Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller 30″ Electric Smoker Review
Charcoal, wood pellet, and wood-burning smokers have been flooding the marketplace in recent years. Even gas-fired smokers have managed to gobble up their portion of this niche market. Of course, these units require an active fire and often require a lot of cleaning afterward.
An electric smoker like the Masterbuilt 20077515 offers superior consistency and easy cleanup. Masterbuilt further improves efficiency and convenience by including a digital control panel along with an RF remote control. This allows you to truly “Set it and forget it!”
In the past, there were some complaints about the wood chip access and drip pan being clumsy or flimsy. Masterbuilt took these critiques to heart and redesigned the 20077515 electric smoker with more robust components and access panels.
The electric elements consumes 800 Watts, to maintain a consistent smoke in the wood chip chamber. Side and top dampers allow you to dial in the airflow as well as the internal smoke density. The foam insulated internal walls also help maximize heat retention for added efficiency.
The Masterbuilt 20077515 Electric Smoker also has wheels that are easy to roll and a comfortable handle. This allows you to store it away when you are not using it, yet pull it out at a moments notice.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Masterbuilt 20077515 Electric Smoker features a stainless steel exterior, as well as four internal chrome-plated grates. The redesigned dripping pan and wood chip loading system solves most of the previous complaints.
Of course, the electric element itself has a limited lifespan. This is just par for the course with all large electric resistors. Fortunately, Masterbuilt offers a replacement element for right around $50. If the original burns out in three or four years, you can easily replace it.
There is very little assembly time with an electric smoker like this. You should be able to unpack it, install all the pieces and set it up in under half an hour.
The Masterbuilt 20077515 is meant to be sort of the entry level in their line of smokers. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to get your feet wet in the world of smoked meat. At the same time, someone who has experience smoking and making barbecue will appreciate all the convenience built into this electric smoker.
It’s worth noting that the wood chip loading system is intended specifically to only use wood chips. If you try to improvise with chunks or say small to medium lump charcoal. You could also get away with wood pellets sold in stores. Fortunately, most wood chips retailers offer a wide range of specialty woods like apple, mesquite, and cherry.
The Masterbuilt 20077515 is capable of temperatures as low as 185 degrees. This allows you to slow smoke fish like a wild caught salmon fillet. It can also handle temperatures in the 250-range for smoking things like pork shoulders and chicken leg quarters.
Masterbuilt claims that the 20077515 can handle 12 Whole Chickens, 2 Whole Turkeys, 4 Racks of ribs, 48 Sausages, 24 hamburger patties, or up to 4 Pork Butts. While this sounds great on paper, it’s a bit of stretch in all reality. With some careful placement, you should be able to get about half of those numbers. Which is still a pretty nice volume of food.
The four chrome plated grill grates gleam and look beautiful when you first take them out of the packaging. That is of course, the last time you will ever see them in that condition. They also tend to be a little bit sticky. Wiping them down with a greased paper towel before you place the meat will help deal with this. Especially with things that are known to be a little stick, like the skin on a bone-in chicken breast.
The water and drippings pans are a little on the small side. Depending on what you are making and for how long, it is possible for the water pan to run dry and the drippings pan can get exceedingly full.
The four chrome-plated grill grates provide 730 square inches of cooking space. If you need to smoke something tall and bulky you can always pull one or two racks out. If you like to make your own fresh sausages, you can remove all but the top rack and then use some butcher’s twine to tie the links or ring sausages for hanging.
There really isn’t enough horizontal space to accommodate something like a large brisket. You might even struggle to fit a large rack of pork ribs. A smaller or trimmed down brisket might fit. You could also try cutting ribs into three rib portions, to help fit more into a single smoking session.
The redesigned wood chip loading system is nice. It shows that Masterbuilt is listening to its customers.
The digital display and controls with the RF remote is also a nice touch. It’s not necessarily something that you find with some of the competitors in the electric smoker niche.
Ease to Clean
The wood chip pan and drippings pan is easily emptied. The grill grates themselves can be a little sticky and might need some extra elbow grease when you scrape them down.
Masterbuilt offers a 90-day warranty on the 20077515. This is a little less than most of its competitors which tend to offer at least a 1-year warranty.
Electric smokers represent the pinnacle of convenience. You won’t really get competition level barbecue out of this unit. It is meant to be more of an entry level smoker or a smoker for people who just occasionally want to enjoy a little smoked meat on the weekends.
Just don’t expect to be smoking up large cuts of meat. A small brisket or a large batch of portion cut ribs is probably the limit.
- Digital control with RF remote
- Easy to store and move
- Well-insulated walls
- Redesigned wood loading system and drip pan
- Chrome plated racks are sticky
- A little on the small side
- Inferior warranty
- Small water pan