Masterbuilt has come a long way recently. I always viewed their smokers as poor quality products; however, their current offerings are awesome, and I’m a big fan of some of the propane products they’ve been pushing out.
In this review, I’m looking at two electric grills that promise a solid smoke, without having to use a fuel source.
- Digital panel and RF remote control on/off, temperature, time, and...
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- Patented side wood chip loading system - add chips without opening the...
- Integrated thermostat temperature control for even, consistent smoking
- Full viewing window
The cool thing about electric smokers, is the fact they’re easy to control. The 20075315 doesn’t disappoint in this respect. I’m also a fan of the glass front which allows you to see your food slowly cooking, nice! This ties into a rather neat package that looks good with well finished paintwork and well-designed parts.
The 20075315 model comes with a respectable 975 square inches of cooking space. It also comes with a front access drip pan and some other neat ideas, such as an internal light.
The 20075315 also comes in a 30 inch and 40-inch model, the 30-inch missing nothing in terms of features; however, it does obviously have a smaller cooking capacity.
Temperature control is as easy as any standard oven. The digital panel on the top is easy to read and warm up times are fast.
Setting It Up
This model comes with a decent length of cable, so you can setup your rig in the back garden and run the cable back indoors. Instructions are nice and easy to read, plus they come with some cooking pointers to help you get started.
It’s not the easiest grill to move about. There are carry handles, yet a 70-odd pound weight means you won’t want to move it about too much; however, it does have a nice “oven” type feel about it. You could realistically operate it in a utility room if needed.
As far as assembly is concerned, it only needs a few additional parts. Wheels are clipped into the bottom, whilst there are carry handles you can fit too if required.
One of the main issues with electric grills, is replacement of things like elements and fans. Thankfully, Masterbuilt have a solid reputation for customer service and do offer plenty of parts. Hopefully, this is one grill you’ll be able to keep in service for a long time.
Temperature control is absolutely spot on with the 20075315, it heats up in about 10 minutes (250 degrees) and the front panel is easy to use. There’s also a pretty neat remote for the smoker too, which allows you to control the temperature whilst chilling with your beers!
The wood chip hopper works well, although it’s not that large. If you’re smoking for several hours, you’ll want to check in with the grill every few hours to give it a top up.
The glass front on the door is a cool feature, although once you start smoking you’ll find the view is somewhat obscured. Still, it’s great for keeping an eye on your food without opening the door and losing heat.
I smoked ribs and chicken with the 20075315 and the results were great. The smoke box does a great job of imparting flavour, plus the electrical heat makes everything easy to control.
The chicken was juicy and well cooked, whilst the ribs were equally as juicy and smoked to perfection. I also gave pulled pork try and was impressed with the flavour too, thumbs up!
Once I realised how good the Masterbuilt was, I decided to try a brisket. I decided to follow one of my favourite recipes, seasoning the brisket for an hour before placing it into the smoker at 200 degrees. Even at such a low temperature, the grill maintains its heat well and didn’t vary more than a few degrees from the control setting. I rotated the brisket every few hours and eventually increased the temperature to 250 degrees for the last hour.
This left me with a delicious brisket that was juicy and tasty. The smoker was really put to the test here and it came through with flying colours. It takes a good 10 hours to get a brisket tasting this good; however, the Masterbuilt really excelled.
The only issue you might have, is the amount of oil drip that an electrical cooker creates. I would suggest using aluminium trays to do your smoking in, taking them out and giving them a wash once you’re done.
One thing you can’t deny is that electric smokers are easy to use, far easier than traditional wood pellet smokers.
I love the glass front and love the overall look of the smoker. It feels like a decent piece of equipment and the quality of finish makes me feel confident regarding longevity. The black enamel feels strong to the touch and will likely resist scratches and bumps with ease.
The 20075315 does have carry handles and comes with a neat set of wheels to move the grill around. It’s not a truly portable grill however, so moving the grill from your kitchen to the back yard is probably about as far as you’d want to.
I would also say that the glass front makes this grill harder to transport by car. It’s going to be so easy to crack the front. For that reason, you’ll be restricting this grill to house duties only!
On the plus side, those wheels are very sturdy and well made. You might struggle moving across uneven ground but it should be easy on patio and tiled surfaces.
Pros: A cool glass front, easy temperature control and easy to access drip tray make this a winner. Build quality is superb and everything works perfectly.
Cons: It costs about $370 and you won’t be impressing any smoking purists out there.
MasterBuilt 20078715 30 Inch
- 721 sq. Inch of cooking space with four chrome-coated racks
- 800 watt heating element
- Blue LED display for easy reading, even in direct sunlight
- Thermostat temperature control for even cooking from 100 to 275...
- Redesigned front-access drip pan
A cheaper option than the 20075315, this grill does lack some features. The most obvious is the glass front; however, the important things are all intact which still makes this model a budget contender.
It comes with a top mounted led display, easy temperature control and as you’d expect from an electric model, it can control the temperature with ease.
It has a similar front mounted drip tray which does make cleaning up easy. As I mentioned with the 20075315, you’ll probably want to invest in some aluminium trays to keep cleaning to a minimum.
Setting It Up
Once again, the 20078715 comes with a decent length of lead. I really hate electric grills with short leads as you must wonder where they think you’ll end up using it!
As with the other model featured, it comes with clip on wheels and carry handles. This is the only assembly that’s required to get up and running. Heat up time is blisteringly quick at about 5 minutes (250 degrees).
Instructions were clear and concise, whilst the customer service is the exact same as the 20075315.
This smoker is a great option for beginners. It’s no frills design and lack of options might annoy seasoned smokers, yet I think the price point and ease of use will make this a great entry level model.
The smoker holds about as much wood as the more expensive 20075315, meaning that you’ll want to keep an eye on it over longer periods of use.
I decided to smoke a brisket with bacon to test this model out and it did a brilliant job. Temperatures were steady throughout and the smoke temperature was consistent too. I followed the exact same recipe as I did with the 20075315 and got very similar results. These two smokers really are two peas in a pod regarding the cooking results.
Now, it’s time to face up to the largest difference between both models, and the one reason I’d be happy to put down another $100 for the 20075315 model. The glass front, missing from the 20075315, sounded like a gimmick when I first started my review. This couldn’t be further from the truth and was a feature I really missed during the second half of my test.
I know the purists out there won’t like the glass front, yet in my view once you’ve picked an electric model you’re no longer using wood pellets or propane – you might as well take all the benefits of going electric! Aside from the glass front and paint finishes there’s not much to choose between both grills.
There’s nothing wrong with the 20078715, it does a perfect job and the smoking system appears the same; however, you might end up regretting your purchase if you ever get to use the glass fronted model.
The other issue I have, is the grey/black finish used all over the grill. There’s nothing wrong with it, yet somehow it makes the unit feel a bit cheap. Don’t get me wrong, both Masterbuilt grills seem well made, this is more of a looks thing than a genuine worry over quality. I still prefer the glass front model though, it just looks better.
At the end of the day, it really depends on how large your budget is, and if you can see past the bells and whistles to take the cheaper option.
It’s a nice and light 50 pounds in total, with easy to push wheels and carry handles that make moving this grill a breeze. The lack of glass panelling on the front should make this grill a far safer option for transporting.
The grill is also quite a bit lighter than the 20075315. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons to go with the cheaper model; however, electric models aren’t likely to travel much so I don’t really see the benefit.
Pros: A cheaper option that can be carried a little safer thanks to the lack of a glass front. It’s also lighter and possibly a good buy if you tend to carry your grill from one house to another.
Cons: It just feels a little cheaper than the glass fronted model. You can really see where the extra cash has been spent during construction.
The choice between both models comes down to price. There’s basically $100 difference between both models and it depends how much you value looks over function.
Personally, I love the 20075315, the glass front is a brilliant idea and the entire unit has a high build quality and finish. The 20078715 is perfectly okay, yet okay is just about as good as it gets. The finish of the grill is a bit grey for my liking.
You might wonder why I care so much about the look for the grill; after all, aren’t all propane and wood smokers mostly grey? Sure, that’s true but I’ve always thought that electrical smokers don’t have to adhere to the same rules as more traditional grills.
The 20075315 to me is exactly what an electric grill should be. It’s easy to use, looks sharp and modern plus it’s easy to clean. The non-glass fronted model does most of that, except looking modern.
There are some merits to the cheaper model. It’s quite a bit lighter which makes some light transportation an option. Perhaps it’s an option for those who have a holiday home and might like to take their trusty smoker with them on vacation. I’m not sure if there are any other reasons why you’d want it though.
Feel free to purchase the cheaper model; however, pray to god you never get to use the 20075315 model as you’ll regret not purchasing it! Portability and price aside, you really shouldn’t have any reason to purchase it.