Ammo & Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Char-Broil Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster

Mike Piccione Editor, Guns & Gear
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If you have ever wanted a smoker then I have a product for you. This smoker/roaster is easy to use, easy to clean and exceed my every expectation.

Smokers often go the way of stationary bikes. You use them early on then the thrill wears off and you are hanging your laundry on them in the basement. I’ve wanted a smoker for years and asked  everyone I know who has one and they all seem to have problems; either they are too messy, take too long, and are too difficult to clean.

Operation:

This is an electric smoker that utilizes a heating element that wraps around the interior of the unit. Assembly was a snap. All you do is insert the barrel that lines the interior of the smoker once you wipe it down with vegetable oil to cure it. Then insert the basket that holds the food and plug it in. Yep, you are done.

There are 15 temperature settings so you can roast at 500 degrees or smoke low and slow at 150 degrees. There is a removable wood chip holder, with a handle, that comes out easily. Remove the handle and insert wood chips. Adjust the temp setting so it is on 15, the highest setting, and about 12 minutes later you have smoke.

Cleaning:

There really is no cleaning. The meat drippings fall into the barrel. The barrel has a hole in the bottom so the drippings can go into an easily removable tray. Empty the tray when you are done.

There is a self-cleaning feature. Set the timer for ‘self-cleaning’ and it will heat to 500 degrees for 30 minutes then automatically turn off.

Using The Smoker:

Fill up the wood chip holder. Turn it on to 15. Insert the food. Adjust the temperature as needed for what you are cooking and you are done. It really can’t be any easier.

There is a thermometer that can be inserted into the meat. Set the temperature so that when the meat reaches the desired temperature and the unit will automatically turn off.

I used the smoker in various outside temperatures from 30-60 degrees and noticed no problems.

What Did I Cook?

Mesquite prime rib was the first try. I used the meat thermomator and it worked perfectly. I kept the meat extra rare so I could finish it off on the grill. It was magnificent.

Mesquite shrimp was next. I just eyeballed them to see when they were done. Perfect.

Mesquite mini lobster tails. We put a little olive oil on the tails and put them in the basket. About 25 minutes later they were done. Smoked lobster is very, very good.

Applewood, then hickory smoked, filet mignon. I just eyeballed the time and removed it when I thought it was done. About 40 minutes on the highest temp setting. Perfectly done and delicious.

Cherrywood smoked salmon. Again, I eyeballed it rather than use a thermometer because I figured it’s not realistic to use a meat thermometer on something so thin. I can’t tell ya how good it came out.

Vegetables: smoked asparagus and red peppers. A little olive oil on both with mesquite wood chips and they came out great.

Here are the features listed by the manufacturer:

  • More than just a slow smoker, TRU-Infrared™ allows for faster cooking at roasting temps too
  • Easy-read LCD control panel monitors current and target food temperatures
  • Plug into any common 120 volt power outlet
  • The 15 preset temperature settings give you the ability to smoke, roast and more
  • Digital food thermometer powers-off The Big Easy® and alerts the user once target food temperature is reached
  • Add real-wood flavor using wood chips or pellets inside the smoker box
  • AutoClean™ feature powers-off unit after 30 minutes of high-temperature heating
  • Large capacity cooking basket, adjustable cooking racks and warming basket included
  • Outdoor cooking guide included

 

Pricing:

Mine was a present and they list for $179 on the Lowes website. As I write this on January 13, 2012 they are on sale for $129.

Summation: 

Buy one.