Electric smokers allow you to enjoy the most delicious meals using your own seasoning and from the comfort of your own home.
They’re also much easier to use when compared to charcoal smokers that require consistent monitoring throughout the cooking process.
If you want to know how to use electric smokers, you’re in for a treat! In today’s article, we’ll provide you with a complete guide that walks you through every step of the way. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
In This Guide
How to Use an Electric Smoker
Don't be intimidated by your brand new electric smoker. You are only moments away from getting started, and we are here to help.
Step 1: Prepare the Smoker for the First Use
When the smoker first arrives, it’ll still have some residue left from the manufacturing process, such as solvents, glues, dust, and more.
You must get rid of all these items so they don’t contaminate your food, by letting the smoker run while it’s empty. This process is called “seasoning” and you only need to do it when you use the smoker for the first time only.
Simply unplug the machine and use a clean cloth to wipe the dust off the interior parts, then rub the racks and the interior walls with any type of cooking oil. Turn on the machine and let it run for about 2 hours at medium-high temperature.
Some smokers might come ready to use, but it won’t hurt to double-check the device by giving it a seasoning run anyway (unless directed otherwise in the instructions manual).
Step 2: Load Up the Smoker’s Hopper
Now that you’ve prepared the smoker for the first actual use, it’s time to load it up with wood chips or wood pellets.
As a rule of thumb, most models will put the hopper tray at the bottom of the smoker machine with a removable tray that you can pull out.
Use the wood chips of your choice into the hopper and put it back in. We recommend Western BBQ Smoking Wood Chips for a good price and flavors but you can use other types as well.
Make sure that you don’t overfill the tray to prevent it from caking or clogging with sawdust. Ideally, you might want to check and replace the wood chips every 4 to 6 hours to avoid burnt or charred flavor.
Step 3: Marinade and Season Your Meat (Optional)
With everything ready to go, it’s time to get your meat ready for smoking, you can either marinate the meat overnight to add flavor or coat the large cuts with an even layer of dry rub.
Of course, this step isn’t necessarily essential, as the wood chips would also give a flavored smokey taste anyway. However, it’s a great way to maximize the flavor of your steaks!
Step 4: Power the Electric Smoker On and Preheat it
While the meat is marinating, plug the electric smoker in and let the machine preheat. The smoker can be digital or analog, so you’ll have to input the heat level accordingly.
The ideal preheating temperature for smoking steaks is anywhere between 220 to 230 F. However, the temperature might increase or decrease based on the recommendations of the smoker or the type of meat you’re using.
Make sure that you allow the smoker to preheat for about 20 to 30 minutes before introducing the meat.
Step 5: Fill the Water Tray Up and Place it Inside
To keep the meat moist during the smoking process, you’ll need to fill up the water tray which is usually at the bottom left of the smoking compartment.
If the smoker doesn’t have a separate water slot, place a small metal tray with some water at the bottom. Be careful while adding the water because the chamber should be hot by now.
Step 6: Load the Meat into the Smoking Chamber
A good tip while loading the meat into the smoking chamber is to arrange the meat in ascending order so that the largest cuts of meat are at the bottom while the smallest rips are placed in the top racks.
Make sure that you allow enough space between the meat pieces so that the smoke can move around freely.
Moreover, secure the door and lock in the latch if it has one to prevent the smoke from leaking as much as possible.
While many electric smokers will come with its built-in thermometer, it’s recommended that you use your to get the most accurate readings of the meat temperature.
Step 7: Start Smoking and Monitor the Progress
Depending on the recipe you’re following, the process of smoking could take anywhere from 3 to 10 hours or even more.
Make sure you monitor the process every now and then but avoid opening the door excessively to prevent the smoke from escaping the chamber. Always use the handles to open the door as the body of the smoker might be extremely hot
Step 8: Take the Food Out and Enjoy!
When the food is ready, take it out and allow it to rest 10 to 15 minutes before digging in to let them reach the optimum temperature for consumption and enjoy your delicious meal!
How to Clean an Electric Smoker After Using it
One of the best ways to preserve your electric smoker and help it stand the test of time is by cleaning it regularly. Here’s a brief guide on how to take care of the smoker after using it:
- Unplug the smoker and make sure it’s completely cooled down.
- Take out all the racks, water pots, as well as other removable attachments.
- Wipe the interior with a damp piece of cloth to remove large food debris.
- Use mildly warm soapy water and a clean microfiber to wipe greases (avoid wiping the heating element if it’s exposed)
- Use kitchen towels to dry the interior of the electric smoker completely before using it.
Getting Started with Your Electric Smoker
With that said, you now have a complete guide on how to use electric smokers the right way. Although there are various models on the market, this guide should work okay with the vast majority of electric smokers out there.
If you’re yet to choose an electric smoker, we love the Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker.
This one is highly affordable, pretty easy to use, and produces excellent savory and smokey flavor!
Last update on 2022-08-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API