Product Review of the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

I have been wanting to buy a smoker for about a year or so, but never got around to guying one. My in-laws bought me the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker for Christmas this year (best in-laws ever). I had the chance to use it for the first time this past weekend. I discovered that smoking anything can be complex or simple depending on what website you look at. I voted for the easiest recipe I could find for the brisket that I bought from Costco.

This photo was taken at 0430 right after I put the brisket in to smoke.

Features

The Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric Smoker is one of the simpler electric smokers that Masterbuilt offers. It is 30 inches tall and features a digital panel that controls temperature and time. In addition, the smoker has a wood chip loading system that allows the addition of chips without opening the door. Some of the fancier smokers that Masterbuilt offers, feature a meat thermometer, wireless remote, and glass door. The model I have is fairly simple, but has less of a learning curve. I found that the directions that came with the smoker were easy to understand and I would consider my first attempt a success. You can see those directions at the Masterbuilt website.

Description

The smoker has a simple and clean look and costs about $200.00 (it is currently on sale via Amazon here). I did find that the smoker does not come with a cover or chips, but these items can also be purchased on Amazon here and here. I used pecan chips and had good results, but there many different opinions on what chips to use. I also purchased a rub from Amazon here. When it was all said and done I spent about $40.00 on the supplies (cover, rub, and wood chips). The brisket itself I purchased from Costco for just under $50.00 (eight pounds at about $5.89 per pound).

This is what the brisket looked like out of the smoker before I let it rest.

Pros

1. The flavor of the meat was amazing.  I do not think that there is any way to realistically replicate the flavor that you get from a piece of meat by smoking it.

2. It’s hard to mess up. For a first attempt I felt like I did really well. However, I used the simplest recipe I could find. My personal opinion is that as long as you have a meat thermometer to check to internal temp of the meat you cannot mess it up. For brisket the almighty internet said that anything between 185 and 200 degrees meant the meat was ready.

3. Perfect for parties. I could easily cook food for 10 to 30 people with relatively minimal effort.

Cons

1. Using the smoker takes a lot of time to do. The eight pound brisket took me ten hours to cook. Depending on who you talk to the meat then needs to sit for 30 to 60 minutes either in the oven or wrapped in tin foil after you take it out of the smoker. This doesn’t include the effort of preparing the meat with a dry rub or marinade (I elected for just dry rub and no marinade). I also elected not to trim the fat off the brisket which I think was a good move but most recipes call for removing that.

2. You have to watch it over the time it takes to cook. I put more wood chips into the smoker via the wood chip insert every hour. I think I could have gotten away with doing this every 90 minutes, but the smoke flavor really was fantastic on the meat. I also added apple cider vinegar to the water basin in the smoker about every two hours.

3. Clean up. While I did cover the water basin and grease pan in the bottom of the smoker in tin foil there was still a lot of work to do to wipe down the inside of the smoker, wash the smoking racks, and properly dispose of the ashes from the wood chips.

Final Thoughts On the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

I will be doing much more smoking when the weather gets warmer, but this is not something I would do regularly. I just do not have the time that it takes to devote to cooking with the smoker. However, for special occasions and parties this thing is perfect. I am already planning on doing brisket again for my Dad’s birthday since he was one of the lucky ones that got to taste test my first brisket this past weekend and loved it. I’m excited to try cooking other things in the smoker such as pork shoulder, bacon, chicken, etc. The Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is an excellent starting point for me to get more serious with my BBQ.

The finished product of my first smoked brisket attempt. It was incredible.

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