Do you love the taste of smoked meat but don’t want to fuss with charcoal or gas? Consider purchasing an electric smoker and you can enjoy smoked meat in the comfort of your home, anytime you want. It’s a great way to flavor beef, pork, sausages, chicken, and fish such as salmon or trout. You can also use it to give a nice smoky taste to cheese or vegetables.
Electric smokers are safer than their gas or charcoal counterparts, and they are low maintenance. They are easy to use, and efficient with energy.
Let’s find out about some of the most popular electric smokers available on the market today.
The Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker is an excellent yet budget-friendly smoker. It is easy to assemble and use. Use it to smoke salmon, turkey breast, ribs, or make jerky, or cook brisket. You can also brine a whole chicken and then cook it. The chicken will cook evenly without cold or hot spots.
This smoker comes in a black finish, which hides stains better than stainless steel devices. It is compact and can be transported easily with its handy side carrying handles.
It offers 544 square inches of cooking space, and three grates so you can stack your food for even more cooking space. The cooking grates are chrome-plated, which makes them extra durable and easy to clean.
The Char-Broil electric smoker has a 1200 watt heating element which ensures consistency of your cooking temperature. The cooking chamber is double-wall insulated and has a heavy-duty door with two latches to keep the smoke in the chamber. The double latch is also great for child safety.
The digital controls are easy to read; there is a temperature gauge on the door which allows you to monitor the internal temperature without ever having to open the door.
There is an aluminized steel water pan included which helps keep the meat juicy. The pan has a drip tray that can be removed easily for cleaning. The smoker also has a large wood chip box which makes it easy for you to cook for long period of time without having to restock the chips.
The only drawback mentioned by users is it has a smaller cooking coil than other comparable models.
- Large capacity with three cooking grates
- Cooks evenly
- Double latch on door keeps smoke in the chamber
- Temperature gauge on door
- Water pan keeps meat juicy
- Large wood chip box so you do not need to restock chips
- Cooking coil is smaller than comparable models
The Char-Broil Vertical Propane Gas Smoker is quite affordable. It is a very simple device and a bit smaller than more expensive smokers on the market. It’s a great option for those who are just getting into smoking and who don’t want to break the bank by doing it. If you find that you enjoy smoking meat, you can always buy a more advanced model later on if you wish.
It does brisket beautifully and maintains a nice smoky flavor throughout the meat. It can be used to smoke ribs, sausages, other meats, and chicken.
This smoker is easy to operate. The lid-mounted temperature gauge and timing controls are straightforward to use. The device performs well, considering the price, and it has a powerful heating element. However, its heat and smoke insulation is not as efficient as some other models, so it is not ideal if you are cooking in cold weather. Also, the lack of insulation means it can cost more to operate.
Although it is a propane smoker, it also has a gas feature which allows for better smoking and more consistent heat. It has adjustable dampers so you can control the heat.
At 595 square inches of cooking surface, it is built to accommodate a reasonable amount of food but is probably not suitable if you need to cook for a large party. It includes three cooking grates to accommodate more food. It has a great cooking surface and includes a warming rack on top of the smoker chamber, which can be used to heat up sauces.
There is also a porcelain wood chip and water pan. This smoker has a double drawer design, which allows easy, quick access to change the water and wood chips without losing heat in the cooking chamber. Some users feel the pan is too small for water, and recommend keeping a tin of water on the bottom shelf of the smoker.
This smoker is easily transported due to its cool-touch handles. Users find it easy to clean.
One drawback is the door is sometimes hard to shut at first and requires some practice before it becomes easier to operate. The device also has a short power cord.
- Easy to use; controls are straightforward to operate
- Three cooking grates
- Warming rack
- Cool-touch handles; easy to move
- Smaller than other models
- Heat and smoke insulation not as efficient as other models
- Some users feel wood and water pan is not big enough to hold the water
- Door is sometimes hard to shut
- Short power cord
The Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is a great choice for both beginners and professional users. It is made of solid construction and has an ample cooking surface, at 721 square inches. Its four chrome-coated smoking racks add to the available cooking space. This device is big enough to hold about eight racks of ribs, 16 chickens, four turkeys, or eight pork butts. You can make enough smoked meat to feed a party!
It has a digital panel and remote controls for on/off, temperature, time, and the interior light. Simply sit back, set the time and temperature, and you’re cooking. It has excellent temperature control, and it monitors the internal meat temperature with its built in probe. It has a thermostat for even, consistent smoking.
It is fully foam insulated, which ensures the temperature stays consistent throughout your meat. Also, the chrome cooking racks do not get as hot as stainless steel, so they do not negatively affect the cooking of your meat.
With its patented wood chip loading system, this smoker provides a genuine smoky taste that is delicious.
The device runs on 1200 watts of power, and it is easy to clean and maintain. It is easy to transport, with a handle and rear wheels.
One drawback is some users find the digital controls to be faulty from time to time – they don’t always give an accurate temperature reading. Others find the wood chip loading system is too small and causes issues when inserting the wood chips onto the burner.
- Large capacity with four cooking racks, great for parties
- Digital panel and remote controls
- Excellent temperature control
- Meat temperature probe
- Patented wood chip loading system gives genuine smoky taste
- Easy to transport
- Digital controls can sometime give inaccurate temperature readings
- Some users find wood chip loading system to be too small
The Presto Electric Slow Cooker Indoor Smoker is, as its name implies, only used indoors. It comes highly recommended by people who have purchased it. This cooker is handy for people who want the great taste of a smoker but do not have a large outdoor space to put it. The device comes in sleek black stainless steel and will fit into any décor.
It is on the small side for a smoker, and can fit on your kitchen counter. It holds about six quarts of food and has three cooking racks for extra capacity. It has the added bonus of also being a slow cooker. You can slow cook your meal and the device will infuse a smoky flavor. And you can choose from hot smoking or cold smoking, or a combination of both!
Use it to smoke ribs, brisket, salmon, turkey breast, nuts, and so much more. Users love the taste. The hot smoker is for most meats and seafood. The cold smoker can be used for cheese and vegetables – this mode does not cook the food. The combination mode imparts a smoky flavor and then cooks the food, and is best for large cuts of meat such as brisket.
The digital touchpad has soft-touch controls. It has a digital timer that counts down and tells you when the cooking is done. It will turn off by itself when finished, or it can switch to keep warm mode, whichever you prefer. It also has a specially tempered glass cover which minimizes odors with its seal-tight gasket.
The device uses readily available types of wood chips such as mesquite, bourbon, pecan, oak, maple, apple, and hickory.
As with many other slow cookers, you can remove the nonstick inner pot and pop it into the dishwasher for easy clean up. Or you can choose to wash the components by hand.
One drawback is that, despite its tight lid, the smoky smell does permeate the room, which could be bothersome to users, although many insist the smell is worth it for the great taste of the meat.
- Used indoors; great for users who do not have an outdoor space
- Great taste
- Fits on kitchen counter
- Choose from hot or cold smoking, or a combination
- Also a slow cooker
- Automatic shut off and keep warm mode
- Smoky smell permeates the room
What to look for in an electric smoker
Now that you have learned about some of the most popular brands of electric smokers on the market today, here are a few features to consider when choosing a smoker of your own.
Size and weight
Are you cooking for a small family or do you host large parties? This will help determine how big your smoker should be. Most smokers are a good size, but if you are planning to have many people over frequently, try a smoker that is larger. If on the other hand you need a device that fits into a small space, look for a smaller smoker.
Either way, remember the electric smoker you choose will be easy to transport as these are usually more light weight than gas or charcoal smokers. If you think you will have to move it around a lot, try to choose a smoker no more than 60 pounds in weight.
Electric smokers usually have a digital control panel at the top, with which you can set the temperature and time for your smoked foods. Additional controls may include monitoring the temperature on the inside and adjusting the interior light.
For hot smoking, the device should be able to reach a temperature of 400 or 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Some electric smokers give you the choice of hot or cold smoking. If you want a smoker that has a cold option, make sure the low temperature can reach down to 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature control should be easy to use. Some smokers come with a thermostat which will regulate the temperature on the interior of your smoker after you have set it. On other models, however, there is no thermostat. This means you can set the temperature, but the device won’t regulate it, which leads to the possibility of overcooking or undercooking.
Many electric smokers have a wood chip loader to give your food a more smoky flavor. Make sure your smoker has a loader that allows you to add chips without having to open the door. Also try to find out how big the loader is.
Racks are handy to hold more food in the smoker. Find out how many racks your smoker will have. Most have three but some larger smokers have as much as six racks. Also find out if you can adjust the racks in any way, to make room for larger pieces of meat like whole chickens.
Some electric smokers have a water pan which helps keep the food moist and helps maintain an even temperature. You can fill the pan with water or other liquids such as beer or wine, for added flavor. A water pan also catches drippings which you can use for sauces.
Another handy feature that some models boast is a remote control, so you can use your smoker from afar. Enjoy!