The Little Chief Electric Smoker seems too good to be true, especially at a price tag that’s currently just a touch above $100. But is it? Read on for much more information and our view on this little electric smoker.
There’s a lot to like about this smoker. First off, it’s surprisingly well-constructed from sturdy aluminum, it can hold up to 25 pounds of meat, it has a very convenient top-loading access point, uses chrome-plated grates, and the wood chip and water pans are workable and generous. Further, thanks to it’s slight footprint it takes up little real estate around the home.
Seems good to us. But what’s the catch?
The glaring issue that the Little Chief presents is one of heat – or lack thereof to be more direct. This smoker is 1) not insulated and 2) is heated by a very small 250-watt element. We often see thin-walled smokers like this powered by oversized elements, generally over 1,000 watts, precisely to compensate for the rapid heat loss out of the smoking chamber. However the Little Chief is happy enough to reach a modest 165F and stay there. In fact, this setting is non-adjustable.
A temperature of 165 may work fine with moderately-sized cuts of fish and for other cold-smoke items like bacon, sausage, jerky and cheese, but not for most other meats. The general consensus is that meat should be raised to at least the lowest acceptable serving temperature within about 4 hours from the start of the smoke. But this is a big challenge for the puny element and leaky wall of the Little Chief, and you are likely to fail to meet this guideline for all but the thinnest, smallest cuts of meat.
As a consequence, I would encourage you to consider this particular model for cold smoking purposes only.
Smoking Capacity & Dimensions
The Little chief is 14 inches high by 11.5 inches wide and 11.5 inches deep. Surprisingly, the smoker weighs only 15 pounds but can smoke up to 25 pounds of meat.
Consensus of Users
It’s pretty obvious that this unit has a 4.4 out of 5.0 rating because it is an excellent fish and cold smoker. In fact, virtually all of the negative reviews stem from the fact that people tried – and failed – to actually cook through steak, chicken and other types of meat. Unfortunately, these users were unaware of this model’s limitations.
As for fish lovers, however, this smoker was loved. In particular, they commented on how easy the top-loading mechanism is to use and how well it performs on fish, jerky and cheese, for example. They also found it quite sturdy, especially given it’s lightweight.
Price & Value
At just over $100 at the time of this writing, this has to be one of the most cost-effective electric cold smokers around. So if fish and other cold smoke items are what concern you and you want a good deal, this is it. On the other hand, even this great price cannot make up for the fact that you can’t cook meat through. So if you are leaning towards traditional smoking, pass on this!
As stated, for fish and cold smoking, the Little Chief Electric Smoker is an outstanding choice, and one that won’t thin out your wallet. But if you want to smoke other meats or whole poultry, for example, save your money and get a higher-powered budget option, like the Old Smokey Electric Smoker.