Cooking meat by smoking is an old-age tradition and is still popular. In the past, the Western people use to build a small building which was known as a smokehouse. They used to smoke and store their meals inside the smokehouse. The smokehouse was usually at a distance from their houses to avoid any fire danger and smoke emanations. They used three main smoking techniques for cooking smoked meals.
- Hot Smoking: In hot smoking method, the food is exposed to smoke and heat in a controlled environment. The meat was hung and then smoked. Most of the times the food which was already smoked was reheated. The average temperature in hot smoking technique was maintained at 125 to 176 degrees. This is the best temperature at which food gets fully cooked, moist, juicy and flavorful.
- Cold Smoking: Just like hot smoking, the meat in cold smoking was also hung on large hooks and then smoked at a temperature of 70 to 90 degrees. This method takes more time to cook the meat fully while it remains relatively moist.
- Smoke Roasting or Baking: This technique of smoking food is known as “barbecuing” in North America. This technique was carried out in a closed wood-fired masonry over or a barbecue pit. This traditional method became very popular, but has to be done in a well-ventilated area.
People love the moist, tender results that come from the smoking method. Lifestyles have changed over time and it’s not always convenient, nor permissable by your neighborhood association, to have a smokehouse in your backyard. The introduction of electric smokers has paved the way for the average American to enjoy smoked meats with relative ease and comfort.
Set it and Forget It! That’s the main attraction of an electric smoker. An electric smoker provides easy to use, user-friendly controls and a budget friendly price tag. The electric smoker monitors temperature throughout the cooking process allowing a hands off approach to smoking – no patio or backyard required. Tabletop versions even allow for smoking right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Features of an Electric Smoker
- Space: Most of the electric smokers are spacious enough to smoke meat for a large group of people. The cooking chamber size ranges in between 527 square inches to 730 square inches.
- Chrome Coated Racks: The big smoking chamber is divided into 2-4 compartments with chrome-coated These racks can be removed easily to cook a large piece of meat or to clean the cooking chamber. A normal electric smoker has at least four chrome-coated racks.
- Light Weight: Forget those backyard bulky charcoal smokers, tough to move and assemble. Modern electric smokers are light weight which gives you the ease of mobility. The average weight ranges from 40 to 60 pounds. These smokers also have frictionless making it easy for you to move them.
- Ease Of Use: User-friendliness of any device or appliance highly impacts your choice. Electric smokers are getting easier and easier to use. Many now come with remote controls or wireless connectivity to apps. Don’t let the technology scare you away from trying something new.
- Construction: Electric smokers are well-known for their durability. The design and materials used in an electric smoker are imported and durable, making the appliance 100% safe for you and your family. The inner walls of the smoker are made from stainless steel which not only makes it durable and lightweight, but also rust resistant.
- Ease Of Cleaning: Stainless steel walls and low cooking temperatures allow the electric smoker to cook proteins and vegetables with very little mess. Remove the racks and spray down the walls and cleanup is complete.
- Safe: Some modicum of propriety should be used around any electronic appliance. When used in a proper manner, the electric smoker does not pose a risk to electric shock or accidental burns from smoke discharge.
Choosing Your First Electric Smoker
Do your research and get the most for your money. Check out these reviews for the best electric smokers on the market. It’s tempting to just look for the best or cheapest deal, but I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for. Make sure that the product is made of durable materials, has good reviews, safety rating and warranty. You likely wouldn’t purchase a kitchen appliance without doing your due diligence, so treat this purchase similarly.
Electric smokers have smart ergonomics perfectly built to fit in any type of space. Consider where it will sit and how it will be stored, how often you plan to use the smoker, and how much meat you would typically cook at one time. You’ll also want to be honest about your experience level and the types of events you’ll be cooking for. If you entertain a lot, you’ll likely want a larger capacity, but if you’re cooking for a party of two most of the time, opt for a more realistic size.
Masterbuilt and Bradley smokers have taken over much of the market share for electric smokers, but there are many other options as well. Other emerging brands include Smoke Hollow, Char Broil, and Esinkin. Don’t rely on brand only. Typically each brand has many different models and you’ll want to look at reviews on specific models, too.
Never compromise durability just because you have to pay a few extra bucks. Choose the best smoker that promises to stay with you for years. Make sure that your investment is worth it. Two of the biggest quality issues with electric smokers is the quality of the thermostat and the quality of the seal. A properly sealed unit requires less heat control and maintains a more constant temperature and allows the smoke to penetrate the protein or vegetables.
5: Safety And Ease Of Use
If you’re a beginner, carefully read through each and every feature and functionality of the smoker you choose. Read the manufacturer guide, educate yourself about whether it has the auto switch off function, a thermometer, adjustable vented lid, wheels, etc.
How to use an Electric Smoker
Using an electric smoker does not require vast amounts of research, but before you put an expensive cut of meat into the smoker and fire it up, you should know the basics.
- Wear safety gloves, and put on the wood chips. Initially, you can take out the tray and put in the chips directly. However, once the smoker is running, you can use the side chip tray for pouring in chips. Inserting chips or pellets throughout the cooking process will infuse the smokey flavor into the meat.
- Put the marinated meat load directly on the grills. Those stainless steel racks are meant to be cooked on directly, much like a gas grill. You may also use a steel container, or you may want to line the bottom of the chamber with aluminum foil to guard against drips.
- Now lock the door of the cooking chamber.
- From the digital controller, turn the smoker on from the simple push button, adjust the temperature and timer. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Here is a short 3-minute video that explains you a simple use of the Basic Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.
What’s your favorite brand and feature? Opinions are the flavor of the blog and we’d love to hear what you think.