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First electric smoker - 40 MES good buy?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by cyberfire, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. cyberfire

    cyberfire Newbie

    I'm just starting to look into getting into the world of smoking meats, after my buddy came over and smoked some delicious tri-tips on his charcoal smoker. I'd like to have similar quality meat, but less time spent on the cooking process, so I'm considering electric smokers.

    From what I can gather, the 40'' MES seems like a pretty solid electric smoker, but I did have some questions for people that have owned them or seen them in action:

    Is the wood chip feed automatic, where you load and forget, or do you have to babysit it?

    Do you get that same smoke ring with the electric smoker that you get with charcoal?

    How hard is it for a beginner to use one of these?

    I appreciate any assistance, thanks!
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    You load chips maybe once an hour or more maybe 1.5 hours.

     No you will get very little smoke ring from any electric smoker.

    The smoke ring is visual . the taste is what you are after.

    the mes will provide the taste.

    If you can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time ,you can use the MES.
  3. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome Cyberfire, you found the right place to learn about smoking great Q!

    The 40" MES is extremely popular, the reason is it produces great results, that even a newbie pitmaster can be proud of.  One thought, its a great cook not the cooker that consistently make great food, so not only are you on a quest for the right tool, you also are on a learning adventure, and your success will show on the faces of those who eat your food.

    Personally I like to recommend two smokers, if your considering electric then the MES 40" is huge bang for buck, and good either smoking for your family or for a big party of 50.

    The other smoker I always recommend is the Weber Smokey Mountain 22" model, the proof that this smoker is a winner is the simple fact that many competition BBQ teams use the WSM.  KCBS BBQ team of the year for 2009 won using WSM smokers.

    Both the MES and WSM are proven smoking cookers, for quick and easy the MES, for more variety in usage and the ability to be used anywhere the WSM.

    I chose the MES when I was looking 3 years ago, because I wanted simple quick and didn't want to do any tending, at that time I had very little down time and our Sunday family dinners was BBQ day 3/4 of the year, plus we do 3 or 4 30-40 people parties a year, I have never regretted that buying decision.  If I was to buy today, I would go with the WSM only because I would like do some other things like using it to make pizza, and I would like to go to a couple of local BBQ competitions (you can't use electric in competitions).  But I have to say, I really like not having to worry about fuel or dumping or dealing with spent briquette/ask etc.

    No the MES chip loader is not automatic, you have to load chips every 30-60 minutes, however you can buy a AMNS which can generate smoke for up to 8 hours, solving the auto feed dilemma.

    No electric smokers do not produce a smoke ring, the ring is nitrogen gas released by the wood exposed to very high combustion temps to form nitrous oxide (NO2) which then reacts with pigments in the meat.  Fortunately the smoke ring has nothing to do with smoke flavor / taste, electrics smokers are capable of delivering great tasting Q, that any BBQ cook would be proud of.

    Beginners buy electrics, and the fact that the MES has expanded its sales so much is that beginners are cooking great Q, and telling their friends.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  4. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That about covers it. If your looking electric then MES all the way. SMF has a contest this month sponsored by MES and the winner gets the 40 MES
  5. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Echo what they said.  I bought my 30 inch MES about 4 years ago, and have liked it all the way.  It has not been without problems, but none I could not fix.  In fact, it is on my work bench right now getting the connection wires fixed up again (last time did not hold, so I'm trying to do better this time).

    From what I have read, the MES40 is even better in many ways.  There is a pretty wide variation on price though -- so shop around.  If you have access to a Sam's, they seem to be the best price by as much as $100 or more.
  6. thebarbequeen

    thebarbequeen Smoking Fanatic

    You will not regret getting an electric smoker!  go for it and have fun!! 
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    The only thing I disagree with is the smoke ring.  I have a SmokinTex electric and while it is not a huge smoke ring I do get some smoke ring.  The smoke ring is not why I bought the smoker but is a nice thing to have.   The advantage of an electric is pretty much "set it and forget it" style of smoking.

    Best of luck and welcome to SMF
  8. mr mac

    mr mac Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Before you drop coin on a MES electric, consider the other options available to you from Masterbuilt and that would be their gas smokers.  I have a Masterbuilt Gas Smokehouse and I love it!  It is almost as easy as the electric unit in that you fire it up, set your cooking temp (after a couple of outings it was easy enough to know where to set the regulator to get it to 225) and add wood once in a while (45 to 60 minutes).  The gasser costs less than the electric and isn't prone to some of the issues that have plagued MES owners for years (thermostats and wiring) and will yield a smoke ring (yes, it's just aesthetics, but I like seeing it) and great barbecue!

    Just my two cents worth...

    BTW, welcome to the forum!

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  9. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome Cyberfire!

    Make sure you check in so the others get a chance to meet you.  You may also get some additional ideas.

    I personally own last year's 40" MES and just purchased the new 40" from SAMS.  I gotta tell you, for $298 at SAMS, this is a heck of a deal!!  The remote alone is a cool upgrade, and you get wheels and a handle to move it around.  Best of all, the price did not go up from last year's price, it's still $298.  They are in limited supply, and I was told, "When They're Gone, They're Gone!"

    The 40" MES is easy to use and a great value for the money.  My 40" MES is smoking almost every day, and I literally have "Hundreds of Hours" of smoking on mine in the past 10 months.  I believe Masterbuilt has addressed the previous wiring issues and fixed those issues in their latest models.  Their customer service is awesome!

    The New Masterbuilt 40" is a good choice and lots of support on this forum.

  10. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I have the last year model of the MES 40 and love it.  It gets used a lot although I don't always post every smoke we do and it performs flawlessly.  I would recommend the 40" Electric to anyone wanting to get into smoking.  The price at Sam's Club is one heck of a price too...
  11. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    MES is the way to go if your starting out. You can go with the 30'' or the 40''. If you don't want to spend much you can pick up a 30'' for $150 on sale. The 40'' at Sam's is the best buy at $289. Like others have sated before i would get yourself a A-MAZE-N-SMOKER then you could set it and forget it. You wouldn't even have to load wood chips. Both great products.
  12. dairyman

    dairyman Fire Starter

    WARNING!! Smoking with the MES 40 is highly addictive and brings on unwanted guest to your house. You have been warned.
  13. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This WARNING should be on the box!

    I have to share my smoked goodies with my neighbors and they don't even bring their own beer!!!!

  14. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    Amen!! to the above
  15. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    The Masterbuilt 40 is a great choice as I purchased one a few months back to make life a little more simple.  After smoking for almost 19 years, I thought the idea of the electric was something I wanted to try.... and I love it!  The loader is not automatic as you have to put the chips in as needed and I'm finding that chips or pellets burn too hot, too fast.  I actually use a couple of small chunks and get an hour or so from them.  The best accessory to buy for the 40 is the A MAZE N smoke box as it sits real nicely on the lower rails and provides hours of thin, blue, flavorful smoke.  It also allows you to use the Masterbuilt as a great cold smoker. 
  16. fathomthis

    fathomthis Fire Starter

    Hey cyber... Yeah your buddy did make some good tritip
  17. i have uswd my mes 40 twice with great results. hassel freebirds. mighta messed up maybe, but i used so oven cleaner on the window of my smoker so i could see inside.  anybod else got any ideas on cleaning the window on the door?
  18. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Rubbing alcohol will clean it. If the build up is real heavy, scrape it with a razor blade first then use paper towels & rubbing alcohol.
  19. I read on another thread that he used ash mixed with water. Rub it on and it cleans with no scratching and no chemicals.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013