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Need Opinions on First Smoker


Joined Apr 10, 2013
Hey guys I know this has probably been beaten to death but I couldn't find much info for my needs.

I make a lot of jerky, right now using my oven and sometimes a dehydrator I borrow from a friend. I'd like to buy a smoker. I'll still be making jerky, but I also want to get into smoking some sausage, bacon, pulled pork, salmon, turkey, etc. etc. I'm not really interested in a Bradley unit, because I want to be able to use chips, I already have an AMZN smoker.

If there was such thing as a large dehydrator that I could smoke in using the AMZN smoker I guess that's would be my best bet but I don't think anyone makes anything along those lines, I couldn't find anything like that. so, I think i'm basically asking for the best all around electric smoker is for the beginner. I saw the MES 40 in a thread and really like that thing.

old sarge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Nov 26, 2012
You don't mention your budget but I would look at Cookshack, SmokinTex and Smokin-it.  I listed them from higher to lower cost.  Each brand has a loyal following.  My advice is to visit the sites, read/join the forums, ask questions.  Pay attention to price and capacity as well as standard features.  Try to compare them feature for feature.  Pay particular attention to warranties and the cost of replacement parts.  There is a difference.  All are constructed of stainless steel, inside and out.

On the SmokinTex and Smokin-it units, they are analog, employing a bulb capillary thermostat control.  The sites FAQ will address cooking temperature fluctuations.  An auxiliary digital controller, like an Auber, will greatly increase the stability of a set cooking temperature.  The Cookshack  has digital as standard, and holds a steadier set temperature. And while the CS units are expensive, they are also made in the USA, if that means anything.

Good luck.


Master of the Pit
Joined May 5, 2011
I own a Smokin-It #2 and LOVE it.  I owned an MES30 before and that piece of junk failed me after using it 5 times.  M advice is DO NOT BUY Masterbuilt.

Spend a little more and get a quality unit.



Joined Apr 10, 2013
Thanks! been doing some reading and I think I'm going to go with an MES40, provided I can find it here in Canada. The only place I can find MES smokers online in Canada is at Home Depot, and they only list the 30' model.


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 18, 2013
You may consider going with a pellet grill. They are more expensive than the MES 40 but I think a little more versatile. The one I bought has temp range from 150*-500*. So quite a broad range in temps. Not trying to put down the MES 40 as I almost went with one myself before pellet grill purchase and I know a lot of folks on here have them and love them. Just my two cents, good luck with your search. WHB

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