Food smokers are becoming increasingly popular as prices drop and more products enter the market. If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy home smoked food, just like you could get at the best BBQ restaurants, then a smoker could be a great investment.
Modern units are easier to use than ever before, with affordable electric smokers meaning that you can set your food and cook it with no more difficulty than using a grill or your oven.
The Little Chief Smoker is a front loading electric smoker that has been designed for simple use and consistent cooking results. If you need a smoker around the $100 price point, then this one is worth a closer look.
SmokeHouse Little Chief Smoker Key Product Features
The Little Chief smoker features a basic design without any of the extended features that you might find on more expensive models. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great smoker! Here are the key features if you’re looking for a smoker today.
- Front loading design.
- Electrically powered wood burning.
- Consistent temperatures with a 165° F element.
- Four chrome plated shelves.
- Aluminum construction.
- Up to 25 pounds loading capacity.
Construction Quality and Assembly
Aside from the wood chips for smoking, you will find everything that you need in the box. This smoker requires no assemble, which already makes it stand out in the market of home smokers and grills. Some products can take one or two hours to assemble, which can be an inconvenience if you want to get set up as soon as possible. A fully assembled unit is good to see, and it means that there can be no user-error that would lead to poor performance.
When it comes to construction quality, the use of aluminum may be a concern for some potential buyers. You may consider that stainless steel is the best material to use for outdoor cooking equipment. While this is true in most cases, aluminum is still a durable material that will resist corrosion and provide years of product lifetime. There’s also the benefit of aluminum being lightweight, so this smoker can easily be moved and stored when not in use. Total weight is just 16.2 pounds, making this a very manageable cooking appliance.
The unit has been well constructed, and you will have confidence that it will last for many years to come. Being made in the U.S.A. is a bonus and will allow you to support local industry.
Feature Overview and Cooking Ability
Unlike a grill, a small smoker like the Little Chief Smoker doesn’t come with a host of special features. The price that you pay is in the entry-level range, and this means that you won’t get things like timers, extensive temperature controls, or easy-loading wood chip mechanisms.
This is a very basic smoker but that doesn’t mean that it can’t take care of your cooking needs.
There are two things that a smoker needs to do well for it to be able to cook delicious food at home. The first is that the smoker needs to be well insulated so that smoke and heat can be retained within the cooking chamber. Secondly, a smoker needs to have a consistent heating element (or solid fuel heating system) so that it can cook low and slow.
The Little Chief Smoker does both of these things well. The excellent construction quality ensures that there is no excessive loss of smoke or heat during the cooking process. Eliminating waste in this way will keep your energy usage low, which is important considering that this is an electric smoker.
In terms of cooking low and slow, the Little Chief performs with ease. The heating element is designed to provide 165° F at all times. This is the ideal temperature for smoked meat, fish, and vegetables.
You can cook almost anything that will fit in the smoker. This could include specialty sausages, ham, chicken, steak, BBQ cuts, various vegetables, and anything that you want to have cooked in the traditional wood smoked method. There’s really nothing difficult about cooking in the Little Chief. You simply need to prepare your ingredients, marinate them if you want to, and then set them in the smoker for the desired time. Smoking smaller cuts of meat can take anything from 2 – 6 hours, whereas larger cuts could require 12 – 20 hours of cooking time. Briskets, chuck roast, and large cuts of pork will need the longest cooking times. It’s a good idea to invest in a meat thermometer when cooking with a smoker, so that you can be sure of internal meat temperatures at the end of the smoking session.
The results that you will get from the Little Chief are nothing short of exceptional. Choose whichever smoker chips you prefer, and simply turn the smoker on and let it do its thing. Top up the wood chips as necessary for longer cuts of meat, and simply wait for your home-smoked creations to be fully cooked.
If you’re used to grilling then you will find that a smoker can actually be much more convenient, even if the cooking times are longer. The results are definitely worth it, and you will be impressed by what you can do with such a small and lightweight smoker.
Ease of Use
If you’re familiar with smoking, then you won’t have any trouble using the Little Chief Smoker. Because it’s a basic smoker, you won’t need to worry about configuring temperatures or learning a new loading mechanism.
Wood chips or smoker pellets are loaded manually into a pan that sits at the bottom of the unit, and the temperature is automatically controlled from the moment that you plug the smoker into your electrical outlet. As far as simplicity goes, this is one of the top smokers currently on the market. It won’t give you the full control of some more expensive smokers, but as a basic unit, it does everything that you could ask it.
Top Pros and Cons of the Little Chief Smoker
For the price, this relatively compact smoker has a lot to offer.
- Ease of use means that anybody can start smoking meat, fish, and vegetables with ease.
- Low cost is perfect for anyone looking for a backup smoker or a first smoker.
- Perfectly sized for family use.
- Excellent results when smoking some of the most common food.
- No need to worry about charcoal or gas for fuel.
- Small size means its not suited to large turkeys or bigger roast cuts.
- No temperature control could be limiting for some experienced smokers.
- Entire door needs to be opened to replace smoker chips.
Customer Reviews of the SmokeHouse Front Load Smoker
If you’re considering any smoker, it’s important to take a look at what existing owners have to say. Customer reviews can give you unique insights into any product, whether you are buying a smoker, a grill, or even a full outdoor cooking station.
This smoker has received high praise from owners, and currently has an average 3.9/5 Stars from almost 30 customer reviews. Owners love the affordable price, the ease of use, and the simple design. A number of owners have also commented that the pre-assembled unit makes it more convenient than some larger smokers that require complex assembly steps.
Owners do point out that the smoker is not suitable for some of the largest cuts of meat, including items like pork butt. This should be expected considering the size of the unit, and it’s not exactly a negative if you know what you’re getting in for. Most reviewers mention the unit in the context of smoking sausages, jerky, fish, and smaller cuts of meat like steak and ribs.
As could be expected from most home smokers, the majority of owners point out that the unit produces better results than store-bought smoked food. The ability to choose your own premium cuts and wood chips means that you will have total control over the cooking and flavoring process.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
If you are looking for a small and reliable smoker then the Smokehouse Little Chief Smoker is definitely something that you should consider. The low cost is a bonus, and the size makes it suitable for small homes or even condominiums that have an outdoor cooking area. The quality is high, and although it is made from aluminum rather than steel, it still feels sturdy and should last for many years to come.
Smoking capability is excellent considering the size, and as long as you are willing to work within the limitations then you could find this to be one of the best cooking investments that you make in the near future.
For a compact smoker that can take care of all your small to mid-sized food items, the Little Chief Smoker is highly recommended. It’s a great first smoker, and it could introduce you to an entirely new cooking method that will allow you to make quality food at home from fresh ingredients. If you’re in the market for a smoker of this size, then you will find it difficult to get anything better in this price range.