Review: Masterbuilt Electric Analog Smoker
According to the manufacturer: The Masterbuilt Electric Analog Smoker is perfect for the beginner or the pro. You'll achieve competition-ready results in your own backyard, without the hassle of charcoal or propane. Simply plug this smoker in, set the analog controls, and it does the work! Masterbuilt makes smoking simple.
- Smoke up to 60 lb. of food on three chrome-coated smoking racks
- Easy-to-read temperature gauge in door
- 1,500-watt heating element for even, consistent smoking up to 400°F
- Removable wood chip tray, drip pan and water bowl
- Dual-wall construction for controlled temperature
After getting home with my newest purchase and lugging it into the middle of my wife's living room,I proceeded to tear into the box.
This unit comes pretty much assembled. I had to attach the four legs and the door handle. I also had to insert the grills and the power supply. It took little to no time at all to get this thing ready to run. Once it was completely assembled, I took it out to the back porch and started the seasoning process.
The owners manual outline how the manufacturer recommends to season thier smoker, so I just went ahaead and followed their proceedure - sorta. What I did different was to take a can of drippings I had from my grill and painted the interior of the unit with the drippings. Once I had the sides and door covered, I went ahead and put the heat to it and let it cook for a spell.
Once I had it seasoned, I opened the door and just let it cool down.
It was the following weekend that I put the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker to the test. For the first smoke, my wife and decided to try a rack of pork ribs and a whole chicken. My darling wife put together her family famous rub, trimmed the ribs and got everything ready to go into the smoker.
Now, I had the hard part. I put power to the electric smoker and set the temperature so that once the temp came up, it would be around 225°F - 250°F. I had prepared some hickory and oak wood chips that I used for the smoke. I placed the chips in the provided smoke box and after getting the ribs and chicken into the smoker, I put the chips in to do what wood chips do.
I kept a pretty close watch on the smoker. I was initally looking for leaks that I would need to seal up, but after about half an hour, I was not seeing any smoke.
I opened the electric smoker and discovered that there was very little if any smoke. I checked the wood chips and they showed no sign of burning/smoldering.
I thought maybe it was the metal smoke box that wasn't getting hot enough to cause the wood chips to smolder. I took the chips out of the box and put them in an aluminum foil packet (several holes in the packet to allow the smoke to escape). The next thing I did was put the foil packet directly on the heating coils and kept an eye on the smoker again.
I won't bore you with all the details, but I am not impressed with this smoker. First off, to cook at around 225°F, which is where I generally like to have my temperature, the heating element does not generate enough heat to cause wood chips - wet or dry - to smolder and produce any kind of decent amount of smoke. I have tried a variety of different methods to get this thing to produce the kind of smoke I expect.
I have found that this electric smoker is good for low and slow cooking, but not for smoking. I have found that if I get half a dozen briquettes going in the a modified coffee can, I can put a few pieces of wood chunks in and that will produce enough smoke for salmon that my grand daughter just loves. Other than that, about the only thing I find useful about this unit is that it's great for smoking fish and for slow cooking.
Overall, it is not a bad little unit. It is easy to put together. It will give you pretty consistant cooking temperatures so you can just set it and forget it, but do not expect to have clouds of smoke billowing from this thing. It just ain't gonna happen. At least I couldn't get to do it for me. However, with a little out-of-the-box thinking, this electric smoker is great for smoking fish.