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HELP- Which MES 40" model do I want?

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by topwater, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. topwater

    topwater Newbie

    Hello, all- 

    I'm thrilled to find this group! I'm a complete newbie, both to smoking and to this forum.

    I've been doing some reading about the various MES models, here and elsewhere. I know that there have been some problems and/or recalls on the MES models in recent years. 

    I'm looking for some advice on "which" MES 40" model I want:  20073012 vs  20070512.

    Here's the story:

    I got the 20073012 from Cabela's at $359, plus sales tax.

    Then, I see the "same thing" on Amazon for $294, free shipping, no tax. Naturally, I ordered that one, as well. [​IMG]  Turns out that it's not the same thing, but a slightly different model, the 20070512.

    Glancing at the packages, it appears that the two are substantially similar. Presumably, different SKUs mean there are differences between the two. Just to make things interesting, there's a disclaimer stating, "Images may differ from actual product." So much for just looking at the pictures!

    I'm looking for help with the following questions: 

    1) What's the difference between these two units?

    2) Which is more desirable and/or less problematic?

    My inclination is to return the Cabela's 20073012 unit, since the Amazon 20070512 unit is substantially cheaper. I'm also driving right past Cabela's this week, vs. shipping a 75 pound Amazon box to goodness knows where...

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me! 
  2. yamassmoaker

    yamassmoaker Newbie

    last week I bought the MES 40" 2nd Gen from Sams.  PD 299. PD for the 2 yr replacement plan. 

    Chips went on fire for the 1st Seasoning.  After that everything works great.

    In first week I did 2 chicken halves, turkey breast, and 25 lbs of venison summer sausage.

    the window is useless!!!
  3. topwater

    topwater Newbie

    How do I tell the 1st Gen from the 2nd Gen? Mine have the display/controls and the drip pan in front.

    I think this means 2nd Gen, but I've still got two different part numbers sitting in my garage. I need to return one...

    I figured that window would be useless, or nearly so. It sure looks purty on the box, though! 

  4. topwater

    topwater Newbie

    Does anyone know if one of these models is preferable over the other? I need to return one of them! 

    I'm starting to think that they're the same thing, just labeled as different models due to different sellers(?).

  5. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    gen 1 has the controller in the back of the top and a top mounted exhaust vent.  gen 2 has front mounted controller that has been a nightmare for many and a right side exhaust vent.  difference in wattage on the element from 850 on gen 1 to 1200 gen 2.  If you can find the gen1 BUY IT.  The 2's have issues...everything from way off temp readings, fires in the chip tray.  lack of air flow, cooks at as much as 35 degrees from set temp.  I've had both and I'd get the 1 again in a heartbeat.  The 2?  ...beware.

    BTW - cabelas has great customer service.  tell them about the amazon price and they may match it.... and then buy the extended warranty...chances are you'll use it!
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
    topwater and smokingjamaican like this.
  6. topwater

    topwater Newbie

    Thanks, geerock. That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for! 

    I've already ordered a AMNPS and a selection of pellets, so I'll be ready to roll, shortly. 

    I'd like to get some skills built up over the winter. I've got a group of buddies coming to my place to camp out for a few days. I'd like to have something to "Wow" them with at dinnertime. I've got a long way to go, but I've already seen about a hundred things here that I'm planning on trying. 
  7. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The amazn smoker goes great with the mes. If you can swing it, look into maverick et 732 or similar to monitor your temps. Its another good match for the mes. You'll be smokin like a pro in no time. A word of warning..... good Q has a habit of turning visitors into tenants. All the best to you.
  8. topwater

    topwater Newbie


    Returning both "Gen 2" Masterbuilt units, exchanging them for "Gen 1" Masterbuilt from Amazon. 

    Exchange will cost me about $20. With some of the Gen 2 problems folks have reported, it sounds like over the long run it will be $20 well spent. 

    I'll be smokin' in no time... [​IMG]

    Thanks for the help!!! 
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  9. kevin13

    kevin13 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Not exactly true regarding wattage. I have the 40" w/ window, rear mount controller and top exhaust and it's a 1200w burner.

    I would consider mine to be the "Gen 1." "Gen 2" was the same as my "Gen 1" but the controller was rounded, had a remote, and wheels on the back to move the smoker. "Gen 3" would be the current version with the controller up front, removable pan in the center at the bottom, and the size vent.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  10. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You're correct on the wattage for a few of the model numbers for gen 1. Most had 800 or 850 (some early ones actually had 650) but the last few numbers of the series did come with 12's.
    As for generation...there are only 2. Gen 1 had rear mount controller (remote or not), top exhaust, full size water tray, no element / chip tray angled shield. Gen 2 has side mount exhaust with restricted flow, front controller with all new, although not better, electronics, all with accessible 1200 elements, a drop in water pan, and a slanted heat shield that causes serious side to side heat variations. The interior design of the chamber, along with the location of the vent, temp sensor and controller determined the manufacturing change and generation.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Everything Geerock said above. Definitely don't get the one with the controls built into the front (Gen #2).

    Also try to get the newest Gen #1 with the rounded over control box in the rear. I think they may all be 1200 watts. If not find a 1200 W, but definitely don't get the Gen #2, for the reasons Geerock mentioned.

  12. moses

    moses Meat Mopper

    I have two gen 1's. One of them I use all the time, the other is still brand new in the box. I've considered selling it a few times but I'm thinking about holding onto it.
  13. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would hold onto it until they come out with a better model.

  14. moses

    moses Meat Mopper

    That's prolly what I will do. Its packed away in storage so it's not in the way and I doubt I would get much for it anyway.