Did you ever consider buying an electric smoker? If so, you landed on the right page. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, there are thousands of options for smokers on the market and you can quickly become overwhelmed. Fortunately for us, there is the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, and it will be a good fit for most people who are looking to get a smoker.
Who are Masterbuilt anyway? A company built on the grounds of family, traditions, and values. It’s a story just like we love them. A hot smoking story that started over 45 years ago. The story of a company started in the backyard of a family man who was trying to bend wires with his bare hands… Fast forward a few years later the company is a key market actor designing, building, and creating cooking appliances and offers much more than just a simple smoker.
We will focus on the Masterbuilt 30” Electric Smoker. One of the market’s top sellers and amongst the most popular smokers. It’s not difficult to see why it sells like hot cakes, but let’s dive down into its review and understand better what’s hot about it and what’s not.
Description – outside
It’s amazing how simplicity can be a synonym of efficiency. No fancy design here, no unnecessary accessories or features. Just a rectangular looking black box with a digital control panel on top of it. Next to it, you will find a very convenient air damper that you can use to adjust the amount of smoke within the smoking chamber. On the left-hand side, you’ll find the clasp to secure the door and make sure it is properly locked and does not allow for any smoke loss. On the other side, you’ll have an intriguing handle that happens to be a patented wood chip loading system which we will review more closely below.
Description – inside
No big surprise: you will again find some simplicity and straightforwardness. You have four chrome-coated cooking racks that allow you to place your favorite food to smoke. At the bottom, you will see a removable dripping plate, to catch all the food drippings, parts and grease that will fall off during the smoking. There’s also room for a water bowl: very important if you wish to add some water to help keep the moisture inside of the cooking box and not to dry out your food. And last but not least, the wood chip tray: that’s where all the simple or special wood chips that you’ll need to get the smoke going will end up.
What we particularly like in this Masterbuilt digital smoker, is that it is easy to use. You won’t struggle to get going and smoke sausages, ribs or poultry. A couple of main functionalities and innovative technology and you get a device usable by everyone.
Patented woodchip system: the little handle on the side is a real game changer. Turn the handle upside down to pull it out, load it with chips, insert it back and twist it back in to lock it and secure it. Extremely convenient system to keep the smoke going regularly without the need to open the smoking box and risking smoke or heat loss.
Heat: You can go easily from 100 to 275F. The temperature is absolutely more than enough to get a couple of food smoking and the best smoking (generally admitted) temperature is around 200F.
Control panel: Easy to use, easy to read and easy to access digital control panel at the top of the smoker. On/Off button, arrow up and down to increase or reduce the temperature, a timer and the digital display for the temperature.
Capacity: This 30’ model boasts 730 square inches of cooking space which will allow you to fit with no problems up to two turkeys or four pork butts or four racks of ribs or six chickens
Cleaning and maintenance: one of the big pluses of this smoker is that you won’t spend too much time cleaning or too much money on maintenance.
Cleaning after each use is recommended and will ensure you the best results smoke after smoke, but if you can’t, try to still do it every couple of times. As for maintenance, no worries: not only there’s a warranty (check manufacturer’s warranty) but also some of the Masterbuilt smoker parts are available to be purchased independently.
There are no huge differences between the two models as they are similar in terms of design or functionalities, but the 40’ model offers a slightly bigger cooking surface. This is expressed through approx. 975 sq. inches cooking surface where you can smoke as much as: four turkeys-eight pork butts-eight racks of ribs or 16 chickens (!). This is enough to feed a large family or a friends’ reunion. Nonetheless, we would like to point out to you that there are the classic “legacy” models that are always available, but that the new generation has joined in the market and they are worth to be checked out. They offer new features such as :
Glass door: it’s always nice to be able to have visual control, especially if what you are smoking is small and delicate and does not require too much time. Otherwise, for heavier pieces of food that require longer smoking time, the glass tends to become foggy because of the smoke and you would not see much anyways. This change falls more into the “design” category and it’s up to you to see if you prefer the classic all black box looking version or if the silver one with the glass door.
Remote control: it’s a nice add-on if you want to chill meanwhile your food is getting ready. No need to babysit, you can set up everything remotely and monitor the temperature/timing directly from the remote control.
Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes
After exposing you to all the features that these electric smokers can offer and got your mouth watering, we would not have been able to let you down here and not to offer you some emblematic, all-pleaser recipes to do with your new toy.
How to smoke a Boston butt in a Masterbuilt electric smoker
The big classic pork butt a.k.a. Boston butt. It’s an upper body cut of the pork, neighboring the shoulder. Delicious and fit to be cooked in many ways. To start off, get yourself some nice quality Boston butt big enough for the people you intend to feed. Also get some dry seasoning: individually picked spices will make a fantastic tailor-made taste, but a pre-mixed seasoning will work as well. You will also need some mustard. Here it goes:
- Rub your Boston butt with the dry seasoning. Make sure it is well covered and no part is left unseasoned. Place in a freezing bag (or any other bag that you can seal and that is food-friendly).
- Add some mustard so help the seasoning to adhere to the butt. Put a sufficient amount of mustard but no need to “soak” it in. Mayonnaise also works or any other type of sauce that will act as a binder between the butt and the dry seasoning.
- Rub everything well in the bag, seal, and put aside in the fridge overnight. The marinade will have time to work its charms on the pork butt.
- The day after, bring the temperature to about 225F and then place the Boston butt on the bottom rack of your electric smoker. The recognized smoking time would be 1 hour per pound of meat. Make sure the temperature and smoke are constant and even. Consider loading the wood chips at the same frequency (once an hour or any time span than is required according to your smoker).
- The Boston butt ready, get it out carefully. Enjoy
Smoking whole chicken in a Masterbuilt electric smoker
The process to get a whole chicken smoked in the electric smoker is roughly the same as for the above Boston butt recipe. There are simply a few steps that you need to remember:
- Remove all the giblets out of your chicken.
- Clean it down well with cold water. Every corner has to be clean. Pat it down with some kitchen towels for example.
- Cover up the whole chicken in your favorite dry seasoning (pre-mixed or hand-picked). Make sure to put some under the wings and you can also add up a little bit inside if you wish.
- You can spray up lightly the bird with some water or citrus juice to add a little bit of moisture and flavor.
- You can let it rest overnight for best results. If you can’t, a few hours in the marinade will do.
- Place the chicken in the electric smoker and get the temperature to 225F. The general rule is 1h of smoking per pound, but for poultry, it could be more about 35-45 minutes per pound.
- If you have a probe, you can check that the thickest part of the chicken reaches about 165F (and you can get a few other parts probed too for better accuracy). That’s where you know it’s cooked. It should be its finishing temperature.
Shall I go for an electric smoker?
Yes. This is the easiest question. If you love smoked ribs, chicken, sausages and so on and would like to do them yourself at home, an electric smoker is your way to go.
Is it easy to use?
Yes. Nothing too complicated for this model. One main feature: smoking your food. No fussy, overwhelming settings to configure.
How to use Masterbuilt electric smoker?
It’s pretty simple. You prepare your food (marinades etc… if it needs to be), then you load it in the smoking chamber. Load your favorite wood chips, set up the temperature and the timing. Let the smoker do its job. Monitor from time to time and add extra chips if needed.
Anybody will enjoy using this electric. It’s convenient, easy to use, and cooks delicious food. It’s a great choice for beginners and people who have never owned a smoker before or have little experience in smoking food. Pros will also enjoy this device but they might want a more sophisticated tool.
How can I keep the meat warm after it is smoked?
There are several techniques to keep bbq meat warm after it is smoked. The ideal is to consume after it’s done smoking and a short rest period, but if you can’t eat it within that timeframe or you are aiming to get the dinner central piece done early, then these techniques can be a good option. As usual, food safety is always first. Make sure you can monitor the meat and that the temperature never drops under the non-safe zone.
Where do I store it?
Use it outdoors. Store it anywhere convenient and practical to get it out anytime you need. Preferably in a shed or anywhere protected from potential rain or snow.
Is it a good investment?
It is indeed a good investment for everyone who wants to prepare their own smoked meats, fish, poultry, vegetables etc….
Is it easy maintenance?
People who complain about poor performances after a while are often the ones who fail to understand that a little maintenance can go a long way in terms of years of usage. Cleaning the smoker after each usage is the best option, but we understand that it’s not always possible. Clean it every couple of usages then as long as the dirt from the food does not accumulate. Special note on the dripping plate: don’t forget to use it! And this is definitely a part that you will want to empty/wash every time.
Final thoughts: what we like vs what we don’t?
The Masterbuilt Electric smoker is a great device for literally everyone. It’s easy to use, it is affordable, the assembly is pretty straight forward. It gives great results with little efforts and is easy to maintain. There’s not really anything to dislike as it’s a device that’s meant for smoking food and it definitely does the job. Though, it might be a little too simple for some pros or for people who are looking for versatile devices. Masterbuilt also offers several versions of its electric smoker (different sizes, glass doors…). You will find a fit for you for sure.