Electric smokers are a convenient and easy way to add that authentic smoky flavor to your favorite foods. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner looking to try smoking for the first time, an electric smoker is a great choice.
If you are wondering how to use an electric smoker then you can be sure that this guide will walk you through the steps for using an electric smoker, from choosing the right model to prepping and smoking your food to cleaning and maintaining your smoker.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be a pro at using an electric smoker to create mouthwatering meals for your family and friends.
Choosing the right electric smoker
There are many different electric smokers on the market, and choosing the right one for your needs can be overwhelming. Here are some things to consider when selecting an electric smoker:
Size and capacity: Electric smokers come in a range of sizes, from small units that can smoke a few pounds of food at a time, to larger models that can smoke up to 50 pounds or more. Consider how much food you’ll typically be smoking and choose a size that meets your needs.
Features to consider: Some electric smokers come with features like digital controls, built-in thermometers, and remote access, which can make smoking easier and more convenient. Decide which features are important to you and look for a smoker that has them.
Top brands and models: There are many well-respected brands that make high-quality electric smokers. Some popular options include Masterbuilt, Traeger, and Bradley. Look for a model with good reviews and a solid warranty.
By considering these factors, you can find the perfect electric smoker for your needs.
How to Use an Electric Smoker – Steps
1. Preparing the electric smoker
Before you can start smoking your food, you’ll need to prepare your electric smoker. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
Assembling the smoker: If you’ve just purchased a new electric smoker, the first thing you’ll need to do is assemble it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will typically involve attaching the legs, handles, and any other components that were shipped separately.
Seasoning the smoker: Before you use your electric smoker for the first time, it’s a good idea to season it. This will help to remove any factory odors and residue, as well as prepare the surface for smoking. To season your smoker, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions or use the following steps:
- Heat the smoker to its highest temperature for at least an hour.
- Wipe the interior with a paper towel or cloth soaked in cooking oil (vegetable or canola oil works well).
- Allow the smoker to cool, then wipe the interior again with a clean cloth.
Your electric smoker is now ready for use!
Prepping the food
Before you start smoking your food, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure it turns out perfectly.
Choosing the right cuts of meat: Different cuts of meat have different smoking times and temperatures, so it’s important to choose the right meat for your recipe. Pork shoulder, beef brisket, and ribs are all popular choices for smoking, as are poultry and fish.
Trimming and seasoning the meat: Trimming excess fat from the meat can help it smoke more evenly and prevent flare-ups. You’ll also want to season the meat with a dry rub, a smoked brisket rub or marinade to add flavor.
Choosing wood chips and/or liquid smoke: Wood chips and/or liquid smoke are what give smoked food its characteristic flavor. You can choose from a variety of wood types, such as hickory, mesquite, and cherry, each of which will impart a different flavor. Liquid smoke is a concentrated form of smoked flavor that can be added to the meat or to the wood chips for an extra boost of smoky flavor.
By properly preparing the food, you’ll set yourself up for success when it comes to smoking.
Smoking the food
Now that you’ve chosen your electric smoker, prepared it, and prepped your food, it’s time to start smoking! Here’s how to do it:
Setting the temperature: Consult your recipe or the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended smoking temperature for your specific type of food. Set the temperature on your electric smoker accordingly.
Arranging the meat in the smoker: Place the food on the racks in the electric smoker, leaving enough space between the pieces for smoke to circulate.
3. Adding wood chips and/or liquid smoke: If using wood chips, place them in the smoker’s wood chip tray according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If using liquid smoke, you can either add it to the wood chips or directly to the meat. You may also need to add water to the water tray.
4. Maintaining the temperature and smoke levels: Keep an eye on the temperature and smoke levels throughout the smoking process, and make adjustments as needed. You may need to add more wood chips or liquid smoke, or adjust the temperature if it gets too high or low.
Finishing and serving the food
Once your food has finished smoking, there are a few more steps you’ll need to take before it’s ready to be served.
Determining when the meat is done: The best way to determine when your meat is done is to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, making sure not to touch the bone, and check the temperature. The meat is done when it reaches the recommended temperature for your specific type of food.
Resting the meat: Once the meat is done, it’s important to let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicier, more flavorful meat.
Slicing and serving the meat: Slice the meat against the grain for the most tender slices. Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!
By following these steps, you’ll be able to serve perfectly cooked, mouthwatering smoked meat to your friends and family.
Cleaning and maintaining the electric smoker
Proper cleaning and maintenance is important for keeping your electric smoker in good working order and extending its lifespan. Here’s how to do it:
Removing and disposing of ash and debris: After each use, remove any ash or debris from the smoker’s wood chip tray and disposal chute.
Cleaning the interior and exterior of the smoker: Wipe down the interior of the smoker with a damp cloth, and use a mild soap and water solution to clean the exterior. Be sure to dry the smoker thoroughly before storing it.
Storing the electric smoker: If you won’t be using your electric smoker for an extended period of time, be sure to store it in a dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Covering the smoker with a weather-resistant cover can also help protect it from the elements.
By following these cleaning and maintenance steps, you can keep your electric smoker in top condition for years to come.
How to Use an Electric Smoker – Some Useful Tips
It is important to make good use of your electric smoker. There are some useful tips and tricks to get the best out of your electric smoker. Here they are…
1. Avoid Grilling Indoors
Using a grill indoors can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and will definitely leave a horrible smell. You should use it outdoors where there is enough airflow for it to be used safely. If you want to use an electric smoker in the rain you should try and find somewhere covered to use it but make sure that it is open on at least 3 sides and don’t be tempted to use your electric smoker in the garage.
2. Wear Gloves
When you use an electric smoker for cooking, it may leave greasy materials on the inside. This happens due to the frequent usage of electric smokers. You should wear gloves while using the smoker. In this way, you can avoid staining yourself.
3. Clean it!
To efficiently clean your electric smoker, it’s a good idea to line the grease tray at the bottom of the smoker with aluminum foil. After you’ve finished cooking, simply remove the foil and dispose of it, along with any excess grease. This will help to prevent a buildup of grease and make cleaning the smoker much easier.
Be sure to also wipe down the interior and exterior of the smoker with a damp cloth and mild soap solution after each use to remove any lingering food debris and keep your smoker in good condition.
How to Use an Electric Smoker – Some FAQs
1. Can you cook pre-smoked meat in your electric smoker?
Yes, you can but it is not advisable. Usually, people do it to add some extra smoky notes.
2. How do you clean the inside of your electric smoker?
It is best to clean the smoker after every use. First, unplug your smoker and allow it to cool. Then, take out the ash and internal material like racks, water, wood chips, chip-tray, and other attachments. Now, clean large food particles with damp paper towels. Scrub the inside of the smoking chamber with a brush. Now, wipe out and dry the attachments off.
3. Is it possible to use an electric smoker inside?
4. Can you use liquid smoke in an electric smoker?
Yes, you can but it is not recommended. You have got the real deal so there is no real need for liquid smoke.
5. How long does it take an electric smoker to reach 225°F?
It can take you about 40 minutes in most cases. You must only add meat after the smoker has finished preheating.