We all love a good smoky piece of meat or fish cooked to perfection in a BBQ restaurant. But hey, what if you could do that at home and impress your family and friends? Well, that dream can become a reality with an electric smoker.
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There are a vast amount of electric smokers on the market these days. Electric smokers offer a simpler way to enjoy home smoking without the need for propane. Here are five things you should consider when you are buying an electric smoker.
- How much food are you likely to be cooking at any one time?
- How easy it is to clean
- Size – do you have the space?
- Power in watts
We looked at some of the best smokers on the market just for you to help you make the most important decision you may ever make! OK, the most important decision in BBQ terms! Right, let’s look at the nitty gritty on these magic machines!
Here’s our breakdown on everything you need to know about five of the best smokers out there.
This Masterbuilt smokes up to 80lb of food with an 800-watt engine smoking your meat and fish up to 275°F.
You want your smoker to match your kitchen appliances or your yard furniture? This pretty little thing comes in a range of colours in black, cinnamon, blue, green and stainless. It also comes with a 10-inch stand and has excellent reviews on amazon.com. The stand that comes included with this model is worth $49.99 so this offers extra value for money. An on board thermometer with a meat probe also gives you the ability to monitor remotely. Heat resistant gloves included. The power cord is approximately 5ft long. You are going to have to part with around $334 to meet this smoker in the flesh.
Dimensions: 40.75 inches x 22.84 inches x 22.91 inches
Weight: 61.4 pounds
800 watts of smoking charge also available in a window-less version with thermostatic temperature control. Easy side loading for woodchips and a drip tray makes cleaning much easier and the removable water pan makes adding flavours a breeze. As standard, it includes thermostatic temperature control. The adjustable air damper will let you control the smoke level.
This smoker will cook up to 30lbs of meat with an energy efficient rating. This has to be plugged directly into an outlet so no extension cords for this one. Removable parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher for extra ease. The controller is on the top of the unit so no bending down to check the status of the smoke. Great for all the tall guys and gals out there! If you can spare $177, you can admire this little cutie in your own yard.
Dimensions: 20 x 17 x 33.5 inches
Weight: 45.9 pounds
This is an impressive looking beast. Four racks, glass door and an interior light let you see your meat smoking action as it happens! 975 square inches helps you to cook up to 100lbs of meat and fish with a powerful 1200 watt feature. It comes with a built-in meat thermometer and remote control included. This is ideal for cooking your ribs and brisket low and slow. The control panel is on the front rather than the top giving you space to prep your food on the top. There is even a handle and wheels built into the back of the smoker to help you move the smoker easily to your desired location. Let’s face it – this is the smoker for that big barbecue to impress your boss and colleagues. This bad ass smoker will pound your credit card for around $348 but it will be so worth it!
Dimensions: 40.2 inches x 25 inches x 19.5 inches
Weight: 73 pounds
For the tech savvy of you out there, this baby comes with Bluetooth, which lets you take control with your smartphone. Set your smoker going with your smartphone or tablet whilst relaxing with a cold beer! 800 watts powers this device, giving up to 275 degrees of smoking control. The built-in meat probe thermometer gives you the ability to test your meat at intervals for the perfect fall apart in your mouth meat. An air damper comes as standard to control the smoke. Up to 29 hamburger patties can be cooked in this bad boy. I’m getting hungrier just writing this! Cost-wise you are looking at roughly $250-300 to buy online.
Dimensions: 20.9 x 20.1 x 31.9 inches
Weight: 53.7 pounds
This model from Char-Broil is 725 square inches which will cook enough food at one time to feed a family party. It boasts insulated double wall construction, with an easy to clean removable meat probe. You only have to fill the woodchip box once for seven hours of smoking heaven. You can control the smoker with the remote from up to 100ft away. The smoker also looks good which has to be a bonus right? Insulation is double wall construction and wheels come as an additional bonus with a handle to manoeuvre easily. Four adjustable smoking racks come with this model. There is plenty of cooking space for up to 75 burgers. 100 to 275 degree is your temperature range for this smoker. You can buy this model for as little as £229 online so you might have to save up to smoke!
Dimensions: 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches
Weight: 50.2 pounds
Before purchasing a new electric smoker, some factors must be considered. And the first consideration, for most of us, is usually the budget.. How much should we spend? Obviously, everyone would like the best possible model. But most buyers, with many needs and unlimited wants, are unable to buy the item of their dreams. So we have to seek the smoker which will give us the best value for the least amount of cash.
Meaning of Value
But what does value mean to you? Do you love barbecued food and eat it regularly? Do you have cook-outs every week in the summer, when cooking and eating outside is fun? Do we invite friends and neighbours over? Does our extended family join the party?
If your electric smoker is going to be put to serious work, it may be false economy to opt for the least expensive model. So check the models for sale and see your individual circumstances carefully. If you cook out regularly with the kids the odd weekend, a smaller model will probably suit you perfectly.
If, on the other hand, you love to hold large open house barbecues on a regular basis and invite lots of people, a bigger smoker is the one for you. There are various sizes and prices. They can cost a few hundred dollars at the lower end and up to ten thousand dollars at the higher end.
Traditional smokers like the wood or charcoal type are popular but they are cumbersome and need a lot of personal supervision. If you prefer to set the food at the required temperature and leave it cooking safely while you go and have a beer with your guests,, the modern electric or gas smokers will be much better for your needs.
Generally the heat is generated at the bottom of the smoker and moves upwards. The method of barbecue cooking is grilling, rather than boiling, broiling or roasting.
The inner structure of a smoker varies depending on the size. Smaller models will obviously cook smaller portions of food. Larger models contain multiple cooking racks to cook more meat at one time.
In many of these models, the racks are removable, enabling meat and strings of sausages to be hung inside the smoker if this is required. Smokers with removable cooking racks give consumers more flexibility.
Obviously the choice of a larger smoker is great for someone who cooks large quantities of meat at one time. But being able to hang the meat pieces inside the smoker as opposed to laying the meat on a rack every time gives the cook more flexibility in how to prepare the meat.
A caveat doesn’t just mean a warning now to avoid blame later.It’s a term used in the world of barbecue too, but the meaning is quite different. Installed caveats in a smoker refers to the ventilation system in a smoker’s combustion chamber, which allows heat and smoke to be released. You’ll need these in your smoker, especially if you want authentically barbecued food, with the genuine, smoky flavour.
Traditional wood and charcoal smokers need tending and sometimes, intervention for temperature regulation. It is even recommended to keep a pan of water close by to regulate the temperature if it goes out of hand. On the other hand, the modern gas or electric smokers are more regulated.
Generally, the best temperature at which meat should be smoked is 225-275 fahrenheit, but some go up to 500 fahrenheit. Many consumers claim to be able to taste a difference in food cooked in the different types of smokers. Temperature regulation is one of the first qualities to look for when considering the purhase of a smoker.
So with regard to temperature control, what’s the best fit for your lifestyle? If you’re a devoted purist, who treats the art of barbecuing like a sacred ceremony, then it goes without saying that you’ll opt for the wood or charcoal burner. So it’s only a question of finding the available smokers of this type within your reach and checking them out. If, on the other hand, you don’t have a lot of help at hand and you love your barbecued steak, but you would also prefer to hang out and have fun with your guests, then you will definitely prefer to have a modern electric or gas smoker. It’s all down to circumstances. And lifestyle.
And don’t forget, no matter how particular you are about having the best, barbecued food, your guests like to have their food on time and no-one appreciates getting late. That’s another factor to take on board.
Addition of Woodchips or Charcoal
Charcoal and wood smokers are among the most traditional and least expensive available. They are preferred because it is felt that the flavour and texture of the meat cooked in one of these traditional smokers is superior to the meat prepared in gas or electric machines. Also, some electric smokers allow for the burning of wood pellets along with the gas burning process, in order to provide a more authentic flavour to the meat. Some gas smokers allow for the burning of charcoal for the same reason.
Before Making The Final Choice
When purchasing an electric smoker, there’s are important points to keep in mind regarding some of the features.
The first is insuIulation: You must ensure that your smoker is properly insulated, to keep in the moisture of the smoke. Otherwise, the smoker will drip.
The other is safety: The handles of a smoker can become very hot. Wooden handles are preferable to metal as they don’t become so hot. But the problem with wooden handles is the fact that they don’t last very long.
Also, please check that the drawer for the charcoal/wood chips is deep enough to contain a good amount of the material. Because if you overload that shelf with the material, it will cause a lot of flames. That would be not only uncomfortable and dangerous.