There are few cooking methods that are as satisfying as BBQ smoking. Smoking poultry, pork and red meat can take them to a whole new level, enriching their flavor while allowing them to stay rich and moist.
For a long time, BBQ smoking was inaccessible to a lot of people, due to the craft needed and the cost of large charcoal smoking drums.
Thankfully this isn’t the case anymore, as the emergence of electric smokers has allowed a broader range of pitmasters get involved with BBQ smoking.
And one of the best examples of this is the Masterbuilt 40-inch Electric Smoker. It’s one of the very best electric smokers out there, and is widely regarded by its peers. It’s one of Masterbuilt’s best sellers, and for good reason.
In today’s review, I’m taking a deep dive into what exactly makes this such a great smoker, and why it could just be the smoker or you.
Let’s get into it.
Masterbuilt’s Bluetooth Technology
This is a smoker than has its feet firmly in the 21st century, and nowhere is this more evident than with its use of bluetooth technology.
But is this just a bit of a fad and excuse to add on a bit of extra cost, or does it make the smoker worth the added investment?
The bluetooth features allows your smoker to pair with your smartphone, which effectively allows you to use your phone as a remote control.
This allows you not just to switch on and off your smoker remotely, but also control its temperatures and time controls. Not only this, but if you have a meat probe it’ll allow you to monitor the internal temperature of your meat while it cooks.
Obviously the fact that it’s remote is extremely convenience, but for me the big win is that you can easily monitor the internal temperature of your meat from your phone.
I have written extensively before about the importance of monitoring the internal temperatures of your meat, and this is particularly crucial when BBQ smoking.
Masterbuilt’s inclusion of this feature should be applauded, and hopefully we’ll see this feature included on more smokers and grills in the future.
A big bone of contention with some users when they buy a new grill or smoker is how easy or not it is to put together.
Some take longer than others, and some are a total nightmare to put together.
This is particularly why electric smokers are so convenient, with them more or less coming fully assembled and good to go. Simply plug in and you’re set.
In the case of Masterbuilt 40, it’s ready out the box and just needs its handles and wheels plugged in (arguably you could even skip these). Either way, you’re good to go in under 5 minutes.
Whereas gas grills tend to be so heavy duty that they’re effectively set wherever you put them, electric smokers are fairly easy to move around.
This is great because outside of the summer season, you don’t really want these sat front of house on your patio collecting dust. It’s important that they’re heavy duty enogh to last, but light enough to be moved aroudn easily.
Thankfully, Masterbuilt know this and have built a model that is just that. Moving it is easy thanks to its modest weight and the wheels fixed on its bottom. Relocating it is a sinch.
One of the main points of comparison I draw when trying to illustrate what makes certain BBQ grills better than others is cooking space.
While power might stand out to a lot of people, what good is all of that if you can only fit a couple of pieces of meat in there?
The same is true for smokers, and in fact I’d argue that’s even more important for the long form of cooking, as it’s important to be able to set as much food as you can in one round of cooking, with it likely to take anywhere between 4 and 12 hours.
The Masterbuilt offers just this. It has a cooking area of 720 square inches, which compares very favorably with a lot of other electric smokers. This will allow you get in massive cuts of meat, like full racks of ribs, a whole turkey, and even multiple sets of briskets.
Its size is one of the first things that strikes you when you take it out the box, making it a fantastic investment.
Of all the facets involved in BBQ smoking, maintaining consistent temperatures is key. Any fluctuations can ruin the smoking process, spoiling your meat, and even potentially making it unsafe to eat.
Maintaining that crucial cooking temperature of 225°F is easy with the Masterbuilt however, and its solid constructions means that it has no air flow issues, and therefore no problems with holding key temperatures over several hours.
While it might seem like this should be a given for a lot of electric smokers in particular, you’d be surprised at how many fail to ensure proper temperature control.
This helps ensure you meat is cooked beautifully, maintaining its moisture,and locking in all the flavors and aromas that we associate with good BBQ smoking.
Ease of use
One of the reasons for getting an electric smoker is to benefit from ease of use, and a sense of automated cooking.
A lot of the hard work with BBQ smoking is having to control temperatures through use of air vents and tending to coals. All of this is taken care of when you have an electric system, so it’s immediately made infinitely easier.
The beauty of smoking is that it’s largely a ‘set and forget’ form of cooking, but with charcoal models you do need to come back to it from time to time. With this electric smoker, you simply just need to start it up, set the temperature, and then you’re good to go and enjoy your day until the meat is done.
Build and insulation
While functionality should always be priortised over aesthetics, it doesn’t hurt that the Masterbuilt is pretty to look at. It’s sleek, beautiful looking, and shouldn’t look out of place on anyone’s patio.
More importantly however is the quality of its build. To ensure good temperature control, it’s absolutely imperative that a smoker is well insulated, and not prone to improper airflow, which can lead to temperature fluctuations and unreliability.
No such problems with the Masterbuilt however. It’s solid build ensures that heat levels within its chamber stay constant over the many hours needed for smoking.
It has a front window that should help alleviate any temptation you have to open the door. No need to open it up and lose temperature, hopefully seeing it will help scratch that itch.
Wood chip loading system
Adding wood chips to your smokers is a great way to further enhance the flavors of your meat. You might assume that you can only do this charcoal smokers, but this isn’t the case. You can also do with your electric smoker.
In a lot of electric smokers however, you need to invest in a smoker box to house the chips in, lighting them and leaving them to do their work. When they burn out you then have to open the door and replace them, which can have a severe impact on the cook quality of your meat.
Masterbuilt have provided an excellent side-mounted wood chip loading system that takes away all of that inconvenience, and allows you to add and replace the chips directly without having to disrupt your smoker.
It’s a feature that’s as genius as it is simple.
Masterbuilt have built an electric smoker that is more reliable and durable than almost every other model we’ve seen. Not only that, but it’s added temperature control and woodchip loading systems help make a compelling case for electric units over more traditional models.
It’s superbly built, an excellent performer, and still extremely affordable.