Learn about the many benefits of electric smokers and why you should add one to your outdoor kitchen. Read on to learn about the electric smoker advantage.
While we hear plenty about charcoal and wood-fired smokers, electric smokers often go unnoticed and are underrated.
The reality is that they are a great addition to any outdoor kitchen and offer more variety and safety features than other fuel options.
If you’re still not convinced, check out 19 of the top benefits of electric smokers.
In This Article, We’ll Explore:
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What is an Electric Smoker?
As its name implies, an electric smoker is powered by electricity. It can smoke meat, fish, poultry, and even cheese. Additionally, electric smokers can be used to grill food by making a few slight adjustments.
There are two types of electric smokers. One uses a thermostat that maintains the set temperature. The other uses a rheostat that allows you to control how much heat is put out manually.
How do Electric Smokers Work?
After an electric smoker is plugged in, the bottom of it starts to heat up as electricity passes through the heating element. The element is made from high-resistance material that conducts heat and allows it to rise upwards.
A pan full of the wood chips of your choice sits over the heating element, and as they start to smolder from the heat, smoke releases.
As the smoke rises, it passes the water tray with creates steam and also moves upward. Water not only keeps your food from drying out but makes cleanup a breeze.
The heat, smoke, and water create the holy trinity of smoking. The heat cooks the food, smoke flavors the food, and water keeps it from drying out.
Electric Smokers Offer Low Start-Up & Operating Costs
Electric smokers are great if you’re on a budget. Not only do they cost less initially, but they’ll also save you money in the long run because they’re super fuel-efficient.
For example, an electric smoker could cook up to six chickens or eight racks of ribs at once. Meanwhile, a much more expensive wood pellet grill can only cook four chickens or four racks of ribs at a time.
While both are impressive, you get more meat space for your money when choosing an electric smoker.
With all that money saved, you can spend more on other accessories for your outdoor kitchen or splurge on expensive meat cuts and seasonings.
Depending on where you live, you can save a lot on fuel also. In many areas, electricity is cheaper than propane, and the wood chips or pellets you have to buy are more affordable than whole wood chunks. And forget about buying charcoal. There’s no need for it in an electric smoker!
Electric Smokers are Easy to Run & Don’t Need Constant Supervision
Charcoal and propane smokers need a lot of supervision. If fuel runs out and you don’t catch it in time, the entire process can be delayed, and the food could even be ruined.
An electric smoker requires little to no supervision at all. You never need to add additional charcoal or double-check that the propane is still flowing freely.
Charcoal also requires you to arrange it accordingly and adjust the dampers to compensate for wind or other climate factors.
Instead, with an electric smoker, you can set the temperature and let it cook. Spend more time with your guests and less time hovering around your cooker.
Electric Smokers are Perfect for Beginners & Require Very Little Know-How
There’s no need to be a Pitmaster to use an electric smoker. Even if you’ve never done it before in your life, electric smokers are easy to learn, and it’s difficult to get it wrong.
If you’ve ever used an electric oven, then you’ve pretty much mastered using an electric smoker. Simply add the wood chips and water.
Then set the temperature and timer on the control panel according to the recipe you’re following. It’s that easy!
Electric Smokers are Simple to Start Up
There’s no easier smoking option for beginners than the electric smoker. Just follow these simple steps:
- Season your smoker. If it’s your first time firing up your smoker, you’ll want to run it on empty just to eliminate any dust or odors. You can do this by rubbing the interior down with cooking oil then letting it run for a couple of hours at between 250- and 275-degrees Fahrenheit. Then allow it to cool down completely.
- Plug in the smoker and turn it on. Wait to set your desired temperature and time until you’re ready to preheat.
- Add wood chips to the chip tray. Hardwood chips are best (i.e., mesquite, apple, pecan, hickory, or birch.)
- Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature. It should be ready after about 30 minutes.
- Add water to the water dish. Hot water keeps the smoker from cooling down. You can also use juice, beer, wine, or liquor to infuse other flavors into your food.
There’s virtually no learning curve for electric smokers, and if you can follow those five easy steps, you’ll be smoking in no time.
Electric Smokers Make it Easy to Maintain a Consistent Temperature
Rather than adding charcoal or wood to maintain the temperature of your smoker or adjusting dampers and vents constantly, electric smokers use a rheostat or thermostat.
That means you have complete control over the temperature, and you can just set it and forget it. The constant flow of electricity means you’ll never have to worry about food getting too hot or cooling down too quickly.
Electric Smokers are more Versatile
Because you have better overall temperature control with an electric smoker, you can run your smoker at much cooler temperatures as well.
That means you can smoke things like nuts, cheese, fish, pork belly, and more foods that just isn’t possible at high heat.
Electric Smokers can Often Support more Food than Wood Smokers
One thing we’ve mentioned is the efficiency of electric smokers. Because many wood smokers only have a single cooking grate, they can’t complete with the six or more cooking grates on an electric smoker.
That not only means more overall food, but you can smoke different types of food at the same time without the worry of cross-contamination. Think veggies on the top, meat on the bottom. So you’ll create an entire meal for multiple people in a single use of your electric smoker.
You can Use any Combination of Smoker Wood Chips
You don’t have to give up creative freedom when you invest in an electric smoker. Just like a wood-fired smoker, you can mix and match your favorite wood chips to experiment and create one-of-a-kind flavors.
Electric Smokers are Easy to Cold Smoke On
Cold smoking is ideal for bacon, sausages, fish, cheese, and if you really want to dive deep into the world of smoking, desserts.
Cold Smoking doesn’t cook the food since the temperature stays at between 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, it allows the food to take on the flavor of the smoke without heating it. So if you do decide to go this route, make sure your meat is fully cured beforehand.
The easiest way to implement cold smoking with your electric smoker is to buy a cold smoker attachment that is compatible with your electric smoker.
Electric Smokers are Energy Efficient
There’s no need to stress about how an electric smoker will affect your electric bill. Typically, they only use about 800 watts or 0.8 kilowatts per hour.
The price per kilowatt-hour in the United States ranges from 9.37 cents to 32.76 cents, depending on your state. So using your smoker for one hour only costs 7.49 to 26.2 cents per hour.
At this rate, you can pretty much use your smoker all day, every day, without having to worry about a huge electric bill at the end of the month.
Electric Smokers are more Eco-Friendly
Since electricity is cleaner to use than propane, wood, or charcoal, it is better for the earth and won’t add to air pollution.
Cooking with an Electric Smoker is Healthier
There’s a lot of controversy about whether or not cooking over wood or charcoal is good for your health. Many believe that those forms of cooking produce carcinogens that in turn increase the risk of cancer.
To whatever extent that is true or not, you won’t have to worry about any cancer risks with electric smokers.
You’ll enjoy that mouthwatering, smokey taste without any dangerous odors caused by wood or charcoal.
What’s more, because smoking doesn’t require any butter or oil, it is healthier to eat meat that’s been smoked versus frying or sauteing it.
Electric Smokers are Safer to Use
Carbon monoxide poisoning, fire dangers, and explosions are all concerns with other fuel types.
On the other hand, electric smokers have no open flame, no flammable fuel, and do not produce carbon monoxide.
Additionally, electric smokers come with an automated shut-off option you can use every time you cook, so fire danger is very low even if you forget that it’s on.
Electric Smokers are Easy to Clean
Electric smokers are made from easy-to-clean stainless steel that ensures that food doesn’t stick to the side of your smoker.
Using the steam option and a non-stick spray will add an extra level of ease when it comes to clean-up.
Just be careful about getting your smoker wet when you clean it and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to play it safe.
You can Use an Electric Smoker in Areas with a Fire Ban
As wildfires become more and more common, we all want to do our part to reduce the risk of starting fires. Unfortunately, fire season is also grilling season, and in many areas, charcoal grills are banned during drier months.
The good news is that because there is no open flame on an electric smoker, you can use it any time of year with a clean conscience.
Even if there isn’t a fire ban, some apartment buildings don’t allow charcoal smokers on the premises.
Thankfully, an electric smoker is a perfect solution to get those delicious flavors without the inconvenience of an open flame.
Electric Smokers can be Portable
Electric smokers hit the sweet spot between spacious and compact. It’s light enough that you can carry your cooker to anywhere there’s an outlet or generator.
Plus, no hauling around a heavy propane tank, wood chunks, or bags of charcoal! You can simply carry the cooker.
Electric Smokers can be Used Indoors
If you share your outdoor space or live in an apartment that doesn’t include private outdoor space, then an electric smoker is the way to go.
Unlike charcoal or wood smokers, you can smoke meat, fish, cheese, and more without disturbing your neighbors or causing a fire hazard.
Just be sure that your smoker is rated safe for indoors. Some electric smokers are designed specifically for the outdoors.
Electric Smokers Provide No-fuss Cleanup
While wood and charcoal will require you to sweep, vacuum, and dump out ashes and unburnt fuel, there is minimal cleanup needed for electric smokers.
Just make sure you wipe down any spills and give it a little extra attention when soot starts to build up. Thankfully, it will be a while before you have to wipe out the soot because of the clean burn electric smokers provide.
Some Electric Smokers have Bluetooth Connectivity
Because many electric smokers have digital interfaces, they come with Bluetooth connectivity. So you can check your temperatures, timing, and more, all from the convenience of your smartphone.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Electric Smokers
Electric smokers offer many advantages over charcoal and wood smokers. They are more affordable, fit more food, cost less to run, are safer, and are perfect for beginners.
If you’re looking at getting into smoking, consider all the options available, including electric smokers.
You’ll have more control over your cooks, easily experiment with different techniques, and save a lot of money now and in the long run.
Now It’s Your Turn
I want to hear from youWhich outdoor smoker have you used before?
Have you used a charcoal smoker and have any tips to share?
What features do you typically like to see in a charcoal smoker?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.
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