10 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Electric Smoker

Jason Webster
Written by
Last update:

Ditch the chip tray

An electric smoker works by exposing food to low heat for a number of hours. The reason for this is to allow the flavors and juices from the food to seep into the meat.

For this reason, it’s important to let the meat rest after it has been cooked and/or smoked. This gives the juices time to seep into the meat. This is especially important for tough cuts of meat.

If you find that you have a lot of excess fat on your meat, you might want to try ditching the chip tray. Longer smoking times may lead to excess grease dripping into the smoker. Instead, consider ditching the chip tray and using a drip pan to catch any excess juice or grease.

Alternatively, you could also try using a smoker lid to collect any excess liquids from the meat.

Don’t oversmoke your food

Electric smokers are easy to use and are becoming increasingly popular. They are perfect for someone just starting out smoking their own food.

Just fill the water bowl, put in your wood chips, meat and any other desired ingredient, set the temperature and let it go!

The flavor is out of this world!

But for it to work properly, you have to find the right temperature for your particular meat and element. It can be tricky depending on your location, inside or out, weather conditions, the size of your smoker and what you are smoking.

Don’t oversmoke! If you have an electric smoker, you may also want to keep this in mind. Using a meat temperature thermometer is a great way to ensure you are always cooking at the correct temperature.

Here are a few tips to remember when smoking with your electric smoker:

If your smoker smokes a little too much, crank down the element…the less the better!

Don’t put water in the water bowl as it will dilute the flavor.

If your smoker heats up too much, the meat temperature may exceed the smoking temperature and that’s what you want to avoid.

Set the element to its lowest temperature setting to let the smoke circulate the meat and create delicious flavor without getting the meat overcooked.

Smoke shicken on a hotter setting

Smoke cooking involves drying the meat in the presence of smoke. There are multiple ways of cooking with smoke.

The easiest is to cook at very low temperatures.

High heat means the smoke will burn off too fast, depriving your meat of the flavoring that it needs to pass the taste test.

So low and slow is the best way to go. So, start with a low temperature and then pile up the wood until you can taste the smoke.

Learn how to control temperature swings

Temperature fluctuations affect the cooking consistency from cycle to cycle, which can be very frustrating when you've got a lot of meat to smoke. It's important to master troubleshooting when your smoker's temperature is out of range. This may include vent management, airflow control, and fire management.

If the dials on your smoker are not responding, check the connection between your smoker and the propane tank. It only takes a small amount of disconnection to create problems with the automated temperature controller unit.

If this is the problem, reconnect the gas lines and turn the dial to a different setting. Flip-flopping between low and high temps for a few cycles should easily dial-in the new setting.

Hold off on opening the pit to take a peek or adding fuel if you want to keep the temperature in a given range. The temperature drop will take a few minutes to register after you've opened the cooking chamber. When your smoker is in the right range, the temperature will hold steadily, with just an occasional fluctuation up or down.

When the temperature is within the desired range, add the amount of lit briquettes indicated by your recipe.

For cold smoking, use the attachment

That comes with your electric smoker, if it comes with one.

In the cold smoking process, the temperature will stay below 100 degrees which is why you should make sure to use the cold smoking attachment if your smoker has one.

This attachment is often a metal box and as its name suggests it is used exclusively for cold smoking.

The temperature inside this attachment must be below 100 degrees for the cold smoking process.

If you do not have a cold smoking attachment, you can place a cardboard box over the firebox and put ice cubes inside to create less heat. This draft will help you control the temperature.

Control your vent position

To regulate the temperature and control your time.

Making adjustments to the vents is crucial when it comes to regulating the temperature in your smoker. An easy way to control the temperature while firing up your smoker is to adjust it first.

Drape a towel over the vent pipe to put out the small fire inside.

Use foil on your grill racks to make clean up a lot easier

If you are using a braising box to work with your electric smoker, make sure you have legs to elevate the smoking chamber above your dish. This allows the smoke to travel up the pipes and into your smoking chamber.

If you are not using a box, position your smoker away from your food, this way you will improve the airflow.

You can also use foil on the handles of your smoker, this will make it really easy to carry with no dripping juices on your hands or fingers.

Some people find that applying a layer of vegetable oil on their smoker before smoking a lot easier to clean afterwards.

Mosts electric smokers have an adjustable temperature, so use high heat at first before lowering the temperature to cook at desired temperature.

If you have a window on your smoker, close it to keep smoke in the smoker.

If you want to make a smoke ring on your meat, set your smoker at 275-300 degrees.

You can also use the dampers to control the amount of smoke you want to allow to flow in your smoker.

When your meat is cooked through, remove it from the smoker and place it in a covered container with some kind of moisture. This way you will have a hard time overcooking it.

Use a meat thermometer before you remove your meat from your electric smoker.

Watch the video below to learn more.

Don’t soak your wood chips

The moisture in your wood chips will start to steam as it reaches about 190 °F. This steam creates pressure and prevents the flavor from transferring from the wood into the food.

It’s best to either dry your wood chips completely or microwave them to make sure they don’t generate steam. Microwave the wood chips for about 15-20 seconds. The steam will be released, and the wood can then be added to your smoker.

Another way to help prevent steam buildup is to drain any excess water from whatever you are smoking. Using an oven bag helps to quickly transport the food from the refrigerator or countertop and into the smoker should make sure you don’t let any moisture out.

Are you really getting the best smoke flavor?

Pre-season your smoker before using it for the first time

Any new equipment, and especially a smoker, benefits from a prolonged seasoning period. This involves cooking on the smoker for several days, even weeks, before you actually have it on hand when you want to use it to cook food.

The seasoning period allows the internal and external surfaces of the machine to reach the temperature that you’ll be expecting when doing the actual smoking.

It also allows those cold, funky odors that tend to emanate from a new piece of equipment to vanish, making for a much better overall experience.

Among the things to consider during seasoning is temperature calibration. It’s also a good time to get to know your new smoker by checking the heat settings. You are also identifying the useful tips for incorporating smoke, learning the most useful way to maintain temperatures within the right range.

If some smoking scenarios make the machine function differently, you are getting ready for it. At the point when you already have the meat or food to be cooked, you will know just what is to be done to get the job done.

Finish poultry in the oven for crisp skin

If you want crispy skin on your poultry, you need to finish it in the oven after smoking.

Your bird is likely to come out moist, tender, and delicious. It is a good idea to preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place your finished smoked bird in the oven, breast side up, for 15 to 30 minutes or until the skin turns brown and crispy.

If you are using an electric smoker during the smoking process, you can maintain the heat around 300 to 400 degrees F.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday BBQ & Grill Deals 2019

(Best Deals on Grills, Smokers, Accessories & More)