Not all of us are fans of messy, charcoal smokers. It’s difficult to maintain and you need to get your hands dirty with the ashes and charcoal. This is the reason why the best electric smoker is a good choice. It can be used for small family meals or a large gathering with friends.
|ATTRIBUTES||Masterbuilt Electric Smoker |
with Window and RF Controller
|Char-Broil Deluxe |
Digital Electric Smoker
|Wood chip loading|
|Prone to mess|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon.com||Check Price on Amazon.com|
Like what grillers describe electric smokers, “set it then forget it”. There’s no need to keep a hawk eye on the temperature since everything is controlled through digital means. You don’t have to light charcoal or clean any mess after cooking. Although it still uses wood for the smoke, it’s not as demanding as a traditional charcoal smoker.
If you still want to taste the smoky goodness despite your tight schedule, an electric smoker would be an excellent investment.
What is an electric smoker?
Electric smokers are straightforward in design and functions. It heats up with the help of electricity to cook food and wood to add smoke. It can have either a vertical and horizontal design.
Basically, electric smokers have grate racks inside where you can stash sausages, briskets, and meat cuts. You’ll usually get three to four racks in most electric smokers. After that, you’ll put wood chips, shut the door, plug the appliance, and wait until your meal is ready.
You only need a little amount of wood chip to achieve the smoky flavor. Still, you’re free to play with the amount until you get the taste you’re looking for. Usually, there would be a bottom tray for the wood chips which can be a pain to get to in case you want to add more wood chips.
Remember that the best rated electric smokers shouldn’t be like this. The wood chip tray should be as easy to access as the cooking area. Each model will have varying construction for the tray. But everything should be convenient to access even if the surfaces are hot.
One important component of an electric smoker is the water pan. It keeps the temperature in control by absorbing heat and releasing it as vapors. The water pan also supplies moisture for the food being cooked.
Electric smoker vs. charcoal smoker
Smoke-cooking is the expertise of charcoal smokers. It offers authentic flavors but there’s a price you should be willing to pay. Charcoal smokers are problematic when it comes to temperature control. And if you don’t have the patience to deal with, you’re better off with an electric version.
Another thing is that charcoal smokers can run out of fuel. This means you’ll have to monitor it and refill the firebox to keep the cooking going. Whereas in electric smokers, you just have to plug it and wait for the meat to be cooked. Although you still have to consider the amount of wood chips, it rarely becomes a problem for the typical length of cooking.
Still, purists and traditional grillers don’t mind getting into the mess. After all, it all boils down to preference. What you have to consider is that electric smokers may not offer the same height of flavors unless you’re willing to stash wood chips repeatedly.
Best rated electric smokers
After scouring the web for the best deals, we found these two electric smokers that are total value for money:
Masterbuilt Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller
With 730 sq. in. of cooking surfaces, you’ll love the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker in every family gathering. It can cook 100 pounds of meat in just one batch. The Masterbuilt smoker comes with four chrome-coated racks that allow even cooking.
On top of this best electric smoker is a thermostat controller that ranges from 100 to 275F. It also has a built-in meat temperature probe so you no longer need to do it manually. Such a thing ensures that your food will be cooked evenly and in the temperature that you like. Here are more of the things to look forward to the Masterbuilt electric smoker:
RF remote control. You don’t have to stick near the smoker just to get things right. It comes with a remote controller that allows you to tweak the temperature, light, and meat temperature.
Wood chip side loading. With this smoker, there’s no need to open the door just to add more chips. On the side of the Masterbuilt smoke is a cylindrical container that you can pull out and in. By locking it with a twisting motion, the chips will fall on the incinerator.
Drip and ashtray. When we say no mess, it’s synonymous to Masterbuilt. It has a drip tray and ashtray that are equally easy to access as the wood chip container. By the way, it also comes with a water pan to maintain the moisture inside.
Food capacity. To give you an idea, this electric smoker can hold up to 12 whole chickens or two whole turkeys.
A small caveat:
-If your food items tend to be too juicy, you can place it on aluminum pans. It won’t hurt the smoky flavor.
-It can become addictive to use.
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
The Char-Broil isn’t a far cry from the Masterbuilt in terms of cooking surface. It has 725 sq. in of cooking space on is four smoking racks. This smoker also has a removable thermometer, double-wall construction, tight-smoke seal, and a full view glass door. It even has a remote control with a digital screen so you’ll see how everything is going.
This is a high-capacity electric smoker that can run for a maximum of 7 hours without needing a wood chip refill. And since it comes with a digital control panel, you can set everything and relax while you wait for your juicy meal. It has a built-in temp probe for the meat so you won’t overcook or undercook it. Here’s what we love about these best rated electric smokers:
Temperature technology. You simply have to set the temperature on the digital control and leave it until it cooks. The smoker will keep your food warm even if you forget to check it out past the cooking time.
Large wood chip container. The wood chip container of this smoker is located inside and you’d have to open the door to refill. However, the good thing here is that the container is large and can hold up to 8 hours of wood chip quantity.
Side access grease pan. If you’re cooking large cuts, you’ll prevent the mess through the side access grease pan of this best electric smoker.
Tight seal door. Unlike the tiny hinge of the Masterbuilt smoker, this Char-Broil model has a larger door seal for better cooking.
A small caveat:
-You have to set a time or a meat temperature to start cooking. It’s a little bit complicated for starters but worth it considering the accuracy of cooking.
-The range of the controller is modest at 35-40 feet from the smoker. You can’t walk too far if you want to get in the hook of the cooking.
Things to look for an electric smoker
If you’re planning to purchase an electric smoker, make sure that you have this checklist in mind:
Although electric smokers are powered by electricity, it still combusts wood chips for smoke. It’s important that on top of the construction is a tiny vent. Usually, it should have a rotating cover where you can either choke the exhaust or let the smoke leak.
Washable meat probes
One of the most crucial considerations when purchasing an electric smoker is the type of probe there is. It’s best to get one that’s detachable and washable just like what Char-Broil has. This will save you from additional expenses and manual checking of the doneness of the meat.
Electric smokers can get really hot and the last thing you want is a scorching door. A well-insulated construction ensures that the exterior isn’t hazardous.
Size matters when you’re purchasing the best electric smoker. First, consider the amount of food you want to cook at a single batch. Four-rack smokers are the best buys because it allows you to smoke more at once or shove an entire turkey inside. Also, get one with a large wood chip container, especially if it’s located inside. You can consider compact models given that the wood chip refill can be done outside.
An electronic smoker complete with digital dials, controller, heat monitor, and time setting would be excellent. The best rated electric smokers will make the cooking easier and safer for you.
Trays and racks
Some smokers will come with pan trays instead of grills. When picking, consider what type of food you’re going to cook more often. Grills are the common options for meat items since it lets the excess grease drip out of the food.
Your choice of electric smoker should be easy to use. Is the door easy to lock and unlock? Is the temperature control accurate? All these will make difference when it comes to ease of use.
Advantages of using electric smokers
Electric smokers are the closest you’ll get if you want the smoky flavor minus the hassle. It’s easy to use and the smoke and ash emissions are a bare minimum compared to traditional charcoal smokers. Here are some of the biggest advantages of using electric smokers:
Simple to use. Heat management becomes virtually effortless with the use of electric smokers. This appliance is programmed to accept pre-set heat and time of cooking. You can also predict the amount and smell of smoke through the type of wood you’re going to use.
Instant heating. Gone are the days of struggling to light up charcoal on a firebox. You just load the food and wood chips then turn it on to have it heat up instantly.
Perfect for apartments. It’s outright impossible to use an offset smoker when you’re living in an apartment or condominium. Unless you’re willing to cause panic on the building, electric smokers are the way to go.
Great for small to large gatherings. The good thing about electric smokers is that it’s flexible enough to cook various meat items. It can be used for casual meals or large-scale cooking.
Equally functional during cold months. The common problem among charcoal smokers is its failure to maintain internal temperature during the cold season. Not with an electric smoker.
Disadvantages of using electric smokers
As much as there are a lot of good things to enjoy with the best rated electric smokers, there are also some downsides to think about:
-Barbecue competitions don’t count electric smokers as legitimate equipment. If you’re planning to join a BBQ contest, you have to stick to traditional means.
-No electricity, no cooking. Electric smokers are functional, but a power outage can deem it useless. Unless you have a generator at home, this is prone to power failures.
-Minimal smoke. Although you can attain a certain smoke flavor, it’s undeniable that electric smokers have lower smoke profile than conventional charcoal smokers.
-Not always enough for big meat cuts. A lot of electric smokers can’t handle large chunks of meat. If ever it can literally fit in a while turkey, it may not give justice to the doneness. The good thing is that some models like the Masterbuilt and Char-Broil have come up with innovations to fix this.
The best electric smoker will allow you to enjoy your usual favorites without the mess. Just be meticulous and you’ll get the right model.