Over Father’s Day weekend this summer we bought an electric smoker at Academy. Specifically, we got the 40″ Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse with Window. Here’s their picture of the Smokehouse that they use for promotions:
As a note, the picture above shows way too much food in the smoker. It’s recommended not to over stuff the smoker because the smoke can’t circulate as well.
Here’s my review of this product after using it very frequently over the summer:
First off, we purchased the last one in stock at our local Academy. It was Father’s Day Weekend and they were running a lot of sales and it went fast. We really planned on getting a smaller smoker but the sale made this one cheaper than the 30″ model. That made it a no-brainer for us! We’re always looking for a bargain or a discount so how could we pass this up.
The purchasing process was pretty smooth. It did take us a long time to get assistance in the appropriate department. I guess it was about 10 to 15 minutes. Once we found an Academy employee who could help us, he was extremely helpful and friendly. He didn’t know a whole lot about the electric smokers, probably because he was a young man in his late teens/early 20s and never had an opportunity to use one of these smokers for himself. It took him a long time to find it in their back storage area but that’s reasonable since it was the last one and it was a busy holiday weekend. Once we actually had it brought out from their back area, the checkout and leaving process was smooth. He gave us a little piece of paper that told the checker what we were buying and then he was waiting for us at the front door with the smoker in it’s large box.
The box is large and you’ll need a truck or SUV to bring this home. Once you get home, it’s really easy to put this together. Inside the box, Masterbuilt did a great job of protecting the unit and keeping it secure. After getting it out and removing the Styrofoam from the smoker, it was easy to get it assembled and ready to use. Once you put it together, you’ll have to pre-season it by turning it on and letting it run for 3 hours.
Some of the tips we read online that help us out are:
- Wrap the drip tray in clean foil before each use. This makes it a lot easier to clean up after you’re done cooking for the day.
- Clean off the window after each use before it completely cools off. This helps keep it clean and you won’t have to scrub off the smoke residue once it dries.
- Wipe off and clean around the temperature sensors on the back panel after each use.
- Clean the trays while your food is resting and the trays are still warm. This makes it a lot easier to clean.
After we had used the smoker at least once a weekend for a month, it stopped getting hot. It was like it thought it was already at the target temperature when it wasn’t even close. We contacted Academy and they said we could return it or exchange it, however, they didn’t have any replacements in stock and didn’t know if they would get any more because it was after the season for these products. So, we contacted Masterbuilt and they also offered to replace it. However, before we had them replace it, we read about cleaning the temperature sensor. This is when we learned about tip #3 above. Ever since we started cleaning the sensor, it has worked like a dream and we haven’t had any problems with it.
One thing to remember is that you have to set a length of time to use the smoker. The first time we tried to use it, we didn’t realize this so it didn’t get hot. Once we figured this out, we figured out the expected time and then set the timer for that time plus 30 minutes. Adding a little time at the end allows you to keep it smoking if the internal temp isn’t ready. Also, the remote control can actually turn off the smoker. We thought it was turning off the remote controller, but no, it was turning off the smoker. For this reason, I’d recommend not letting your kids play with this remote. It is definitely not a toy and can mess up your cooking if someone adjusts the settings by accident.
That’s it for the review. I highly recommend this smoker and we’ve enjoyed using it for all types of meats and vegetables!
Here are some helpful links:
- Masterbuilt Website – You can get product specifications and user manuals
- Smoking Meats Forum – This website has tons of recipes and links to youtube videos showing how to actually use the smoker
- My Best Smoker – This website also has instructions and recipes for electric smokers