You might have recently invested in an electric smoker. Maybe you’ve heard how useful they are and are contemplating purchasing one for yourself.
You could spend a lot of time researching how to get the most out of your new smoker on the internet, but we know you’d rather be using it right now. As a result, we have compiled the best ways to use your electric smoker to save you time.
Advice for Newbies and Pros on Using an Electric Smoker
1. Get rid of the chip bowl
You may be aware of how cumbersome and, frankly, inadequate chip trays may be if you own an electric smoker. Multiple refills of a tiny chip tray are required during the smoke, and the meal is typically underwhelming due to a lack of smoke taste.
This is why many people who like barbecuing have abandoned chip trays in favor of the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker, a compact tube or box that can produce smoke for up to four or eleven hours, respectively.
This pellet smoker doesn’t break the bank, is simple to use, and produces uniform smoke.
Simply fill the tray with pellets to a level below the ridge of the tray’s dividers.
To ignite the pellets, use a lighter or a blowtorch. It’s possible that 45 seconds of heat treatment will be required. Blowing on the burning pellets puts out the fire. This video demonstrates how to use an A-Maze-N pellet smoker to infuse your food with smoke.
Just slide the tray into the smoker, flip open the vent, and kick back. Ribs, turkey legs, and similar-sized pieces may all be smoked with a single complete tray of pellets.
To find out how much smoke you like, try different amounts. If you like a denser cloud of smoke, you may ignite the pellet in the tray from either end. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you chose to burn from both ends, it will burn out in half the time.
2. Avoid smoking your meal for too long.
Keep in mind that when it comes to cigarettes, more is not better. In most cases, very little smoke is required to provide a high-quality taste.
Food that has been smoked for too long, particularly fowl, may become pretty much inedible, so although there will be a time of experimenting (which is half the fun), keep in mind that it is possible to overdo it.
When cooking chicken, one tray of chips or pellets should be enough to provide a respectable taste.
3. Roast chicken over a higher heat setting on the smoker.
Contrary to popular belief, chicken is not a “low and slow” kind of meat.
In fact, 275 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature for smoking chicken. One and a half to two hours is about right for the cook.
It is essential that the meat be cooked through, especially when preparing chicken. It’s common knowledge that raw chicken may be harmful.
It is recommended to check the internal temperature of the chicken to see whether it is cooked through. Cooking it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit ensures it is safe to consume.
Merely calculating the amount of time the chicken has been cooking is not a sufficient indicator of whether or not the flesh is done.
To see a compilation of our top smoker recipes, just look here.
4. Achieve mastery over temperature fluctuations by learning the proper techniques
The temperature inside an electric smoker is notorious for “swinging” at the start of a smoke. There have been cases when this was found to be 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher or lower than the desired temperature.
Let’s examine the causes of these fluctuations to figure out how to keep them under control.
In other words, if you tell your stove to heat to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature will keep rising until it reaches that target. When this temperature is achieved, the heating element will turn off, but the temperature inside the cooker will keep going up for a while because of a lag.
How high it rises is influenced by a number of factors, including the ambient temperature and the strength of the wind.
The weather will cool down again eventually. The element will turn on whenever the temperature drops below the threshold you select. But until the element’s impact takes hold, the temperature will continue to drop below your chosen value. That’s because of the time difference again.
To achieve an internal temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit, a smoker temperature of 205 or 210 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
As the temperature rises, keep an eye on it. As the interior temperature rises to your target temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit, you should adjust the controller’s temperature setting to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using this strategy, your cooker won’t have to strive to maintain a constant temperature by compensating for fluctuations between the set and real temperatures, so reducing the temperature “swing.”
Hopefully, you did your homework when shopping for a smoker and settled on a model with good insulation. We have compiled a list of the top electric smokes if you’re still on the fence about making a purchase.
To lessen the “swing” even further, you may need to make some more little modifications to the selected temperature. After some trial and error, you should be able to have your smoker operating at a temperature not too far off from the start.
5. Use the attachment to smoke when it’s cold.
A cold smoker attachment may be available for your grill. Pellet smoking devices, such as the A-Maze-N Pellet products, may serve the same purpose if you can’t get your hands on one.
For example, with the Masterbuilt cold smoker attachment, you may enjoy continuous smoking for up to six hours. Your digital smoker can now utilize conventional wood chips with this accessory.
These accessories are ideal for cold smoking foods like cheese since they can be used at temperatures as low as 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
In most cases, a cold smoker attachment does not need to be seasoned before to use; nonetheless, it should be used in conjunction with a seasoned smoker. Please refer to the attachment’s user manual for absolute certainty.
A few suggestions for making the most of these add-ons:
- You shouldn’t wet the chips either, just as you wouldn’t with an electric smoker.
- Do not be alarmed if some of the chips catch fire when you spark them to smoke. Good smoke requires a high enough temperature to burn the tobacco. Smoking the meal should be avoided until the smoke is thin and blue.
6. Manage the angle of your vents
Using a charcoal smoker, finding the optimal vent location might be difficult, but with an electric smoker, it’s a breeze.
The smoke may better permeate the meat if the vent is completely open. To prevent creosote from accumulating on your meat, leave the vent wide open when cooking.
Creosote is a component of smoke that, when present in sufficient quantities, contributes to that signature smoky taste. But things may become ugly very fast. A little bit of creosote in your smoke is OK, but if it gets on your meal, it will ruin the flavor.
The only time you should shut your vent during smoking is when you’re done with the meat and want to keep the temperature constant within the smoker.
7. The use of aluminum foil on grill racks may greatly simplify cleanup.
Though this is more of a housekeeping suggestion, any idea that shortens the time spent cleaning is appreciated.
Aside from the obvious efficiency gains, clean grill racks also lead to tastier barbeque.
Rancidity will set in on any fat or oil that has been left on the grates. The smoke that is produced when this fat and oil is heated as you cook is not pleasant, and it may also attach to your food. So what does this amount to in the end? It will ruin the flavor of everything you eat.
Covering your heat deflector pan and drip pan with foil is another option.
8. Keep your wood chips dry
It’s up to you whether you want to use chips or anything else to generate smoke; no judgments will be made.
No soaking of chips is necessary if you do want to use them.
So why is that? White “smoke” is not smoke at all; it is just water vapor being released by the soaked chips.
Amazingribs.com’s resident meathead, Meathead Goldwyn, says it best:
“You might think you see smoke when you toss on wet wood, but it is really steam”.
Aim for thin, blue smoke while lighting up. This is the kind of smoke that gives food that wonderful smoky taste we’ve all been searching for.
Since all that moisture is evaporating from your chips, white, billowing steam may make temperature management more of a struggle.
It may also corrode your smoker’s metal parts.
9. Season your smoker before its first use.
An additional step of seasoning your smoker before using it may seem like a royal pain in the rear. However, I assure you that there are valid reasons for doing so.
First, it will guarantee that your smoker is clean and free of any harmful residue left over from the manufacturing process before you use it to prepare meals. That includes things like dust, solvents, and anything derived from petroleum.
The thin layer of smoke that forms a black coating inside helps cure and seal the inside of your smoker, and the resulting food has a delicious smoky taste.
If you need more convincing after this brief summary, this piece will go into further depth on how to season your electric smoker and the significance of doing so.
10. Bake the chicken until the skin is golden and crisp.
Unfortunately, the highest temperature that some electric smokers can reach is just around 275 degrees, which isn’t nearly hot enough to properly crisp the skin on chicken.
While smoked chicken or turkey will still do the job and taste great, for genuinely crispy skin, consider finishing it in a hot oven for 10 minutes after removing it from the smoker.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our list of top tips for using an electric smoker effectively. If you have any more advice to provide or if there is anything we haven’t covered in this piece, we’d love to hear from you in the comments! Please share your thoughts in the space provided below.