Smoking your own food at home is a fantastic way to pack it full of flavor, and to preserve your food for longer too. An electric smoker is extremely convenient, letting you smoke your food without needing any coals or other fuels. You can smoke your food like a pro with the best electric smokers.
Finding the Best Electric Smoker
An electric smoker should make it simple to smoke food at home, whether you’re experienced with using other types of smoker or not. Before finding the perfect electric smoker, we need to define why you should get one and what you should be looking for.
Why should you buy an electric smoker?
Smoking meat, fish and other foods are something of a tradition in the US. I love the idea of taking the DIY route when it comes to cooking, and there’s no reason you can’t smoke your own food at home. A complicated BBQ and smoking setup isn’t necessary, though.
An electric smoker makes it easier than ever to smoke your food. Just get it set up outdoors, and you’re ready to go. To get your food smoked properly the “right” way, it could take years to learn how to tend your BBQ pit just right. An electric smoker lets you cut corners and still have perfectly smoked food.
Electric smokers offer large amounts of space for smoking too. I love any cooking appliances that let you prepare food for the whole family, and even a group of friends too. With a smoker that features several shelves, you can smoke huge amounts of food at once.
How you can use an electric smoker
Electric smokers can be used to smoke all kinds of foods. Of course, meat might be the most traditional thing to smoke, and fish is not far behind. However, even vegetarians and vegans can get in on the smoking action with some delicious smoked veggies.
Using an electric smoker couldn’t be easier. You just need to power it up and use wood chips, herbs and any flavors you want to add directly to your food. You have full control over the smoker using the control panel.
As well as smoking meat and fish to enjoy right away, an electric smoker can help you preserve it too. By dehydrating meat and fish first, you can then smoke it to preserve it. This way you cure your meat before smoking to make it last even longer.
Some people have been dissatisfied with the fact that electric smokers haven’t been able to impart that delicious smoky flavor like traditional smokers. However, many new smokers are able to do this with added wood chips that impart the flavor you want.
Things to consider before buying an electric smoker
Before you buy an electric smoker, I have a list of vital things for you to consider. These considerations will help you to find the perfect electric smoker.
As with many products, size is one of the top things I think that you should think about. Electric smokers should always be used outdoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. But, you should still think about where to put it. Where will it go when you’re using it and when you’re not using it?
You also need to think about size in terms of how much cooking space you want. Do you want to smoke huge feasts for your extended family and friends? Most smokers are fairly large because they’re designed to be used outdoors. So, pay attention to the rack space. Not everyone will want as much space as possible, but four racks will give you plenty.
Consider how much you will use your smoker too. If you’re not going to use it often, you probably want to be able to wheel it out of the way when you’re not using it. Don’t forget to consider how you’re going to power your smoker. It will need to plug into a power supply outdoors.
The top features to look for in an electric smoker
In addition to space, temperature control is one of the top features I would recommend looking at for an electric smoker.
Being able to manage the temperature accurately is essential if you want to smoke your food well. Adjustable temperature control helps you to maintain even temperatures at the right levels. Remote controls also allow you to change your settings without having to hover around the smoker all day.
The performance of an electric smoker can depend on a range of features. Some that I would recommend looking for include water pans, vents, drip pans, and thermostats. These all help you to get the best results from your electric smoker.
Some smokers can also double up as a grill or roast food for you. If you want to get more use from your electric smoker, look for one that can do more than one thing.
The Best Electric Smokers
I’ve reviewed five of the top electric smokers to find the best one for BBQ lovers, both beginners, and experts alike. Take a look at my reviews and find out which one came out on top.
My rating –
It’s easy to get started with this electric smoker from Masterbuilt. Digital panel controls give you full control, with an integrated thermostat temperature control for even cooking. At 30 inches tall, it’s not too big and easy to stow away when not in use. The side wood chip loading system is handy and made it super easy to add wood chips without opening the door.
Pros and Cons:
|Fully-insulated smoker body||Only smokes at higher temperatures|
|Integrated thermostat temperature control||No window|
|Handy side wood chip loading system||It’s not too portable because it lacks wheels|
|Four smoking racks provides space to smoke a variety of foods at once||The LED display is tricky to see on sunny days|
|Heats up quickly, with a maximum temperature of 275 degrees|
|Easy to use with controls that are simple to understand and setup instructions to follow|
Bradley Smoker BTDS76P 990216 Bradley Digital 4 Rack Smoker
This 4-rack smoker has a higher maximum temperature and full digital controls. The smoke generator attached to the side gives you a full display and clear controls, which I found were very easy to use. The generator uses bisquettes to create the smoke, so keeping the smoker going is not trouble at all.
Pros and Cons:
|The digital smoke generator lets you “set it and forget it” – it adds a bisquette onto the heating element every 20 minutes to keep the smoke going||No wheels to move the smoker and a heavyweight, especially with the smoke generator on the side|
|Offers plenty of space with four racks||Requires purchasing wood bisquettes to keep the digital smoker going|
|Provides up to 8 hours of smoke and reaches up to 320 degrees||Not suitable for smoking in colder climates and weather|
|Temperature control is simple with the clear digital controls|
|No need to keep constantly checking on it|
|Allows cold smoking|
My rating –
The Char-Broil Deluxe Smoker includes an integrated meat probe, which is also removable and washable. It made it possible to check up on meat whenever necessary and see if it was ready. There’s no need to guess when you have an accurate thermometer. I like the control panel for monitoring and adjusting too.
Pros and Cons:
|Warming feature keeps food warm once it’s cooked||No remote control included with this model|
|Up to seven hours of smoking without having to open the door||Can’t be used for cold smoking|
|Glass door allows you to look in and check on how your food looks as it’s smoking||Requires preheating for around 30-45 minutes before it reaches the right temperature|
|Large grease tray||Vents are always open and not adjustable|
|Digital controls and meat probe|
|Large locking latch gives a tight seal while smoking|
My rating –
Anyone looking for a smaller smoker might find what they want in this Southern Country Smokers’ product. It has about half the space of smokers with four racks. It features two grids and 351 square inches of cooking space. Both a grill and a smoker, it pulls double duty, and it’s pretty portable.
Pros and Cons:
|Converts into a compact grill to give you two ways of cooking – conversion is quick and easy||Minimal instructions come with the smoker, so learning to use it was a little tricky|
|Heat-resistant wood handles||Difficult to get it to the right temperature without some practice|
|Easy to assemble and to transport, weighing just 23 pounds||The smaller size is likely not suitable for some|
|Includes a slow cooking feature to create perfectly juicy foods|
|Smoke for up to five hours with the 5.5-quart water pan|
|Easily check water levels with the sliding access panels|
My rating –
Another option from Masterbuilt, this small smoker has three smoking racks. It features an 800-watt heating element, which is designed to deliver consistent heat. This combines with the integrated thermostat temperature control to offer a steady level of smoke. It’s a compact option that still offers a decent cooking space.
Pros and Cons:
|Fully-insulated body to keep smoke and heat inside||Only three smoking racks|
|800-watt heating element and integrated thermostat temperature control for consistent heat||No window in the door to help you observe your food|
|Adjustable air damper helps with controlling the smoke||Not easy to move for transport or storage due to weight, no handles or wheels|
|Removable drip pan makes the job of cleaning up easier||Can be tricky to clean after use|
|Holds up to nine chickens, two turkeys, nine racks of ribs or three pork butts||Controller display can be difficult to read outside in the sun due to the dimness of the light|
|Digital display can easily be removed for storage by taking out a couple of screws if necessary|
The Best Electric Smoker
Choose the Bradley Smoker electric smoker if you want the best option out of the five I reviewed. The digital smoke generator makes it extremely simple to set up the smoker and leave it to do its thing. Simply load up as many bisquettes as you need, and let the feeder feed them onto the heating element every 20 minutes. The 4-rack smoker gives you plenty of space, and it smokes for up to eight hours. I love that cold smoking. It is available too, as it isn’t for several other electric smokers. Controlling the smoker takes no effort and it produces excellent results.