first of all, I'm back! (after 8 years. being married, divorced, losing everything but my shirt and moving takes away from time for the good things in life.)
I have a dilemma - several years ago, because of space concerns where I'm crashed, I picked up a MES 30" analog (20070210) and it served me well... for a while.
yesterday, doing some pork loin, I noticed that I had to crank it all the way up to hold temp at 225F, so after pulling the meat and putting it in the oven to finish, I did some investigating.
The heating element itself seems ok, but the connections are shot, and the controller's got a short/arcing on the inside. (I keep it under a cover, on the back porch, shielded from the worst of the elements with a bit of a windbreak)
after looking it over, my choices are going to be either replace the element and the controller unit (which I'll have to do an aftermarket, as masterbuilt says they don't stock the parts for it anymore) - not really a big deal, except I have no idea which aftermarket part would be best to repair it with. I have been looking at the idea of the old smokey element and controller - old smokey element and rejiggering the side a bit so it'd fit.
What's you guy's experience with this element/controller? (I don't have any other mods done on the smoker)
My other choice would be to put it on the curb with a 'free, take it' sign on it (with a note saying 'heating element and controller broken) and pick up a new one when some of my student money comes in (I evidently have an allowance for 'entertainment' and this entertains me, so...)
I could get a new unit.
because of my living situation (live with my elderly mother as a caregiver) I don't have a lot of spare room, and an actual flame is out. ( I can do a flame, but with her possibly having an emergency, I can't risk leaving one unattended, and with the space concerns, If I went with flame, I'd have to leave it more exposed than the space I have for one now)
so I have a shortlist of requirements
-under 300$ (350$ tops)
-electric (top preference given the location)
-cabinet style /heavily/ preferred
-wide range of heat would be a bonus (I can always jigger a little for cold smoking, but I kinda like a smoky flavor on baked goods or roasted veggies now and again, or to be able to up the temp and crispy some chicken skin, etc)
-holds heat evenly/works well (don't want to have to spend as much as the smoker itself in modding it to make it work)
-it doesn't have to be mobile, as it has a place to live and doesn't get scooted about.
-don't care about a window
-don't really care too much about Bluetooth connectivity, digital controls, etc
I've been digging a bit and I keep seeing people talking about the digital masterbuilts, but I'm seeing as many bad reviews as good, so I'm wanting to pick you guys' brains.
I started cooking meat in a hole in the ground, and so far I've gone up from there over the last 25 years through a grill, a charcoal box, later adapted with a hotplate, a UDS, and finally the MES. I don't care for propane (especially with my tendency to pick up static electricity)
and it's good to be back here!