Do You Soak Wood Chips for Electric Smokers?

Cooking your food in a smoker gives it a smokey, savory taste. There are a few types of smokers available, but electric smokers are the most convenient. They allow you to set a timer and walk away. The smoker will do the rest for you. If you don’t have the time to pay close attention to your smoker, electric smokers are the best.

What Is the Purpose Of Wood Chips?

Wood chips are a source of fuel for propane and charcoal smokers, but they also give the food a smoky flavor. Electric smokers don’t need the chips for fuel, but they do have a compartment designed for wood chips so that you can give your food that extra kick of flavor that you are looking for.

Best Wood/Meat Combinations

Whether you plan to soak your wood chips or not, you should know which types of wood chips will work best with the meat that you are smoking. While you can use any wood with any meat, certain types of wood chips bring out the flavor better in certain meats.

  • Apple: Apple chips provide a sweet, fruity flavor. They are great for all types of meat, particularly ham. Apple chips also work well certain types of seafood.
  • Hickory: Hickory chips work great with protein-based meats, such as bacon and ham. They give these meats a robust and sweet flavor.
  • Maple: Maple chips are not as sweet as you might think. These chips are great for small game birds, ham, and cheese.
  • Pecan: Pecan chips add a nutty flavor to the meat, and is excellent for fish or poultry.
  • Orange: When cooking fish and other types of seafood, you should go with orange wood chips. They will give your fish and seafood a tangy, citrus flavor.
  • Mesquite: Of all the wood chips available, mesquite burns the hottest. The strong earthy flavor produced by these chips makes them an excellent option for red meat.
  • Cherry: Cherry wood chips provide a sweet and fruity flavor, but it is milder than applewood chips. If you are cooking lighter colored red meats, it will leave a subtle rose tint on the meat.

 

Soaking Wood Chips

Before smoking meat, particularly in a propane or charcoal smoker, people soak their wood chips for up to an hour before putting them in the smoker. This is done to lessen the high burning temperature of the wood. When the wood chips are soaked, they won’t burn as quickly, allowing them to smoke longer. They are essential in regulating the temperature inside the smoker. Electric smokers have temperature controls built-in; therefore, you don’t need to soak the chips to regulate the temperature. There are; however, other benefits of soaking your wood chips before putting them in an electric smoker.

Why Should You Soak Your Wood Chips?

Even though you don’t need to soak your wood chips with an electric smoker, you might want to to add more flavor. If you soak them in liquids such as apple juice, beer, or wine, it can add to the flavor.

If you are going to soak your wood chips in any of these liquids to add more flavor, you should understand that it is a balancing act. You want to make sure that the liquid that you choose doesn’t overpower the wood because it can drown out the smoky flavor. You want to make sure that the liquid that you choose compliments the wood.

If you are going to soak your wood chips, whether you have a propane smoker, a charcoal smoker, or an electric smoker,

If you are going to soak your wood chips, you should understand that you are going to need to replace your wood chips every few hours; therefore, you are going to need soaked wood chips on hand. After putting your first batch of soaked wood chips in the smoker, start soaking your second batch. You should only need about three batches of soaked chips.

 

What To Consider If You Are Going To Soak Your Wood Chips

If you are thinking about soaking your wood chips before putting them in your electric smoker, there are a few things that you should know.

First, your electric smoker can produce different types of smoke, and they are not all good for smoking meat. White smoke is basically steam. This is fine when you are cooking steamed vegetables in the house, but it won’t do much for your meat. Steam isn’t strong enough to give you meat that smoky flavor you desire. Gray or black smoke is dirty and harmful because it is rich in carcinogens. Soaking your wood chips can cause either of these types of smoke. The optimal kind of smoke for safely adding flavor to your meat is a pale blue, thin smoke. The best way to create this type of smoke is with dry wood and plenty of oxygen. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to achieve this with soaked wood.

Another thing to consider is that soaking your wood chips produces a great deal of smoke. When it comes to smoking meat, less is more. If your smoker generates too much smoke, it will overwhelm the meat and it will taste too smoky and will be inedible. If you put a rub or a brine on your meat, the flavor will be lost entirely if there is too much smoke.

 

What To Do If Your Smoker Doesn’t Contain a Wood Chip Receptacle?

Because electric smokers don’t generally require wood chips, some don’t come with a receptacle to hold the wood chips. If yours doesn’t, you can still use wood chips. Simply put them in a tin pan, or a metal can, and place them in the bottom chamber of your smoker. You can also purchase a smoker box that is designed for smokers without a receptacle. These smoker boxes are durable so that you can leave it in the bottom of your smoker permanently. They also provide excellent smoke ventilation.

 

What Is Right For You?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Whether or not you choose to soak your wood chips before putting them in your smoker depends on the flavor you are aiming for. If you are thinking about soaking your wood chips in water, don’t bother. Electric smokers regulate the temperature automatically; therefore, water won’t do anything. If you are looking to enhance the flavor of your chips with flavored liquids, you should do some research first. You want to make sure that you are using the best liquid for the wood chips that you are using. Overall, the choice is yours. Soaking the chips isn’t necessary, but it can bring out some fantastic flavors in your meat. If you would like a full guide of how to use an electric smoker click here.

Happy smoking!

How To Use An Electric Smoker

Unlike traditional charcoal smokers, which required a lot of attention and close monitoring, the new electric smokers are brilliantly easy to use.

More importantly, they provide a perfect balance between performance and flavor, and they also make greater beginner smokers.

For instance, most of these smokers come with a temperature control function, living up to their tag “set it and forget it.” As such, these smokers will allow you to deliver finger-licking and authentic barbeque without the hassle of tending to coal.

Here, you simply need to place your seasoned meat in the smoker, choose your preferred performance metrics, and let the smoker take care of the rest.

But there’s a caveat; using an electric smoker is not the easiest of the tasks, especially if you’re a beginner. Equally, seasoned BBQ enthusiasts usually have a hard time ticking all the boxes for the perfect BBQ results.

But in this article, we shall take you through a step by step procedure and show you everything you need to know how to use an electric smoker.

1. Find a Smoker that Works for You

The first step towards using an electric smoker is to find one that will address your needs.

It does not make sense to purchase an overly expensive electric smoker if it will not address your smoking needs. You can get an electric smoker for only $200.

It’s crucial, therefore, that you find a smoker that will, for instance, accommodate your food size, match your electrical input, or even one that will match your barbequing style.

In a nutshell, go for a smoker that is in line with your tastes and preferences.

Once you’ve the ideal smoker, the next step is to position it in a convenient place, and most importantly, a location with access to electrical outlets. After all, it’s an electrical smoker, and it sources its energy from electricity.

2. Seasoning your Electric Smoker

Assuming you’ve a new smoker, you’ll need to season it before use.

Seasoning, also known as curing is the process of running your smoker while empty. This helps to get rid of the solvents, dust, odors, and any dirt residues that might be leftover from the manufacturing process.

The proper way to season your smoker is to first reach out to the smoker’s interior surfaces, including the racks and rubbing them with a cloth.

You’ll then need to turn the smoker on and let it run for 2-3 hours. The ideal seasoning temperature should be between 250 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the seasoning, turn it off, open the door and let it cool down before use.

However, there’re variations regarding seasoning of smokers as some of the smokers, especially the newer models, do not require seasoning. So, be sure to go through the user manual and understand the specificities of the smoker’s operation.

However, seasoning of the smoker should only be done once, when the smoker is new.

3. Flavoring and Moisturizing your Food

This is a crucial step as it determines the taste and flavor of your final meal.

Dependent on what you’re looking to achieve, you can prepare and season your meat as per your recipe. Personally, I like marinating the meat at least an hour before, but if possible, overnight.

If the latter is a push for you, you can at least give yourself a few hours to allow the meat to soak up the marinade and take in the awesome flavors.

The good news is there’re other ways of flavoring your meat;

Typically, most of the smokers usually come with an aluminum tray at the bottom, and this serves as the reserve for the flavors and herbs. Fill this tray with herbs alongside water, and this should help to create a distinctive flavor to your meat, and at the same time moisturizing your meat.

Now, if your smoker does not feature an aluminum plate, you can DIY an aluminum tray.

4. Add the Magical Smoke Flavoring

In the past, users of electric smokers had to put up with barbeque without a smoky flavor since the electric smokers did not support smoking flavors, a sharp contrast to the charcoal smokers.

Well, this issue has been resolved, and the modern electric smokers will allow you to add your smoky flavor comfortably and this is all credited to the chip wood loader.

Like its name suggests, a chip wood loader is an electrical heating element that will allow you to load wood chips into it. Once the wood loader starts heating up, it smoulders the wood pellets, thus producing the smoker needed for cooking and flavoring your meat.

Your choice of wood chips will depend on your flavor orientation because different woods produce different flavors.

As a rule of thumb, however, you can never fail with the lighter, fruity woods such as those of cherry and apple, as they work with generally any type of meat, especially white meat.

Additional Methods of Using Wood Chips

Besides using the wood chip loader, there are other incredible ways to add flavor using wood chips to add flavor to your meat.

Some of the methods you can use include:

  • Throwing the wood chips in loose in the smoker
  • Wrapping them in a foil
  • Buying a separate wood chip pan

While the above methods will work, using a wood chip loader is the most effective way to add flavor to your meat.

5. Start Cooking

Before you put meat on the smoker, ensure it has enough grill grates to serve your numbers well.

Once you’ve put the wood pellets in place, laid the flavors on the aluminum grill and placed the marinated meat over the grate, you can now close the grill and secure the lock.

You must place your meat on the smoker properly as you’ll not open the smoker until your meat is cooked.

On the temperature and time gauge, set the temperatures as well as the time you intend cooking the meat. Ideally, most of the temperatures range from 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prevent affecting the doneness of your meat, it’s vital that disdain from adjusting the temperatures during cooking, but instead use the vents for adjusting temperatures.

Essential Tips on Using an Electric Smoker Grill

  • Avoid using the smoker indoors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Do not open the grill when cooking to avoiding disrupting the temperature
  • Wear gloves when using the smoker to avoid staining yourself

Working with an electric smoker is not as challenging as you thought. Follow the above tips, and you will be on your way to deliver a professionally made and finger-licking barbeque.

How to Use an Electric Smoker in Cold Weather & Snow (Winter)

We can all agree that nothing smells better on a cold day than a smoker with some succulent pulled pork or brisket wafting out over your neighborhood.

Assuming you’ve whipped up the courage to brave the chilly weather, you’ll soon realize that smoking in cold weather is no mean feat.

In any case, reaching and maintaining the ideal smoking temperatures is quite challenging at the very least, and it can be frustrating if it’s windy.

Metal smokers are particularly challenging to use in cold weather because the metal is a good conductor and will quickly conduct heat away from the cooking chamber.

Fortunately, we’ve prepared a detailed guide that will explore some of the effective tips and pointers you should follow when using an electric smoker in cold weather.

Setting your Electric Smoker

When using an electric smoker in cold weather and winter, your priority should that be of preventing as much wind, rain, snow, or cold from cooling down the smoker.

Here, you would want to build a shelter to protect the smoker from these elements as much as possible.

A simple structure made from plywood would suffice, and this should offer the protection needed against these elements.

Regardless of which materials you use or what type of structure you construct, you should still be able to access the controls when you need so, and you shouldn’t therefore fully enclose your electric smoker. Check this article for the best electric smoker under $200.

While at it, you might get tempted to use your smoker in your garage or basement, but this is not advisable. This is because the smoke can damage your house, not to mention the lethal effects of carbon monoxide.

Keeping your Smoker Hot

For optimal performance, your smoker should maintain a steady hot temperature.

However, in cold weather, opening the lid or door of your smoker can drastically affect the temperature in your smoker.

This is because once the door is opened, the hot air is replaced with bitterly cold air instead, and this affects the overall temperature, not to mention the quality of meat.

While it’s not possible to avoid opening the lid altogether, we advise that you check the status of your meat only when necessary.

The best way to avoid constant opening of your smoker lid is to get a wireless Bluetooth thermometer that will stay inside the smoker during the entire cooking period. This will allow you to monitor the temperature and status of your meat without needing to open the lid.

Heat Retention

During winter, the outside air is going to cool your smoker, and that’s just common sense. So what do you do about the chilly weather?

Insulate your smoker.

Adding on layers on your smoker will help in preventing your smoker from getting cold from the outside.

There’re a plethora of smoker insulation materials including furnace insulation and insulation jackets from the manufacturer.

If you’re a DIYer like me, you can even use water heater blankets.

While at it, you must keep the vents free of any coverings to avoid the smoke from getting back to the smoker and your meat.

Still, on the issue of insulation, you would also want to ensure that you’re using the right electric cord for your smoker. Ideally, you would want to use a heavy-duty insulated electrical cord that won’t circuit-blow because of the extreme environment.

Again, make a point to check the extension cords for any cuts, nicks, and tears and make the repair or replacement if damaged.

Assessing the Weather

In all likelihood, even with the best smoker preparations, understand that weather can make it extremely difficult to cook outdoors.

I would not recommend using your smoker in the middle of a hail storm, a torrential downpour or white-out snowstorm.

We recommend that you pick a day when it’s a bit milder and the weather is at least favorable for smoking.

Pre-Heating your Smoker

Expectedly, in chilly weather, your smoker should take longer to heat up than in normal conditions.

Therefore, you should wait for at least 10 minutes before placing your woodchips, sawdust, or pellets in your smoker.

Also, ensure that you check on your smoker’s manual to see the kind of wood that needs to be put in, and when it starts to smoke, you can place your meat on.

Pre-heating is a crucial step during winter and failure to do so will mean that you lose a tremendous amount of moisture in your meat.

Smoke Issue

Given that the weather is chilly in the outside, many smokers will naturally steam, but you don’t need to worry about that.

A common misjudgment in such cases is for the homeowners to want to put more woodchips all at once, thinking that the smoker is going to need more fuel since its cold. On the contrary, adding more fuel than the recommended will only but allow for the production of more smoke.

It’s therefore advisable that you go with the recommended amount of fuel, only adding more when it’s needed.

Keep it Simple

As you have already seen, using a smoker in cold weather than transform a simple task into something that is downright difficult.

It’s therefore crucial that always keep things simple to avoid frustrations.

For instance, rather than cooking the complex recipes, we advise that you start with something simple and one that will not require much effort.

Also, have everything pre-staged; the cooking utensils handy, your fuel dry and in an accessible area and enlist the help of others.

A Recap on How to Use a Smoker in Cold Weather

  • Pick a good day
  • Insulate your smoker
  • Don’t cover the vents
  • Work in a sheltered location
  • Open the lid only when necessary
  • Preheat your smoker
  • Start with a simple recipe

Conclusion

Using a smoker in cold and chilly weather should never be a problem. You now have all the information on how to effectively use a smoker.

I hope that the above guidelines will allow you to have a more gratifying barbequing experience.

 

Best Electric Smoker Under $200

After years of using a gas smoker, I was finally ready to transition to an electric smoker. It’s more practical, easy to use, and has authentic BBQ flavors. The only problem is that I was short of cash, and I needed to choose an electric smoker that was within my budget range. It took several days of research to compile a list of the best electric smokers under $200. After much deliberation, I was finally able to select the top five electric smokers under $200. Below is how I did it. Continue reading “Best Electric Smoker Under $200”

The Best Smokeless Indoor Grills 

The aroma of freshly barbecued meat is arguably one of the most refreshing aromas on a sunny afternoon or warm summer evening. Getting the right the taste depends on a lot of things, one of which is the type of grill you use. While grilling meat is fun, smoke inhalation isn’t, especially if you are living in an apartment. The frustrating smoke is gradually becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the best smokeless indoor grills. Continue reading “The Best Smokeless Indoor Grills “