a new connector & a little solder. The only other problem I ever had with that smoker was the right side being hotter than the left side. I was able to level that left to right heat difference, by adding a piece of Aluminum in the bottom right side, above the heating element. I could raise & lower the left side of that sheet to push heat over toward the left, and I always said the top Vent should be in the top of the left side of the smoker instead of the right, and that would probably fix that heat balance. The main problem here is both the Heating element and the Top Vent are on the Right, so the heat wants to run straight up the right side, unless you use a deflector. This Smoker still works Great.
MES 40 Gen #2:
Then a few months after my Open-Heart Surgery, I was asked by Masterbuilt if I would be willing to test their new Smoker, if they would send one to me. They said there was mixed reviews on it, and since I was well versed on the Generation #1 Smoker, they would like me to test it out, and give them an honest review of it, comparing this Gen #2 to my old Gen #1. They would also like any suggestions as to what I would do to improve it, if anything. I agreed to do the testing, and it was delivered that week.
I put it together, and swapped positions with my Gen #1 on my Smoking Porch. It had a problem with the control, but I managed to get it up to temp, and did all kinds of tests, mainly for balance of heat from left to right, and some from different heights. After a few days of testing, I notified MB, and told them what I had found. They were going to send me a new controller, but I told them not to bother, because the heat differences were too much for me to want to use this Smoker, and I’ll just go back to using my Gen #1.
However I told them I would still give them my suggestions to improvements that could be made:
#1 Get rid of the slanted Drip Plate with the small water pan hanging from it.
#2 Replace that Drip Plate with a full width Water Pan, similar to what is in the Gen #1 Smoker.
#3 Remove the Top vent in the left side wall, and put a top vent like the Gen #1 has, but in the left side of the Top, instead of the Right.
#4 Leave the door hinged on the left side the way the Gen #2 is, instead of the right side, like the Gen #1 is.
They thanked me for my testing, reporting back, and for the suggestions, and told me they would send me one of their new model, that would have some of my changes included in it. I wasn’t too sure that would ever happen, but sure enough, I got it a couple weeks ago.
MES 40 Bluetooth, Gen # 2.5:
So the one they sent me is the MES 40 Bluetooth “Elite”, all black with the Glass in the door. It has 6 racks in it instead of 4, and it’s without the legs. (Legs wouldn’t work good with my setup anyway)
Every one of the suggestions I made above is incorporated into this smoker, and it seems as though they have served their purpose. I did various tests, mostly temperature balance test, and I couldn’t believe the results. After recording 126 temperature readings overall, I can say that this one outperforms all others in the heat balance department by far, including my Gen #1. The initial over-run is easily eliminated in a very short time, and when I did the testing at my most used Temp of 230°, I found the MES digital read-out to be about 15° lower than my Maverick readings. That’s closer than my Kitchen oven was when I checked it, and I don’t find it a big deal to set my MES at 215° to get my meat to be Smoking in a Temp of 230°.
Now here’s the part I really like. After putting a Maverick Smoker Probe on both the Left & Right sides at the same time, I set the Temp to 215°, because I wanted an average of 230° on rack #3. In a very short time the heat stabilized, so that the MES Readout cycled from a low of 213° to a high of 217°. These temps come from the MES heat sensor, which is in the center of the back wall of the smoker. At this same time, the heat on the Left Side was cycling from a low of 228° to a high of 232°. And as hard as it is to believe, the right side was also cycling from a low of 228° to a high of 232°. After watching & recording it for hours at different Temps, I watched this cycling for about 20 minutes. Then tiring from the hours of watching & recording, I took an hour break, and went in the house to my recliner. Then after that hour, I went back out to see what it was doing, and it was still cycling with those exact same temperatures. I had seen enough to make this report, and this is the report I gave to Masterbuilt.
I couldn’t believe how this Smoker cycled from 228° to 232° for hours, making that average the 230° I wanted, and both sides were the same Temp without using a makeshift heat deflector to balance it out. IMHO, A heat cycle range of 4° is Amazing!!!
I did not hook-up to Bluetooth, because I don’t have anything to do it with, and I have no problem going out there to the smoker to make my settings & changes, and I like to check on how much smoke I’m getting at certain intervals anyway. However, my Son said he might have something I can use & he’ll install the App.
So those are my findings over 6 years of MES use.
Hoping this helps some of you,