20 Myths About Electric Smokers

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Electric Smokers are a marvel of modern technology for meat lovers around the world. Their ease of use and efficiency has put conventional smokers running on propane, lumber, and charcoal on notice.  In spite of doing exceptionally well in the meat curing arena, they’re still looked at suspiciously due in part to the myths surrounding the electric arena.

Myth #1 They’re Expensive.

As technology as improved, price points have decreased, making it relatively inexpensive to purchase an electric smoker. There are several high quality, well reviewed machines on the market for around $200. This is not far off the average price of an entry level grill or smoker running propane or charcoal.

Myth #2  High Electricity Consumption.

 An eight-hour operation of Electric smokers  consumes 6.4 kW. To calculate the end cost, take a look at your most recent electric bill and find out your price per kilowatt and multiply by 6.4. The national average right now would be about $2 for the full cooking time. To put this in perspective, a blow dryer consumes the same amount of energy. The smoker isn’t actually running the entire time. It heats up and then relies on the stability of the insulated area to maintain heat. If the temperature falls, the heating element reignites.

 Myth #3  Hotter Than You Think.

Electronic smokers are well equipped in maintaining their body temperatures. They have a thermostat which keeps the inner temperature in check and also maintains the required heat for the meat to cook. Bodies of these electronic smokers are well- insulated and some units like Masterbuilt have a powder coated steel casing which doesn’t conduct heat and is safe to touch during operation.

 Myth #4 Glitchy, Since Electronic.

Electronic devices are typically susceptible to breakdowns but this isn’t true for all electronic devices in the world. The quality or durability of the Electric smoker you buy will depend on how wisely you choose the manufacturer you buy it from. Take into account the sales and success rate of the smokers sold, the warranty period and reliability of customer service.

Myth #5  Time Consuming.

Time is a precious commodity, and if anything, electric smokers give you some of that time back.  These are truly set it and forget it. Prep the items to be smoked. Place them on the racks. Set the time and temperature and walk away until it’s finished. Just as safe as leaving a crock pot on low while you’re out of the house.

Myth #6  Can’t attain high temperatures.

The temperature for an average Electric smoker ranges from 100-275 degrees Fahrenheit and can exceed this limit depending upon the brand of smoker you buy. The Bradley smokers advertise temperatures around 325 degrees. No, the temperatures are not going to be as hot as what a propane or charcoal smoker can provide, but it is possible to provide a hot smoke process if you choose the right model.

Myth #7  Low Filling Capacity.

Vertical stacking shelves make the most efficient use of space. If you’re taking the time to run the smoker, you may as well fill it to capacity. That’s not to say that depending on its dimensions you may have to break your proteins down a bit. Racks of ribs seem to be an issue with smaller smokers, both electric and propane. Ideally you would keep them in tact, but it’s just as easy to troubleshoot and break the protein down if necessary.

Myth #8  Electronic, Yet Needs Attention.

Minimal or no attention is required to operate these smokers. The fuel is in the cord, so there’s no need to stoke a fire, adjust coals or change the vent settings.

 Myth #9  Needs a lot of wood.

Log smokers feed mainly on logs of wood for heating as well as smoking meat. Electric smokers, on the other hand, use a heating element to slowly heat the wooden chips which in turn produce smoke. Wood is used for just smoking and infusing flavors in the meat and has no contribution to the heat process. Hence four cups of wood chips are sufficient for a 3-5 hour operation.

Myth #10 So heavy!

Models and types of smokers vary from brand to brand. Manufacturers keep portability in mind and offer models with casters as well as optional stands and tables to make the smokers more portable. Most models also have handles or grips. The lightest electric smokers are around 20 pounds.

Myth #11 Fear of electrocution.

Safety is the foremost priority for any manufacturer as one mistake could easily ruin their brand. Some people worry that the interior heat could interfere with the insulated interior, but at these temperatures ignition is unlikely and the insulation is made of a fire retardant material. When in use, you also have the benefit of relying on your home’s electrical system and the safety mechanisms present.

Myth #12 Burns the meat.

There is no direct flame or heated surface, therefore the protein doesn’t come into direct contact with heat. Heat circulates within the structure and moisture evaporates and then condenses to provide a moisture rich braise.

Myth #13 Dry steak.

The heat and moisture are contained for hours inside the smoker’s body circulating at a slow rate. It is possible to overcook your meat if you prefer a particular degree of doneness, but you shouldn’t find a dry product. For tougher meats, it is necessary to smoke for longer durations of time in order for the collagen chains to dissipate and leave you with a tender, juicy end product.

Myth #14 Item specific.

Electric smokers can handle any item on the menu salmon, beef, chicken, sausage links or pork loin and even nuts and vegetables. While some models are definitely preferred for delicate fish smoking and sausage curing, that surely doesn’t exclude other proteins. The Bradley Electric Smoker employs a hot smoke method and still achieves a hearty bark on a brisket.

Myth #15 Needs intensive cleaning.

A bottom tray helps to keep the smoker’s body clean from drippings of the meat. Also, the wooden chips used to cure the meat are enclosed in a metal box so even if they do burn into ash during operation, it is easily emptied and rinsed.

Myth #16 Not for beginners.

Each Electric smoker has a temperature and time setting feature in its control system. Modern ones have a remote for distant operability. And like any other appliance they have a manual to walk you through even if you are just starting. If that also fails, you can always look up on google and youtube for forums and videos for help or can give a ring to the customer care number.

Myth #17 Not green.

Electric smokers use electricity to heat and small amounts of wood purely to generate smoke. Consequently, exhaust smoke and heat but are much friendlier to the environment than the fuel exhaustive charcoal and log smokers that release five times more gases in the atmosphere.

Myth #18 Takes time to reach the temperature point.

Latest models by Masterbuilt take 10-20 minutes to reach a temperature of 170-degree Fahrenheit which is dramatically less as compared to hours of waiting for conventional smokers to heat up.

Myth #19 The ring is invisible.

Accomplished smoking buffs are judged by the pink smoke ring that forms at the edge of their steaks. Electric smokers are misunderstood to be incapable of doing so since smoke rings are formed when myoglobin in meat combines with nitrous oxide, the gas released by the burning of wood. E-smokers don’t use as much wood, but you can always crank up the wood chips and achieve a better smoke ring.

Myth #20  Can’t be used indoors.

Some electric options are actually approved for indoor use. Smokin-It brand electric smokers are suitable for indoor use, as are other brands of smokers that utilize a cool smoke method. That being said, a commercial grade kitchen or residential kitchen with industrial hoods can effectively ventilate residual fumes from an electric smoker. This one will be model specific.

 

 

 

In another life I would have attended culinary school, competed in every reality cooking competition I could find, and owned a quaint farm to table restaurant. In reality, though, I'm the guy who loves cooking outdoors for anybody who would let me and doesn't let go of any excuse for a party, to fire up the grill and light the smoker.