how to use a masterbuilt smoker
Tips & Tricks

How to Use a Masterbuilt Smoker

Masterbuilt has been producing world-class smokers since the 1970s. Over time they have evolved, and their most popular models are the Masterbuilt Pro smoker and the electric smokers.

Suppose you’re buying a Masterbuilt smoker for the first time; it is an easy brand to get started with. Although Masterbuilt provides an instructional manual, our guide on starting can help you move along.

To start a Masterbuilt smoker, you need to season it to burn off factory chemicals, preheat it for about an hour, set the temperature and timer then it’s time to smoke your meat.

Refill the wood chips and water regularly throughout the cooking time, take off your meat once it’s cooked, and clean your smoker. This article will discuss a beginner’s guide on operating the Masterbuilt electric digital smoker.

How do I use my Masterbuilt electric digital smoker?

Starting a Masterbuilt electric digital smoker is as simple as pressing a few buttons. The digital electric smokers have an LCD screen that allows you to observe the internal temperature and remaining time. If you have a new smoker, here is a step-by-step guide to using a Masterbuilt smoker:

Season the smoker

If you’re using a Masterbuilt electric smoker the first time, you must season it. Seasoning helps eliminate factory oils, dust, dirt, and other chemicals you don’t want to ingest.

  • Assemble all the parts of your Masterbuilt smoker. Do not add water to the water pan yet.
  • Plug the smoker into a power outlet and power the smoker.
  • Set the temperature to 275°F. Press the ‘On’ button and then the ‘Set TEMP’ button. Press the + and – buttons to adjust the temperature. Then press ‘Set TEMP’ again to lock in the setting.
  • Then allow your smoke to sit empty for about 3 hours to burn all the dirt and oils.
  • After the three hours, pour half a cup of wood chips into the wood chip tray, and allow them to burn for about one hour. The Masterbuilt smoker has a loading tube with a handle that allows you to fill the wood chip tray. Turn the tube and pull it out, pour in the wood chips, slide it back in and turn it to fill the tray.
  • Switch off the electric smoker and allow it to cool down. Your smoker is now seasoned and ready for use.

Prep your meat

Now that your smoker is ready for use get your meat ready for smoking. You can smoke all kinds of meat; ribs, pork, brisket, chicken, turkey, jerky, sausage, and fish. You can smoke cheese and veggies too.

Preheat the Masterbuilt smoker

Preheating a cold smoker is important before putting food inside it. An electric smoker will also take longer to preheat than a propane smoker. If you don’t preheat your smoker, it will take much longer to get to the set temperature, and the results won’t be good.

  • Pour wood chips into the wood chip tray while the smoke is cold. It would help if you familiarized yourself with the types and flavors of wood chips for your electric smoker and recipe.
  • Plug in the smoker and set it to the highest temperature.
  • Once the smoker gets to the set temperature, add another handful of wood chips.
  • Now fill the water pan with water.

Smoke your meat

Here are a few tips on how to smoke your meat in the Masterbuilt smoker to achieve the best results:

  • Now that your Masterbuilt smoker is heated and producing smoke, it’s time to put your meat or vegetables in. Meats that require higher temperatures need to go on the top shelves. Heat rises, so you need to ensure they cook for longer. Then the meats with lower tolerances(fish and pork) can go to the bottom shelves.
  • Be fast when placing your meat inside the Masterbuilt smoker to avoid losing heat, causing your meat to cook unevenly.
  • Adjust the temperature depending on what you’re cooking. Each meat requires a different temperature to ensure you cook them properly. Here is an easy chart to follow:
Type of meatMinimum internal temperature in degrees Fahrenheit
Ribs145 and higher for a more tender render
  • Set the timer to ensure you don’t overcook or undercook your meat. Click on the ‘Set Time’ button and use the + and – buttons to adjust the hours. Then press ‘Set Time’ to lock in the hours. Finally, use the + and – button to set the minutes, then press ‘Set Time’ to lock in the minutes.
  • Although water from the tray will help keep the meat moist throughout the smoking process, it’s not usually enough. That’s why we recommend basting your meat at about two-thirds mark through the cooking time. If you want your meat saucier, baste at the one-third and two-thirds marks.
  • You need to check your water and wood once every hour. In most cases, you may have to refill the electric smoker with wood chips at least once or twice. If you notice the smoker is not producing lots of smoke, it’s time to refill the wood chip tray.

Remove the meat from the smoker.

Your meat should be ready when the internal temperature matches the guideline in the table above.

Switch off the smoker and pull out the meat. Always allow your meat to rest before serving it to allow the juices inside the settle. Then, if you want a crispy coating, you can return the meat to the smoker for another thirty minutes for an hour.

Clean the smoker

It’s important to clean the smoker after cooking to avoid accumulating dirt, grease, stains, and mold. This makes it safe to use again. Here’s how to clean the Masterbuilt smoker after use:

  • Allow the smoker to cool down.
  • Remove the wood tray and empty any unburnt wood and ashes.
  • Remove all the trays and tracks.
  • Use mild dish soap and hot water to clean all the removable parts.
  • Make a mixture of apple cider vinegar and spray the smoker inside.
  • Use a sponge to wipe out the inside, then dry the surfaces with a dry towel.

Do you soak wood chips for the Masterbuilt electric smoker?

Soaking the wood chips for an electric smoker goes down to personal preference. However, you don’t need to soak wood chips for the Masterbuilt electric smoker. The idea behind soaking your wood chips is to regulate the internal temperatures of the smoker.

However, electric smokers have in-built temperature controls that allow the smoker to get hot enough to burn dry chips at a slow and steady speed to give you an even smoke.

Another reason is to add flavor to the meat, but there are other ways to do that without soaking the chips. However, soaking may be essential when using the Masterbuilt Pro smoker because it runs at very high temperatures.

Also, it doesn’t increase smoke; it only prolongs the cooking time, which can ruin the meat. The smoker will turn the water in the wood chips into steam, which can start cooking the top layer of the meat before the inside has properly cooked.

How often do you add wood chips to a Masterbuilt electric smoker?

The frequency of adding wood chips to your Masterbuilt electric smoker depends on how long you plan to cool your meal and the recipe you follow. Generally, you should add one tube full of chips about every hour.

The wood chip tray in the Masterbuilt electric smoker is not large, so most of the wood chips should have smoldered in about 45 minutes during normal operation. However, if you run your smoker above 250°F, the wood chips will burn down much faster, so you may have to check the smoker every 30 minutes.

It’s important to note that the wood chips are for smoke only to enhance the food’s flavor, not heat. Too much smoke can make the meat bitter and unpalatable. Sometimes, a little restraint is important.

How often do you add water to a Masterbuilt smoker?

You should add water as often as your add the wood chips. The water in the smoker’s water pan helps regulate moisture inside the chamber to keep your meat juicy. You can also use other liquids to enhance the flavor of your meat.


One of the best things about the electric smoker is its ease of operation over the Masterbuilt charcoal smoker. We hope this user guide gives you a solid understanding of how to use a Masterbuilt electric smoker.

You need to turn it on, season, preheat, and adjust the temperature, and the Master built smoker is ready for use. Check on the wood chips regularly to ensure you get the right flavors in your meat and fish.