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Best Masterbuilt Smokers

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 13 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 102 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best Masterbuilt smokers

    Last Updated December 2018

    You take time to smell the roses and appreciate the finer things in life. You don't rush the process because you know that patience pays off. You understand that to get the full experience, to taste the robust, deep-saturated flavor, you need to take it low and slow. You're part of a rare and exceptional breed – a true artist when it comes to food preparation. Masterbuilt smokers were designed especially for you.

    But which one? There are two dozen different models in Masterbuilt's current line. Do you want propane, electric, charcoal, or something else? Which features are most important to you? Which features don't interest you? What is your budget?

    We at BestReviews have prepared this shopping guide to simplify things for you. By the time you finish reading, you'll not only understand what makes each Masterbuilt smoker unique but you'll also be armed with some tips and tricks to get the most out of your smoker.

    A brief history of Masterbuilt

    Masterbuilt began as a backyard welding business called M&M Welding & Iron Works. Dawson McLemore was the welder and young John McLemore was the salesman going door to door with his little wagon full of fern stands trying to interest the neighbors in his dad's work.

    It wasn't until a friend encouraged Dawson to try and build a fish cooker that he found his niche. After that, Dawson prayed for direction and started Masterbuilt. The family company was founded on faith, and after that everything else just fell into place.

    From developing the world's first indoor turkey fryer to becoming a recognized innovator in the industry, Masterbuilt is continually striving to do the right thing. The company stands behind its products and works to create a true customer community with which it regularly shares recipes, product tips, photos, and videos.

    Perfect for beginner or pro

    The Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker is a larger, four-rack smoker with easy to use digital controls. Monitor the cooking progress through the front window, and add more chips through the side chip loader without opening the door. The real beauty of this smoker is that it’s electric – just plug it in, turn it on, and create your culinary masterpiece!

    What does a smoker do?

    To the uninitiated, grilling, barbecuing, and smoking might seem like interchangeable terms, but they're not. Each is a distinctly different cooking method.

    Grilling involves high heat (400°F to 500°F) and is a quicker, uncovered process.

    Barbecuing uses a lower temperature (200°F to 300°F) for a slower, covered cooking environment that tenderizes and flavors the meat.

    Smoking is another slow process that takes place at an even lower temperature. It uses heated smoke from burning or smoldering wood or other material to deeply infuse the food with flavor. There are two types of smoking: cold and hot.

    • Cold smoking (90°F to 120°F) does not cook food, so it can only be done to cured meat. The process can take several hours to several days. Since cold smoking is done in the danger zone for food (40°F to 140°F), the conditions are ideal for botulism spores and other bacterial growth. Cold smoking needs precise control and should only be done by an experienced chef. Other foods, such as cheese, can also be cold smoked.

    • Hot smoking (160°F to 180°F, up to 300°F) is much safer because it is done above 140°F, the minimum temperature at which food can keep indefinitely.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    There is a test you can perform to see how well your meat probe is functioning. Fill a glass with water and an ample amount of ice. When you stick the thermometer in the water, it should read at or close to 32°F.

    Masterbuilt smoker fuel

    Masterbuilt offers smokers that are fueled in four different ways: propane, electric, charcoal, or pellets.

    Propane: The flavor from a propane smoker is a little tastier than an electric smoker, but not as robust as charcoal or wood pellets. You will have to keep an eye on the fuel and remember to refill the tank. Masterbuilt propane smokers offer an easy-start push-button ignition system. Smaller propane-fueled smokers are very portable.

    Electric: When you use electricity, you limit the portability of your smoker – it can only go as far as the length of the cord – but that can easily be overlooked because of the convenience. Just turn it on and it’s ready. Electric smokers have greater temperature control – it can achieve long-term lower temperatures that might be difficult with propane or charcoal. Masterbuilt offers both digital (precise temperature settings) and analog (dial settings) models. Additionally, the digital smokers are Bluetooth compatible, so you can work them remotely. The downside to an electric smoker is that it doesn't impart quite the same flavor as pellets or charcoal.

    Charcoal: If authentic smoky flavor is what you crave, there is no better option than a charcoal smoker. It offers the deepest, most nuanced taste because you can combine charcoal and wood chips to enhance the flavor. Be aware that a charcoal smoker requires a bit more maintenance than other smokers. You have to start the fire, stoke it as needed, and then safely dispose of the charcoal when finished. It’s fully portable. Anywhere you want to go, a charcoal smoker can come along with you.

    Pellets: Pellets are a kind of a “best of both worlds” option. These can produce nearly the same rich, deep flavor as charcoal, but pellets also offer much of the convenience of electric or propane. On a Masterbuilt pellet smoker, you can digitally set the temperature and not have to watch over the cooking process. Additionally, the pellets are fed and burned as needed, so you won't waste any fuel.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    There are a few safety concerns to consider when deciding where to place your Masterbuilt smoker. Never use it indoors, keep it at least ten feet away from buildings or other structures, and never use it beneath overhead structures.

    Masterbuilt smoker design

    Most Masterbuilt smokers are tall, rectangular objects that by design offer more cooking space than a typical grill. The larger models weigh approximately 100 pounds and have wheels for mobility. The smaller models weigh about 20 pounds and are fully portable.

    The other design option is the rounded Bullet Smoker. These models have two racks and an adjustable air damper that allows you to control the amount of smoke and moisture that remains inside the unit. The Bullet Smokers, whether electric or charcoal, weigh slightly less than the portable rectangular models.

    On-the-go greatness

    With collapsible legs and a lighter weight (about 22 pounds), this Masterbuilt Portable Gas Smoker is designed for effortless transport. Although the unit uses a 1-pound propane cylinder, you can purchase an adapter so it runs off a 20-pound tank to accommodate longer cooking times. This smoker is perfect for camping, tailgating, and even those inspired, spontaneous road trips.

    Masterbuilt smoker features to consider

    Masterbuilt smokers offer a wide variety of features, including the following.

    Adjustable door latch: Smokers with a door have a latch that you can adjust to be sure your closed smoker always has a tight seal.

    Air damper: The air damper either rotates or slides to adjust how much air enters or leaves the smoker. You can use the air damper to set the temperature or to control how much smoke and moisture you allow to stay in the unit while smoking.

    Bluetooth: Masterbuilt's digital smokers are Bluetooth compatible, so you can work your smoker remotely.

    Collapsible legs and handles: The most portable Masterbuilt smokers feature collapsible legs and handles to facilitate transportation.

    Meat probe: Some Masterbuilt models include a digital probe to measure the internal temperature of meat. Use it to be certain you are cooking all meats to the proper temperature.

    Racks: Each Masterbuilt smoker has a different capacity, ranging from two to six racks. Some models also have locking racks. More racks mean a taller unit. Be sure the smoker you get is large enough to handle your cooking needs.

    Smoke on demand: Masterbuilt pellet smokers have a special feature called "smoke on demand," enabling you to set additional time designated solely to infuse your food with more smoky flavor.

    Temperature gauge: All Masterbuilt smokers have a way to measure the temperature inside the unit: a built-in dial gauge on analog models and a display on digital models.

    Window: Some of the larger smokers have a window so you can see how your food is progressing without opening the door.

    EXPERT TIP

    Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials on your smoker. The best solution is to use a mixture that is half hot water and half apple cider vinegar. Fill a spray bottle, shake well, then spray the mixture on your smoker. Clean with a soft sponge.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Although you might be tempted to completely wrap the racks in your Masterbuilt smoker with aluminum foil, never do it. It could severely damage the unit.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Masterbuilt smoker prices

    The price of Masterbuilt smokers ranges from $60 to $500 and up, depending on type and features.

    Bullet smokers cost $60 to $80.

    Propane smokers cost $80 to $350, with small portable models at the lower end and extra-large smokers costing the most.

    Electric smokers cost from slightly less than $200 to $400. As the price goes up, you'll see features like digital display, Bluetooth compatibility, and a window.

    Pellet smokers cost about $500.

    Masterbuilt recommends that you season your smoker before its first use. Set the smoker to 275°F and allow it to run for about three hours. During the last 45 minutes, add half a cup of wood chips (no water in the water pan). When finished, turn off the power and allow your smoker to cool completely.

    FAQ

    Q. What do I do if I have any questions?

    A. If at any point you need help with your Masterbuilt smoker, the company has a customer service team available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-800-489-1581.

    Q. What kind of warranty comes with a Masterbuilt smoker?

    A. With proper assembly, normal use, and recommended care, Masterbuilt guarantees all of its products to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the date of original retail purchase. Smokers that use only charcoal have a 90-day warranty. Paint finish and rust are not covered. Additionally, wood products and accessories are excluded from this warranty. For full details, contact Masterbuilt.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Allen
      Allen
      Writer
    • Alvina
      Alvina
      Photographer
    • Amos
      Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Branson
      Branson
      Videographer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Karen
      Karen
      Writer
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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