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MES 40" Electric (gen 2.5) or Smoke Hollow 40" Smoke Tronix?

ngiovas

Newbie
23
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Joined Nov 26, 2009
After many years with my MES 30" gen 1 smoker (guessing it has been around 8 years), I am finally considering upgrading.  The main reason I am looking to upgrade is capacity.  There have been too many times that friends were coming over and I just couldn't fit enough food in the smoker.  With that said, the MES has served me well and I have been happy with it.

During my search for a comparable smoker, I found the MES 40" gen 2.5 smoker with remote.  I was actually planning to pull the trigger and actually bought a cold smoker attachment on sale at Amazon yesterday figuring it would work with both my old smoker and the new 40".  Just before ordering the MES 40", I stumbled across the Smoke Hollow 40" smoker and started second guessing my decision.

I like several things about the Smoke Hollow:
  • Ability to add water without opening the door
  • Larger capacity chip tray - easy to empty without opening the door.
  • Ability to add 4 additional racks (for a total of 8)
  • Dual burner design (although I don't know the total wattage)
A couple of concerns with the Smoke Hollow:
  • Range of bluetooth is low (MES wireless remote appears to have a better range).
  • Not sure if the temp accuracy is similar/better than MES
  • Reliability of controller
  • Says can cold smoke as low as 50 degrees.  Not sure that this will work as well as external MES cold smoke attachment.
I currently have an aftermarket wireless temp probe that I could use if needed, but was hoping the built in probe on either of these would be good enough.  Are there other mods that can be made to the Smoke Hollow to make it better?  Can the controller be replaced (is it even worth trying?  Are there other electric smokers I should be considering in this price range?

Not a lot of reviews online.  Most are after one or two uses.  Looking for opinions.  

I really appreciate any input.

Nick
 

SmokinAl

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I have had a MES 40 for years & when it dies I would go with the Smoke Hollow.

It looks to me like there was a lot of design work that went into the smoker, that just surpasses the MES.

There are an awful lot of MES owners on here who will probably disagree with me, but this is my opinion.

Let us know what you decide.

Al
 

ngiovas

Newbie
23
16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
I gave Outdoor Leisure Products a call.  Got a live person right away and they were very helpful.

A couple of notes:
  • There are two heating elements - one under the wood box and a second larger one that heats the entire unit.  They said combined they produce 1500 watts (I believe the MES 40 is 1200 watts).
  • The standard 4 racks have a total of 1025 sq. inches of cooking space (only 50 more than the MES 40), but you can add up to 4 additional racks for thinner items like salmon and double the space.  Looks like the racks and brackets are around $15.
  • They stated that you can cold smoke between 50 and 125 degrees.  I am interested to see how much smoke it produces at the lower temps.
Not quite ready to pull the trigger, but seriously considering it.
 

ngiovas

Newbie
23
16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
Thanks Dave.  I did find the video during a previous search.  It has some really good info.  The other two threads were also helpful.

I think the bottom line is that either smoker is going to have some flaws.  Without jumping up to a higher price bracket, I don't think I am going to find something that clearly stands out from the others.

With that said, I think the Smoke Hollow has taken a great foundation (what the MES originally had) and improved on it with a few little changes.  That is where I am really leaning at this point.  I will post here once I make a decision and provide a review.

In the meantime, I am going to continue working on my smoker cart this weekend.  It will work with my 30" MES and with either of the other smokers I am looking at.  Maybe I will throw some ribs in the smoker and look for some answers and inspiration in the thin blue smoke.
 

newqreview

Fire Starter
73
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Joined Sep 26, 2014
What did you decide?
I tried the smoke hollow, it was good but it wouldnt hold a pair of half sheet pans side by side so i just ordered a replacement for my mes 40.
 

ngiovas

Newbie
23
16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
What did you decide?
I tried the smoke hollow, it was good but it wouldnt hold a pair of half sheet pans side by side so i just ordered a replacement for my mes 40.
I bought the 40" Smoke Hollow. I have used it several times now for everything from cold smoking cheese to smoking several types of meats.

For those that don't want to read the details: It's a nice smoker, but it isn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be. In all honesty, if I had to do it again, I would buy the MES.

Here are some of my thoughts on the Smoke Hollow:
  • The capacity fully meets my needs. I am very happy with how much food I can fit in it. I have actually filled all 4 racks while cold smoking some cheese.
  • The overall construction is very good. Fit and finish is great. The materials seem to be of high quality (considering price point).
  • The Wi-Fi is terrible. This was a major disappointment for me. It was very difficult to get any device paired (iOS or Android). Once paired, they lose their connection once you get about 10 feet away and don't reconnect if you get close to the smoker again. The 10 feet is already terrible, but if there is anything between the smoker and the phone/tablet, it will not stay connected. I had my smoker 3 feet from a glass sliding door and I couldn't get a signal inside the door.
  • The "quick smoke" feature works well and really gets the smoke rolling much quicker than my old MES.
  • The "cold smoke" setting is nice, but for things like cheese that have a low melting point, it still produces a bit too much heat for my liking. I will likely just use a pellet tray for cheese.
  • The smoker gets to final temp very quickly and holds the temperature very well. I didn't see any temperature swings and the temp recovers quickly after the door has been opened.
  • The MES produces a consistent steady stream of smoke. There have been several times that I have gone out to check on the Smoke Hollow and there was no smoke at all, but there were still wood chips in the tray.

In summary, the things that give the Smoke Hollow the edge over the MES are the worst parts about the smoker. I will continue using it, but I often think that the money I spent could have gone towards a better smoker.
 

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