If you're looking for a top-quality electric smoker, it can be difficult to find the perfect choice.
With so many options on the market, it's easy to get overwhelmed and have no idea which one to choose.
To help you out, we've created this guide that includes our picks for the best small electric smoker as well as some other helpful information.
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Factor to Considering When Choosing The Best Small Electric Smoker
When you're looking for a good electric smoker, it's important to keep in mind a few key points that can help you determine what type of smoker is best for you.
How much time do you have to spend at the smoker? Is it for everyday use? Do you plan on using the smoker for smoking specific types of food, such as seafood or food that is high in fat? These are just some of the factors to take into consideration when deciding which electric smoker would be best for your needs.
cleaning can be one of the more tedious parts of cooking, but electric smokers help make it easier by reducing all of the hassle associated with burning and cleaning. Most electric smokers have many different parts that all fit together, so you won't need to excessively scrub and clean.
The number of burners
In general, there are two types of smokers: single- and dual-burner units. While most electric smokers have a single burner, you can also find both one and two burner units with the electric smoker models. Before deciding on which electric smoker is best for your needs, it's important to know how many burners your specific model has. You'll also want to consider the size of each burner.
Amount of food to be cooked
This can sometimes play a big part in the type of smoker you should pick. If you plan on cooking for a large number of people, it's best to consider an electric smoker with at least two burners.
One advantage that electric smokers have over other types of smokers is their size. They're typically much smaller and easier to move around than most propane smokers or wood smokers. When it comes to choosing an electric smoker, knowing the outside dimensions will help determine how easily you can move your new smoker around the house or even take it out camping with you.
You're going to want to keep this as short as possible. The more food that you'll be cooking, the better you should consider purchasing a larger electric smoker. If you only plan on making one or two things, it's probably not necessary for your electric smoker to have a large capacity.
This is obviously going to play a huge factor in choosing the best small electric smoker for your needs. However, if you're on a tight budget and don't mind buying used, there are many smokers available at great prices from sites such as Craigslist and Amazon that offer great deals on their second-hand smokers every day. You may be surprised by how much you can save.
Why You Might Want A Small Electric Smoker
An electric smoker is a great choice for many reasons, including:
Very easy to clean
Many electric smokers come with a large number of parts that make it very difficult to clean and maintain, but most are fairly simple to clean up. Simply turn the unit on, put it on a flat surface, and put some hot water on it. If there's any excess grease that needs to be cleaned off of the cooking area, it should come off easily with an e-cleaner or similar product.
Great for smaller spaces
Most electric smokers are extremely compact and easy to move around so that you can carefully use your smoker almost anywhere without worrying about hurting yourself and damaging the smoker itself.
Great for all types of meat
Most electric smokers are great options for everyday use, particularly if you plan on using it a few times a week or even every day. They're also great if you plan on cooking a variety of different types of meat, including vegetables and fruits.
How To Start Using Your New Small Electric Smoker?
When it comes to using your new electric smoker, it's extremely easy to get started and doesn't take much time at all. If you're planning on smoking food for the first time, there is a slight learning curve that comes with getting used to how the unit works. Some of the best electric smokers also come with detailed instructions on how to properly use it.
To ensure that you get everything out of your new smoker, here are a few tips that can help you get started using your electric smoker from the beginning:
Seasoned meat is not required
Most smoked food doesn't need to be cooked for very long and can be ready after about six hours of cooking. If you plan on using your small electric smoker for everyday cooking, go ahead and purchase unseasoned meat for a better overall quality of taste. Or buy seasoned meat and then season it yourself before cooking in the smoker.
Know your meat
Know your meat before putting it in the smoker. Many seasoned smokers recommend only one pound of food at a time, and this is a great idea because you can get optimal cooking out of just one pound. However, if you plan on smoking more than one pound of meat at a time, you may want to reconsider your choice of smoking.
Check if there's an escape vent
One of the main benefits that come with electric smokers is that they don't have vents or intakes for air. This means that the heat is always being drawn from the cooking surface and is evenly distributed inside of your smoker. However, if you have a bigger electric smoker with a single-burner model, there may be one vent that allows air to escape and can affect the overall cooking quality. A good trick to avoiding this issue is to place a piece of aluminum foil or a towel over your heat source to ensure the air isn't flowing out of your smoker.
Keep it clean
Some electric smokers come with a grease catcher, while others do not. Regardless of whether or not they do, you should always keep your smoker clean after using it so that it's as efficient as possible for food quality and flavor. You may find that it's easy to do with a dedicated tool such as an e-gripper or similar device, but make sure you do it one way or another to prevent any unwanted buildup of grease inside of your unit.
The Benefits Of Owning A Small Electric Smoker
They're extremely affordable
Many electric smokers are available for a short-term lease or rent, but if you'd rather purchase one, you may be surprised by how affordable they really are. In fact, many of the best electric smokers are available at an extremely low cost and can help you to save for the money on additional products that are essential to smoking food such as e-cleaner or similar products.
No additional ventilation is required
Ventilation is often important when cooking in a smoke house with a fire pit because it helps to keep the fire burning at all times without going out or breaking down at inopportune times. However, with electric smokers, there's no need to worry about ventilation because they draw in smoke through the cooking surface and vent it out through the heat source or exhaust.
Greater heat capacity
By drawing in air through the cooking surface, most electric smokers have a greater capacity for heat than traditional fire pits. This means that you should be able to cook food at a faster rate and with more efficient performance than if you were cooking with a fire pit on its own.
No wood or charcoal needed
Most electric smokers are completely self-contained machines that don't need any additional tools or materials to get started so that you can begin using it right away.
Quick and easy to start
Many electric smokers only take about 20 minutes to heat up, after which point you can start cooking. They're also very easy to set up, so you don't need to worry about dealing with a large number of parts, pieces or tools before using it for the first time.
Smoker Recipes For Beginners
Now that you know how to use your electric smoker, it's important to learn how to prepare the food itself. Most electric smokers come with a variety of recipes for beginner smokers, but there are also plenty of different recipes online for smoked meat and other foods as well. Here are a few ideas that can help you get started:
Applewood smoked pork chops
After thoroughly cleaning your pork chops, cut them into strips or cubes and season them with salt and pepper before rubbing them down with olive oil or butter. Place the seasoned chop on a baking sheet in one layer so they don't overlap each other before putting them into your smoker and setting the temperature at 225 degrees F. Once the temperature is steady and 225 degrees, place your pork chops into your electric smoker for four hours. Serve them with grilled corn on the cob or a potato salad.
Smoked chicken wings
Cut the heat off completely in your small electric smoker and leave it closed for about 20 minutes to burn off any residue from the previous cooking session. Afterward, change your smoker to a temperature that is between 200 and 225 degrees F, making sure that you don't go above 225. Place your chicken wings onto a baking sheet in one layer because they tend to curl as they cook and placing them in one layer will help them keep their form easier.
Tips For Smoking Meat Like A Pro
Let the heat do its work
Many smokers recommend letting the heat do its work and not opening up your smoker until you decide to check on it. Although it may be tempting to look inside, peeking can often lower the temperature of your smoke box by quite a bit, forcing you to let the food cook longer than necessary.
If you want your meat to cook fast, place it in your smoker overnight so that it can cook while you're sleeping and won't require any supervision or additional supervision once you wake up in the morning. No one will be able to steal or eat your food, and if they do they probably won't enjoy whatever they find inside!
Smoke your food
As mentioned before, a good trick to help avoid the issue of airflow is to place a piece of aluminum foil or a towel over your heat source. While it may seem like a small detail, doing so will allow your smoker to draw in air through the cooking surface and vent it out through the heat source without the presence of air.
Let it cool down
Once you have finished smoking meat in your electric smoker, be sure to let it cool down for anywhere between 30 minutes and 4 hours. This will help keep any flavors within the meat from getting cooked off, which can result in unpleasant tastes or aromas.
Use wood chips
Smoking wood chips provide your meat with a unique flavor that you won't find in other foods. However, there are many different types of wood, and some of them may be better suited for different foods than others. Use applewood for pork, hickory for poultry, cherry for fish and mesquite for beef.
Remove the fat
Most electric smokers come with a built-in grease removal feature so that the fat doesn't leak or drip into the food, but be sure to check your owner's manual to make sure that yours is equipped with this feature before you start smoking meats in it.
Can I use my electric smoker for anything besides smoking meat?
Yes, you can use your electric smoker to smoke anything that consists of meat or fish, such as pork ribs or salmon. Even vegetables and fruits can be smoked in an electric smoker.
What kind of wood chips do I use?
You can choose from a wide variety of different types of juices and woods that are suitable for different foods. The most common woods include apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite and oak. Experiment with various types to find one that you like the best.
Can I reheat food in an electric smoker?
You may be able to reheat food in your electric smoker or you might find that you lose a great deal of quality and taste once the food has been cooked. It's recommended that you cook your food from scratch and not try to reheat it.
What kind of temperature should my electric smoker be set on?
Most electric smokers are best when they are set on between 200 degrees F and 225 degrees F. Any hotter than that and most foods will burn, while any cooler than that and it will take longer for your meat to cook.
These days, many people prefer to smoke food in their homes instead of having to head out for a restaurant meal. Even if you don't own an electric smoker yet, it's extremely important to learn how to use one so you can be able prepare and cook your own food at home.
The best small electric smokers have come a long way in the last decade or so, going from something that can only do simple tasks like smoked fish and meat, to an appliance that can now do almost anything. It's easy enough for anyone to understand how they work and what they are capable of doing once you learn the right techniques on how to use them effectively.