How to Use Masterbuilt Electric Smokers, The Bottom Line

Let’s be honest: before I’d actually tried it, cooking food by smoke sounded a little beyond my usual pasta, meat and red sauce repertoire.It seemed like an advanced move, with a lot of equipment I would need to learn how to use from scratch–at the very least a huge hassle. I didn’t have time for it and I told myself I wasn’t missing out on anything much.

I was wrong.

Let’s just put it this way:

Smoking your food is probably the most underrated cooking method until you try it for yourself. First of all, my concerns about hassle and complexity have been totally put to rest. Maybe if I were born a couple of centuries ago I might’ve had a point, but fortunately, we are living in the great tech era and smoking your food is about as easy as using a microwave oven.

But how does it actually work?

Before getting into the specifics for Masterbuilt models (which is likely what brings you here), I wanted to touch on how electric smokers actually work. If anything, it’s interesting–and not at all as complicated as one might think.

Smoke-cooking food has been around ever since our ancestors struck their first (perhaps accidental) flame. Using the heat from the smoke of an open fire to slow-cook food, you trap in some of the wood’s flavor. This technique was copied into dedicated smokehouse, which then evolved into propane, charcoal, and now electric smoke boxes.

So what’s the big deal with electric smokers?

Nothing, really. They just use a more energy efficient and fast-heating mechanism than traditional charcoal or propane smoke boxes. Like electric grills and ovens (which are also gradually taking over gas stoves and ovens), electric smokers use a simple heating element to heat up your chosen wood chips.

If you’re interested in learning more about how electric smokers work in general, how they compare to propane and charcoal models, or you’re looking for the best electric smoker reviews, check out our Buyer’s Guide and Reviews here.

For now, let’s get into some of Masterbuilt’s finest models, and how to use them properly.

Can you use Masterbuilt electric smokers indoors?

Let’s start with the basics, then. If you’re new to smoking food or smoke boxes in generally, then this is a fair question. The answer, however, is a pretty firm No. Unless you are able to dedicate a space with a direct air vent above your smoker, it is not a good idea to smoke your food inside.

All smokers, electric included, require significant ventilation in order to function properly. There is also the possibility of your smoker producing an amount of carbon monoxide in the smoking process–this is a real health hazard, which is why I don’t suggest taking the risk, however small or unlikely.

Can you use Masterbuilt electric smokers outdoors, then?

Yes, of course. Electric smokers are meant to be used outside where they have a little room to breathe. Preferably, you should do your smoking under the cover of a patio or veranda to protect it from rain or other elements (remember, the smoking process will typically take a few hours, in which time the weather is likely to change).

When you’re not using it, for this same reason, it’s a good idea to store it away under cover–in a garage space or shed. Alternatively, you can invest in a smoker rain and wind cover, which will boost your machine’s lifespan considerably.

This also goes for using your Masterbuilt electric smoker in the rain. It’s not recommended. While a light rain won’t necessarily do any damage, electric smokers use a series of somewhat delicate components which shouldn’t be exposed to long periods of rainfall. The heating elements and other pieces of equipment can be seriously damaged–so it’s just not a good idea to do your smoking in the rain.

How to use a Masterbuilt electric smoker: 40 and 30 inch models

This is why I love electric smokers in general–not to mention these two from Masterbuilt: they’re simple and obvious to operate.

The 30 inch digital model, for example, is a professional grade electric smoker that does all the work for you. Here are all the steps you need to smoke yourself a beautiful home-cooked meal:

1) Load up however many of the 4 available cooking trays with food for you or your family;
2) Program your electric smoker using the digital display controls;
3) Press ‘Start’ and let it work its magic.

The Masterbuilt Digital 30

The Masterbuilt Digital 30 also comes with remote controls for internal temperature, cooking time and even meat temperature! How is this possible? It comes with an internal meat probe which keeps a tab on the actual temperature of whatever you’re cooking–not just the temperature in the box. This is more useful than you might imagine, allowing you to test the temperature of your food with opening the door and losing all of that great smoky flavor.

Here is detailed guidance for first time users:

You should also go ahead and do a few more steps the first time you use your smoker, check out this article on how to prepare your smoker:
how to use an electric smoker
how to clean an electric smoker

Masterbuilt’s larger 40 inch mode

Masterbuilt’s larger 40 inch model is similarly simple to use, including remote controlled features and other perks like dishwasher safe equipment and a full-length viewing window for checking in on your meal. It also includes the ever-useful built-in meat probe and uses a side-mounted wood dispenser; that’s where you’ll be loading up your wood chips to give the food its rich smoky flavor. The good thing about Masterbuilt electric smokers is that there is relatively no clean-up when it comes to wood chips, since there should be no stains or charred wood chips in the electric smoking process.

Speaking of cleaning up… Masterbuilt electric models are particularly handy because they require a limited amount of cleaning. Unlike some other models which are quick to stain and fill up with grease, Masterbuilt designs are relatively simple to keep looking like new–even after a few years’ use.

The cooking trays typically slide out without any hassle (only be sure that you don’t try removing them immediately after cooking, unless you’re wearing protective gloves) and these trays are dishwasher-safe, so no hassle scrubbing in the sink. Beyond that, you’ll want to wipe down the inside of the smoker door every now and then, since it will build up some occasional grease and juice from the cooking process.

Summing Up

Masterbuilt electric smokers are simple to use, easy to clean and great for controlling the cooking process at all hours of the day. If you’ve held back from smoking your foods until now, but are inspired to try it out, I would highly recommend starting with a Masterbuilt electric smoker. Plug it in, program it to whatever you like, then go about your the rest of your day–knowing that a well-cooked meal is waiting for you at the end of it all.

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