Electric smokers are very easy to use because they regulate their temperature automatically. Essentially, electric smokers include various temperature control so can prepare different kinds of meat, vegetables, and fish.
These devices are becoming more and more popular for barbecue cooking because they deliver the same great flavor as traditional smoking methods without requiring a high level of expertise.
The main advantage electric smokers provide is their fuel source. All you need to do is plug it into an outlet.
There’s no need to buy charcoal or propane. Make sure to keep your smoker close enough to the outlet so that you do not need an extension cord.
Of course if you do need an extension cord…
Electric Smokers and Extension Cords
Make sure the cord you use is rated for at least the same amount of power the smoker uses. We review two different electric smokers in this article. The Masterbuilt has an 800 watt heating element. The Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker actually gives recommendations about the specific kind of extension cord.
You will need a 12 or 14 gauge extension cord that is at most 50 feet long. Additionally, it should be approved by Underwriter Laboratories. This is the ‘UL’ symbol. It also needs to be rated for outdoor use.
Here are a few extension cords that meet all these requirements:
If you’re interested in further extension cord safety literature, consider the following resources:
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the meat of this article.
Electric Smoker Reviews
Masterbuilt makes the best electric smokers on the market today. This specific model comes with a remote control that monitors the two main aspects of cooking, time and temperature. The remote runs off AAA batteries which is nice that you do not need to purchase unique batteries that only fit the remote.
The smoker has a temperature range of 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Masterbuilt smokers have a unique design feature that lets you add wood chips without opening the door. A separate, smaller door allows access to the wood chip tray while cooking. The smaller door helps keep cooking temperatures constant if you need to reload wood chips. You can also turn the cooking light on or off with the remote control to check on your food.
Masterbuilt has two significant features to help keep temperatures constant while cooking. The door to access the wood chip tray and the internal cooking light both add ease of use and enhance the quality of your cooking.
One of the best parts about cooking your own food is being up close and personal to the process. The large viewing window, internal light and cooking controls on top of the unit allow you to do exactly that.
This electric smoker has 730 square inches of available cooking space divided between four chrome plated smoking racks. The design allows for up to 100 pounds of food to be cooked at the same time.
A built in meat thermometer pairs well with the thermostat to keep temperatures exactly where you set them. If you have ever cooked with charcoal you know this is difficult to control and requires a lot of attention. The sensors monitor cooking conditions for you. Using a Masterbuilt electric smoker to prepare your food lets you focus on other important things.
A unique way to use your smoker is to prepare jerky. If you want to do this, make sure to open the air damper on top of the unit. Normally, it is kept closed to help hold moisture in and keep food tender and juicy. In the case of jerky moisture needs to leave. Just open the air damper to let this happen. Cooking fish has the same requirement to keep the damper open.
After you are done cooking you can easily clean your smoker by taking out the removable drip pan. Clean up is always the hardest part after a meal. The removable drip pan greatly simplifies everything. Depending on what you are cooking you may need to empty the grease during operation. Of course, you can do this without opening the main door.
The Char-Broil Smoker delivers many of the same features that the Masterbuilt model at a generally lower price. Some of the key differences are no remote control feature and no way to add wood chips without opening the main door. You can empty the drip pan without opening the main door. There is a food thermometer that monitors temperature with the door closed.
This model does not have instructions for cooking fish or jerky. The Masterbuilt has an air damper to allow excess moisture to leave the smoker to facilitate cooking fish and jerky.
If these differences are not relevant to what you plan to use the smoker for then the lower price may be attractive. However, cooking that takes a long time and requires wood chip refills you will need to open the main door. This leads to a loss of heat and may increase cooking times.
Hopefully we have provided enough information to help you make an informed choice when you purchase a new electric smoker to simplify your outdoor cooking.