Are you sick and tired of having to attend to the coals in a barbecue pit for hours on end without really knowing if you’re smoking your meat the right way? What you need is a reliable electric smoker that takes the guesswork out of the smoking process and puts you directly in control. The folks over at Char-Broil know exactly how it feels like to get a hankering for some ham or finely-seasoned smoked ribs and have come up with the Simple Smoker to help you get the best results without much fuss.
A direct upgrade to the Big Easy Electric Smoker, this model shows that the manufacturer has taken most user complaints into account and designed a new and improved product that smokes your meat easier and with more flavor.
Since this is an electric model, there’s a heating element that runs around its cooking chamber, which is essentially a tube made out of stainless steel with a concave end. A dripping pan is used to collect grease and is placed under the end. Inside there are two cooking baskets. The bigger, primary one has removable half-shelves that can be adjusted to better position the food. A smaller, secondary basket sits atop the first one and is best used for side dishes you want to smell of smoke or meat that can be prepared at a lower temperature. Speaking of which, the smoker is able to operate at temperatures of up to 525 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking (not so) smart
At least on paper, we were particularly pleased with the new built-in smart technology, a digital thermometer probe that can measure both the smoker’s current temperature and the core temperature of the meat being cooked. Based on that, you can set the smoker to alert you when it is time to add new wood chips or when the meal is done. Once the meat has been smoked to your satisfaction, the machine will initiate a temperature drop and keep the meat warm until it is ready to be consumed.
The smoker can be set to operate for a fixed time, but it is more advisable to use its other option, smoking the meat until its core temperature reaches the desired threshold since not all meat behaves in the same way and won’t be thoroughly done just because you think it should.
This would be all fine and dandy if not for the annoying fact that most operations are performed using a supplied app. This wouldn’t be a problem if the app behaved as it should, which it doesn’t most of the time. Customers have reported that the cooker refuses to start if it hasn’t established a Wi-fi connection to a phone, and that the app in general isn’t trustworthy.
If you can get past this Char-Broil’s Simple Smoker is a decent machine when it comes to its overall performance and physical capabilities. It might not be ready for the internet of things just yet, but if you manage to use it properly the results will surely not disappoint.