Masterbuilt Bluetooth Electric Smoker Review
What is good food — and I mean really good food — meant to do: nourish or entertain? Is it meant to be simply good for your body, or also good for your soul?
My feeling: why choose? Life is too short. Enjoy every part of it, while you can, I say.
I think many agree, and this is why so many stress over what to cook. The choice is often about how to prepare something people will love, without a lot of work. Something they’ll rave about, and something that will transport them.
Enter the Bluetooth-enabled electric smoker from Masterbuilt. You think I’m joking? I’m not.
There’s nothing like smoke to transform food from a protein into a transporting experience. Smoke reminds people of camp fires, of traditional lobster bakes on the beach, or of southern BBQ. In other words, it reminds them of good times — of experiences away from their routines. Food like this nourishes the soul by transporting people away from the mundanity or stress of their everyday lives and delivering to them not just a plate of food but an experience and, so often with it, memories.
A french writer once wrote about how a small baked good transported him to the happy days of childhood. If you’ve ever seen the Pixar movie Ratatouille, this is the same principle of the ratatouille that is served to the harsh and humorless restaurant Anton Ego — the dish that transforms him into a softie and a patron of the restaurant he so ardently wanted to close.
And so for it is with smoke. It reminds me of the smoked salmon that I grew up eating at a camp in Canada, where the smell of it smoking you could smell all week. It reminds me of those lobster bakes where I grew up on the coast of Maine. And it reminds me of the time my wife took me to New Orleans — one of the best trips of my life.
Smoking meat can be difficult to do on a grill. You have to refuel the charcoal fire just right on a regular basis, and then only use a small portion of the grill surface to actually cook the food. I’ve always found the gas or charcoal grill smoking method to be inefficient and limiting.
And so I wanted to find a smoker that would enable me to cook food — and a lot of it — without the hassle. In setting out to buy a smoker, I set out with these criteria:
- I wanted to be able to achieve a remarkable depth of flavor
- Which meant I wanted a great deal of control over the temperature and the smoke
- Without a great deal of hassle
- And I wanted to be able to do all this without paying an arm and a leg.
My desire for control without the hassle meant that I needed an electric smoker; something without all of the charcoal wood fuel (and thus, ash waste) that, while authentic, is hard to control and involves a fair amount of cleanup. True, hardened barbequers will disagree, but think of it this way: you’re not going to have to buy bags of charcoal, and stoke the embers every hour overnight. Instead, you can sleep. Sold? I thought so.
The Masterbuilt line of electric smokers offer a few conveniences that sold me on the product.
Size: It Can Handle A Lot
This model can handle a lot of meat. I’ve used some expensive wood models before that don’t accommodate a lot of meat. In these, there’s only one spot to put the meat, which means you can’t cook enough for a big crowd at once.
Not so with the Masterbuilt. This smoker has four racks, which means you can smoke up to 80 lbs of food.
I repeat: 80 lbs of food. That’s enough to get you through the neighborhood Super Bowl party, and then some.
I love the Bluetooth-enabled remote controller on this. All you have to do is download an app to your smartphone, and you can easily control it from a distance.
For instance, last night I was sitting around the fire pit in our backyard with a good friend. We were chatting and, without leaving my seat, I was able to check the internal temperature of the meat, and to adjust the smoking temperature. I was able to continue our conversation without interruption.
I’ve found the temperature control to be fairly precise. If you look at the app closely, the temp does vary from the set temp by a few degrees, but this is the same as with an oven or with a grill. You’re never going to be grilling right at 225 in any device. But this does as good a job as any of maintaining a steady temperature.
You also can control the smoke fairly well. There’s an adjustable air dampening vent on the top that allows you to emit smoke at a rate of your choosing. You can add wood chips at your desired rate as well, through a side mounted loading tray, making for a smokiness of your choosing.
A Movable Feast
This smoker is on wheels, with a handle on the back that allows you to tilt and then wheel it. It’s light and easy to move around.
I’ve been able to keep it tucked into my garage when I’m not using it, and then wheel it outside when I need to. Set up takes under 5 minutes, and I’m up and smoking.
With all that free time you’re not lighting and then nurturing coals, you can sit back with a beer and enjoy spending time with your guests, or watch the game.
In thinking about what to improve, I wish this smoker had better lighting. There is an exterior light that comes in handy at night, but there is no interior light. It would be helpful to see how the meat looks without having to open the door, and thus let out the heat — which is important given you’re cooking often at low temperatures.
This is a great smoker for the serious home cook who likes to smoke things. It’s easy, it controls well, it won’t break the bank at under $300, and it delivers a delicious product. I’ve made smoked ribs, slow smoked pork shoulder, and smoked salmon, and all came out absolutely delicious!
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks — smoke 80 lbs. of food!
- Handheld device become a remote control for the smoker with integrated Bluetooth® Smart technology
- Blue LED digital control panel display with removable sun shade
- Built-in meat probe thermometer for perfect results every time
- Integrated thermostat temperature control for even, consistent smoking temperatures
- High output LED lights illuminate food in low light when door is open
- Front control panel design allows for more prepping space on top of the smoker
- Patented side wood chip loading system to add chips without opening the smoker door
- Removable water pan, drip pan, wood chip tray, and front acess grease pan for easy cleanup
- Top air damper for smoke control
- Adjustable door latch helps retain heat and smoker
- Rear-mounted handle and wheels for easy mobility