New from FL - Undecided on which Masterbuilt Electric smoker to get

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rkrider99

Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 20, 2021
44
60
A little background. Back in Wisconsin, in 1980, I bought one of those no-name offset smokers. Spent the time on the learning curve, Loved sitting with it all day figuring out how to compensate for temperature swings, and proper amount of smoke. Filled it with oak, and had people drooling as they walked by. Used it until 2001, when we moved to Florida, and I didn't want to pay to have it stored. Gave it away.

Since then, I've been making do with my 22" Weber Kettle Grill, but it is a royal pain having to babysit it to keep the temp stable, and keep filling it with charcoal. Since moving to Florida, and golfing 6 days a week, I really don't have the time to babysit it any longer. If I want to keep making those great ribs, pork butts, and briskets, I need to find something a bit less needy in fire and smoke control.

So, I've decided to research electric smokers. Masterbuilt seems to be one of the better brands out there. I've researched enough to figure out it's confusing. About the time I'm ready to pull the trigger on the MES 40 Digital Electric Model, I then see a MES 440/s model for around the same price. I like the idea of the separate smoking chamber that takes chunks. Unfortunately, as I keep researching, I'm finding that this model may be already discontinued. And of course, like almost all models, there are numerous accolades and complaints, which is even more confusing.

So that's a little about where I'm coming from. I'm not sure which is really the best 40" model out there. I understand the bluetooth models don't work all that well, so that's not something I need. Maybe I need to look at other manufacturers.

Any help would be appreciated.
 
The MBs definitely have their pro and cons but for the most part are a good smoker for the price.Two things to consider with the MB are that the built in temp probe(s) are fairly inaccurate so a good quality multi-probe thermometer is a must and second when using the chiploader it requires filling every half hour or so,so an Amazen tray or tube is a great accessory as they can produce smoke in upwards of 10 hours.I can't speak on the MB models that now can burn chunks.

A lot depends on budget.If you have a healthy budget you might want to take a look at the Smokin-It electrics.

Another alternative is to find a used MB and do a few basic mods like adding a PID controller and a mailbox mod for the tray or tube.These two simple mods turn the MB into a top of the line smoker for a decent price.
 
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I’ve had two MES 30’s the first one was my first smoker. It was good however I immediately wished I got the 40” instead. the second one I picked up to keep at my parents and that one the temp is off by 20 degrees usually and all over the place. I use a inkbird thermometer to monitor the temp. Overall I liked mine but just be mindful of some having temp issues. I almost bought a MES40 over my Weber Smoky Mountain by there just so easy. I also would use a pellet tray for more smoke flavor. The MES 440 your talking about I can’t speak on that since I have no expire ce with it
 
One thing about MB models is they change all the time. My recommendation is find one with the features you like and buy it. You will love the set it and forget it ease at which you can smoke. And although you are in FL, with an AMNPS, you can get any flavor of smoke that you desire.

I know you will hear that the temp probes are fairly inaccurate, but I have found otherwise. I have had 2 MES40's. Each temperature probe (I am on probe 5 or 6) has been checked against my calibrated thermometer (I run a testing lab and everything is calibrated) and have found the MES probes to be within 1 degree of accurate...which is pretty good but not great. Others have had differing experiences and I don't want to cast doubt their way - just saying that my experience is different. That being said...there are better temperature probes out there for sure.
 
I know you will hear that the temp probes are fairly inaccurate, but I have found otherwise. I have had 2 MES40's. Each temperature probe (I am on probe 5 or 6) has been checked against my calibrated thermometer (I run a testing lab and everything is calibrated) and have found the MES probes to be within 1 degree of accurate...which is pretty good but not great.

You must've bought the two best units they sell.Within 1 degree of accuracy is better than an Auber PID can do,calling that good but not great is the biggest understatement on the planet,fantastic would be the right word!But it sure as heck is not the norm with any stock MB product by far.
 
One thing about MB models is they change all the time. My recommendation is find one with the features you like and buy it. You will love the set it and forget it ease at which you can smoke. And although you are in FL, with an AMNPS, you can get any flavor of smoke that you desire.

I know you will hear that the temp probes are fairly inaccurate, but I have found otherwise. I have had 2 MES40's. Each temperature probe (I am on probe 5 or 6) has been checked against my calibrated thermometer (I run a testing lab and everything is calibrated) and have found the MES probes to be within 1 degree of accurate...which is pretty good but not great. Others have had differing experiences and I don't want to cast doubt their way - just saying that my experience is different. That being said...there are better temperature probes out there for sure.


The biggest problem with MES Temp Probes is not their accuracy, but their positioning. When we put a digital sensor near the meat, we can tell what the temperature of the air is near the meat. The Masterbuilt=== built in Smoker temp sensor is slightly below center & slightly to the right of center, at least that's where mine have all been. And knowing the temperature of that particular spot is only good if that would be where you put your meat.

Bear
 
Thanks, Bear.
I already read those before I joined the forum. Great information. As I said, I've been researching....

That said, it almost appears that I can get pretty much any of the MES 40(X) at the same price, give or take a few bucks.

Maybe I'll just grab the latest MES 440/s while I can at $299. I went the the MB website, and all the accessories at marked down to $19.99, except the probes which are $7.99, and the broiler option, which is that price but sold out.
 
Thanks, Bear.
I already read those before I joined the forum. Great information. As I said, I've been researching....

That said, it almost appears that I can get pretty much any of the MES 40(X) at the same price, give or take a few bucks.

Maybe I'll just grab the latest MES 440/s while I can at $299. I went the the MB website, and all the accessories at marked down to $19.99, except the probes which are $7.99, and the broiler option, which is that price but sold out.
To close this thread out, I just placed my order for the MES 440/s. Not sure of the delivery date yet. I'll try to update the MB Electric forum with my thoughts. I'm sure there will be a learning curve, but I have 4 full pork butts sitting in the freezer, which spurned me on to finally make a decision.

Thanks to all for the insights. Great site, and I'll be using it often.
 
The biggest problem with MES Temp Probes is not their accuracy, but their positioning. When we put a digital sensor near the meat, we can tell what the temperature of the air is near the meat. The Masterbuilt=== built in Smoker temp sensor is slightly below center & slightly to the right of center, at least that's where mine have all been. And knowing the temperature of that particular spot is only good if that would be where you put your meat.

Bear

Agree with what you said Bear....But, we were talking about different temperature sensors then. I was discussing the meat probe accuracy. Sorry that wasn't clear.

FYI - When I was making sticks and sausage this past 2 weeks I monitored the temps closely with all of my probes due to the lower than normal temps I would be using my smoker. Two biggies:
  • Top grate is hotter than the bottom grate -
    • I had to smoke the bottom 2 grates of sausage about 30-60 minutes longer than the top two grates to get them to temp - this was with the MES40 set at 170F
  • Temp swings for the smoker to cycle on/off ranged from +/- 9F minimum (mostly) to +/- 17F maximum (occasionally)
I remember your articles and think ^^^this^^^ was right in line with what you determined.

Ed
 
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Agree with what you said Bear....But, we were talking about different temperature sensors then. I was discussing the meat probe accuracy. Sorry that wasn't clear.

FYI - When I was making sticks and sausage this past 2 weeks I monitored the temps closely with all of my probes due to the lower than normal temps I would be using my smoker. Two biggies:
  • Top grate is hotter than the bottom grate -
    • I had to smoke the bottom 2 grates of sausage about 30-60 minutes longer than the top two grates to get them to temp - this was with the MES40 set at 170F
  • Temp swings for the smoker to cycle on/off ranged from +/- 9F minimum (mostly) to +/- 17F maximum (occasionally)
I remember your articles and think ^^^this^^^ was right in line with what you determined.

Ed


That was me---I figured you meant both.
I mentioned the smoker temp, with the sensor on the back wall, because IMO that's the worst one.
However I never got much accuracy out of my MES Meat Meat probe Therms either, so I generally just kept them in their sheaths, and used my Maverick ET-73s.

And I agree 9° to 17° are pretty decent swings.

Bear
 
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