Electric smokers are one of the easiest and most forgiving ways of smoking food. They’re ideal for beginners due to their simplistic design and simple cooking process. All you have to do is set the temperature (using our handy temperature guide) you want, choose the wood flavor (using our handy wood flavor guide), put the food in and then wait for it to smoke.
Not only do they have the advantage of being one of the easiest ways for you to get smoking food, but they are also one of the cheapest. In our list of the best electric smokers currently on the market we’ve reviewed several electric smokers that will cost you less than $200. Today, though we’ll review one of the cheapest smokers that money can buy, the Little Chief Electric Smoker, and see if it’s got what it takes to be worth your money.
The Little Chief, or “Lil Chief” is one of many in a range of products by Smokehouse Products. They have been around for a while, initially bringing the Little Chief smoker to the market in 1968 when it was aimed directly at fishermen that used to smoke their catch of salmon, trout and steelhead. Now they’ve developed into a much larger operation that caters to many more customers and offers many more products, including meat grinders, jerky equipment and other accessories. Take a look at their range of products on Amazon or directly on their website.
- The Little Chief Electric Smoker is a smoker designed to work at lower temperatures for food such as fish and jerky – it is NOT a cooker and is not appropriate for cooking brisket, ribs etc.
- It’s lightweight, fairly well built despite sometimes feeling a bit flimsy but does a good job smoking food.
- It’s one of the best value for money smokers on the market and comes with some little extras to get you started.
- It’s made in the USA and comes with a 2 year warranty.
- Some Little Chiefs have been in use for over 25 years and are still going strong.
- If you’re looking for a smoker that can cook the food as well, such as something that will cook a brisket or pork shoulder, then we’d recommend the Masterbuilt 30” Model or anything from the Smokin-It range of smokers.
Check the latest price of on Amazon.
What’s Included with the Little Chief Electric Smoker?
What’s included with the Little Chief Electric Smoker:
- The electric smoker body
- Removable front door
- Four easy-slide chrome-plated grills
- Removable drip pan
- Wood chip pan
- Power cord
- A 1.75 lbs bag of Chips n’ Chunks hickory flavored wood
- Recipe and instruction booklet
Dimensions – 24.5” H x 11.5” W x 11.5” D (62cm H x 29cm W x 29cm D)
Shipping Weight – 15.8 lbs
Build Quality and Design
Due to the very low price of the Little Chief (you can easily find it for less than $100) you can’t realistically expect the highest quality of build. However, despite the low price Smokehouse Products have done a good job at creating a well built electric smoker. The main body is made from an embossed aluminum that can feel a little flimsy but generally does a good job at retaining heat. However, there will be some limitations on maximum temperature if you use it in a very cold ambient temperature. The grills are all chrome plated and have an “easy-slide” functionality. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these and work exactly as you’d want them to. The drip pan and wood pan both can feel a little cheap but do their jobs well. The drip pan is completely dishwasher safe and is relatively easy to remove.
The heating element of the Lil Chief is rated at 250W. This is generally quite a lot lower than other electric smokers and brings us to their first important point – the Little Chief smoker will reach a maximum temperature of around 165°F. You should NOT consider the Little Chief a cooker, it’s simply a smoker. This means that it isn’t appropriate for smoking and cooking bigger cuts of meat that require higher heat.
For example, we would not recommend smoking any chicken, pork butt or brisket. Check out our Meat Smoking Cheat Sheet for more information on which foods wouldn’t work in the Little Chief. However, this lower temperature does mean that it makes an ideal smoker for smoked sausage, jerky, cheese, nuts, vegetables and fish (as this is what it was designed for in the first place).
The design of the smoker is generally quite standard. It’s front loaded, using a removable door, uses a bottom mounted heating element that heats the wood in the wood pan which produces smoke. The four racks provide ample room for up to 25lbs of fish or jerky despite the small size of the smoker. There isn’t a thermometer or any kind of controls which would have made life easier and we would’ve liked to have seen some kind of control.
Ease of Use
One of the best things about electric smokers is that they provide one of the simplest ways to start smoking food as almost everything is controlled by the smoker itself.
The Little Chief is one of the easiest electric smokers you can buy. It comes basically fully assembled and requires you to only fill the wood pan and turn it on. Having a recipe book included makes things even easier that just about anyone could do it. The clean up process is also quite simple as all the racks and the drip pan are removable. The drip pan has the added benefit of being completely dishwasher safe.
What’s Good about the Little Chief Electric Smoker
- Great value for money – You won’t find a better smoker for such a small cost. Despite not being a cooker, this is still a great deal.
- Lightweight – At only 12lbs this smoker can be easily transported and moved around when in storage.
- Simplest Smoker on the market – The Little Chief is incredibly easy to set up, use and clean.
What’s Bad about the Little Chief Electric Smoker
- Not a cooker – This isn’t really a bad point as it is designed to be just a smoker, but we wanted to reemphasise that this isn’t a cooker. Having a heating element that could get to a higher temperature would have been nice but there are other smokers for that.
- Slightly flimsy – The build quality could be a little sturdier as the thin walls can dent easily.
- No controls or thermometer – These would have been nice to have but without them the Little Chief is about as simple as they come.
When you realize what the Little Chief smoker is actually intended for then everything starts to make sense. It isn’t going to cook you a brisket but it will produce some of the best fish, jerky, cheese and veg. It’s very basic, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you see it. But it’s very simple to use and is incredibly affordable. If you’re looking for a smoker that does this then this is one of the best electric smokers on the market and has been one of the best for the last 50 years.
Check the latest price on Amazon.
Additional Resources, Tips and Tricks
If you’re browsing the web and see some lower rated reviews for the Little Chief, especially on places like Amazon that aggregate their reviews, we’d recommend taking these numbers with a pinch of salt. For our research we get as much information about the products we review as possible and read many reviews and get information from other people all over the world. Many of the negative reviews for the Little Chief have been from people who have not done their research and have expected a cooker, only to be severely disappointed and then have given the product a bad review. Other’s have carelessly left their Lil Chief outside and then wonder why it stops working after a year. This isn’t a Weber Smokey Mountain that will work despite being left in the rain, it requires electricity and is not weather proofed. Use the following tips to make sure you get the most out of your Lil Chief Electric Smoker and don’t make the same mistakes as other have done.
- Store your smoker well. At the very least use a cover to keep the electrical elements out of the weather. Ideally keep it inside a shed with a cover over it. With a little care and attention you’ll get many, many years worth of use out of it.
- It’s best to season your new smoker, whatever it is. Check out our guide on how to season your new smoker to make sure you don’t contaminate your food.
- As the Little Chief doesn’t have a built in thermometer it could well be beneficial to invest in a quality digital thermometer. Here at KotC, we’ve done all the hard work and have compiled a thorough breakdown of the best digital thermometers available today.
- Allow your electric smoker to get up to temperature before adding any food.
- Below is an introductory video and operation guide from Smokehouse Products themselves to help you with your new smoker.
If there’s anything we’ve missed or if you’d like to ask us some questions write to us in the comments or head over to our Facebook page.
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker Review 2
The Smokehouse Products is the company which is offering the public with a full line of smoker accessories and is strongly committed to supply the customers with the best smoker accessories in the current market. The current model is an inexpensive yet durable product from the world’s best smoker manufacturers. The Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker was introduced by Smokehouse Products during the year 1968. Right from the time of introduction, this smoker model continues to serve people in various cooking aspects. This is the medium sized version from the Smokehouse family of products.
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- Heating Element: 250 Watts
- Cooking Capacity: 25 lbs
- Max Temp: 165 degrees F
- Dimensions: 5 X 11.5 X 11.5 inches
- 4 Easy-Slide Chrome Plated Grills
- Weight: 15 lbs
- Warranty: 2 years
The current smoker model has been specifically designed for outdoor purposes only and does not require any assembly. This medium sized smoker from Smokehouse Products is also the light-weighted version and will not be as heavy as other smokers like Masterbuilt 20070213 GEN II Electric Digital Smokehouse.
This smoker has been constructed with durable and embossed aluminum. This will reach your hands with easy-slide chrome plated grills. The whole unit has been vented for the purpose of proper dehydration. With the dimensions of 24.5 X 11.5 X 11.5 inches weight of just 15 pounds, this smoker is carrying the capacity up to 25 pounds of meat or fish. This is a 120-volt smoker model which has been constructed with 250-watt heating element.
Little Chief Smoker model has some of the extraordinary features which are responsible for making this product to stand out in the current market.
- Steady Heat Flow: This is a self-contained model which has been electric-powered and comes fully equipped with a heating element which will hold a steady heat of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.This feature makes this model ideal for slow-cook smoking as per the electric smoker reviews.
- Fuel Pan: This aluminum smoker has been loaded with a maximum capacity flavor fuel pan. This feature of the smoker would imbue your food with the particular smoker flavor that was chosen by you. Moreover, this has been vented for proper dehydration to take place.
- Easy-Slide Grills: The Little Chief Smoker has been constructed with the easy-slide grills that are chrome-plated. With this feature, you will find it easy to load and unload your food with much ease from the front. You will find the process as easy as a typical oven.
- No Assembly Required: This smoker has been typically designed for the purposes of outdoor cooking purposes and there is no assembly process required to start off.
- Plug and Cord: In this electric smoker model, the three-wire plug and cordhave been grounded to the body of electric smoker. You can plug this smoker into any standard 3-prong 110 to 120 AC outlet.
- Drip Pan: There is a dishwasher safe drip pan at the smoker’s bottom. This feature will make your cleanup process an easier one.
- Heating Element: The smoker model in this review has been constructed to have a non-adjustable heating element which would operate at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Food Capacity: This front loading smoker model would offer you the greater capacity, thereby allowing you to smoke up to 25 poundsof meat and fish.
Ease of Operation
It is due to the ease of operation with this electric smoker, it is considered as the perfect electric smoker in the current market. The Little Chief smoker would come to you fully assembled. You will have to do only little work to get it ready for running.
With this machine, the need for coal or fire is completely eliminated. You will have to just plug-in and turn it on for letting the machine to do the rest for you. Due to the larger capacity, this smoker would make it easier for you to cook a large amount of meatall at once more easily.
In addition, the cleaning process is not at all hectic with this electric smoker when compared to the old grills. When the smoking is done, you can easily slide the grills out and wash them. The process is again made easy with the drip pan which is dishwasher safe. When the cooking is over, you can easily remove the drip pan, pour out the residues and your cleaning is a breeze.
This electric smoker has several advantages which are as follows:
- The current electric smoker offers you with the high durability.
- This smoker model is vented for the purpose dehydration.
- No assembly is required with this smoker which makes your start off easier.
- The complete set contains a recipe booklet along with the instruction manual which will allow you to work with the system without any difficulties.
- The smoker box includes a 1.75 pound bag of smokehouse wood chips.
- This smoker is UL, CUL and CSA listed.
- Loading and unloading is easy with the chrome-plated grills.
- This electric smoker comes to your hands with 2-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Few of the disadvantages with this electric smoker are:
- This particular smoker is lacking the adjustable temperature setting.
- This smoker model is not really recommended for smoking your large cuts of meat.
- The aluminum exterior of the grill may get damaged very easily.
Offer and Customer Ratings
You will have the great chance of purchasing this electric smoker at an exciting discount offer of 14% wherein you will also have the chance to check the reviews of the customers who already used this product. You can also see that the overall customer rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars which is the good rating when compared to the other products.
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The Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker is the perfect device for all the families who love smoked foods. This smoker has lot of features that will be useful for any kind of user. One shall never miss to buy this smoker model in order to enjoy high quality smoked foods.