If you want a set it and forget it smoker but can’t stretch your budget for a pellet grill with all the bells and whistles, then the 40″ Bluetooth electric smoker from Masterbuilt could be exactly what you are looking for.
In this review, I’ll be sharing my experience cooking on the Masterbuilt Bluetooth 40″ over the last few months, and whether it’s worth spending the extra money, or if you should just go with the basic non-Bluetooth model.
Overview & first impressions
American manufacturer Masterbuilt has often been a go-to option for people who are looking to buy their first smoker.
Their line of digital electric (and propane) smokers offers the convenience, simplicity, and affordability that many people entering the market often prefer.
What you gain in affordability you give up in terms of build quality, but we’ll get into that later in the review.
Masterbuilt offers 30” and 40” options for their vertical smokers, both of which have propane, charcoal and electric options.
The electric and propane smokers use wood chips to produce smoke. Wood chips are fairly simple to use (especially on a Masterbuilt) and they help produce some great tasting food.
I chose the electric over propane for 3 reasons:
- I don’t have to worry about running out of propane.
- No gas being burned to ignite the wood chips = better flavor, in myy opinion.
- More temperature control options.
I was really excited to try the 40” electric smoker because I wanted a unit large enough to feed a decent-sized gathering of people. I have also tested the 30” Masterbuilt Electric Smoker and enjoyed cooking on it, so I was eager to see how the larger, Bluetooth-enabled brother would perform.
After assembling the smoker, its sharp and modern looks were really impressive. The stainless steel door and window make the smoker stand out in the backyard.
Beyond looks, Masterbuilt did a great job including some practical features that make it really functional.
- The wood chip loader – Not only convenient, but it eliminates any temperature loss from having to open the door to add more wood chips.
- Bluetooth controller and Masterbuilt app – Allows users to monitor internal and ambient temperatures. More on the app performance later.
- Grease drain system – Grease drains to the bottom of the smoker and funnels out the back where it is collected in an easy to remove metal pan.
- Water pan – The pan can be placed below the bottom rack. On some smokers you have to place the pan ON the bottom rack, giving up valuable grill real estate.
- 2 Wheels and back handle – This allows you to tilt the smoker like a dolly and move it around with little effort.
- See-through glass window – Even though smoke covers the window quickly and it has to be cleaned frequently, it’s still nice to be able to check on your food without opening the door.
Let’s take a look at the full specs before getting into what I did and didn’t like about this smoker.
Masterbuilt MB20074719 40″ Bluetooth Electric Smoker Specifications:
|25.2 x 41.7 x 19.6 in.
|35°F – 275°F
|Check Latest Price
What I like:
- Intuitive to operate – the basic functions of the machine are easy to manage even for a beginner.
- Produces great flavor – I cooked a wide variety of food and it produced a robust smoke flavor every single time.
- Wood chip loader – Their patented wood chip loading system is ingenious. The less I need to open the door during cooking, the better.
What I don’t like:
- Flimsy materials – The plastic on the door cracked in two places from no noticeable impact. The inner metal lining seems thin as well.
- Only one meat probe port – With the amount of food you can cook in this smoker at once, there should be more inputs for meat probes.
- Small wood chip tray – It is the exact same size as the 30” model. A bigger smoker should allow for more wood chips as it consumes more to fill up with smoke and heat the smoker.
Unboxing and setup
The smoker arrived within a few days of ordering. I couldn’t help notice how big the box was and needed a little assistance bringing it inside. This was certainly a different experience as it is the largest vertical smoker I’ve ever owned by far.
Here are some things I noticed after opening the box and removing all of the contents:
- Every item was packaged and protected well inside the main vessel of the smoker.
- Those items included 4 cooking racks, 2 wheels and two adjustable legs, a long handle, water pan, ash tray, wood chip feeder and a large bag with instructions and hardware to mount some of the items.
- No tools were included to assist with the set-up process.
Set up was really simple and altogether it took me about a half hour to unbox and assemble everything. It was a really intuitive assembly so I didn’t need the instructions.
This is a mass-produced product, so I wasn’t expecting the smoker to be constructed with heavy, commercial grade steel (which it isn’t). With that said, the aluminum interior walls are pretty thin and most of the exterior of the smoker is a plastic covering.
Since the overall construction doesn’t scream durability, I wouldn’t advise moving this unit around much at all.
The door is sleek-looking stainless steel that features a see-through glass window (which is a nice feature, even if it gets covered up with smoke 90% of the time while you are cooking).
Inside the smoker are 4 chrome-coated cooking racks that appear to be sturdy and well constructed. I’ve washed them several times and haven’t noticed any scrapes or rust build-up.
The water pan and wood chip tray are pretty flimsy however as is the wood chip loader.
There is a plastic guard on top of the door that cracked in 2 different places, and I have no idea how it happened.
I rarely moved the smoker around and it must have cracked from gently leaning on it, which is a real shame since you would expect more durability from something in this price point.
Masterbuilt does offer a 1-year, limited warranty but it is difficult to tell from their legal language if this type of damage is covered or not.
I didn’t inquire because I found it doesn’t impact performance in any way.
Smoking on Masterbuilt Bluetooth Electric Smoker
The smoker is fairly large, so you can cook quite a bit of food at once. When I did ribs, I smoked 4 racks of spare ribs at the same time. They all were cooked evenly with great flavor. I wish the smoker came with hooks so I could have hung the ribs vertically, but you can purchase them online separately if you choose.
Something I found really handy is that you can set the temperature at 5-degree increments which gives you exact control. This is usually something reserved for high-end pellet grills, so it’s a nice feature to have if you cook a wide variety of food. The controller even has a low end option of 35°F so cold smoking shouldn’t be an issue.
I’ve read elsewhere that the Masterbuilt 40” Digital Smoker has problems keeping higher temperatures in colder weather. I couldn’t entirely confirm since I live in Phoenix AZ.
Using wood chips on the Masterbuilt smoker
The benefit to using wood chips for smoking over something like pellets is that you tend to get a much more robust smoke flavor. The benefit to using pellets is that on a pellet grill, you don’t have to worry about running out as long as you fill up the hopper before cooking.
It’s a shame Masterbuilt didn’t factor that in when designing the 40” version. It has the same sized wood chip tray and feeder as their 30” version. Trust me, that 10” makes a difference since the bigger the smoker, the more smoke you’ll need to fill it up.
I recommend getting a variety pack and experimenting with different types of wood chips to see what you like best.
I had to replace chips every 60 minutes on the 40” compared to 90 minutes on the 30”. I will say the wood chip loader is a nice feature as it allows you to add more wood without having to open the door to the smoker.
The digital controller
The controller is fairly intuitive to use, but if I had one gripe it would be that it is too difficult to read the dim blue display during the day. You have to get up close and stand at an angle in order to make out what it says.
Unless you use the Bluetooth feature that is.
Another small gripe is there is only one input for meat probes. You would think that if a unit could cook so much food at once, the controller would allow for more than one probe.
Bluetooth and Masterebuilt app experience
Pairing your phone to the smoker was a fairly simple process. The app is well designed but is lacking in features, so don’t expect it to rival Traeger’s app where it can virtually cook your food for you.
You can control the smoker’s temp, monitor your meat probe for internal temperature, and set a timer and temperature alarm.
One minor annoyance is that if you open the door on the smoker at any time, you have to push the Bluetooth button on the controller in order to control it from the app again. So if you walk back in the house and forget to press the button, welp, off you go back outside.
The control range itself was fairly good. I was able to use the app from my living room which is a good 50 feet or so from where the smoker was at.
Your results might vary as Bluetooth signals can be affected by different types of building material. This is one of the reasons why more expensive grills from the likes of Traeger use your home WiFi network which is much more reliable.
Cleaning the smoker
Since I seasoned the Masterbuilt before cooking on it, food debris was removed rather easily with a little elbow grease (no pun intended) from yours truly. The internal parts are simple to remove and the walls are easy to access and scrub.
Temperature variance and accuracy
I tested the ambient temperatures of the smoker as well as the accuracy of the built-in temperature gauge. To do this, I placed 3 probes near the upper, middle, and lower racks and connected them to my Inkbird thermometer.
I set the smoker to 250°F and added wood chips. Over the course of 60 minutes, there was quite a bit of fluctuation in ambient temperature. The upper rack probe reached as high as 291°F, while the middle reached as high as 284°F and the lower probe measured its highest at 271°F. The internal Masterbuilt probe at that time read 255°F.
Below is a graph showing the fluctuation in temperatures (external probe):
Alternatives to consider
We have a guide to the best electric smokers that goes into a lot more detail on the various options out there.
As mentioned earlier, I have also used the 30” Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker. They both are similar in function and produce great-tasting food. If you usually just cook for a small group and don’t think you’ll miss the Bluetooth option, the smaller sized 30” is a comparable choice.
If you’re looking for a similar sized vertical smoker that offers a little bit more convenience and less time adding wood chips, consider Pit Boss’ Copperhead Vertical Smoker. It uses wood pellets for fuel so there will be a slight difference in flavor, however.
If size is less important than flavor, then I would recommend the Smokin’ Tex Pro Series 1400. It’s smaller in total size, but the flavor I was able to produce with it was outstanding and comparable to any meat I’ve eaten that was smoked on a stick burner or charcoal smoker.
- Double-walled insulated construction for stable temps
- Gets to cooking temp fast
- Easy to clean
- Need to reopen the main door to reload wood chips
I was fully prepared to give this smoker very high remarks until I discovered the cracks on the door that I mentioned earlier. With that said, the product does have a 1 year limited warranty and I’m sure Masterbuilt would make it right if I called in to get a replacement part.
With that said, as long as you don’t plan on moving it around often, this is a very capable smoker that offers plenty of features which make it a great value.
If you’re a beginner or just want a full-sized vertical smoker which is easy to use and produces food with excellent flavor then I would definitely recommend taking a look at Masterbuilt’s 40” Bluetooth Digital Smoker.