Electric smokers are the modern-day equivalent of outdoor grilling. However, some people avoid electric smokers because they find them difficult to use. Thus, in this article, we will cover everything about using an electric smoker that you need to know as a beginner as well as 8 Easy Steps to Use an Electric Smoker Like a Pro!
Nevertheless, if you know how to use electric smokers properly, you can get an incredibly delicious smoky flavor from them.
What Is an Electric Smoker?
Electric smokers are electrical appliances used to smoke food, including -meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables.
In contrast to other smokers that use propane, wood, or charcoal as fuel, electric smokers smoke food using hot electrical rods (like an oven).
How Does an Electric Smoker Work?
Electric smokers are not very different from ovens or toaster ovens.
Essentially, an electric smoker works in three steps:
1. It heats the food in a cooking chamber by circulating air, using electric rods to heat it.
2. Food is placed on trays or racks in the smoker and heated to the desired degree of doneness.
3. The final step involves burning wood chips in a chamber with an electric heater, creating smoke to flavor the food.
Components of Electric Smoker!
To master the art of smoking in an electric smoker, you need to know about its components!
Electric smokers have a relatively simple construction. Generally, it will consist of:
- A chamber consisting of an electric heater and grill racks where food is placed to be smoked.
- It also includes a water pan, which keeps the internal temperature from getting too hot and creates steam to cook.
- There is a thermostat and a rheostat on most electric smokers. Smokers can keep their internal temperature steady, resulting in evenly cooked food with them.
- Lastly, but most importantly, is the wood chip tray, or firebox, where the wood chips or chunks are placed.
8 Essential Steps to Use an Electric Smoker Like a Pro?
Now that you have an idea about the basics of electric smokers. Let us move on to the 8 basic steps to use an electric smoker like a pro!
- Season Electric Smoker before using it
Electric smokers do not need to be seasoned, but seasoning helps prevent rust and generally increases durability.
To season your electric smoker, apply cooking oil to the inside and heat to maximum power for about an hour to burn off remaining machine oils. You can then wipe out the interior with a paper towel and begin smoking meats.
- Power on the Electric Smoker
Start your electric smoker and allow it to get up to temperature before you prepare any meat.
- Add Wood Chips
Near the bottom right side of most electric smokers is the wood chip tray. Pull it out and fill it with your preferred wood chips.
As soon as the chips are in the tray, push it back in and rotate the handle counterclockwise, which will cause each chip to fall into the heating element.
- Preheat the Smoker
A temperature control system is built into electric smokers that keep the temperature you set – constant. Make sure you monitor the temperature of something you are cooking for the first time to avoid overcooking.
Depending on the model, you can get your ingredients ready while the electric smoker is heating up, which should take 30 to 40 minutes.
- Put a Water Container Inside
Place a water container inside the smoker’s lowest rack to ensure your meat is cooked properly.
By keeping moisture in the unit, you will be able to prevent cracks from developing and avoid overcooking the food. Since this feature keeps the water at an even temperature, you should not have to do any extra work on your part.
But if you are smoking large quantities of meat overnight, be sure to check the water level before or after preheating.
- Prepare the meat
Be sure to cut your seasoned meats to fit inside the electric smoker before placing them inside.
In a smoker, meat should always be placed on the top racks since it cooks from the heat that rises beneath it.
Wrap your wood chips in foil before placing them on one of the top racks if you want a consistent smoke flavor without having to refill them during operation. As the meat cooks, it will absorb the smoky flavor so that fresh chunks won’t need too much flavoring.
- Get Cooking
Start smoking your meats after adding them to your electric smoker. The time it takes to smoke meat entirely depends on the type of cut.
- It is recommended to cook most food for between 4 and 10 hours at a 240 to 270 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
- Some cuts only require 2-3 hours, while others may require up to 18 hours.
- And for meaty cuts like ribs or whole turkeys, increase the temperature slightly after adding them to help speed up the cooking process.
- Keep a Close Watch on the Electric Smoker
It is necessary to stay close to an electric smoker while using it to avoid problems. It is best to get to know yourself with how it works during its first few uses to get the most out of it.
Keep a close eye on the meats as they cook, refill the water if necessary, and plug any malfunctions or signs of smoke that could start a fire.
6 Crucial Tips & Tricks about Using an Electric Smoker!
You can follow the following tips and tricks to get the most out of your electric smoker!
- No chip tray:
When using the chip tray, you might have noticed that it is small and needs to refill it frequently. Some people suggest ditching the tray altogether and switching to a pellet tube smoker. Smoking devices such as these can produce a lot of smoke and hold more pellets.
- Don’t over smoke:
It is crucial not to over-smoke the food. A layer of smoke can almost suffocate the food and ruin its texture. In general, you should follow the guide and keep the food smoking only for the specified time.
- Cold smoking:
This smoking method can take hours at a time but produces great flavor. Low temperatures are used for this type of smoking, which takes a very long time to cook.
Cold smoking is the best method for cooking meat. And most electric smokers have a cold smoking setting. To get the best taste from your food, buy a model with this feature.
- Cover your Racks with foil:
It is necessary to clean up after every smoke. Food left on racks with seasonings and marinade for hours can leave a lot of greases. Cover them with foil rather than pulling out the racks and trying to remove grease from them. Alternatively, you may unwrap the foil and dispose of it, which will save your time and water, as well as detergent.
- Cover Electric Smoker
You can keep your electric smoker inside the bag, which will keep moisture and dust away and extend the lifespan of your smoker.
- Sterile Grill
After every use, sanitize grill grates. Put them in hot water with detergent, then wash them with a mild scouring cloth. Although it takes time, it saves a lot of work compared to washing off and on fat and meat.
- Do You Soak Wood Chips For an Electric Smoker?
While soaking wood chips for electric smokers is a personal choice, it is not mandatory. Use dry chips if possible.
- Can you leave a smoker overnight?
You should never ignore the smoker for a long time. Nonetheless, if you must use pallets/chips, make sure they are clean and of good quality.
Move the smoker away from your home and set the temperature low to be safe.
- How Do I Control the Heat In My Smoker?
Using the vents and damper, you can adjust the temperature. The bottom dampers allow oxygen to enter the smoker and raise the temperature. Open the vents and dampers at the top to release the heat.
- Does an Electric Smoker Use a lot of Electricity?
Electric smokers use little electricity and are inexpensive to operate. Most smokers consume about 800 watts per hour. Even though they consume little electricity, these smokers do the job well.
Electric smokers can be very useful for smoking as they allow you to monitor the temperature and other requirements. And it is not very difficult to master the art of using electric smokers now that you know the 8 easy steps to use an electric smoker like a pro.