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Another fine MES you've gotten us into

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just saying hello. Ordered my new MES from Walmart online (Alas the Sams Clubs locally don't have their larger model in stock, and won't ship them from those that do.) Still Walmart has them for ~$175 and free shipping to my local store.

Haven't gotten to smoke too much recently, though when I have its been raiding my friend's backyard to use his Primo Oval.

I'm looking forward to the ease of use of the MES (though frankly the Oval is pretty easy to maintain for a charcoal smoker). It was actually its well insulated nature that decided me in good part. Right now I live in an area that doesn't get too cold, but expect to be back out East soon enough and want to be able to smoke without too much headache in deep winter. I'll be giving updates once it arrives. Mostly wanted to introduce myself to the community

A couple quick questions I suppose.
  • When setting it up, how much clearance behind and above would you all recommend? Though low temp, don't want to be risky.
  • How do people address the concern of extension cords and using an electric smoker when its wet out? (Similarly do you need to provide rain cover for the smoker itself to protect its electronics and digital screen?)
  • Does anyone use remote probes to confirm the built in thermometer? And how much variance do you get in temp between the low and top racks would you say?
Take care all, and look forward to chatting with all of you more.

post #2 of 8
Nice title! Should have been posted in Roll Call...but... Welcome to SMF!
And built in 'moms are typically junk.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
That's my general view, but noticed folk here don't talk about probes much with their MES, so had me curious, and I figure best to look foolish by asking, than look foolish by wrecking a nice piece of meat :)
post #4 of 8
Masterbuilt has included safe operating instructions with the owners manual....No one should advise you to do other than what they recommend.

That said I can tell you what I do with mine even though I don't recommend or advise that others do as I do.

I use it indoors in a metal and wood shed on a Formica top that is attached to the exterior wall of the building and is 30" above a concrete floor. I shove it back to within 5" of framing lumber that supports the metal exterior of the building. There is a large fire extinguisher mounted nearby in the event that the unexpected happens. I am very careful about grease buildup inside the smoker and clean the bottom removable items with a high pressure washer each time that it has been used. The washer is great for cleaning the grates also. When done washing just put them back in the smoker set the timer for 1 hour @ 220 and presto everything is dried and rust free.

The top clearance is all the way to the roofing rafters. Just open the doors and windows if the smoke builds up too much.

I do recommend the following items.

Yes I would protect the entire unit from rain, snow or fog with a suitable covering. Even if you have the stainless outer shell model the electrical parts need protection from the elements.

Remote probes are great to check the temp differentials you are interested in. After that just need to use them for monitoring the internal temps of meats. Yes there are variables between grates but you will find the average over a cooking time to be negligible and of very little concern.

Welcome to SMF and post in roll call sometimesmile.gif
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback.

re: probes, that would normally be my plan, so I'll stick with the standard.

re: cover. Darn. I was hoping it was more weather resistant being an 'outdoor' product and I was missing something. Guess I'll figure out a little shed something or other.

re: Cleaning. So you don't even bother to clean the drip pan and such in a dish washer? Just a quick blast and wipedown? Either I suppose is easy enough.

Thanks again :)
post #6 of 8
The better half here will not allow putting the smoker parts in the dishwasher.icon_razz.gif

Wish she would as it is rather cold sometimes getting the power washer outicon_redface.gif

Surely think the dishwasher idea would work goodicon_exclaim.gif

Might get a large trash container and turn the thing upside down over the MES add a bungy to tie it down and you got it.
post #7 of 8
Welcome! I think the MES is the easiest smoker I have ever used and produces consistently good BBQ. Other posters have had some trouble with the built in thermo not being accurate. In mine the built in thermo is off by about 10 degrees i.e., when I set it at 275 it is 265, and at a setting of 210 it is about 200. Once I measured that difference I just set it accordingly. Outside temp here has not affected the performance of the MES. Opening the door does greatly affect the temps. Mine loses 40 degrees each time I open the door and takes 30 minutes to recover. I only open the door once, after 4 hours to replenish the water. I have had briskets done in 8 hours and others done in 14 hours. It's just the different amount of fat and age of the beef.

One thing to be aware of is the "poofing" effect. If you place a full load of wood chips in the unit while it is coming up to temp you can get a "poofing" noise coming from the chip pan. It's quite noticable. The element heats the wood so hot that it ignites with a "poof" and quickly burns all the oxygen and goes out. Then repeats a few seconds later. If you open the door, it can flame up. Just let the unit come to full temperature before adding wood. Use only a small handfull at a time. Smoke will begin in less than 5 minutes. It helps to put boiling water in the pan so you don't delay the unit pre-heating.

I wouldn't use an extension cord if you could help it. If you do, size it for the distance and watts the MES needs or you could damage the MES or overheat the extension cord. You would need a large gauge cord. I bought 12 gauge wire and conduit and extended my outside outlet 20 feet down the wall so I could plug it in without an extension cord. It cost only a little more than a heavy gauge extension cord.

My unit is never more that warm to the touch so I have it under the patio cover right next to the brick wall of the house. I can lay the plastic thermometer body right on the top to monitor the meat temps. I too would protect the controller from rain. It's also good to protect the floor from any leaks, I use a mat beneath it.

I clean the bottom pan and racks in the dishwasher after brushing off the items with a grill brush outside. The water pan gets covered on the bottom with heavy smoke and if you put it in the dishwasher you will be cleaning smoke particles off every thing else washed with it. I scrub it outside only.

You're gonna love making great BBQ in the MES! I've done turkey, chicken, pork loin, pork butt, spare ribs, salmon, sausage, and potatoes. All was better than the local BBQ joint. Good Luck!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Excellent Customer Service

As I mentioned in another thread, the smoker came yesterday. Tomorrow I'll be doing some goat, ABTs, and fatties.

However, I have to say, Masterbuilt is amazing customer support. The plastic trim at the top left of the door came heavily cracked. Clearly it had gotten bumped hard in shipping.

I called Masterbuilt, and without any worries they are sending a whole new door to fix it. That is just wonderful service. Can't ask for better, and is very much the kind of thing that keeps a customer coming back and recommending to friends.
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