There is something special about the flavor of smoked meat that goes beyond its smoky aroma. It can remind you of afternoons learning how to smoke meat from your dad, or simply be used as an excuse to get together with family and friends. The texture and flavor of smoked meat is unique and unforgettable, which is why you need the best electric smoker.
Top Electric Smoker Comparisons
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Types of Electric Smokers
There are several different types of electric smokers, and finding the best one depends on your cooking needs and budget. The one thing that all electric smokers have in common is that they easily plug into a home outlet, while using a heating element to cook the meat to a perfect temperature. Some of the differences between electric smokers include,
- Not all electric smokers include water pans, which collect fat and other food droppings while help to keep the meat moist and juicy.
- Rheostats are commonly used to control the temperature and are used on less expensive electric smokers. By interrupting the electricity to the heating element this type of smoker is able to maintain the temperature that you set.
- More expensive electric smokers use a thermometer and occasionally a meat probe to maintain and control a continuous constant temperature. Since the electric current is not interrupted but maintained, it is easier to cook meats and other food items the same all the way through. The meat probe also lets you check internal temperatures without opening the lid or doors.
Electric Smoker vs. Wood, Gas, or Charcoal Smokers
While other types of smokers need to have the fuel source constantly replenished, an electric smoker easily plugs into the correct voltage outlet. The temperature is controlled by a rheostat that lets you easily adjust it to the perfect degrees. Instead of using wood, gas, or charcoal to cook your food, an electric smoker heats up similar to an oven.
The heating element is designed to let you add wood chips to a tray that is located above it. This lets you still have all of that great smoky flavor, without having to continuously add more wood. The one noticeable difference in the finished meats is that it will be missing the trademark pink smoke ring that is a mark of pride for many meat smoking purists.
Advantages of an Electric Smoker
Some purists may frown upon using anything other than coals, wood, and fire, but many meat smoking enthusiasts are discovering the joys of using an electric smoker. The meat comes out tender and juicy, full of that unmistakable smoky flavor just like in a traditional smoker. With an electrical smoker, you get the same results without the additional time and work that goes into using a traditional smoker.
Not only are electric smokers easy to use, these convenient outdoor appliances also let you have a wide range of cooking options. There are several styles and sizes too choose from, which lets you find the perfect electric smoker for your cooking needs. With prices to meet almost any budget, and the ability to have fun and experiment with different cooking options are only a few advantages to using an electric smoker.
Top Electric Smoker Reviews
With plenty of cooking space for larger cuts of meat, Masterbuilt 20070910 smoker is ideal for anyone who loves to smoke meats, fish, produce, and other foods. The insulated smoker is ideal for beginners and more experienced BBQ chefs, and is easy to use and operate.
This outdoor appliance features four racks and is capable of providing up to eight hours of continual smoke for perfectly flavored meat. With a temperature range up to 320 degrees you can experiment and try a wide variety of recipes. The digital controls are easy to use and program so you can walk away while the unit is smoking.
Perfect for large family BBQs, this electric smoker can cook up to 22 pounds of meat at a time. It includes 2 shelves that slide in and out smoothly, and the 3 inch rubber wheels let you move the smoker wherever you need it. The 400 watt heating element uses 8 amps of electricity, and plugs into any standard 120v outlet. With a temperature range of 100 to 250 degrees, you will be able to smoke a variety of different meats, cheese, and vegetables.
You will love the flat top on this electric smoker that lets all of the juices drip back on top of the meats. You can easily control the temperature with the heating thermostat, which will let you perfectly smoke a wide variety of different foods. The durable metal construction is weather resistant, and the chip tray is conveniently located on top of the heating element.
With three temperature settings and two cooking areas, this electric smoker will give you perfectly textured and flavored meat every time. It is easy to use and operate, and the two side handles make it easy to move the smoker to and from storage. It also includes a wood chip box and a water pan so your food is also tender and juicy.
What to Look For in an Electric Smoker
There are several different models of electric smokers that are available in a wide range of prices. Many of the less expensive units use a rheostat to control the cooking temperature, while the higher priced models include a thermostat. The main difference between the two types is that a rheostat smoker interrupts the flow of electricity to the heating element to maintain a constant temperature, while a smoker with a thermometer is better able to give you a continual and constant cooking temperature.
Since electric smokers are often used to smoke fish, cheese, and produce, along with meats, the precise temperature control that a thermostat controlled smoker can give you make it ideal if you are planning to smoke a wide variety of different food items. Price will also be a consideration when you are choosing an electric smoker, and the type that you choose will also depend on your budget. While the rheostat units are less expensive, and ideal for beginning smokers, a thermostat controlled one might be a better choice if you are planning on using it frequently for smoking different foods.
Size and Convenience
The price will also be reflected in the size of the smoker, with smaller models generally costing less. These small units are ideal for anyone living in an apartment, condo, or are only smoking meats for a small number of people. Larger smokers are ideal if you are planning on cooking for a large group of people, or simply enjoy trying new recipes with your outdoor appliance. Choosing the best sized smoker actually depends on how often you are planning on using it.
Convenience is another important feature to take into consideration. Some electric smokers are easily portable, while others were intended to be stationary. This also includes how often the smoker’s wood chips need to be refilled. Some inexpensive models need to be replenished several times during the process, while some that cost only need to have the wood chips filled at the beginning. It is important to take your lifestyle into account when you are deciding on what type of electric smoker to buy.
Other Factors to Consider
Along with price, size, and the convenience of the electric smoker, there are some other factors that you will want to consider. Along with thoroughly researching the model that you are interested in, you will want to make sure that it is capable of reaching the different temperatures you’ll need to smoke a wide range of different food items.
It is also important to check all of the hinges, seals, and electrical connections before purchasing an electric smoker. If the outdoor appliance is poorly constructed not only will it be more susceptible to damage and costly repairs, it can also become an electrical fire hazard. Look for smokers that are constructed from stainless steel or has been treated with a rust resistant finish. Not only will this save you money on repairs, it will also be safer to use.
Cleaning and Maintaining an Electric Smoker
All electric smokers require regular cleaning. Not only will this help your smoker last longer, it will also keep at performing at its optimal level. One important tip to remember when you are cleaning, is that even though some electric smokers need to be seasoned it is still important to routinely remove the excess ash.
Rust can be removed with either sandpaper or a wire brush, and it is also recommended that you paint your new smoker with a rust resistant paint. Keeping the lid or door to the outdoor appliance will also help protect it from the elements, and improve its longevity.
Cleaning the Racks and Drip Pan
Maintaining the racks in your smoker is important for the quality and taste of your food. Grease, and food buildup can be scrubbed off with a wire brush, and many owners of smokers find that soaking the racks first will make them easier to clean.
Some types of electric smokers also include a water pan that also needs to be emptied and cleaned on a regular basis. When the fat drippings have cooled, the pan can easily be emptied and scrubbed clean. All electric smokers use a drip pan, which catches all of the excess food juices. The juice can be used to create delicious gravies, and the pan is easily cleaned in warm soapy water.
Tips for a Quicker Cleanup
No matter what type of smoker you own, aluminum foil can be your best friend. Water pans and racks can be lined with it, to make cleaning up afterwards quick and easy. Another tip is to clean the smoker while it is still warm. This will make it easier to scrap off the grease, rust, and food debris. When your smoker is clean, not only will it function better your food will have that unique smoky taste that you love.
Choosing the best electric smoker will mainly depend on how often you are going to use it, and your price range. A well built electric smoker can give you the same flavor and texture that you get from traditional smokers without the mess, work and time. Electric smokers are ideal for beginners, and are even becoming popular with some of the purists, who love the idea of being able to easily control the temperature for perfectly smoked meat.