Easy to add wood chips
Convenient Bluetooth controls
Built-in meat probe
Easy to clean
Issues operating in cold weather
Timer doesn't turn off heat
LED display is hard to read
Bluetooth range could be improved
We purchased the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Smoking is one of the best ways to create delicious, flavorful meat that will wow at your summer cookouts, but charcoal smokers can be a bit intimidating to beginners. If you’re just starting out with smoking, the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker might be a more appealing option, offering intuitive digital controls that provide precise temperature regulation, as well as a reasonable price point. But can it deliver the same delicious flavor as a charcoal smoker? I put the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker to the test to see if it’s a worthwhile investment for aspiring pitmasters—keep reading for the smoking results.
Setup Process: Save time for pre-seasoning
The Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker arrives in a huge, heavy box (I’d say it’s around 80 pounds), so you’ll probably need help moving it—I know I did! The main body of the smoker is already assembled, and once I wrestled it out of the packaging (a chore in and of itself), all that was left to do was attach the control panel, wheels, and handle and insert the racks and water tray into the unit. All these components were wrapped in a generous amount of packaging for safe transport, and overall, the whole setup process took around 30 minutes.
However, don’t expect that you’ll be able to start smoking meat right away—the smoker needs to be “pre-seasoned” before its first use, and this process took around three hours. Masterbuilt explains that pre-seasoning burns off any chemicals or oils leftover from the manufacturing process, and it simply entails running the smoker at 275 degrees for several hours without any food inside.
It only smoked a tiny bit during this process, though it smelled a bit like burning chemicals at first, and in the last 45 minutes, I put in 1/2 cup of wood chips per the manual’s instructions. Once these burned off, I simply turned the unit off and let it cool down before emptying the ashes from the wood chip tray.
Design: Sleek and well-made
The Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker has a sleek exterior that will make an attractive addition to your deck or patio. It’s fairly sizable at 41.7 x 25.2 x 19.6 inches, and it features a stainless steel door with a glass viewing window. The rest of the unit is made from sturdy black plastic, and the smoker is mounted on two wheels that allowed me to simply tip the unit back and roll it around the deck as needed.
One of my favorite aspects of this smoker is the side wood chip loading system, which allows you to add more chips without opening the smoker door. It’s accessible via a small handle on the right side of the smoker, and you simply pull it out and load up the barrel-shaped form with wood chips. When you insert it back into the smoker, simply turn the handle clockwise, and the chips fall into the appropriate tray. Easy peasy!
One of my favorite aspects of this smoker is the side wood chip loading system, which allows you to add more chips without opening the smoker door.
Inside the smoker, there are four chrome-coated racks that can hold up to eight racks of ribs at a time, and this was more than enough space for my needs. I found it worked best to remove any racks that weren’t being used—otherwise, fat drippings can end up on them, creating more mess to clean. The smoker also has a meat probe that plugs into the control panel, and there’s a slot on the interior of the unit where the probe can be stored when not in use.
The smoker has a removable water tray in the bottom that holds roughly 8 cups of liquid. I generally just filled it with water when smoking, but the brand says you can use other liquids, such as apple juice, or put slices of fresh fruit in the water to infuse even more flavor into food. Underneath this piece is the small wood chip tray, which is easy to pull out when it’s time to dispose of ashes.
The one big shortcoming of the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is its display screen. Mounted on the top of the unit, the panel is easy to operate, with buttons for temperature, time, and Bluetooth connectivity, but the problem is that the screen is black with blue lettering that’s hard to read, especially in the sunlight. I often found myself doing weird contortions, like leaning over the unit, in order to clearly read the LED screen.
Performance: Great flavors—once you get it going
While I did eventually get the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker working and was ultimately pleased with the results, the process wasn’t without its hiccups. The first few times I turned the smoker on, it displayed “ERR1” on the display screen and wouldn’t let me set the unit’s temperature. The manufacturer recommends disconnecting and reconnecting the control panel wires to resolve this error code, but that didn’t work. Dreading the prospect of boxing up the massive unit to return it, I turned to online forums to hopefully find a resolution to the issue—and I did, but it wasn’t necessarily good news.
It turns out that the Masterbuilt Smoker doesn’t like cold weather. While the manual says it should work in temperatures up to -10 degrees Farenheight, users report the unit will display an ERR1 code if the ambient temperature is below freezing. Given that I was testing the unit in the middle of the winter in New England, I suspect this was the root of the problem, as it was only in the 20s outside.
If you’re hoping to smoke year-round and live somewhere that temperatures are regularly below 32 degrees, this might not be the best option.
To confirm that this was the issue, I rolled the smoker inside the house and let it warm up for an hour. I then moved the smoker back outside onto the deck, and it no longer displayed the error code. I was able to start up the smoker from there, but I had to use this work-around any time the temperature outdoors was below freezing. (And yes, this smoker must be used outdoors.) Bottom line: If you’re hoping to smoke year-round and live somewhere that temperatures are regularly below 32 degrees, this might not be the best option.
That said, the food I cooked in the Masterbuilt Smoker turned out absolutely delicious. First, I smoked a rack of St. Louis-style ribs using applewood chips and the 3-2-1 smoking method, which involves three stages of cooking over the course of several hours. I did need to add additional wood chips every hour to keep the smoke strong, and while the process was time-consuming, it was worth it, as the ribs came out amazingly moist and flavorful—my only regret was that I didn’t make more! Because this process took several hours, I didn’t finish smoking until dinner time, and it was extremely handy that the smoker has an inner light that turns on when you open the door.
I was disappointed that the unit’s timer isn’t connected to the controls, so it doesn’t turn the smoker off when the timer finishes. Because of this, I had to use a timer on my phone to remind me to periodically check the meat.
Next, I decided to smoke a fresh piece of salmon, which I brined for an hour before putting it into the smoker, again with applewood chips. I used the meat probe to monitor the inner temperature of the fish during smoking, removing the fish promptly when it reached 140 degrees (which took about 45 minutes). The end result was an absolutely gorgeous piece of salmon with a smoky exterior and moist, flakey inside. It might be my new favorite way to cook fish!
Features: Impressive Bluetooth controls
One of the major selling points of this smoker is its Bluetooth connectivity, and while I honestly expected the app to be fairly gimmicky, I was wrong! The Masterbuilt app proved to be extremely useful for controlling and monitoring the smoker, and it’s a great workaround for anyone who’s frustrated with the unit’s LED display.
After downloading and creating an account on the Masterbuilt app, I was able to pair the smoker with an iPhone X simply by holding down the Bluetooth button on the control panel. Once this was done, I could set the smoker’s temperature and time right from my phone, and the app provides the real-time temperature of both the smoker and meat probe. It even lets you turn the smoker off right from the phone when cooking is finished.
The Masterbuilt app proved to be extremely useful for controlling and monitoring the smoker, and it’s a great workaround for anyone who’s frustrated with the unit’s LED display.
The only aspects of the Bluetooth functionality that I didn’t like? It doesn’t send you a notification when the timer finishes, and it doesn’t have the best range. I was able to monitor the smoker from the rooms adjacent to my deck, but if I walked to the other side of the house, often the app would lose the Bluetooth signal. When this happened, I would have to go back over to the smoker and resync it with my phone, which is a bit frustrating.
Cleaning: Surprisingly easy
I let the smoker cool down completely before cleaning it, and overall, the process was pretty easy. I dumped out any liquid and grease that was in the water tray and disposed of any ashes. (If you’re smoking a lot of food at once, you may also need to clean the drip tray in the back, as grease will drain out into it, but it comes off easily.) From there, it was simply a matter of washing the grates, which I scrubbed with a sponge and soapy water.
The door and interior of the smoker do get quite dirty during use, and the manual says you should wipe them down using only water—no cleaning agents. This wasn’t enough to get the inside back to a like-new clean, but after all, it’s a smoker, so I really didn’t expect it to remain pristine.
The Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker retails for around $350, which is about average for a mid-sized smoker for household use. You might be able to find a charcoal smoker for less, but I think the convenience and preciseness of electric controls are worth the extra money.
Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker vs. Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Smoker
We’ve also tested the Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Smoker, which runs on charcoal briquettes. While it may not be quite as easy to operate as the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, the Weber model does a great job maintaining temperature thanks to its water pan, adjustable vent, and integrated thermometer. Plus, it’s more compact than the Masterbuilt Smoker and can also serve as a grill, if needed.
Convenient and easy to use—just not in the winter.
The Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker is extremely easy to operate thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, and it delivers impressive results, even if you’re new to smoking. But the one (major) caveat is that it doesn’t work well during the winter.
- Product Name 40-inch Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
- Product Brand Masterbuilt
- MPN MB20074719
- Price $349.99
- Weight 66.3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 25.2 x 41.7 x 19.6 in.
- Color Stainless steel
- Warranty 1-year limited