Last updated: August 29th 2016
When it comes to choosing the best electric smoker there are hundreds of products on the market to choose from. Some people prefer a fuel-powered smoker, but an electric one can be just as useful with a wider range of smoking options. The benefits of an electric smoker most definitely outweigh any disadvantages, allowing you to smoke food products such as fish, meat and cheese in a tasty way.
In this modern age we are used to appliances that have maximum efficiency, and with an electric smoker there’s very little input from the user- similar to a microwave. Unlike traditional fuel sources such as charcoal, you don’t have to clean up the ash or residue build up from inside the smoker. You don’t even have to keep refueling it every few hours, it’s all done for you. All you need to do for great smoked food is load the food onto the racks or trays, set the dial to the required temperature and leave until it’s done.
Electric smokers allow you to regulate temperature, specific for each food, although you can get some quality ones that are fixed for a particular flavor every time. A thermostat is useful because you can experiment with different heat levels and smoking times to get certain foods exactly the way you want them. Not only are electric smokers one of the cheapest to run, but they can also be used even if you live in an apartment- or it’s winter.
Best Electric Smoker : Our Top 6 in 2017
#1 Smokin’ Tex Pro Smoker Model 1500
The Smokin’ Tex Pro Smoker is undoubtedly one of the top smokers out there. Made for those who have a large family or business, it can handle up to 80lbs at a time! Everything on this smoker is crafted with stainless steel for simple cleaning, both the interior and the exterior, including the 8 shelves.
Real wood brings back the much-loved pit barbecue flavoring, natural and rich. You won’t have to worry about dry meats as the static air is moved around to retain flavour, cooking every cut evenly through a slow cook. It really is as simple as loading the food, setting the temperature and leaving it. The element heats a wooden box which creates a steady stream of flavorful smoke to infuse cheeses, meats and fish among many other products.
You always feel like you are in control with this smoker, as the built in thermostat and display let you know precise temperatures. Although it has fantastic capabilities and a wide range of cooking choices, the design is simple yet powerful- an excellent addition to any kitchen.
This model has been designed for serious and professional cooks, yet it is still user-friendly for individuals who will be using it to cook large amounts of food on a regular basis. Temperature ranges between 100-250°F, putting it in first place for the best electric smoker to cook loads of jerky equally as well as a holiday turkey.
#2 Bradley Smokers Original
A hot contender for the electric smoker of your dreams, the Bradley Smokers Original offers an excellent all-round cooking capability. Attached to the side of the main smokehouse is a smoke generator where you can add flavored bisquettes. Each one is burned for around 20-30 minutes, releasing a steady stream of smoke that does not greatly affect the temperature.
Some smokers can give an artificial taint to the food due to various resins, but the Bradley Smokers Original ensures that clean and pure smoke flavors the food over 9 hours- with no input from you.
As a well-known brand for producing some of the highest quality smokers (including electrics), it’s no surprise that this model (like all Bradley Smokers) can be used for both cold smoking as well as hot smoking. This is because the way the smoke is released in a manageable way over a long period of time for maximum effects.
Controlling an electric smoker has never been easier, as the dial on the cabinet can be set to a number of temperature and smoke settings. A cold smoke generator is available for purchase separately, but worth it if you plan on making frequent use of it.
If you don’t already have enough ideas of what foods you are going to smoke with your new device, a handy recipe booklet and usage guide is thrown in too so you’ll never get bored.
#3 Masterbuilt 30″ Smoker (Model #20070910)
The first thing to note about the Masterbuilt 30” smoker is its enormous capacity- well over 1.5 cubic feet. It can be used for daily smoking and curing purposes, as well as being large enough to cater for a large family gathering or party- ideal for both beginner and expert.
The timer is a lifesaver, turning the smoker off at the time you set so food can never dry out or get burnt.
A good electric smoker will provide a consistent heat and amount of smoke and this model is no exception. The temperature can be set between 100-175°F and the interior is completely insulated for an even cook.
Opening a smoker can reduce its capability and waste energy, the Masterbuilt 30” smoker has a handy side-loader for adding extra flavoring chips.
One benefit often overlooked on this model is the drip tray. Underneath the smoker, you can pour liquids like beer or vinegar into the drip tray that will add an extra dimension to any food you choose. It also catches juices from the meat on the racks which can be turned into a superb gravy. The air damper can be opened wide to just get a hint of smokiness, or closed shut to enhance the flavor infused into the food.
#4 Old Smokey Electric Smoker
This electric smoker has made it into the list of great value electric smokers for many reasons, including for its sleek and contemporary grey design. The whole smoker is made with quality materials, and it’s obvious lots of thought has gone into the design:
- The flat-topped style lets the juice drip down and marinade the food whilst it’s cooking.
- Upper and lower grill levels to spread out different foods for a more intense or mild flavor.
- The tray is placed on top of the element where you can add various flavored wood chippings.
- Adjustable thermostat to experiment with a variety of cooking styles and techniques.
- A tight-fitting lid prevents any smoke and heat escaping, increasing efficiency and minimizing cook time.
The base area of this smoker is relatively small compared to others, at just 15.5”x15.5”. This doesn’t mean the inside space is small, just that it can be stored easily when not in use. The multiple layers of this electric smoker allow clean smoke to circulate freely, covering and flavoring the meat all round. It is quite high at just under 30”, which means that you’re not going to be forever bent over it with smoke and heat in your face. You can unload the food items from the smoker easily, as the racks come out with a wiggle.
#5 Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker 810-7080
For around $100, this model from Brinkmann is well worth the money for the quality it provides. It has large dimensions at 17”x17”x35”, which means it can hold around 50lbs of meats and fish- or whatever else you can imagine!
Carefully designed, the Brinkmann Gourmet Electric smoker has two wooden handles so you don’t get burnt, plus plated steel grills and a porcelain-coated pan underneath. Food can be loaded and unloaded with ease thanks to the hinged front door, unlike some cheaper models where you have to reach in through a small opening.
As with all the best electric smokers, this one is entirely reliable and you can leave it set at a certain temperature and not have to worry about your food spoiling- once it’s done it turns off. The efficiency of this particular smoker is very high, keeping the heat inside regulated via thermostat to avoid high energy bills and overcooking food. No mess is involved as with wood or charcoal smokers, and can be cleaned with a regular scourer after use- no special treatments needed.
For an electric smoker, it gives an outstanding unique and natural flavoring to anything you desire to cook, cure or smoke. In this low-average price range, it has to be one of the best valued smokers for your money- a perfect starter smoker!
#6 Smokehouse Little Chief Front Load Smoker
A big name in produce smoking with a tiny price tag, the Smokehouse Little Chief is the best smoker for the daily cooking of small to medium sized items. Meat and fish can both be cooked with no problems at all, and portions of nuts and vegetables can also be smoked too.
It can hold anything up to 25lbs, heated with a durable element. Some may see the lack of a thermostat on this model as a problem, being fixed at 165°F. However, you will come to find that this temperature has been set for a reason; hundreds of recipes from the Smokehouse range are included in a handy booklet and they have been used for several generations with similar models. You will be creating great smoked dishes in next to no time at all, it’s completely self-contained.
Similar in style to an oven, the simple front-loading style and easy-slide grill plates have been one of its most popular features. In addition to this, the fuel pan can be filled with wood chips directly under the food, giving it the maximum amount of flavor. Included with this smoker is a free bag of natural hickory wood chips to get you started on your food smoking adventure.
Whats the best smoker for your needs ?
Smokers come in all shapes and sizes with varying features, it’s useful to do a little research on each one first across a couple of sites. Always check that a smoker model meets your exact requirements before committing to purchasing one, what seems great at first may not be the best smoker for you. Maybe start with one of these less expensive models at around $100 and see if it does what you expect. We hope this has helped you make an informed choice on the type of electric smoker that would be most suited to you.
People have been smoking food for centuries, both to preserve and give flavor to a variety of foods. Some of the foods that can be prepared in electric smokers include: peppers, salmon, bacon, sausages, cheeses, steaks, ribs, nuts, chicken, jerky and seasonal vegetables. For those of you who have never owned an electric smoker but really enjoy the taste of smoked food, especially meats, buying one of your own and creating your own unique flavors will be something you wish you’d done years ago.
Sometimes choosing which is the right smoker for you can have you tirelessly searching forums and Amazon reviews, with sometimes mixed opinions. We’ve compiled a list of the best electric smokers available today to make your search that little bit easier.
How to use an electric smoker?
Electric smokers are perfect for the casual cooker who wants everything to be precise, isn’t cooking a large amount of food, and wants to do it indoors. Through the use of an electric smoker, its possible to cook meats at low temperatures for long periods of time, allowing for extra flavor. There are many benefits to using an electric smoker, but by far the best is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time monitoring the smoker and the temperature inside.
There are two types of electric smokers as well:
- The first is the vertical water electric smoker (like the Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker), which is quite cheap and is great for warm weather. The only problem is they cannot hold their temperature in cold weather.
- The second type is the electric cabinet smoker (like the MasterBuilt 30″ Electric Smoker), which looks like a small fridge and can cook at higher temperatures.
So, how to use an electric smoker? Here is the low down:
- First of all, coat the racks and indoor surfaces of the cooker with cooking oil and then turn the smoker on and let it run for about two hours. Then open the smoker after turning it off and let it cool off.
- Season and prepare your meat with a dry rub. You can use any type of marinade that you like, just make sure it is something that will taste good after hours of sitting in the smoker. To really let the flavor soak in, let the meat sit in the seasonings inside the fridge overnight.
- Once the meat is ready, you can turn the smoker on and if you need to, add water to the water receptacle depending on the type of electric smoker that you have.
- Get some wood chips online or at a local store and put the chips in the wood chip container. You will need about four cups of chips for every four hours that you plan to be smoking meat in the electric smoker.
- Your smoker should come with a temperature gauge, so you can monitor the temperature. Adjust the temperature control for what you want it at. Once the smoker reaches the temperature that you want, put the meat in the smoker.
- Leave the meat in the smoker until it reaches the desired temperature. The meat should be smoked until it is tender and this can take anywhere from three to eight hours depending on the temperature inside of the smoker, as well as the type of meat and how thick it is. Larger slabs of meat will take longer, while small bits of meat will not take very long. Make sure you check the temperature of the meat by sticking a meat thermometer inside the center of the meat ever hour or half hour.
The nice thing about an electric smoker is they are very easy to use. Leaning how to use an electric smoker is not hard, and you will be cooking up great meat in no time at all.
To find out more about electric smokers, check out our electric smokers guide. If you are interested in reading more, check out our charcoal smokers guide, and our propane smokers guide too!