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.