Best Electric Smoker Options – Our Comprehensive Guide
Smoking is a form cooking that has been in existence for many centuries, and the flavor, tenderness, and texture this method adds to people's meat is really fascinating. Those who have tried genuine barbecue really know how good meat actually tastes after being smoked the whole day. Ribs are especially good when smoked.
The trouble with smoking meat is the fact that present-day living does not always match with the cooking process. Most home chefs find the attention that charcoal and wood smokers need actually impracticable. Luckily, electric smokers provide a suitable solution to this problem. Electric smokers offer people an opportunity to get authentic taste without the need to mind their utensils the whole day. Brinkmann Gourmet smokers weren't mentioned but are also a great electric smoker option with its own pros and cons.
No wonder, electric smokers have presently taken over this age-old tradition. They provide people with a way of smoking meat without being concerned about their cooking apparatus.
Using this device is easy and convenient; all you need to do is plug in the device, set the temperature, then let it do the rest. It is the ideal solution for those who love to forget all about their food until it is done because it will do exactly that: quietly smoke your meat to perfection.
Electric smokers eradicate the need for any fire-tending chores which make other kinds of smokers hard to use. With the best electric smoker, the odds of your flame going out in the middle of the smoking process are zero.
An electric smoker allows you to totally control the temperature in your cooking chamber, enabling you to also control the density of the smoke within it with ease. The most important parts of smoking are smoke and temperature. This means that being able to control the two properly will result in your meat always coming out juicy, soft, and full of flavor.
With electric smokers, all you need to do is season the meat, preserve it in a rack and go on with other business until it is done. So, if you want to create that authentic smoked flavor without the stress of wood or charcoal smokers, electric cookers are the solution you have been searching for.
Let us now take a look at this best electric smoker buying guide so you can find that fits your needs.
Best Electric Smoker Candidates
Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker
This is a stainless steel electric smoker created with people that need an easy-to-use portable unit in mind. The Smokin-It Model #1 comprises of two grilling racks, along with a smoke box, a drip pan plus a thermostat. The temperatures can be easily adjusted between 100 - 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You will not need to be concerned about heat loss or burning your hands if you mistakenly touch its exterior because the unit is insulated using fiberglass.
The Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker comes wholly assembled in the box, meaning you will not have to put together any electronic parts when you are ready to eat some ribs. It does not have any digital board or remote heat sensor so the heating element knob is the only thing you will be required to maintain. This 350-watt element has an LED indicator that shows you that the unit is actually working.
Another great thing with this model is that it does not need costly electrical replacements. The only electronic element that can fail is the heating element, a replacement of which you can purchase for $20 from the manufacturer's website. This is the best electric smoker on our list.
- It is made of steel
- It weighs 57 lbs.
- It has a cooking area measuring 12-1/2″ x 13-1/2″ x 17-1/4″
- Has juice catcher tray that makes cleanup easy
- Its heating element is easily replaceable and cheap
MasterBuilt 30 Inch Black Electric Smoker
Boasting of a massive smoking space of 1.7 cubic feet on four racks, the MasterBuilt smoker can be easily used by people of all levels of skill which is why it is a top rated electric smoker. You only need to plug in this smoker, heat it up and then set the timer when you want to fire it up. Its temperatures vary from 100 - 275 degrees Fahrenheit. It sustains its heat in the entire cooking, thanks to its insulated walls. Also, the unit has a 24-hour timer that automatically shuts off the moment your meat is done.
With this smoker, it is not necessary for you to open the unit and lose smoke when you need to add additional wood chips because it consists of an easy access side chip loader. You may add liquids to its water pan as this is helpful in ensuring that your meat is even, moistened and flavored more. It has an air damper that enables you to control the amount of smoke within the unit. Also, it can be easily adjusted to suit the amount of smoke flavor you prefer.
- Has more than 2 cubic feet of cooking area
- It has 3 smoking racks
- It has a side load wood tray and a hair damper
- It is controlled thermostatically for ideal temperatures
- Has a shutoff switch (24-hour)
The cost of replacing this unit's heating element is the only difficulty that people experience with this electric cooker. While the element is replaceable, it doesn’t cost much.
Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker
Manufactured as a replacement for the old outdoor smoker, the Smoke Hollow 30162E creates an incredible flavor with the least heat loss. It is created with a dial that is easy to adjust and enables you to set the temperature you want out of three temperatures settings available. It is also equipped with two cooking grids, a magnetic door latching system, a wood-chip box, and a water pan.
The unit ships unassembled but can be assembled in a minute or two and start running. Since it is created for outdoor use, you need to have a heavy-duty extension cord together with a GFCI protected circuit that lets you move the device away from any projections and attics in the neighborhood of your home. The Smoke Hollow 30162E remains cool to the touch in the entire cooking process since it is insulated. Check out the full Smoke Hollow Review here.
- Fast assembly
- Has two cooking racks
- Has three temperature setting
- Wonderful temperature control
- Has convenient handles that makes its transportation easy
On the other hand, there have been claims by some people that this unit does not create sufficient smoke but it is something that happens when they fail to fill the wood chip container to the proper height. In case you decide to go for this unit, you will need to ensure that you fill it to the full and allow it to smoke at 300 degrees for one hour. You can then adjust it to your preferred temperature after it has warmed up. This period is necessary if this unit is to produce good smoke.
Old Smokey Electric Smoker
This is undoubtedly the ideal electric smoker for individuals who are not ready to fork out a few hundred dollars for an average smoker. The Old Smokey has heating coils where you put wood chips to imbue your meat with additional flavor, with two levels that can accommodate big items such as ham, pork shoulders, and turkey. This is great if you need an affordable electric smoker.
The unit is designed in such a way that its top seals on while cooking is going on, and also cooking juices drip back on the meat. Its top is airtight, making it impossible for the smoke to escape, hence resulting in shorter cooking times. The unit's heat is regulated by a thermostat, meaning you can simply set it up and just let it cook until it is done.
- Fairly priced
- Adjustable thermostat allows you to set a cooking temperature
- Airtight lid for fast smoking
- Perfect for beginners
Old Smokey Electric Smoker is suitable for novices. There have been claims by some people that it is more of a steamer than a smoker. Air does not circulate within the chamber, meaning your meat could come out looking as if it has been steamed instead of smoked. Some smart users have punched holes in the lid in order to create air circulation, which is said to give meat a crunchier and smokier taste.
Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker
It doesn't get any better than this smoker on our best smoker list. With this outdoor smoker, you will not need to worry about space because it provides you room to smoke your meat. The Bradley 4 Rack Smoker is equipped with controls that enable you to make adjustments to its time, temperature, as well as the denseness of the smoke, thus giving you total control over whatever you are cooking. This digital smoker is suitable for entertaining visitors because it lets you just place your food in it and return to your party.
The unit measures 17'' x 14'' x 31''and is capable of withstanding both the harsh summer and winter weather as it has a powder epoxy coat. Its cooking element which is 500 watt makes it possible for its internal temperature to reach up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit's timer can actually be set for a span of up to eight hours.
- Four cooking racks
- Time, temperature, and smoke can be fully controlled
- Temperature is adjustable up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit
- Attachable backup generator in the event of power blackout
- Smooth metal edges, meaning no possibility of cutting yourself while handling the smoker
When you purchase this digital electric smoker, remember to buy additional wood pellets with it because it does not come with pellets in the box. Bradley 4 Rack utilizes Bradley Briquettes, which you have to buy from the manufacturer. Before you start cooking, ensure that you find out how much you will need to put in because each pellet lasts for around 20 minutes. The cost of the pellets is almost similar to that of charcoal hence you will have to spend a few bucks to keep the smoker running.
Check our latest smoker review here.
MasterBuilt 20075315 40 Inch With Window Electric Smoker
A large unit with four chrome racks and a cooking space of more than 900 square inches, The MasterBuilt 40-inch electric smoker allows you to smoke your meat easily. It is equipped with a handy LED display which enables you to adjust both your cooking temperature and time. You will not need to get up to adjust the temperature within the cooking chamber if you don't feel like it as its remote control enables you to do that.
The unit has a transparent window and light that allows you to check on your meat. You will be able to check your meat's temperature without having to open the unit's doors, thanks to an internal probe. It is created with a wood chip loading system that makes the addition or removal of smoke chips easy for you, hence enabling you to adjust the taste, depending on personal taste.
- Large capacity
- Good insulation
- Drip pan for easy cleaning
- See through viewing window
- Remote control that makes adjustments easy
- In-built temperature thermometer
- LED display for easy control of time, temperature, and internal light
MasterBuilt Electric Smoker only reaches 275 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it could take some time for you to smoke a big amount of meat. However, the unit is consistent and suits the needs of most people. This is why most people have no problem waiting for another hour or two when smoking all day. The Char-Broil electric smoker is another smoker you might like if you like this one. It is one of the top rated smoker brands around.
Check out our Masterbuilt recipe ideas.
Charcoal vs Electric vs Gas Smokers
Any serious BBQ lover knows that the most authentic way to smoke their meat is either with a proper charcoal smoker or with a gas smoker . However, the only problem with using them is that they are risky, require a lot of effort to clean and must always be watched. If you want to avoid all of above scenarios, you should seriously start considering an electric smoker for your meat smoking needs. Powering them up is easy as plugging them into a power outlet. The electricity then takes care of the rest as it heats up your meat and sends flavorful smoke to enhance its flavor.
People who love a good barbecue are immediately converted once they try an electric smoker for the first time. The convenience and the time it saves makes you wonder why you never used it before. Most electric smokers come with longer cords so you won't have to worry about your smoker being able to reach your backyard because they cannot be used indoors. Another benefit of an electric smoker is how clean it allows you stay; unlike the hassle you have to experience when you use a charcoal smoker. Charcoal smokers used to be my favorite until I got tired of getting black soot all over my hands and clothing. Lastly, most electric smokers come with stainless steel vents, so you don't have to worry about having too much smoke in your smoker.
There is a science to smoking meat that any chef with experience knows about very well. One thing to think about while smoking your meat with your electric smoker is making sure the temperature is under control. Luckily for you, an electric smoker does most of the work for you so you can focus on other tasks while your meat is cooking. My advice is that you buy an electric smoker with a digital screen, so you don't have to buy a digital thermometer with it. All of the best electric smokers on our list have one.
The Two Different Kinds of Electric Smokers
1) Electric Cabinet Smokers
This is the kind of electric smoker that I own, and most people say the smoker is shaped like a small refrigerator that you would see in a college dorm room. There is an electrical component that heats it up is located at the bottom of the smoker. You can contrast it with an electric hot plate used in a lot of modern condominium. What I like about these types of smokers is that you are allowed to set the heating temperature that you desire. Not all meats require intense amounts of heat because they can be smoked with lower settings. On example of a kind of meat that doesn't require high temperature is chicken. It is done very quickly unlike a brisket. The best electric smoker on our list has an electric cabinet.
2) Vertical Electric Smoker
These are these cheapest electric smokers on the market. Just add a water bowl in the middle separating the burning wood and the smoking area where the food is to be placed. The water that disperses with the smoke from the wood chips allows the smoker to control the temperature in the chamber of the smoker. Lastly, the vapor of the smoke goes right into the meat which creates all the incredible flavor we all enjoy.
The Perks of Using an Electric Smoker
1) Security Features
A lot of times when you use traditional smokers, there is always the risk that wood can burn and the specks of flames can set things near your smoker on fire. With an electric smoker, you will not have to worry about this which means they are much safer than charcoal smokers that tend to be unpredictable. Pellet smokers are also equally as unpredictable.
2)Temperatures Can Be Managed
You will have to be very skilled if you want to control the temperatures in a charcoal or gas smoker. I only recommend these types of smokers for the seasoned pro that has been smoking for a few years. For the rest of you, I recommend electric smokers because temperatures are managed with the click of a button depending on which heat setting you will need.
Most electric smokers on the market come with timers which you can set, and it will notify you when the meat has been properly smoked. This is a life saver for a beginner because you can set it up and do others chores without having to worry about any incidents. With traditional smokers, you have to sit around monitoring your smoker and open it more than a few times to check that the temperature is right.
4) Smoking and Cooking
If you want to cook smoke your food evenly with very little skill required, electric smokers are the answer. You will have meat that is cooked perfectly on every inch. The smoky flavor after this process is over will astound you, and you will think it came from a traditional smoker. All electric smoker reviews agree that this is an important factor.
5) Flexible Smoking Opportunities
The chance to smoke a variety of meats such as turkey, beef, and pork will be at your fingertips with an electric smoker. Other options for vegetarians include nuts, cheeses, and vegetables which come out tasting incredibly delicious. This is the reason why electric smokers are ideal for everyone no matter what kind of foods they are interested in eating.
6) Perfect for use Within Indoor Spaces
Although I don't recommend this choice, you can use your small electric smoker indoors because they do not emit as much smoke as charcoal smokers. It is relatively safe, but I still think you should use it outdoors unless it's frigid out and you are left with no choice. The best option at the end of the day is to play it safe.
Top 6 Pointers for Using An Electric Smoker
1. Read Smoker's Instruction Booklet
Play it safe and read the manual thoroughly, so you don't make any mistakes and use your electric meat smoker safely without damaging it. A smoker cookbook is a great supplement to this manual.
2. Proper Smoker Preparation
No matter what type of barbecue you have in mind, planning it out is crucial if you want to make sure the day goes without a hitch. Make sure that your racks are pre-seasoned for extra flavor with olive oil before you begin your smoking session. Don't forget that electric smokers that require water to function should be accommodated by adding water to its receptacle. People often go with beer and apple cider vinegar to be traditional.
3. Extension Cords
If the cord of your smoker isn't long enough to reach your yard, extension cords are the way to go. Before buying one, be sure that it is meant specifically for electric smokers to be extra safe.
4. Deciding Which Wood To Go With
This is probably my favorite step of the meat smoking process. The options you have include cherry, hickory, Applewood, cedar and maple wood chips. Every few 3-5 hours you will have to add an extra 4 cups of the best wood chips of your choice once they burn out. This is the only step you will have to do manually when purchasing an electric smoker. And for those of you who are curious, I would highly recommend hickory flavor because they give your meat an intense Smokey flavor.
5. Picking Your Meat
When smoking your meat, only the best quality will do which is why I recommend you visit a butcher. They will know exactly what kind of meat to suggest if you are a beginner and give you a lot more advice if they are knowledgeable. My favorites are briskets because they are moist and juicy.
6. A Tip for Seasoning
Make sure you rub your meat down with a variety of spices such as dry rub, sugar, salt and herbs. Other people prefer to soak it in marinade but I would recommend the dry rub method for the best flavor.
There are numerous models of electric smokers on the market to choose from and choosing one may not be easy for you. When purchasing an electric smoker, there are major features you should look out for: its price, capacity and how easy it is to use. Since the majority of the smokers in the market produce adequate smoke and heat, it is important for you to find out the accessories that you want with the one you choose. If you purchase a smoker which can maintain its temperature, then your journey to cooking delicious cuts of meat perfectly would have just begun. It is important to find a proper smoker thermometer to cook the meat perfectly.
Ensure that you look for a smoker which is within your price range, with the capacity you need. The moment you find a suitable model, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to get that genuine taste of smoked meat. Electric smokers make things easy for you; they will simply do their job without you necessarily “babysitting” your food while it cooks.
If you buy any of the electric smokers on this list, you need to learn how to use an electric smoker first.
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