Smoking is not easy and very time consuming using traditional smokers. As a modern man or woman, you can’t afford to spend several hours of your day just sitting by the smoker. If that is the case, then electric is the way to go. However, with too many choices available, selecting the best electric smoker for you might be a tough challenge.
To help you with your decision, I have put together this buying guide. This guide will contain an electric smoker review which briefly discusses the 5 best electric smokers in the market right now (in my opinion of course). And a guide on how to select the best smoker for you right away.
So, let’s jump into the first basic thing,
What are electric smokers?
Electric Smokers are a kind of kitchen equipment used to make barbeques. They use electricity as a power source instead of fuels like firewood, charcoal or gas that are commonly used in other types of smokers.
Compared to traditional forms of smokers, electric smokers offer a better form of barbequing that entails lesser pollution and better use of energy. Purists still maintain that an excellent barbeque can only be made with a firewood/charcoal smoker. This is largely true, but electric smokers do offer many advantages over traditional smokers.
Why an Electric Smoker?
Electric smokers have become very popular recently, for a number of reasons:
- There is no open flame, so electric smokers may be allowed in apartment complexes where charcoal and gas grills are not allowed.
- Electric smokers maintain a consistent temperature, so cooking times are much more easily controlled.
- Electric meat smokers extremely convenient. They do not require you to constantly monitor your wood and cooking temperatures.
If you are tired of waking up in the middle of the night to check on your smoker and exhausted from constantly checking the cooking temperature on your smoker, then an electric smoker may be just what you are looking for.
How Electric Smokers Work
Imagine a coal smoker. You put the coals in, light it and wait for it to turn red hot and reach the right temperature before you start barbequing. An electric smoker does the same thing except that the heat source is a set of high powered electric coils. In general, electric smokers reach cooking temperatures much faster than coal/firewood smokers and don’t require as much tending and oversight.
Benefits of Using Electric Smokers
While a purist will run screaming for the hills when someone mention electric and smokers in the same sentence, they do offer some big advantages that simply cannot be ignored:
- It is very convenience
With electric smokers, barbequing becomes much easier because the temperatures can be electronically controlled. Set and forget is an electric smoker’s middle name. Forget checking up on your meat every one hour to ensure the heat is just right, with an electric unit now you can just load the meat, set the temperature and time, go to the gym while letting the machine does all the work. Electric smokers also let you barbeque indoors, which is not the case with most traditional smokers.
- It is clean and inexpensive
An electric smoker runs on erhh… electricity, which is a clean energy source so rest assure that your conscience won’t keep you up at night. Moreover, electricity is generally very cheap (unless you live in some places like Hawaii) and will keep the cost of running your smoker to be fairly low compared to other types.
Let’s say the heating element is 1500 Watt (most use less than that), so for a 12 hour cook your little machine would consume a total of 18 KWh. With the average retail price of electricity to be 12.75 cents/KWh for residential sector, that would translate to a staggering of about $2.35 for a 12 hour smoke. No other types of smoker can match this cost efficiency and you can save a lot of money in the long run, which in turn can be invested in better smokers.
- It is easy to control temperature
The reason you have to monitor a traditional smoker is to ensure the right temperature because the energy source is often unstable. Lucky for you, most electric smokers come with temperature gauges that can help you maintain desired temperature easily, freeing up your time to do other things.
- They can be used anywhere
Unlike other types of smoker, electric does not generate flames when smoking, thus can be used in places where open flames are not allowed. To use your smoker, just find an open space with an electricity power source nearby and you are all set.
- It can be used in cold and windy days
As other types of smoker use flames to generate heat, expect it is very difficult to use them in a cold or windy day. Electric smokers, on the other hand, does not have this problem.
- They are safe
Electric smokers do not use fire to heat food, which makes it generally safer than traditional smokers. Moreover, this type of smoker allows you to have a far greater control over the entire smoking process, thus greatly reduce the chance of something wrong happens.
Vital Electric Smoker Features
There are a few gimmicks you’ll have to consider on the grounds that smokers have distinctive peculiarities and particulars. Regardless of the fact that you have effectively concluded that you’ll try for an electric smoker rather than propane or charcoal, there’s still a great deal of assortment and uniqueness regarding gimmicks.
- Size matters
Indeed the littlest smokers today can create sustenance for upwards of 20 individuals, and the greatest ones can pander to a throughout the day party. Before you purchase, get a thought of how you mean to utilize it. If you’re going to smoke for the family amid weekends, a little unit will be sufficient.
Then again in case you’re going to smoke a family gathering or you habitually hold parties for the area, you’ll require a greater smoker. The general guideline is one pound of crude meat every person, so ought to provide for you a thought of how enormous a smoker you require.
Get an electric smoker advanced controller as it makes get ready and cooking much simpler. Additionally remember that a few smokers can likewise flame broil so in case you’re occupied with both exercises consider getting one. On the other hand, multi-reason smokers will be more costly and might not have all the peculiarities you’re searching for, so research is fundamental.
- Consumer audits matter
So you realize that an electric smoker warming component with indoor regulator is a vital gimmick, yet which one do you pick? That is the place buyer audits come in as their experiences can provide for you a thought of what smoker to purchase. In the event that you shop online for smokers you’ll see that the most famous smokers have surveys, so that is a decent place to begin.
- Additional gimmicks
A considerable measure of these smokers accompany frill and uncommon peculiarities, however verify that the gimmick is reasonable, for example, an electric smoker fan which can be utilized to even the cooking temperature.some of the more praiseworthy smokers have different control settings for dealing with the temperature so that is something you can look at too.
- Ease of utilization
One of the reasons why the electric smoker barbecue combo has gotten to be well-known is that they are so helpful to utilize, and that is surely a significant thought. Very frequently it’s not difficult to become involved with all the peculiarities and embellishments, yet bear in mind the most vital thing, and that is a smoker should make smoking simple.
5 Best Electric Smokers Reviews
Old Smokey Smoker
The Old Smokey smoker is the first one that I have ever had, and it is an excellent value for the money. This is a machine that has longevity and will be a regular in your home. It is made of aluminized steel and I found it to be solidly constructed. It weights only 24 lbs, which makes it easy to move around and store. The electric cord that comes with it is heavy duty, but it could be longer to facilitate better movement.
The Old Smokey was incredibly easy to set up and use. It does not have a water pan, but I found the meat to come out juicy anyway. Thanks to it being electric, the temperature is relatively simple to maintain. The racks inside were durable and held up to the brisket I cooked in it. This smoker is versatile and you can use any kind of wood you would like in your culinary adventure. I was worried that the wire stand would wobble, but it remained sturdy through the entire process.
The brisket came out perfectly! The Old Smokey did its job and I will be using it often. It was easy to clean too, just watch out for the screws on the inside.
Check price of the Old Smokey smoker
Smokin-It Model #3 Electric Smoker
The Smokin-It #3 is a heavy duty home smoker. Constructed of 18 gauge stainless steel, it rests on four caster wheels for ease of movement. This machine is insulated with fiberglass for superior heat retention. The #3 comes with four grill pans, a smoke box, and drip tray. It also came with a sample of hickory wood to get smoking right away, which I thought was a special extra touch. It helped to alleviate my immediate desire to get cooking.
Smokin-It Model #3 allows you to create stellar meals in the comfort of your own space. I found it to be super easy to operate. The thermostat was useful, and the smoker has a range of 100 to 250 degrees. My favorite feature of this machine was its size. If you need to smoke a lot of meat for a family gathering or big meal, this is the one to get the job done. It has a total capacity of 45 lbs, which is plenty.
A friend of mine owns a Smokin-It #3 so I have had an opportunity to cook with this one. The ribs I cooked in the Smokin-It #3 were delicious. I found them to be on par with some barbeque I’ve paid for. I liked the stainless steel for its visual appeal, and the heavy duty castors really made this smoker a dream to use.
Check price of the Smokin-It #3
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller
The Masterbuilt 20070910 is included in the list of best electric smokers because it is easy to use and accessible for newcomers and experts alike. It sports ample smoking room, and four grill trays. I like this one because it has a lot of useful extras, like an air damper and water tray. The air damper allows to adjust the amount of smoke, giving you a range of mild to smokier flavors. The water tray is perfect for adding additional vinegar and brine seasonings. Not only does it help add flavor to your meat, but helps keep it moist too.
You’ll love that this machine has a push button control. It makes it super simple to manage and maintain the temperature. It also comes with a 24-hour timer and an automatic shut-off. It is impossible to mess up your meal with this machine. The ribs I cooked in it came out tasty in just a few hours. The unit comes with a light, which is another perk. An additional thermometer is always handy, but the Masterbuilt also comes with a remote control, to really make your next time smoking convenient. This is the smoker if you’re looking for something that’s as technically savvy as you are, or if you are just starting out and looking for the easiest operation.
Check price of the Masterbuilt 20070910
Jim Beam BTDS76JB Bradley Smoker 4-Rack Digital Outdoor Smoker
The coolest feature on the Jim Beam Bradley is the auto feeder for your wood bisquettes. No need to constantly be adding wood while smoking, you can just walk away and this machine does it for you. The downside to that convenience is that you need to buy certain bisquettes to use, which is an additional cost and possible obstacle. However, they come in a ton of hardwood flavors so you aren’t limited in your options.
This is an affordable smoker and gets the job done. Four racks give you a lot of room to cook chickens, ribs, pork butt, or whatever your heart desires. However, like many electric smoker reviews pointed out, I didn’t like that the bisquettes drop into the drip tray when done. If only this product came with a better removal system then this one would be perfect.
The brisket I cooked in the Jim Beam Bradley came out perfectly. There was a definite smoke ring visible, and a crispy bark that developed on the outside of the meat. The flavor was rich and satisfying. Not only does it deliver a tasty product, but it effectively cold smokes too. This smoker will meet all of your needs at home, and make you popular at parties.
Check price of the Jim Beam Bradley
Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load Smoker
The Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load is a simple little machine. It comes with a non-adjustable heating element that maintains a constant temperature of 165 degrees. This is not the machine to buy if you’re looking to cold smoke. There is no room for adjustment on this machine, which can be a drawback. It definitely cooks low and slow though. The biggest benefit to this model is that it is easy to use as an entry level smoker.
The size of this machine most easily holds meat like chicken, fish or jerky. Larger cuts and roasts were awkward to use in this machine. It is also great for smoking cheese! The flavor that the Big Chef produced in the pork I cooked was solid, and I had seconds. It comes with a bag of apple flavored chips, which is a nice bonus with your purchase.
Constructed out of aluminum, it’s a snazzy looking machine. The doors and hinges can be a little awkward in usage, but you get used to it. The flavor tray allows you to add liquids to flavor your meat. After your smoking is done, this machine is really easy to clean out. The drip tray is dishwasher safe, so you’ll be ready to get cooking again in no time.
Check price of the Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load
Your Choices Suck! I Want to Select the Best Electric Smoker Myself
Ouch, that hurts. But it’s okay. Different people will have different priorities when it comes to selecting the best smoker for themselves. In this section, I will list some of the most important factors you need to consider before buying.
Price: Of course the most important factor when buying anything is its price. The best electric smoker does not automatically mean the most expensive one. Ideally, you want to select one that offers the best performance/price ratio in your price range. Also take into account that electricity is generally very cheap, so if you are going to smoke a lot, you can comfortable adding a few hundred bucks to your budget, knowing that your smoker can save you quite some money in the long run compared to other types of smoker.
Temperature range: Different foods must be smoked at a different temperature. A smoker with a wider temperature range will be a lot more versatile and can produce different smoked food for your home. However, if you are going to smoke only some types of food only, then you can probably get away without using a wide temperature range smoker.
Capacity: Generally electric smokers can smoke a lot of food at the same time. However, if you frequently need to smoke large batches of food, always make sure that yours is large enough to smoke all of these food at once.
Materials: A good smoker must be sturdily built with good materials. Don’t ever buy one made from cheap materials as they can break down very easily after a short period of time. It just does not worth the investment.
Safety: Most smoker reviews do not cover this point, but a good machine must also be child and pet safe. All electrical parts must be covered properly. Wheels should lock firmly. The handle should be heat-resistant so you would not accidentally burn your hand.
Easy cleaning: Cleaning the interior after smoking is a must, hence a good smoker should not make the cleaning job too much of a challenge. Stainless is generally very easy to clean while chrome plated grates will rust over time. Before you spend your hard-earned money, be sure to have an idea of how you are going to clean it.
Analog or digital: Digital temperature gauge allows you greater control over the temperature and smoking process as a whole. However, if you enjoy tending to your food regularly then definitely go for an analog one.
Warranty and support: Unless you have too much money to care, it is always a good idea to check what kind of warranty and support are provided. Check dealer’s reputation before making your purchase. Also, make sure they can easily be reached through email or phone in case you need some support.
Hope this guide is helpful!
Have any good tips for how to get the best electric smokers? Leave a comment below!