Just got signed up today. This looks like a great site for a newbie to smoking, which is what i am. I started about two years ago wanting to buy a smoker. I just never got around to doing it. I did a fair amount of shopping, but never brought one home. I have a 1959 Greyhound converted into an RV, and a bunch of us had a get together last weekend. We had smoked ribs both on Thur and Sat night! That did it for me. I figure it is only right i have a smoker, since i enjoy the food so much. Shopped and read a bunch online before finding this forum. One of your posts about buying a MES rather than building, listing all the nice features already available on the MES, sent me out shopping.
I hit every store in the area that had smokers and some that didn't. Looked at Bradley, Smoke Hollow, Big Chief Little Chief (whatever), Brinkman, on and on. I found the MES 40" at Gander Mtn for 449.00. I remembered that Sams Club had the same unit a couple years ago when i was looking. Walked into Sams and there it was for 269.00!
I sort of had decided to get either a Cookshack or Smoking Tex. But really, for that kind of money - done deal. Wrap it up. Put it in my car. Got it home last night and could not hardly sleep wanting to get out and get smokin'. Burned it off this morning, and around noon loaded in 4 lbs of chicken breasts, 2 pounds pork country style ribs, and a package of bratwurst. Brothers - i have to confess, i am still stuffed. So much for my diet i have been on since May 1. All of it was good, and the ribs were great!
A couple questions - The only thing i would not be able to fix is the control board. I dont know replacement cost, but am wondering if the 3 yr warranty for 40.00 is worth it. What say ye all?
How do you go about putting the finish "bark" on the meat. I realize being airtight with a water pan, it will not happen easily. I saw a thread where the ribs were wrapped in foil and were covered with brown sugar and butter, then put back in. For how long? Any favorite variations on doing this?
It took me an hour longer to scrub up the grates and pans, than it took to do the smoking. Is it common practice perhaps to line the water and drip pan with foil? Of do you just let them build up a nice "cake"?
I am very happy with the MES 40. If that control board holds up, these things are the deal of the century. That reminds me, i need to call my brother and tell him about the price at Sams.
Thanks to you all for making this board a huge resource. It has already been a ton of help.