This Front Load Smoker aptly named Big Chief is one of the fastest selling smokers from Smokehouse Products. This company has been manufacturing smokers from 1968; over 45 years ago. It offers a full line of smoker accessories such as sausage making kits, dry and jerky rub mixes, smoker insulation blankets and a variety of chips and chunks. The smoker is specifically designed and meant to be used for outdoor purposes only.
The Big Chief is indeed by far the biggest version in the entire Smokehouse family and comes packed with 5 grills, making it quite appropriate for a variety of products such as beef, pork, fish and poultry. Going by the rave reviews this smoker has received over the years; it is a true gem for any one keen on smoking and entertaining guests with a variety of sumptuous and tasty meals.
Construction and Appearance
It is a stylish and well constructed smoker; a lot of attention has been put on the details and it the sterling workmanship is there for everyone to see. The smokehouse products big chief front load smoker is a durable smoker made from aluminum. It is a self contained smoker that has a reliable heating element which can hold a wide variety of heat levels in a steady and reliable manner.
Its gets its name from the chrome plated cooking grates that easily slide in and out, accessible from the front just like a normal oven. Even though it does not have a viewing window, the door is well secured but easily detachable for ease of use and safety purposes.
Internal Cooking Capacity
This smoker can comfortably prepare up to fifty (50) pounds of fish or meat at any given time; enough food to feed a group of guests. The grills are also chrome plated and are easy to slide in and out during the smoking process.
This smoker uses a standard 110 volt current. The surface where it is placed should be made from non combustible materials and the smoker should be placed at least 2 ft. from any combustion prone material that may be around.
It normally has a 3 wire plug that is grounded to the body smoker and operates at a non adjustable heat level of 165 deg F. It also packs a 120 volt, 4 amp and 450 watt heating element. Even though the unit is sold with a 1.75 pounds Chips and Chunks hickory flavored fuel in a bag, the smoker does not consume much of these as it is quite economical. It does not have a remote control. If you’re shopping from Europe or outside US, there’s a 220V model available.
A very interesting aspect about this product is the fact that it is sold ready to use and does not require any assembly whatsoever. The unit box when shipped usually contains the following; an electric cord, a drip pan, a fuel pan, a smokehouse instruction and recipe booklet that is easy to read and understand a smoker with the heating element and 5 easy –slide chrome plated grills. The Chips n’ Chunks wood fuel bag is also included. Due to its size, it is quite easy to transport from one point to the other.
Aluminum is generally easy to clean and maintain; the Smoker is thus quite easy to keep clean. The drip pan is also easy to clean and maintain as it is dishwasher friendly and can be removed easily from the rear end of the smoker. The grills are also chrome plated, making it much easier to clean up the fats or oils that may remain. Using some ammonia and water will do the trick.
The smoker has the following dimensions; 24.5 inches (Height) x 18 inches (Width) x 12 (D) inches.
The general consensus among owners is how they love that it’s made in the USA, and its great product. Some negative comments were mostly about shipping issues (with the smoker arriving with dents), not really with the product itself. It’s great for smoking sausages, salmon and jerky. One caveat, with it’s steady non-adjustable temperature, you really can’t really on it to “cook” your meat, but as a ‘smoker’ it does a great job.
The smoker comes with a 2 year guarantee against manufacturing or component defects. Because of its temperature setting, the Big chief allows for slow cooking, this ensures that everything that goes into the smoker is properly and evenly cooked and smoked.
The customer support team from Big Chief is second to none, they respond very fast to queries and are always ready to listen and answer any question. This is a huge plus for any product or service and Smokehouse excels in this aspect.
Many people complain about the door, it feels a bit tedious to detach it entirely from the smoker; customers feel that a hinged door would have done the trick. Because it cannot be dismantled into smaller pieces, it may at times look a bit bulky when transporting and some customers feel it should have been made in such a way that allows for some dismantling so as to ease transportation woes