Cusinart COS-330 Electric Smoker Review
The COS-330 is one of the most popular electric smokers on Amazon. Cusinart isn’t especially known for its grills and smokers, so I decided to give this one a try.
In this review, I’m going to share my experience cooking on the Cuisinart COS-330 Vertical 30” electric smoker to see how it stacks up against the competition and put it to the test for performance, ease of use, and value for money.
- Budget friendly
- Easy to assemble
- Thermostat is not digital.
- Need to open door to reload wood chips
Overview and first impressions
The Cuisinart Electric smoker comes in a sleek matte black design.
It is straightforward and does not have too many bells and whistles. You will find 3 chrome-coated racks, a removable water pan, and a wood chip tray.
The door has a latch on it to make sure it seals tight, and there is a port in the back for smoke exhaust and to place a thermometer probe in to check the internal temps of whatever you are cooking.
|Cooking space||548 sq. inches|
|Cooking racks||3 chrome-coated racks|
|Temperature range||100°F to 400°F|
|Price||Check latest price|
Most electric smokers are easy to use. I think that is why they have become so popular, especially with people just starting to BBQ. Simply set the smoker to your desired temp, add water and wood and get cooking in about 15-20 minutes.
My one hang-up with this smoker is the dial to set the cooking temperature. With just an analog-type thermostat, it’s hard to tell when you are at the temperature you want.
I also wish there was a way to add wood chips without having to open the door of the smoker as you lose a lot of heat quickly every time you have to add fuel.
A lot of electric smokers like the Masterbuilt have features that allow you to slide just the pan out and add wood chips without having to open the main door.
Also, to ignite the wood chips, you have to heat the smoker to at least 275°F to get the wood chips to start smoldering and smoking. If you start at 225, it is not enough to get them going.
When I preheat the smoker, I turn it up to the highest temperature to get the smoke rolling, then dial it down accordingly.
What I liked:
- Very easy to assemble
- Wood chip tray and water pan are easy to remove and fill
- Saves space due to vertical design
- Budget friendly
What I didn’t like:
- No way to reload wood chips without opening door
- No view to see check your food inside the smoker
- Thermostat is not digital. Have to guess the temp setting.
Setting up the smoker
Setting up the smoker is relatively easy. Just attach the legs onto the smoker and the side handle, and slide in the racks. Then attach the temperature control knob and you are ready to get started.
It is recommended to cure your new smoker by removing the water pan and coating all interior surfaces with vegetable oil. Let the smoker run on high for two hours and then unplug it and let it cool down. Once you have done that you are ready to smoke!
Cooking performance and capacity
I put this smoker through its paces, smoking chicken breast, pork spare ribs, and even a whole packer brisket! Throughout every cook, the smoker held and maintained temperature without too much variation.
I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to fit a 9-pound brisket into the smoker and it turned out flavorful and juicy.
As with all electric smokers, having to constantly add wood chips every 30 minutes seems like a hassle, especially on longer cooks like a brisket.
The flavor of the smoke that you get is not overpowering but it does feel like it’s lacking a little something compared to other types of smokers I’ve used.
I wasn’t able to get a smoke ring on my brisket or ribs even though I maintained smoke inside the cooking chamber for most of the cook. Also my meats lacked the bark I typically get from other smokers.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning the smoker is pretty easy. I like to spray the inside of the smoker with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water, then turn on the smoker and let it heat up for 20 minutes.
Once the inside has heated up and cooled back down enough to handle, I take a sponge and scrub it down. Then I wipe it all dry with paper towels.
COS-330 VS the competition
The most obvious competition would be from the only slightly more expensive Masterbuilt 30″.
I really like how the Masterbuilt includes a wood chip loader that allows you to reload chips without opening the door and losing heat and smoke.
While it’s a bit more expensive, I would also highly recommend you consider a pellet grill. Something like the Z Grills 450B will give you much better results, and be less frustrating to use.
If you’re set on getting an electric smoker, the Cuisinart COS-330 is a good value smoker. It is pretty basic and does not have a lot of features or technology if you are into that sort of thing. But it gets the job done. At the end of the day that’s what matters.
There is that saying, you get what you pay for and this certainly fits the bill. It’s not the best, it’s certainly not the worst, but you get a nice middle of the road smoker that is great for beginners. More experienced bbq enthusiasts who want a basic smoking set up will enjoy it as well and may appreciate the simplicity and ease of use.