Newbie needing advice

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by larrymac, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. So first post( besides the introductory). My limited experience in smoking is about 4 years with a BGE. I love my BGE, but I always felt limited on long term cooks. Hence the desire to purchase an electric smoker. Of course I slipped and told the DW the BGE would be my last cooker. ( I'll figure it out)
    Anyways I sort of like the Master built 30". Now the DW slipped up and mentioned she saw it on her QVC shopping network. Ha! Now I'm in like Flint. But checking around I see mixed reviews on the Blue tooth due to connectivity issues, so some recommended the unit with a digital remote. Still others just thought it best to go analog. What's working best here?
    Second question is I read where someone recommended for ease in future cleaning to coat everything on the inside with cooking oil. I also heard about a pre seasoning smoking session of a few hours before actually cooking meat.
    So what is the best format to prepare or preseason this kind of electric smoker plus set it up for easier cleaning in the future. Thanks, I'm excited about this new forum to learn from the pros. Larry
  2. mrsmoklestein

    mrsmoklestein Fire Starter

    Personally, I would shy away from the Bluetooth and go with me it's just like a car-ultimately the more electronic features you have built into the the thing, the greater the chance that they fail eventually. I know for a fact that a lot of guys have issues with the bluetooth thermometers they make now and end up taking them back (I did). 

    Just something to consider (and I have owned a MES and several other electric units before)- The MES is used by a LOT of guys and rightfully so-they have the most retail coverage, but in all honesty they are not built to last and I think there are better units on the market. If you want the MES-go for it and it will produce good BBQ for you, I'm just throwing in my $0.02.

    You always want to pre-season a smoker before use to burn any manufacturing odors or oil out of it. Should have instructions in the manual to do so. 

    Smokin-it brand smokers. -Stainless, affordable, simple, VERY well built. Check them out. 
  3. first-- thanks for your response. I checked out the smoker you recommended which looks great.
    Their #1 which is probably their most affordable is not available. This was at their website. If I get the MES I was thinking of the remote-- wifi in my house can be sketchy anyways. I would use my maverick 733 to confirm if the MES temps- both meat and inside unit temp are correct. But you are the second to mention the analog to me. How do you control the cook temps and the time of cook with the analog? Can you set it at 225 Will it stay there as long as you want until the maverick tells me my meat has reached its desired temp?
  4. n4ynu

    n4ynu Meat Mopper

    Hey Larry,

    I am new to electric smokers as well, having a been a wood and charcoal cooker/smoker (4-6 hours) with a Char Grill.

    I also went thru the same mess looking at all the different electronic options

    I did some intense research on the models as well as the price of the replacement electronics and elements, probes etc etc, that said, I found that the main control/readout is very pricey, over half the price of the unit in most cases and seeing that and the added cost of the other items I was not impressed, my reason being, if I have one of those then I would want at least a spare control and heating element in case it died and I was in the middle of a cook, then I could replace and get back to business, when I saw the price of these gadgets I was discouraged.

    So all that said I started looking at different models and their capability

    I chose the MES 30 Sportsman Elite for these reasons:

    1. Simplicity
    2. It has a 1500W Element which in regards to cold weather cooking should be enough to handle the heat loss if done outside, again the 1500W element for good heat control and less variations of the temp, and again for high temp cooking and smoking, the 1500W element will surely outperform and have better life than the lesser ones around 800W's
    3. I am not sure of the comments on longevity of the unit, the one I have is made well, yet it is not Stainless Steel but even if left outside with a cover I do not see the life being a issue, it should last well over 5 years, and if kept indoors or a shop I would imagine it would last forever unless you run over it or a tree falls on your shop and destroys it.
    4. COST - I paid 146 bucks for it and with the rack Mod I am doing I have 8 racks for jerky and a host of other things, of course I can not put a chicken or whole ham on each rack, but with 8 racks I can surely do 8 chickens or 4 hams with bone or probably 12 roasts if I wanted.
    5. Simplicity of Heating Element and Temperature Control, it is like that of a Electric Skillet, very dependable.

    All that said, the reason I am against all the fancy electronics is for one, as stated, the cost of replacement of the individual parts is rather expensive in my opinion, and they will go bad sooner or later
    I can get a new Temp Control and the 1500W Element, both, for just under $50 from Master Built.

    I love stainless but I would not leave a electric appliance/controls in the weather even with a cover, it will lead to accelerated death of the parts from moisture, condensation, rust, dust, pollen etc etc, so if the body is Stainless that is great, but it will not stop that damage to wiring, elements and Temp controls, another plus for this unit, there is no wiring except the cord going to the Temp Control !

    And for the biggest reason to forget the electronics and go Analog is :

    You can buy a dual probe meat thermometer that will monitor inside cook temp, meat temps on separate pieces/roasts etc, the cook time overall, and you can get them in Infrared, Wireless and Bluetooth, so I do not see spending all that extra money for the smoker regarding the addition of the extras electronically when you can get a decent dual or single probe monitor for right at or even well under $50

    I do not look at Master Built having the market because of the many people using them, I look at it as there are many people using them because they are far more affordable and in real use and with general care last the same amount of time.

    I am perfectly happy with the construction of the unit and I have been in the mechanical for my whole life, and with proper care, this will outlast my Char Grill, only because the Char Grill has to be outdoors, even under the cover it takes damage over time, but then I am on my second Char Grill, but have been using them for over 20 years.

    I have not fired mine up but am impressed with the simplicity and have a list of Mods I want to complete, one I have already done, The Rack Mod, I get the other 3 racks today and will be posting that Mod this evening with instructions, and the parts from Master Built were less than $20 dollars, the other I am doing soon is adding a Smoke Stack from a Master Forge Propane Grill, part with shipping less than $15, and the reason being is I am using a AMNPS Pellet smoker, with the MES 30, the chip tray is not reliable unless cooking high temp, and the majority of my work outside of actually using it to cook, will be low temp or cold smoke, I will be posting that Mod as well as soon as I get the Stack in about a week, just ordered it today, the reason for the Stack is to increase Air Flow over the basic 3/4" hole in the back right hand top that is the exhaust vent ( I will use that hole for my Temp Probes and fill with high temp RTV Silicone ), the AMNPS has to have Air of course and it will help with the smoke generation and keeping the AMNPS lit, but the real reason is for drying and or dehydrating, it will speed those processes drastically, the stack is adj for air flow, so it can be adj'ed so it is like it was or opened up for faster times on diff uses.

    Many consider the AMNPS as a MOD but all you have to do is set it in there, I guess it does qualify for a MOD seeing it is Modified Operation at the very least.

    So, if you have lots of money, throw it at the Stainless, but if you want something that will serve you with reasonable care for a long long time, save that money and buy some meat instead of Stainless  :)

    To each his or her own but I would stay away from the electronic versions, if you want really reliable heat control then follow my profile, after the stack Mod, I will be working on a nice T-Stat Mod for this as well so you can just set it and forget it, that is the only drawback I see in the Temp Control, no temp settings, I will mark mine for the moment but the T-Stat Mod will be far cheaper than the Aftermarket Temp Controllers and would not be subject to damage from moisture or even wet environments as it is a sealed contact that is otherwise purely mechanical in nature.

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just wanted to add...Seasoning the interior with Heat burning out manufacturing oil...Yes and follow directions. But spraying with Oil is for Rust Protection in smoker interiors. The MES and others with SSteel or Aluminum does not require the oil and considering the only Interior Cleaning is washing racks, drip pans and the occasional scraping loose accumulation on the ceiling...You Don't Clean smoker interiors. Wipe off Grease and sensors, if any, but the smoke build up on the walls contributes to flavor and is left alone.

     I have 2 Gen 1 Model 20070311 Digital MES 40's and have been very happy. The Remote works great and the units electronics is a small easily replaced box held by two screws. I have no experience with the Bluetooth and many, like Bearcarver, loves his. The Smokin-it has a lot of positive reviews and is probably the most dependable and reasonably priced electric currently available but they are more $$$ than any MES of comparable size...JJ
  6. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    Not a BGE owner and thus my question ... why do you feel limited on a longer cook?
  7. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I don't have a BGE but have that Kamado style.  All being insulated.  It's great but the Mes holds more food and it's better for overnight smokes, being electric.  I can pipe my smoke in to keep pellets out of the product chamber, keeping them from accidentally igniting.  It's a safety thing for me.  I never slumber during an overnight smoke even with all the therm alarm settings, but get a few winks here and there.  The BGE with a small six briquette/lump charcoal fire and a briquette/lump for every hour is perfect (24 unlit around the six lit coals = 24 hours of heat with a few chunks of wood here and there over lit and unlit coals.)  It's a dynamite outdoor fired pizza oven with all the vents open.  The Mes 40 Gen 1 is my go to smoker anymore.

  8. mrsmoklestein

    mrsmoklestein Fire Starter

    Here's what I base my reasoning off of-

    You're already spending a couple hundred bucks, spend a hundred more and get something that is built much better and not mass produced in a factory that inspects one out of every 400 units for quality control . Many people seem to think that stainless is cosmetic only and simply for rust prevention. Not so, it is much, much tougher-more resistant to heat warpage, , more resistant to abrasions, more resistant to rust, and a faster conductor(which reduces stress on your heating element as burners wear out during the initial ramp upwards in temperature). The mes uses stamped parts (I'm a journeyman tool and die maker by the way) while the Smokin-it uses fabbed parts bent by hand in a brake press. Thicker material, far more rigid.

    My Model 2 holds temps in negative temperatures without issues.

    I spent more time modifying my MES 40 than I did cooking. I turned out a lot of great meals from it, but for the price I just don't see buying a new unit and having to modify it right away.

    Both are good choices however that will produce quality q. If price is a major issue the MES will make you happy.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016

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