I’m from Kansas City, and have lived in Texas on and off for 16 years. Stereotypical as it may sound, there are a couple things that it’s fair to assume:
1. I’m nuts over football.
2. I have very strong views on the properness, spelling, and grammatical use of yall.
3. I’m all over barbecue and smoked meat.
Between my upbringing near a virtual barbecue district, my choice of friends, and having access to college tailgates, not only do I have a constant craving for smoked meat, I have some pretty high bars to live up to.
I’ve talked before about things being cooked low and slow being the best way to cook. It doesn’t get much more foundational than doing so outside on low heat, with smoke as a method of flavor and preservation. It was the way of vaqueros, trail bosses, and pirates, and while the tools have changed, it’s still the same method.
It also doesn’t get much more intensive as a cooking method. Your cook time starts well ahead of when meat meets rack, getting your vessel up to the right temperature. You’ll be tending that fire, maintaining the temperature and smoke, and basting most of the day. When your dad or church group spends all day sitting around a smoker, they’re not avoiding other work…well, not just avoiding other work. It’s a long meticulous process to get your brisket, ribs, chicken or pork to a place where you make it disappear in no time flat.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Technology has given us the means of maintaining a temperature. It can certainly produce enough heat to set wood smoldering. And while we love meat done the old fashioned way – and the original will never be beat – to smoke meat on a regular basis requires a lot of help, a lot of patience, and a quick learning curve lest you waste time, money, and a hungry family’s patience.
Masterbuilt’s line of electric smokers is the way to thread the needle of great food, ease of use, and convenience.
It’s like a giant outdoor crock pot with a wood-burning heat element. You set the temp, add water, woodchips, and food. Outside of adding more wood, basting, and taking in the aroma, that’s it. You can even walk away from the house while it’s running – it needs more wood every 60-90 minutes, so don’t plan on going to a movie or anything, but it’s that self-sustaining.
And good heavens does the food taste good.
No, it’s not the same as a meal and smoker you’ve tended the whole day. There’s no way to get championship barbecue that doesn’t involve that much effort, and if that’s what you want to get to, you’re going to need to put in the time to get there. We at Saddleback highly encourage you to learn the old way, and learn it good.
But, for someone who might not always have the time to tend a smoker all day, or who has little experience in smoking the old fashioned way, a tradeoff of maybe 20% of the quality for 80% of the work is worth it – especially for the same cost you’re looking at for a standard one.
If you’re in for barbecue on the regular but are constantly short on time – an electric smoker’s worth the look.