If you need a good entry point to BBQ smoking then this might be the perfect smoker for you. Find out everything you need to know about the Masterbuilt 20078715 in my in depth review.
If you’re at all familiar with BBQ smokers, and electric smokers in particular, then you will no doubt have heard of Masterbuilt.
They’ve been manufacturing smokers since 1973 and their long running history of producing durable and high quality smokers has seen them stand out as one of the most popular smoker manufacturers for decades.
Digital electric smokers like this one are a great entry point for people new to BBQ smoking. They’re far easier to start up and control then their charcoal or wood counterparts, and are simple to operate as they cook your food.
Charcoal smokers are well known for suffering from severe temperature fluctuations, but their electric counterparts are far easier to control and are excellent at maintaining even temperatures over a long time. Perfect for the low and slow cooking that BBQ smoking requires. Proper temperature control for meat cooking is key, so electric smokers are a great way to keep your food tasting great and, more importantly, safe.
Let’s get into what the Masterbuilt 20078715 has to offer.
One of the Masterbuilt’s strongest features is the amount of cooking space it gives you. It offers 975 square inches of cooking space over 4 cooking racks. Incredibly, this is enough to fit in an impressive 12 whole chickens.
These racks are chrome coated which means that they’re not only durable, but they’re built with good heat distribution in mind. They’re less likely to yield hot spots, which means that your food will be cooked evenly regardless of where you place it across the racks.
It has full foam insulation, which ensures that any heat you create stays in the smoker. BBQ smoking in particular is completely reliant on maintaining consistent temperatures throughout cooking, so any disruption to the air flow or heat levels within the smoker can prove costly. Good insulation ensures that this doesn’t happen.
One of the Masterbuilt’s other strongest features is its emote control. This allows you to monitor your smoker’s ambient temperatures as well as the internal temperature of your meat. One of meat smoking’s great inconveniences is that it takes hours, which can make monitoring the progress of your meat tedious. Having a remote control like this takes away a lot of that inconvenience,
It also has its own temperature probe for monitoring meat temperature, which is a great feature to have. Meat is extremely unsafe to eat before it reaches the ideal internal temperature of 140°F, so having a good meat thermometer is crucial. The fact that Masterbuilt have provided one scores a lot of points with me.
It also has a drip pan to help catch any juice or grease run-off from your meat as it cooks. This sits behind an easy-to-access door so you can unload and reload it as you cook without disrupting the internal temperature of your smoker significantly.
Similarly, it has a wood chip and loading system autolaoder to allow you to add wood chips to further enhance the flavor of your food.
Lastly, its heating element packs in 1200 watts, which is an incredibly amount for an electric smoker. This is more than strong enough to maintain good cooking temperatures over the hours needed to cook your meat.
Out the box
Sometimes these kinds of products come unassembled and can be a frustrating to put together. I didn’t experience this with the Masterbuilt, and I was up and running within about 20 minutes. The manual walked me through everything and everything was clear. This isn’t always the case, so I was really grateful that the manual had gone through everything thoroughly!
Before you do anything, it’s important to clean the smoker, just like you would with any new bit of cooking gear. While you don’t need to go to the same effort of seasoning it, like you would with an offset smoker, it’s important to use dish soap on the cooking racks and give the inside of the chamber a rub down with a cloth at the very least.
I also do like to apply a little bit of cooking oil to the inside just to prepare it. This is similar to the seasoning we do with offset smokers, and just helps apply a protective layer across the surfaces of the smoker to help prevent the smoker rusting as it’s used.
Luckily this can be done really cheaply using spray oil. No need to splash out on anything specialist. You then do a test run without any food on it, to help the oil set and create the protective layer.
How to clean and maintain a Masterbuilt smoker
Just ;like with any piece of kitchen or cooking equipment, it’s best to clean it as soon after use as possible. Wait for it to cool down and then get to work. It saves you a lot of work if you can get it before any food or grease (or worse) cakes on to the inner surfaces of your smoker.
First port of call is to take out any removable items. This includes the grates, the water pan, the drip tray and the smoker box.
Start with the smoker box by throwing out any ash inside the box. Then use one part hot water to one part apple vinegar to spray into the box. Spray liberally and scrub clean.
Then move onto the rest of your grill, using your apple vinegar and water mix to spray down the smoker and using a brush to scrape of any unwanted residue or particle buildup.
Use a sponge to wipe clean.
Use soapy water to clean your grates. Rinse with a hose and then leave outdoors to dry properly before putting abck in the smoker.