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Beginner Electric Smoker

awsomepossum

Newbie
3
1
Joined Nov 22, 2018
Hello All,

I have never smoked any meats before and I am wanting to try to make Fish, Smoked Mac N Cheese, and some brisket in a smoker. From my research a electric smoker is the way to go. I am in college so I spent a lot of time away from my house for class. Some black Friday ad's caught my attention ( smoke hollow 30 inch at $ 100, MasterBuilt at $ 89, and another MasterBuilt at $ 150) I know these are probably on the cheap side but what are your thoughts for any of the smokers in this price range?
 

gmc2003

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
9,201
3,432
Joined Sep 15, 2012
I'm not a juicer, but the MES units have a pretty substantial following around here.

Chris
 

uncle eddie

Master of the Pit
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Joined May 14, 2016
I have used MES40's for years and will keep on buying them. I smoke meats a lot and the MES works great. They seem to die after about 5 years, but they are so easy to use, I just get another one.

I use a traditional brinkman wood/charcoal smoker (heavy as a tank) for my high heat smoked (wings, steaks, etc.)
 

smokerjim

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Joined Jan 14, 2014
I use a mes 30, have it for a couple years now, am happy with it.
 

jcam222

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jun 13, 2017
Hello All,

I have never smoked any meats before and I am wanting to try to make Fish, Smoked Mac N Cheese, and some brisket in a smoker. From my research a electric smoker is the way to go. I am in college so I spent a lot of time away from my house for class. Some black Friday ad's caught my attention ( smoke hollow 30 inch at $ 100, MasterBuilt at $ 89, and another MasterBuilt at $ 150) I know these are probably on the cheap side but what are your thoughts for any of the smokers in this price range?
I started out with an MES40 and smoked a lot of things over about a year and a half. Excellent unit for sure to get you going. I would personally recommend you buy one without the glass door. Completely impractical as far as I am concerned. Further I would say go with the MES40 over the 30 if you can afford to, more room and usually not much more expensive.
 

fivetricks

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Jan 7, 2017
Another vote for MES here. You sacrifice great poultry skin, but they're darn hard to beat for long, long smokes.

They will require about $50.00 in upgrades (imho) to be awesome, and your own independent thermometers, but once all of that is in place... I have the utmost confidence in them. I have the tendency to toss long Cooks in the smoker and then drink way way too much to pay proper attention. The MES has my back every time (along with proper thermometers with alarms for the meat :-P )
 

illini40

Smoking Fanatic
551
231
Joined Feb 12, 2017
Hello All,

I have never smoked any meats before and I am wanting to try to make Fish, Smoked Mac N Cheese, and some brisket in a smoker. From my research a electric smoker is the way to go. I am in college so I spent a lot of time away from my house for class. Some black Friday ad's caught my attention ( smoke hollow 30 inch at $ 100, MasterBuilt at $ 89, and another MasterBuilt at $ 150) I know these are probably on the cheap side but what are your thoughts for any of the smokers in this price range?
To clarify - are you wanting an electric smoker? I could be wrong, however, I would think that these smokers that you listed are propane smokers (based on the brands and prices).
 

daricksta

Master of the Pit
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Joined Apr 27, 2012
Did you decide on a purchase? With MES smokers, you really need to know your model numbers because the smokers may vary in quality. I have a MES 30 that's 6 years old and still working like a champ. Have only needed to get a new controller a couple of years ago.
 

awsomepossum

Newbie
3
1
Joined Nov 22, 2018
I ended up with a masterbuilit smoker and am very happy with it so far. I got I believe the 30 model it was on sale for 89 dollars. I've made mac n cheese and ham this week. I'm planning on cooking a brisket this weekend.
 

daricksta

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Joined Apr 27, 2012
@awesomepssum, the MES 30 is a great beginner's smoker, and you got one at a great price. When mine finally stops working or I can afford to buy a new smoker and wish to stay with Masterbuilts, I would upgrade to a 40 inch. But since I usually only cook for 2-3 people, my MES 30 is more than big enough for my needs.

How did you like the mac n cheese and ham? A brisket is fairly easy to get right. The important thing is giving it adequate smoking time and wrapping it when it hits the stall. I've smoked them both wrapped and unwrapped. Wrapping in foil or butcher paper results in a better end product. Do you plan to use a dry rub? What do you use for a thermometer?
 

awsomepossum

Newbie
3
1
Joined Nov 22, 2018
I don't have a thermometer yet. The mac n cheese was some of the best ive ever had, ill post the recipe. The recipe was in the recipe book that came with the smoker. Ham was great as well. Im been busy with school but this weekend I'll look for a recipe. I'm pretty excited as this will be the first brisket ive ever smoked.
 

daricksta

Master of the Pit
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Joined Apr 27, 2012
I highly recommend you buy a smoking therm like a Maverick or a ThermoWorks or some Bluetooth model, depending on your budget. Depending on the size of the brisket flat, it can take 12-20 hours to cook it to the proper IT (I pull them at about 201-203°). The stall itself hits around 160-170 and can last 30-60 minutes or longer, again depending on the size of the brisket flat. If smoking a full packer (which I've done twice in my MES 30) it can last longer. But besides the IT you also need to monitor the MES temp, since there are big temp swings as the controller cycles on and off.

Smoking is just slow roasting over time with applied smoke. Having a therm with a transmitter and receiver makes the whole process easier and more efficient. You don't want to pull the brisket too early or leave it inside the smoker too long. Do you use wood chips or pellets?

One more thing: search out the You Tube videos for Aaron Franklin. He's been a huge influence on how I smoke briskets. His dry rub is just salt and pepper where I've always preferred a KC sweet and smoky rub. I'll be going with just salt and pepper for my next brisket. For smoke I prefer oak wood pellets. Oak just seems to go nicely with brisket for my tastes.
 

chopsaw

Smoking Guru
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Joined Dec 14, 2013
Sounds like he might have the analog . Possum , is it digital ( push buttons ) or analog ( dial ) controlled ? Make sure if you need help , you state which one you have .
 

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