How To Use An Electric Smoker

How to use an electric smoker

Getting and using an electric smoker is a great way to start smoking meat at home. Unlike standard charcoal smokers, which need to be monitored closely, electric smokers make it feasible to slow-cook meats without checking on them continuously. Simply season the meat that you're smoking, set the timer and temperature, and also let the smoker do all of the hard work for you. With minimal effort, your meat will be smoked to perfection in a matter of hours.

Part 1 - Setting The Stage

1. Getting Your Smoker Set Up

Season your electric smoker if it's your very first time using it. "Seasoning" an electric smoker involves running it while there isn't anything in it to get rid of dust, smells, as well as solvent deposit left over from the manufacturer. First, give each of the smoker's interior surface areas a good wipe down, including the racks, with cooking oil. After that, turn on your smoker and let it sit for 2-3 hrs at 250-- 275 ° F (121-- 135 ° C).

After seasoning your electric smoker, turn it off, open it up and let it cool down completely before you start cooking.

Bear in mind that each smoker seasoning procedure may be different, so follow the manufacturers instructions for your specific model of smoker. In fact, some more recent designs don't require to be seasoned at all, however, its never a bad idea to play it safe and do it anyway.

You only need to season a new smoker, once you start smoking meats, the process of cooking the meats will help preserve the smoker itself.

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2. Turn You Smoker On

Once you've completed the smoker seasoning process, turn on your smoker. In most cases, this won't actually start your smoker pre-heating, but will allow you to select the proper settings to get started.

Do not forget to make sure that your smoker is plugged in, and that there's nothing blocking the power cord. If it comes unplugged while in operation, you'll have lost not just hours of your time, but you'll likely also ruin your meat.

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3. Add Timber Chips

To smoke your meat, you need fuel. Some smokers require certain types of chips, so be sure to check for these requirements. In most cases, the chip tray is located towards the bottom of the smoker itself. Take the tray out and pack it with the wood chips. Once it's full, slide it back in and then turn the handle counterclockwise to unload the chips onto the inner burner.

A good guideline is to use about 4 cups (600 g) of chips for every single 3-5 hours of smoking you intend on doing. If you're cooking something large, you may need to refill the chips throughout the process.

If you want the best flavor for your meat, stick to hardwoods such as mesquite, apple, pecan, birch, or hickory. Soft woods like fir and pine burn quick and tend to produce unsavory flavors.

4. Preheat the smoker to 200-- 225 ° F (93-- 107 ° C)

If your smoker features an electronic control panel, press the up and down arrows to increase or reduce the temperature as needed. For smokers with hands-on temperature level handles, turn the knob up until the indicator points to the correct temperature. Allow up to 30-45 mins for your smoker to finish preheating. For the majority of meats, 200-- 225 ° F (93-- 107 ° C) is the ideal smoking level. However, the kind of meat you're smoking can influence your temperature level settings.

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5. Place A Container Of Water At The Bottom Of Your Smoking Chamber

As soon as your smoker has actually completed preheating, fill the included water container with water and slide it back into the smoking chamber. If your smoker doesn't have a different slot for the water cup, just set it on the floor of the chamber. The heavy steam produced as the water vaporizes helps to keep your meat moist and tasty.

Using warm as opposed to cold or room temperature water helps maintain a consistent temperature inside the chamber.

If you like, you can add things such as apple juice, wine, or beer to your smoker's water cup to infuse your meats with more flavorful aromatic notes.

Part 2 - Smoking Your Meat

1. Season Your Meat (Dry Rub or Marinade)

Seasoned meat

Since your smoker is ready, it's time to prepare the things you'll be cooking.  For consistent flavor, coat larger cuts like ribs, brisket, and pork shoulders with an even layer of dry rub seasonings for optimum flavor. Soak smaller meats such as chicken, fish, and chops overnight in your preferred acid-based marinate.

There are plenty of great recipes for smoking meats that you can find online. While heavy seasoning isn't necessary, a good recipe for your meat will help bring out the natural flavors added by smoking.

2. Place Your Meat On The Shelves

Use a long-handled meat spatula or tongs to transfer the meat to the smoking shelves safely. Prepare the meat according to exactly how the shelves are set up-- situate the bigger cuts towards the bottom, and the smaller ones towards the top.

You might need to put hefty cuts of meat like pork butts or shelves of ribs by hand. Make sure to wear oven mitts or gloves because your smoker will be hot at the point.

To prevent the smoke from escaping, try to only leave the door open for as brief a time as possible.

3. Close the door (and keep it closed!)

Once you have your meats placed, close the door of the smoker and lock it into place.

Once you start smoking your meats, you should refrain from opening the smoker as much as possible. Every time you open the smoker you let out some of the flavors, and some of the heat. To ensure your recipe is correct, keep the smoker closed for as long as the recipe dictates, even if you're tempted to check on the meat.

4. Smoke You Meat Based On The Recipe

The amount of time your meat spends in the smoker varies greatly, it could be anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on the kind of meat you're using. In the meantime, stay clear of opening your smoker unless it's to fill up the water bowl.

Unlike other cooking techniques, smoking is all about perseverance and patience.

5. Add More Wood Chips as Needed

The best way to know if you need to add more chips is to look at the smoke. If you need to keep your food smoking for longer but the smoke stops, use this time to also check up on the water level in your smoker. Open the door to the smoker and add more water if needed. If you need to smoke your meat more, add another 1-4 cups of chips.

Bear in mind that just because the chip tray is empty does not always imply you should refill it. Depending on the recipe, some meats may fare better without refilling the chips. Over-smoking your meat can cause it to find out tasting burnt and undesirable.

6. Let Your Meat Rest For 10-20 Minutes

When your food is fully cooked, turn off the smoker, unlock the door, and carefully remove your meat from the racks. Move them to another area to cool down and rest. Most meats will need to rest, but the amount of time they need to rest depends on the type of meat and how you cook it.


As soon as the meat has gotten to a secure temperature, serve it up and enjoy

Using an electric smoker isn't very complicated, but they can yield a next-level delicious home-cooked meal. With the right preparation and recipe, an electric smoker is an easy way to make restaurant-quality meats from the comfort of your own home.