If you’re reading this article right now, chances are, you recently bought a new electric smoker or you are about to buy one. Masterbuilt electric smokers are one of the great choices in the market today. In the following text, we will give you some tips on how to efficiently use it so you can get the most out of your purchase.
Parts of a Masterbuilt electric smoker
The following components are replaceable based on the product manual.
This is the main part of the smoker unit where the smoking takes place. The smoking chamber is typically highly insulated with tightly-secured doors to entrap heat and smoke inside the chamber and maximize the smoking process.
The electrically-powered heating element is the main source of heat for your smoker. You can often find this part underneath the smoker while other models have it around the smoking chamber. A single smoker unit can have one to two heating elements. The more heating elements, the faster the preparation time. Some units also have a thermostat for temperature control.
Wood chip tray
This is something that is common in all smoker units. Wood chips are the main smoke producers and they are the ones that infuse flavor to your food and they always have a designated container. It is commonly placed just right above the heating element. Its size varies on the overall size of the unit. You should be careful not to put too much wood chips as this can have a significant impact on the result.
This does not have a distinct feature but it is still an essential component of the unit. This helps in regulating the moisture inside the chamber. It makes cleaning up easier if the water pan is removable from the unit itself. If it gets damaged, Masterbuilt water pans are easily replaceable.
This pan collects the oil or grease that is produced usually by the food during smoking. Not all smoker units have this included in the package as it is not a very vital component but having it still helps in making the cleaning process a whole lot easier.
Using your Masterbuilt electric smoker
1. Seasoning the smoker
It’s not what it sounds like. This kind of seasoning does not involve the use of herbs, spices, or condiments. Seasoning an electric smoker means getting it ready and set up for initial use.
After the manufacturing process, the unit is most likely to have extraneous debris accumulated from environmental conditions before you had it in your possession. It can be in the form of dust, dirt, or oils. You do not want this to be included in the first food that you serve. You need to get rid of them before you smoke food. Here’s how you can properly season your Masterbuilt smoker:
- Set up the unit completely. Include the racks, trays, and hooks. Attach all essential components as though you are really about to use it. But do not put water in the water pan just yet.
- Plug it into an electrical outlet and turn it on. Set the temperature to 275 degrees.
- Allow it to smoke without any wood chips for around 3 hours.
- After the first part, add in about half a cup of wood chips and allow it to smoke again for another hour.
- Switch off the unit and let it cool before starting to smoke actual food.
2. Preparing the meat
Almost all types of meat can be treated by a smoker. From ribs to briskets, chickens to turkeys, sausage to fish, name it and most likely it can be cooked inside an electric smoker. This gives a wide range of options for recipes to prepare. Cheese and vegetables are also suitable for smoking. We recommend looking up good recipes online so you know the smoking techniques for different kinds of meat and food products along with the right temperature and smoking time for each of them.
3. Preheat your Masterbuilt smoker
Heat-utilizing appliances need to be preheated before actual use. Similar to ovens, smokers are not exempt from that. Preheating reduces the cooking time and sets the condition of the smoker before you put in food. You get better results as well if you make preheating a habit for every single time you use your smoker.
- Load in some wood chips.
- Switch on the smoker and set it to your preferred temperature. The common temperature for meats and fish is more or less 225 degrees.
- When it reaches that temperature, refill the tray with a new batch of wood chips.
- Remember to fill the water pan as well. For more detailed instructions, refer to the product guide provided by the manufacturer.
Your smoker should be ready after that. As long as it is set at a certain temperature, emitting smoke, and the water tray is filled, you can now put food in it and start the actual smoking process.
4. Smoking the meat
Now that you have the meat inside the smoker ready, it wouldn’t hurt to recheck the temperature and ensure that it is at the appropriate setting for the kind of meat you are about to smoke. Factors like the cut, size, and thickness should be considered.
Also, set the timer on the smoker to avoid overcooking or undercooking the meat. The water in the water pan can help in regulating the moisture inside the smoker as well as within the meat itself. You can baste the meat around two-thirds through the smoking time to check if it is really moist. Most meat juices can also be produced if you baste it twice at one-thirds and two-thirds time intervals through the preparation time.
5. Adding more wood chips and water
Chances are, you may need to refill the wood chip tray one or two times throughout the entire process. If the meat or fish is quite thin, it won’t take a long time and you probably won’t need to add in more wood chips. But usually, you will really need to refill the wood chips at least once for most meats. Also if the smoke production is less than usual, you will also need to put in more. The same goes for the water level in the water pan.
6. Final steps
Only got a few minutes left until the food is ready to be served? What are the last moves you need to do? Basting or saucing the meat around 20-30 minutes before the timer sets off is one of the common things that people like to do to their smoked meat. Saucing is commonly done with ribs.
Always make it a point to turn off the smoker every after use to conserve energy and be safe. Once you find the time, clean up the smoker before storing it away. Remember to let it cool first before doing so. Possibly after eating or after the gathering, it should be ready for cleaning. Do not allow grease to dry up and most definitely do not leave any burnt food chunks, residue, and other debris inside uncleaned for a long time. Smokers that are not well-maintained tend to have shorter lifespans and are more prone to malfunctions and performance defects.
Custom-fit covers will really benefit you in the long run especially if you commonly store your smoker in the outdoors where it is often exposed to dirt, dust, humidity, sunlight, and rain. You can find smoker covers by Masterbuilt by clicking on this link. There are smoker covers available at conventional markets that you can buy at lower prices but these are not perfectly fit for your particular smoker unit.
Typical Masterbuilt smokers are not very high or elevated so it would require you to always crouch or bend over whenever you refill wood chips or adjust something with the settings and even when you load in the food that you are going to smoke. A leg kit stand raises the smoker unit at a high enough level so that you won’t have to go through that hassle. You can always use other objects to elevate the unit but if you want to have it custom-matching, you can scroll through some options here.
Masterbuilt smoke generators are state-of-the-art. Their main smoker units do not generate immense amounts of smoke which is both an advantage and a drawback. Their smoke generator accessory allows for more smoke production. It was initially designed for cold smoking but it can also work for electric smoker units.
A guide to cleaning your Masterbuilt electric smoker
Here are five major steps to take when cleaning your smoker unit.
- The removable parts like the smoking rack, water pan, drip trays, and grates can be separately cleaned using mild detergent.
- Brush off wood chip ash residues. Slight agitation of the unit can shake off wood chip dust.
- Allow ash and wood chips to cool down first before disposing of them.
- Use a moist fabric to wipe the interior walls of the smoker unit as well as the glass door.
- Wipe the inner door’s seal to maintain efficiency of the seal and to ensure its tightness in sealing the glass door closed.
How do you clean a Masterbuilt electric smoker?
The common extraneous dirt in electric smokers are loose debris, grease, ashes, wood fragments, and drippings from the pan. The seasoning of the smoker is not included in this because this actually helps in improving the flavor of the meat that you smoke.
- To start off, place a pan of hot water inside the unit to steam the interior.
- After that, you can use a clean, dry cloth to take out the removable racks and grates.
- Wipe off the interior walls. Remove the excess grease, oils, and debris. It is not necessary to use cleaners but if you really want to use one, a food-safe cleaner can do the trick. It only has a subtle scent and it does not linger inside the unit, therefore, it won’t affect the food.
- Make it a point to wipe the wood chip tray as well before preheating the smoker for next use.
Masterbuilt electric smoker tips and tricks
We will be providing you with more information to get you equipped, knowledgeable and ready to take on your electric smoker like a pro.
How often do I need to add in wood chips to the smoker?
A full tube of wood chips every hour of usage should suffice for the average smoking session with a temperature of 250 degrees or below. However, for temperatures more than that, wood chips burn faster so it’s better to monitor around every half an hour. Take note that overloading the smoker with wood chips is not a good idea because this does not hasten the process. Use the recommended size of the wood chips and do not use large pieces of wood as this can damage the loading tube of the unit.
Is there a need to soak wood chips for a Masterbuilt electric smoker?
No. This does not apply to the smoker units made by Masterbuilt along with most other electric smoker units of different brands. Electric smokers already have a temperature limit that lets it burn wood chips slowly and steadily for a consistent smoking distribution. We also do not personally recommend soaking wood chips prior to smoking regardless of the smoker unit brand because it may not be able to burn clean. Soaking them will create steam inside the smoker.
How do you add water to a Masterbuilt smoker?
Somewhere in the bottom portion of the unit is a removable water pan that should easily slide out and you can take out to be refilled. You can fill this pan halfway through to regulate the humidity inside the smoker which can help in keeping your smoked meat juicy. You can also add other kinds of liquids like meat juices or meat broths to add to the flavor.
How do I make a disposable drip tray?
Any pan or box that fits into the small rack at the bottom of the smoker unit with side gaps that do not go more than 0.5 inches can pass as a drip tray. Take a piece of foil and lay it on the bottom of your makeshift drip tray. Roll or fold the corners to maintain its form. There are some disposable drip trays being sold at extremely cheap prices at dollar stores. You can even find some online by checking out this link. Although this should not bother you that much because it is not a necessary component but it does make cleaning up easier.
What are some reasons why my electric smoker is not working?
You should keep in mind that Masterbuilt electric smokers do not produce that much smoke. It only produces enough to infuse the food being prepared. But if you are preparing food that really needs an immense amount of smoke, here are some ways to increase the smoke output of your unit.
Before we get into that, run some double checks first.
- See if the wood chip tray is clean and filled with fresh wood chips.
- Chop up 4 pieces of charcoal chunks and load them into the tray.
- Start your unit and observe the amount of smoke produced. For every refill of wood chips, add in one chunk of charcoal along with it. This can help not only with the smoke output but also with the quality of the food.
- Set the temperature to a little more than 200 degrees.
- The thermostat should cut off the heating element once it reaches that temperature and the chips will stop burning.
- A smoke generator, a smoke tray, or an external burner tray modification can help in increasing the amount of smoke produced. But we highly suggest going with the first option since it is also the easiest and most reliable.
Smoke generators are simple to install. You can insert it into the wood chip loading tube and it will pump a lot of smoke into the unit. This is mainly hot smoke so if you usually opt for cold smoking, you will need an extension tube to lower the temperature.
The Amazin’ smoke tray is also another great find. Just put in some wood pellets, light up the corner, and place it where the wood chip usually goes at the bottom rack of the unit. It works better if you detach the loading tube as this will allow more oxygen to increase combustion. It is easier to control the temperature for your smoke element and you do not need to worry about burning wood chips. It can burn for up to 16 hours but based on actual experience, it only lasted 12 hours, but that is already more than enough. The tray can serve multiple purposes and be a great additional accessory to a gas grill.
To sum this all up, electric smokers by Masterbuilt are definitely one of the top tier brands in the market today. Just remember to keep in mind everything you have read in this article and you are guaranteed an amazing experience with your smoker unit.