Results From My First Electric BBQ Smoke
It’s been a couple weeks now since I reported that I bought myself the 30 Inch Masterbuilt Electric Smoker for my birthday and I’ve got some feedback to report.
Seasoning My Masterbuilt BBQ Smoker
First off, the seasoning process was a success. When I first turned on the meat smoker it produced a bad electrical smell…not exactly what you’d want your barbecue smelling like. However, by the end of the 3 hour process it smelled amazing. I added a cup of Apple wood chips the last 45 minutes as recommended and it seasoned the smoker very well. It smelled like I had already smoked a couple batches of ribs. Very cool!
My First Smoke: Houston, We Have A Problem
Next came my first smoke. I decided to try smoked trout and used a recipe from the Masterbuilt manual that was included in the smoker. However, I quickly hit a snag. Nearly three minutes into preheating the smoker, I almost had a fire on my hands. I was using an extension cord to power the smoker and the receptacle that I had the smoker plugged into started smoking. I quickly powered down the unit and disconnected the power cord. Sure enough the receptacle on the extension cord had melted a bit. I wasn’t concerned about the extension cord but was pretty worried about the smoker. Discouraged, I decided to hold off on cooking the trout the following day after I called Masterbuilt customer service.
Contacting Masterbuilt Customer Service
The following day I contacted Masterbuilt and they immediately diagnosed my problem. My extension cord was too long. I had a 50 foot workshop power cord. They recommended that through extensive testing the power cord should not exceed 20 foot. Good information they should add to the owners manual.
Luckily there wasn’t much damage to the power cord on the smoker. Only a slight melted mark at the base of one of the plugs and some soot that I was able to quickly clean off. As such, Masterbuilt’s customer service said I should be fine to try using the smoker again and if I had further problems I could call back and they would see if they could get a new smoker sent out to me.
Resolution: Use A Heavy Duty Extension Cord
So I ran out and bought a heavy duty 12ft 14/3-wire gauge 15 Amp extension cord and reattempted my smoked trout the following day. After all the drama, I’m happy to report that the smoked trout was a success. I even threw on some jumbo sized shrimp with cajun seasoning for the first hour that also turned out pretty well.
Conclusion: Smoked Trout A Success
I’ll save the trout recipe for another post so stay tuned. I definitely have room to improve, but overall it was very good. After dinner I cleaned up the racks and wiped down the inside of the smoker to tidy it up. Overall it cleaned up well and wasn’t too troublesome.
Is BBQ Smoking For Me?
It’s true, many people believe that barbecue smoking should be reserved for only professional barbecuers. Heck, I thought so myself for many years. It wasn’t until I put my first foot forward that I realized that is not the case for anyone with the passion for smoked meat, even if they have a small budget.
In what will eventually be included in my forthcoming “BBQ Smoker Buyer’s Guide, ” I’d like to go ahead and debunk this so called myth that smoking meats be reserved only for the BBQ pros of the world. Sure, experience can go a long way in turning out excellent results, but everyone has to get their start somewhere. I’ve only been smoking on my own for two years and I already prefer my smoky-meat-masterpieces to that of many many restaurants I’ve since visited.
While many smokers can costs thousands of dollars, newbies can get started with smoker grills for £100 if not less. I recommend starting with something easy to manage, like a gas or electric smoker.
My first smoker was a vertical propane smoker that I purchased from my local Loews for about £150. I like propane and electric smokers because they make it easy to maintain consistent temperatures and you don’t have to continue to “feed the fire” as you would on charcoal or wood burning smokers.
This leads me to my first rule for smoking beginners:
Keep It Simple
When starting out you should do your best to keep it simple. Gas and electric smokers give you the best chance to see some early success. I like to relate smoking meat to driving a car – slow and steady wins the race. Like driving with caution, it’s easier to avoid accidents if you keep the temperature somewhat low and allow yourself the necessary time.
This leads me to my next rule:
I’ll be blunt here because there isn’t much else to say….slow down! Good results take a while. So sit back, crack a beer, and take in the smell. You’re going to be here a while and you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
What to Smoke?
While everyone may not agree, I would suggest starting out with ribs. They seem somewhat forgiving to me and you can properly cook them within 3 to 4 hours. I’ve overcooked them a few times and I’ve still had people tell me they were the best ribs they’ve ever had.
On the other hand, I would avoid starting out with beef brisket as I’ve found there are a lot more steps involved in prepping the meat and handling the meat after smoking which can make a big difference – details of which are best suited for many future discussions. Needless to say, I’m still trying to perfect my brisket skills
Pork butt, or pulled pork may be another great alternative for beginners, but be prepared for a long smoke. Depending on the size, port butts can take 10 hours or more! However, they are fairly forgiving as well and I’ve had very good luck.
Anyone with a small budget, a little patience, and a passion for smoked meats can enjoy a BBQ smoker. So what are you waiting for? Dive right in. The only way to become a pro yourself is to get started now!