Cabela's MES 40" smoker or "Normal" Version?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by afr0ninja, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. afr0ninja

    afr0ninja Newbie


    I currently smoke with a 30" MES - Has worked great!  The one annoying thing is that it's not wide enough to cook a full brisket - or sometimes a full rack of ribs... So after a bunch of research - I think I'm going to go with a 40" MES - I think it's got the best bang for the buck - Though a Smokin-It Model 3 had caught my eye...  I've found 2 versions of the 40" MES that have my attention...  There appears to be a "standard" Masterbuilt version 20070215    that has a glass door / Bluetooth, etc. etc... There's also a Cabela's version  20071115 that looks more like my 30" MES without the glass door.

    My question is:  Would spending an extra $100 be worth it to eliminate the glass and get 2 extra racks?  

    My thoughts are that the glass is place for heat and potentially smoke to escape not to mention a bit of extra time to clean...  However - i'm planning on using an A-Maze-N pellet box in it - So the glass would be nice to see if I lit it properly see if its burned out or something like that... (Though i guess I could tell from the smoke coming out of the unit)

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or opinions that can be shared!  
  2. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The Smokin-it 3/3D will take quite a load. Racks are 14 1/2 X 21 1/2 inches. Those are fairly large racks; no cramping of cutting meat to fit. 
  3. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Smoke won't escape through the glass anymore than it will a solid door. However glass isn't a great source of insulation so your heating element will work harder than it would if it was behind an insulated door.

    That said I have an mes 40, gen 2 (glass door), and a mes 40, gen 2.5 (glass door) and they heat fine. Just use extra energy compared to a fully insulated smoker.

    Another thing is after a while I just stopped cleaning the glass windows on both smokers. Pretty much a lazy move but those windows don't do me much good anyhow. More of a car option/upgrade that makes it look cooler but really has no great purpose. And yes that makes it cost more.....

    See that "sucker" neon sign lit up above me??? Lol.

    As sarge said look at the smokin-it smokers. When one of my mes smokers goes that's where I'm headed.
  4. afr0ninja

    afr0ninja Newbie

    Thank you both for the opinions!  I Think for the time being - I'm just going to go with the MES with glass - I'll use my A-Maze-N pellet box with it...   For the money and the amount of smoking I do, I think it "fits" me better.  Plus after shipping, it's more than half the price less than the Smokin' it...   Maybe I'll use this as a baby step and get the Smokin' it next...   Or cuss myself for wasting time with the MES instead of just getting the Smokin' it first... 

    Thanks again!
  5. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    When I bought my MES 30 the last thing I wanted was a glass door--I'm not big on cleaning stuff like that so figured it would be pretty much useless.

    As for the AMNPS it will be the best money you've ever spent. A lot of people have great luck putting it right in the MES but I could never keep it burning--and believe me I tried everything. If you have that problem then check out the mailbox mod. I added that option and have never looked back. Its also a great option for cold smoking since you don't have the burning pellets inside the smoker.

  6. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead


    I can't keep my amazn tray burning in my gen 2 consistently period. No matter how much I moved the chip loaded, or chip tray. Mailbox mod all the way!

    But in the newer gen 2.5 I've had good luck keeping the tray on the bottom next to the burner. Probably 90% success rate.
  7. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead


    Good luck with your mes. You can always upgrade later. I've had both the good & the bad with my mes experience.

    I was going to buy a smokin-it but one day at work I noticed Amazon had the Blu tooth mes 40 for $318 on a lightning deal. For that price I had to order it. The smokin it I was ready to buy last summer was $850. Sometimes saving dollars makes cents...
    afr0ninja likes this.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm Spoiled from having a Window in my MES units for 6 years.

    I would no longer want a Smoker without that Window.

    I could see paying an extra $100 to get the Window, but not to get one without.

    Not hard to clean & not a big heat loss & Zero Smoke Loss.

  9. afr0ninja

    afr0ninja Newbie

    Good to know!  I'm going to pick up my MES with window this weekend.  I'll let you guys know how it goes.

    Thanks for the reply!
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


  11. raymillsus

    raymillsus Newbie

    I know this is old post but Does anyone put any value of the fact that Cabelas brand (MES under the cover) carries a Lifetime warranty? 
  12. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would, but it depends on which MB model Cabela has put its nameplate on. If it was a Gen 2 smoker I still wouldn't buy it because of what many of us consider are design flaws. I just saw a 40" Bluetooth model with 6 racks that would be worth considering. 
  13. raymillsus

    raymillsus Newbie

    That is the one I am considering actually. It is taller and Wider than most others I have seen. The only other one is the Smokeit 3. Slightly larger shelves. Problem is Price for me. The MES has really small smoke box too. I am still looking but I am not sure what I am going to do now. I have a 30" MES that seems to be good. but too small for me. Ihave 90days to return it. I am going to do that actually. 
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like Rick said, don't gert the Generation #2 MES.

    Get either the Gen #1 or the Gen #2.5.

    These 2 links should explain which is which & why one is better than the other:

    Masterbuilt Smokers (Bear's Thoughts & Findings)

    MES Generation Number Recognition Pictures & Pics (Digital Units)

  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How big a box are you looking for? What's your price range for a new smoker? And do you want an electric analog or digital smoker, or a propane one? A number of SMF members own and like Smokin-it smokers. However, they're more expensive than a good MB smoker. The Model #1 is closest in price to the Cabela's MES 40 but it is underpowered and only comes with 3 racks. The cooking interior may also be smaller but I haven't done the math. The warranty is much better than MB, which I think is the best benefit when comparing the two. 

    I've maintained for years that for those of us with a limited budget, MB makes the best smokers at their price points. I know that for the price, there is not one electric smoker out there that can beat a MES 30 Gen 1. Now, if I had been interested in a charcoal-fueled smoker that smokes with wood chunks, I would have seriously considered a Weber Smokey Mountain
  16. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    About the MES 40, I forget if Bear has more than one of them but he at least has the MES 40 Gen 1. I've seen photos of his smokes and from others with MES 40 smokers. There's more than enough room to smoke for an entire family AND guests over for dinner. I didn't buy because of: 1, price for my first smoker, 2. Because it was my first smoker, I wanted to start with a small, cheap unit to learn on and to see if I liked smoking. Five years later I LOVE smoking but my budget remains the same. I'll continue to use my MES 30 until it breaks down and the cost of new parts (and the hassle of installing them) is comparable to buying another smoker. So far I've only had to replace the controller and I bought that from MB. 
  17. I love my MES 30 but felt I had out grown it...
    I wanted something bigger but also not dependent on electricity so I went with a propane Masterbuilt 40"..
    It's not near as set and forget but holds A TON of meat.
    After a few mods, some fiddling and adding a smoke tube to my arsenal I get amazing results without much babysitting...
    AND it was on clearance for $119.00 shipping included...
    I figured the cabinet and racks we're worth half that price.
    They are, and I can cold smoke massive amounts of cheese and jerky.

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