Smoking meats has been a way to cure and preserve meats, since shortly after the discovery of fire. Smokers have come back into vogue over the last few decades because they are a healthier way to enjoy the natural flavors of the meat than relying on processed or meat treated with chemicals.
In addition, while it was always a regional based tradition, it has spread to more and more places and it has become more popular, with smoked meats even being found in gourmet restaurants.
However, one doesn’t have to go out to enjoy smoked meats, when it is easy to do the same at home with an electric smoker.
How Does Smoking Meat Work?
First of all, it should be noted that only a hardwood wood or pellet should be used to smoke meat. Other wood types contain pitch that can cause a bitter flavor and thus should be avoided. Other than the wood type, smoking meat works the same way for all types of meat.
Essentially, the phenols in the smoke permeate the meat and tissue. These antioxidents have a antimicrobial effect that prohibits bacteria in the food and slows the food going rancid, giving is a preservative effect. Typically, the meat is at a lower temperature than the fire box to allow for longer exposure to the smoke without cooking the food too fast. In non digital smokers, this adjustment has to be done by hand and constant watch has to be maintained.
In modern smokers and specifically modern electric smokers, there is no need to maintain this constant vigil as the digital controller will monitor the temperature and supply a warning. In electric smokers that burn pellets or wafers, these can be added automatically to allow for the correct and constant temperature and smoke production required.
Five Great Electric Smokers for You
Best Value Electric Smoker under $300
This 30 inch electric smoker, Masterbuilt Model #20070411 Smoker uses a 800 Watt element to get the temperature just right and keep it there.
There is a forward window so you can check the food without opening the case and the RF remote allows for remote monitoring and operation. It has four racks, with plenty of room for even game birds as well as a side mounted wood chip access.
There is a built in meat temperature probe and the sustained temp is a max of 275 degrees. Purchasers of this smoker love the easy control due to the remote and the large window for visual monitoring.
Top 4-Rack Smoker to Buy
The original electric smoker, this model from Bradley Smokers is a fully automatic system. Using wood chip wafers, stacked above the control box, the unit, Bradley Smokers Original Series Smoker can be set and no monitoring is required. It has a cavernous space that holds four stainless steel racks, large enough for big birds and cuts of meat.
The interior is also stainless, which makes cleaning a breeze. The unit can also be used as a slow roaster or slow oven to offer a wide variety of different cooking styles. Purchasers of this smoker love the fire and forget cooking as well as the easy to use control system. Many have had their unit for years.
Best Budget Electric Smoker for the Money
The Cajun Injector Electric Smoker is a large, digitally controlled, electric smoker that offers plenty of room for a wide range of cuts. It has included sausage racks and rib racks and hangers, as well has five standard stainless steel racks for everything else. The digital controls are mounted on the top of the unit for easy access and can be read at a glance.
The smoker has a maximum temperature of 275 degrees and will even make jerky. People who purchased this unit love the great smoked results and the easy to use aspects of the unit.
Best Smart Smoker for the Price
The Char-Broil Simple Smoker Series Smoker is a smart smoker for a smart time. An all electric smoker, this unit will connect to your Wi/Fi and can be controlled and monitored using the included application on your smart phone.
Comes with an accurate internal meat probe and offers plenty of room for a variety of meats but all is connected to the system in such a way as it will even notify you when it is ready, preheating is done and more.
Perfect for people on the go, people who purchased this smoker love the smart aspects and continual digital monitoring and instant notifications. They also love the tender and juicy results for their efforts.
Best Electric Smoker on the Market
Another smart smoker, this one, Masterbuilt Model #20072115 Smoker uses Bluetooth to keep you in the cooking loop. Thirty inches of cavernous space offer plenty of room for turkeys and large hams while producing up to 275 degrees of heat and plenty of smoke.
Wood chips are added on the side so you don’t lose any heat and the large window on the front gives you a visual indication of the meat’s status.
Built in temperature probe and accurate sensing means you will have up to the date information on the status of your smoked food. Purchasers of this unit rave about the quality and delicious results and how well this unit works both in terms of heat and smoke production but via technology as well. This is a top of the line smoker for the 21 Century.
For best results, be sure to follow all included instructions, specifically the cleaning instructions. For outdoor smokers, be sure to purchase the appropriate cover for your unit to protect it from the elements.