There are so many types of different meat smokers on the market, but electric smokers are by far the most convenient. The most popular model is the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. Not only is the MES made in America, it only costs a few hundred dollars on Amazon. I wanted to find out everything there was to know about the Masterbuilt—so I put it to the test.
Why Choose Electric?
Electric smokers like the Masterbuilt 30″ are a convenient and easy-to-use option for smoking meat, making them a good choice for busy people or those who want to smoke meat on days when they wouldn’t normally have time. While they may not produce the same level of flavor as charcoal or wood smokers, they can still produce delicious smoked meat.
It’s also good to have a variety of smokers, including electric, charcoal, and pellet grills, to suit different occasions and preferences. Electric smokers are safe to use overnight and are a good choice for winter smoking, as they are as easy to use as a conventional oven and don’t require as much fuel or suffer from fluctuating temperatures like charcoal smokers can.
Masterbuilt 30″ Specifications
|Size||19.88 X 20.47x 33.26 inches|
|Rack Dimensions||15x 10 inches|
|Vertical space between racks||5 inches|
- The Masterbuilt 30″ electric smoker is easy to use, similar to a conventional oven.
- To use the smoker, fill the wood chip tray with smoking chips, fill the water pan, and place the meat on the rack.
- If you’re doing long cooks, you may need to refill the wood chip tray a few times. The MES has an external wood chip tray for this purpose, so you don’t have to open the main door of the smoker.
- The temperature in an electric smoker may not be even on all parts of the grill, with the top rack being cooler than the bottom rack. You can either rotate your meat or cook it on the cooler rack for longer to compensate for this difference.
|MES Smoker Body||1|
|Digital Control Panel||1|
|Wood Chip Tray||1|
|Wood Chip Loader||1|
Masterbuilt 30″ Cooking Capacity
The MES 30” has limited cooking area, but you can still cook a decent amount of meat with some creativity. You can smoke 2 or 3 large chickens, or 4 chickens if they’re spatchcocked. For larger cuts such as brisket, you may need to cut the meat in half to fit it into the 30”. You could fit about 4 smaller to medium-sized pork butts in a MES 30” and 2 small turkeys, but a large bird may not fit. If you’re smoking ribs, you may need to cut the racks in half and spread them out on the three shelves.
|Chickens||3 large or 6 small chickens|
|Turkey||2 small turkeys|
|Pork Butt (Shoulder)||4|
|Brisket||1 large packer brisket cut in half and placed on separate racks|
What’s In The Box?
|MES Smoker Body||The main body of the smoker, where the meat is placed on the cooking racks.|
|Digital Control Panel||Allows you to set and monitor the temperature and cooking time of the smoker.|
|1 x Water Bowl||A pan that holds water to add moisture to the cooking environment and help keep the meat from drying out.|
|Wood Chip Tray||A tray that holds wood chips, which are used to add flavor to the meat as it smokes.|
|Drip Pan||A pan that catches any drippings from the meat as it cooks.|
|4 x Cooking Racks||Shelves where the meat is placed for smoking.|
|Wood Chip Loader||A tool used to load wood chips into the wood chip tray without opening the main door of the smoker.|
|Grease Trap||A tray that catches excess grease from the meat as it cooks.|
|2 x Adjustable Legs||Legs that can be adjusted to level the smoker on uneven surfaces.|
|2 x Leg Boots||Protective covers for the legs to prevent damage to the smoker.|
|Air Vent||A vent that allows air to flow in and out of the smoker to regulate the temperature.|
|Door||The main door of the smoker, used to access the cooking area and add wood chips.|
|Hardware Pack||A set of screws and other hardware used to assemble the smoker.|
How To Use The MES 30″
The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) is a convenient and easy-to-use appliance for smoking a variety of meats. It operates similarly to a conventional oven, with a wood chip tray for adding flavor and a water pan to help regulate temperature and moisture. With some creativity and attention to temperature differences between racks, you can easily smoke a range of meats to perfection. Here is a summary of the steps to use the MES:
- Begin by preparing the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) for use.
- Fill the wood chip tray with your desired flavored smoking chips.
- Fill the water pan with water.
- Place your meat on the rack inside the MES.
- Close the door of the MES and turn it on.
- Set the temperature and cooking time according to your desired recipe or preferences.
- Check on the wood chip tray periodically and refill it as needed, typically every hour.
- Use creativity to fit as much meat as possible on the three shelves, potentially cutting ribs or separating larger cuts of meat into smaller pieces.
- Be aware that the temperature may vary between the top and bottom racks, potentially requiring rotation or longer cooking time for certain items.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, carefully remove the meat from the MES and let it rest before serving.
- When finished cooking, turn off the MES and allow it to cool before cleaning.
MES 30″ Pros – What’s Good About This Smoker?
There are some seriously awesome benefits to owning the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES). First off, it’s always good to have a variety of smokers in your arsenal – one for every occasion. Whether you’re into charcoal, wood, or pellet grills, an electric smoker is a great addition to your collection. Plus, they’re super convenient for busy people. You don’t have to worry about constantly monitoring a fire like you do with a charcoal or wood smoker. Just set it and forget it! They’re also the safest option for overnight cooks, so you can sleep easy knowing you won’t wake up to a raging inferno. I also love a good winter cook. Electric smokers are so easy to use in cold weather, just like a regular oven. Plus, they’re usually more affordable than other types of smokers, so you won’t break the bank.
|MES 30″ Pros||Reason|
|Owning a variety of smokers allows you to choose the best one for each occasion.||With a variety of smokers in your arsenal, you have the flexibility to choose the best one for each occasion.|
|The MES is affordable.||Not only is the MES affordable, it’s cheap to run compared to other smokers.|
|Electric smokers are the safest option for overnight cooks.||Electric smokers do not require constant monitoring, making them the safest option for overnight cooks.|
|Electrics are easy to use in any weather, including winter, making them convenient for busy schedules.||Electric smokers are easy to use in any weather, including winter, making them convenient for busy schedules.|
|Electric smokers can be used as easily as a conventional oven.||Electric smokers are easy to use, similar to a conventional oven.|
|Charcoal smokers can be difficult to manage in winter, with fluctuating temperatures and increased fuel usage.||Charcoal smokers can be more challenging to manage in winter, with fluctuating temperatures and increased fuel usage.|
The MES 30″ Cons – What’s Wrong With This Smoker?
The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) is a solid choice for anyone looking to smoke up some delicious meats. It’s affordable and easy to use, but it’s not the best electric smoker out there – you’ll have to dish out some extra cash for that. It’s also got some not-so-great components, like the digital controller and thermometer. The temperature might not be even on all the racks, and it might not get hot enough to give your chicken or turkey that crispy skin we all love. And let’s be real, electric smokers just don’t produce the flavor or smoke ring when compared to other smokers. But hey, it’s still convenient and gets the job done. Just don’t expect it to be as exciting as using a charcoal grill or offset smoker. All things considered, the MES is a decent choice for the price.
|MES 30″ Cons||Reason|
|The Masterbuild 30″ may not be the best electric smoker on the market.||While the MES is a popular and affordable option, there may be higher quality electric smokers available.|
|There may be temperature differences between the top and bottom racks of the MES.||As with most smokers, the temperature may not be consistent on all racks of the MES.|
|The digital controller and thermometer of the MES may be of lower quality.||The digital controller and thermometer of the MES may not be as high quality as those on other electric smokers.|
|The MES may not reach high enough temperatures for crisp chicken or turkey skin.||The MES may not reach high enough temperatures to produce crisp skin on chicken or turkey.|
|Electric smokers may not produce a smoke ring.||Electric smokers may not produce a smoke ring, which is the result of chemical reactions on the surface of the meat.|
|Using an electric smoker may be less exciting than using a charcoal grill or offset smoker.||Using an electric smoker may not be as exciting as using a charcoal grill or offset smoker, which require more attention.|
Are Electric Smokers Any Good?
Electric smokers aren’t so much about producing the perfect smoked meat. Electrics are all about convenience. Charcoal and wood smokers may produce better flavored meat (as the critics constantly point out), but electrics allow you to smoke meat on days you wouldn’t normally have time to smoke meat. Charcoal grills are time-consuming and require constant babysitting, whereas electric smoker are as easy to use as a conventional oven. This is where many people miss the point of electrics. No matter what the critics say, electric smokers can still produce delicious smoked meat.
Different MES Models
The Perfect Smoker for Beginners
The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is ideal for the beginner. If you want to dip your toes into the world of meat smoking, then a Masterbuilt is a great way to start. Fire management and temperature control are the biggest headaches when you’re starting out smoking meat. A Masterbuilt will allow you to focus more on the meat and the techniques of smoking ribs, brisket, etc. And, once you feel competent, you can upgrade to a charcoal smoker or an offset, and you will already master the basics. Your electric smoker will never go to waste, because there will always be a day where you don’t have time to fire up your charcoal grill, or perhaps the weather isn’t suitable.
MES vs The Competition
Masterbuilt is probably the most popular because of its price. However, there are other great smokers on the market, and not all of them are overly expensive. If you want something with a better build quality, and something that may last longer, then consider some of the following electric smokers.
The closest smoker to the Masterbuilt would have to be the Landmann smoker. You can get a Landmann for a few hundred dollars, which puts them in the same price range as a MES. These smokers can hold quite a lot of meat, more than most Masterbuilt models. You can check out this smoker here on Amazon.
Smokin-It range from about $400 through to just under $1,000 with their range of electric smokers. These smokers are well insulated steel box, and hold temperatures really well. Check them out on their website here.
Even though the Masterbuilt is the most affordable electric on the market, it’s not the cheapest. Old Smokey has been around for a while, and you can get one on Amazon for about $100. Old Smokey is an electric drum smoker that’s been around since the 1950s. It doesn’t produce the best smoked meat, but the Old Smokey is good for the price.
Cookshack produces quality electric smokers made in the USA. These smokers are well insulated with double stainless steel walls and they make a variety of different models. Cookshack smokers are expensive, and in the $1,000 range.
Smoking Tex is a good mid-range electric smoker, and a well insulated with five cooking racks which can hold a lot of meat. You can get a smoking tax for around $400-$500, right up to $1700 and beyond. These smokers are made in China, which is why they’re a little cheaper than some of the other good electrics on the market. Check out Smokin Tex here.