The Little Chief Front Load Smoker have been around for decades and the only big change it has seen over the years is the change from top loading to the current front loading. This is a small change in terms of design but it is a huge improvement in terms of usability and user friendliness. When something remains practically unchanged for decades and it is still selling well, it can only mean that the design is tried and tested.
As far as designs go, the Little Chief Front Load Smoker is nothing more than just metal box made from aluminum with an electric heater attached to the bottom of the box. The entire smoker is very light and you can lift it up by its top handle with just one hand but don’t let its lack of weight deceive you as this smoker is as tough as nails. As long as you don’t bang it up by accidentally dropping it, this smoker will last for many years to come and the only reason you may want to replace it is if you need a bigger model.
The Little Chief Front Load Smoker has no bell and whistles. In fact, it doesn’t even have a proper hinged door. However, that also means that this smoker doesn’t also have a hefty price tag to go along with it. In fact, it is less than half the price of the cheapest smoker from our Top 3 Overall Smoker list.
What we like about the Little Chief Front Load Smoker
The best thing about the the Little Chief Front Load Smoker is of course its low price. It is reasonably sized and there is just no comparing against cheaper non-electric smokers because of the convenience one gets from using an electric smoker.
Although the construction of the Little Chief Front Load Smoker may not look like much, the smoker is actually very well built and durable. Its simple construction and lack of any form of electronics means that there is less chance of anything breaking down. The heating element is just a simple coil heater that is sitting at the bottom of the box. This is the only component that may break down other than the chassis of the smoker itself.
The Little Chief Front Load Smoker is a small smoker. Its outside dimensions are 24.5 by 11.5 by 11.5 inches (H x W x D). Its capacity is rated at 25 pounds of meat or fish but the actual amount that will fit in the smoker will depend on the cut size and how you arrange the smoked items in the smoker. However, you should be able to easily smoke enough food in a single load for a small dinner party of up to 5 to 6 people.
Although the cooking compartment is small, it comes with 4 removable trays that slide in and out easily and 5 levels of tray mounts. That provides the user with some versatility when it comes to placing the meat and fish into the smoker. Removable trays means an easier clean-up job after the smoking is done. The trays themselves are chrome plated which again makes them easier to clean and maintain.
The Little Chief Front Load Smoker also comes with a drip pan that is placed between the tray compartment and the heating element. Although it is not designed as one, you can use the drip pan as a water pan to add moisture to the smoker and prevent your smoked meats from drying out easily.
Maximum temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. While some may consider this as a minus point but smoking is a slow and low process and high temperatures are not necessary. The Little Chief Front Load Smoker is also fairly good at holding this temperature which is an important feature for a smoker.
The front panel has a flap at the bottom that is used for refilling the wood chip pan. This is a good design as it allows you to add more wood chips to the pan without opening the panel and letting all the heat escape.
The final thing that we liked about the Little Chief Front Load Smoker is that it comes packed with everything that you need to start smoking except for the meat. The kit even comes with a 1.75 pound bag of hickory flavored Chips n’ Chunks wood chips and a recipe booklet to get you started.
What we didn’t like about the Little Chief Front Load Smoker
As mentioned above, the Little Chief Front Load Smoker does not come with a proper door. All it has is a removable front panel. While this may sound archaic but since the smoker has a tall and narrow smoking cabinet, not having a door may not be such a bad thing as it won’t get in the way when loading the smoker. Secondly, since you won’t be frequently opening and closing the panel during a smoking session, this is not really a huge issue.
The Little Chief Front Load Smoker’s heating element is not an adjustable heating element. The temperature is fixed at about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this temperature is suitable for most smoking tasks, we would have preferred some sort of temperature control.
While the smoker is able to hold the temperature under normal circumstances, the Little Chief Front Load Smoker has very little when it comes to heat insulation. The thin aluminum loses a lot of heat when outside temperature is very low. This means that the smoker doesn’t work very well during the colder months or consumes much more energy than normal. One way to get around this is to use some sort of heat insulation blanket to cut down on the heat loss.
Electric smokers are not cheap and if you are on a tight budget, the Little Chief Front Load Smoker is definitely one of the models that you should consider. While it may not have the space or the features of the higher end model, you give up very little else and can easily save a few hundred dollars at the same time.Click Here for Pricing and Reviews on Amazon