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Top dollar paid for informed opinions...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
OK, so I lied. Actually I’m only paying the standard rate for opinions. biggrin.gif However, I could really use some help with the “which one to buy†decision. I’ve got the bug bad, and am definitely going to get an MES. Where I’m struggling is making a cost-vs-features judgment. The decision is between the standard 30†MES in black and the 40†MES at Sam’s Club. I can buy the 30†model for $190 and the 40†is $299. I’m a pretty good cook indoors but just average on the barbeque grill. This will be my first smoker of any kind. I have several friends who have huge side-firebox cast-iron smokers that resemble steam locomotives – and I’m not interested in going there. But I really enjoy cooking and think I’ll enjoy smoking, but will probably only do so a couple of times a month.

Most of the basic features are the same, with the differences being:
The 40†has 3.4 cu ft vs 2.5 cu ft of capacity, adds a built in meat probe and an internal light, and has a stainless steel door with an “extra large†viewing window.
30†Product Dimensions: 19.5â€W x 18.3â€D x 33.9â€H
40†Product Dimensions: 24.6"W x 18.1"D x 41.6"H

So, the question is: Would I be just pissing away $110 bucks or making a wise investment if I went for the Sam’s Club 40†model over the standard 30†MES? Any and all opinions cheerfully welcomed.

post #2 of 12
Bigger is better. When you get the bug there is no stopping it!
post #3 of 12
I would go with the bigger smoker. You'll fill it fast enough and you won't be wishing you had gotten the bigger smoker. biggrin.gif
post #4 of 12
I would get the 40....If you get the little one you , in a few months you will wish you had gotten the big one, trust me :)
post #5 of 12

size matters

In this case the 30 is large enough. SAVE YOUR DOUGH!

post #6 of 12
The 40 gives you enough room to lay out a slab of ribs without cutting them in two. Plenty of room for most anything you want to smoke. I actually enjoy being able to look at the smoking process. Takes away a little of the mystery. I really like the light inside. I would have to say the Sams MES. I have a vertical Gas that is about the same size as the 30 width wise. I really enjoy the added space in the MES.
post #7 of 12
I have the 30" MES (for about 15 months) and beside having to do a small bit of repair work recently, find it to be more than adequate for me. I use it usually 2 times a week, sometimes a little more.

I have never needed more room inside it. I just don't smoke in quantities that would justify that much smoker. I have no regrets on the 30" and just think, with that extra $110 you can buy some nice stuff to put inside it.

Just a thought.
post #8 of 12
I have the 30" and am very happy with it.
In fact, I'm going to use it this afternoon.

The 30" is just fine for us 2 and occasional company.
Many people here prefer the 40" because it holds more.
If you are planning on smoking for large crowds, you might like the 40"

The glass door is OK if you like to watch the smoke swirl,
but, it's not a big thing with me. I smoke by temp, not looks.

I get along just fine with a external temp probe. Not a problem.

Maybe some of that helped.

This advice is zero cost. And it's probably worth just that. icon_smile.gif
post #9 of 12
I also smoke by temp, not looks. I just found that once I had the window I did enjoy seeing what my smoke is lookin like at different stages in the smoke. It really boils down to what your needs are and what you want. I like having more room than I need most of the time than less room I need one time.
post #10 of 12
Ok, I'll throw in my 2 cents. For most of the time the smaller one would suit you just fine, but if you are like me and entertain larger crowds a couple of times a year, you will be wishing for more room. It sure is a lot of fun to watch your carnivore friends tear into the fruit of your labor.
post #11 of 12
At times you'll not only like the extra width, but the extra height since that may allow you to keep shelves in you might not otherwise have been able to have (chickens and butts may be tall, ribs up on end, etc). Good if for example you have different cuts of meat and want birds on bottom, others on top, and then a shelf for ABT or beans, etc.
You can always take out shelves, but it's hard to add them if they don't fit.
post #12 of 12
Not being a Sam's member and before the new 40" MES came out with all the new upgrades I decided on the 30" MES. I did have some concerns about doing a full 13lb packer brisket since the shelves are not as big as the briskets. I was advised here that you can bend the brisket to fit and as they cook they shrink. Good advice, it worked. I now don't fear a large brisket and could fit at least 2 in the MES. that's enough meat to feed around 30-40 people if needed. My kids are off at school and they don't care for smoked foods anyway so it's just the Mrs. and me most of the time. For my needs the 30" MES is adequate but ya know the 40 would be better,.............just in case.

From what I can tell from the pictures the 40" smoker from Sam's has enhanced shelves. They look thicker. I'm not sure how much I would use the window but I don't like opening the door often. For sure you would have to keep the window clean or it's useless. Unlike the Cookshack you can not program your finishing temperature with the internal meat probe on the MES. At least I don't think you can so it has limited benefit. I have often wondered if the wiring problems associated with the MES have been addressed on the Sam's model with heavier duty connectors. Some how I doubt it.
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