What Are Electric Smokers?
Electric smokers are fast becoming must-have appliances in the home today. This is especially true for barbeque enthusiasts. Of course, there is always a chance that someone has not yet heard about this fantastic device. Therefore, an electric smoker is an outdoor appliance that is used to smoke food and utilizes hot electric rods as the heat source. One way to add extra flavor and smoke to your food is the use of wood chips. The following article is a guide on what electric smokers are and how to use wood chips for electric smokers.
They are useful tools for people who are particular about the taste of their food. Electric smokers have the unique ability to bring out the subtle flavor of protein. Electric smokers are usually built of either stainless steel or cast iron, and come in various shapes, sizes, and settings. A distinguishing feature for electric smokers in comparison with the other ones is their high-tech features. They have temperature control options, remote controls, automated preheating and cool-down cycles, and digital control panels.
Components of an Electric Smoker
An electric smoker has quite a simple built and consists of several key elements. This electrical appliance comprises a cooking chamber, an electric heating element, grill racks, a water pan, and a wood chip tray. These components and their functionalities are discussed in depth below.
Electric Heating Element
The heating element is the central component of the electric smoker. It is located at the bottom of the appliance, and it serves to heat space and cooks food inside the chamber.
Chip Wood Tray
This is also known as the firebox. This is where wood chips or chunks are put and are burned with the heat to produce a flavorful smoke that is responsible for the tantalizing taste associated with food cooked using an electric smoker. There are different types of wood chips, each giving out a unique flavor to food such as apple, cherry, hickory, and so on. However, the smoke produced due to the wood chips is the reason why electric smokers should be used outdoors.
Electric smokers also feature a water pan that is commonly located below the wood chip tray. It is filled with water to avoid a scenario where the appliance’s internal temperature rises too quickly. As the water is heated, it ejects steam which in turn helps in convection cooking. However, you should exercise caution not to get the electrical components of the device wet.
These are made up of stainless steel, and they are where food is placed on. Food items such as chicken breasts or steak can be put directly on the rake. However, smaller items like cut vegetables can be cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
Thermostat and Rheostat
It cannot be an electric smoker if it does not feature a thermostat and a rheostat. These enable the electric smoker to maintain the much-needed constant internal temperature which allows food to cook evenly.
When the temperature rises above the set limit, the circuitry is broken and the heat levels decrease. This mechanism gives users the convenience of control over the cooking temperature of their food.
Most modern electric smokers have a push-button digital control panel. It includes temperature settings and other features such as a 24-hour timer automatic shutoff. Bid farewell to burnt or overcooked barbeque!
How Do Electric Smokers Work?
Of course, we would like to know how electric smokers work. The appliance works using the same technique as an oven or toaster. Electric roads heat up the circulating air in the cooking chamber, thereby a convention effect.
When food is put inside the racks or trays inside the smoker, and the device is turned on, it is heated by the circulating air. The wood chips are burned by the electric heat to add a smoky flavor to the food.
Advantages of Using An Electric Smoker
There are several benefits associated with using electric smokers compared to either pellet, charcoal, or gas grills. Some of the benefits are discussed below.
Ease of Use
To use an electric smoker, there is no need to become a smoking expert first. Even as a beginner, you can prepare a tantalizing barbecue. The use of an electric smoker is pretty straightforward and requires no previous experience.
Can Be Used In Areas with Fire Bans
Areas with fire bans are some of barbecue lovers’ worst nightmares. There are devices such as charcoal burners whose use is prohibited during such. However, the good news here is you can still enjoy your smoked food if you are using an electric smoker.
An electric smoker requires little supervision when preparing food. You will have ample time to take care of other tasks while you smoke your food.
This is a great advantage in comparison to charcoal or propane smokers that require constant monitoring to ensure that the food does not overcook or burn. With an electric smoker, you will just have to set the appliance and leave the food to smoke.
A hazard-free environment in the home is key, and electric smokers are generally safer to use compared to their charcoal and gas counterparts.
Easy To Clean
This is also another major benefit. Electric smokers offer users ease of cleaning. This is because they produce minimal residue compared to their counterparts. As a result, there is minimal dirt adhering to the sides of the smoker.
Cold Smoking Possible
We know that some people enjoy smoking different kinds of food. Electric smokers allow you to cold smoke foods such as bacon and cheese! You can purchase cold smoker compartments that are compatible with your electric smoker.
Types of Electric Smokers
There are different types of electric smokers, each brings out its own unique set of pros and cons. The various types of electric smokers are discussed in depth below.
Analog Electric Smokers
Although they are gradually being superseded by digital ones, analog electric smokers are still a popular option on the market today.
They make use of a temperature dial, and the heat levels are maintained with the aid of a thermostat. They usually feature a simple on and off switch which is manually operated. Analog electric smokers are easy to use, especially for beginners.
- They are the best option for people who are not very techy.
- They require some degree of monitoring during the cooking process.
Digital Electric Smokers
These are high-tech smokers that have complex options for various functionalities. They allow users to simply set their preferred temperature and go about their normal business without having to keep an eye on the food.
Digital smokers are feature electric thermostats that control the heating element so that proper levels of heat and smoke are maintained. Digital smokers are also easy to use. Others also offer Bluetooth technology for the convenience of users. This allows users to connect them to their smartphones and use them as remote controls.
- They have some high-end technological features such as Bluetooth to enhance your convenience.
- They require users to be tech-savvy to benefit from their full functionalities.
Metal Door Electric Smoker
Some electric smokers feature solid metal doors. These are usually built from stainless steel. Solid metal doors keep the cooking compartment well insulated. Furthermore, they are more robust.
It implies that electric smokers that feature metal doors last longer than their counterparts made from other not so strong materials.
- They have better insulation properties.
- They are more sturdy.
- Users have to open up the smoker every time they have to check up on the food.
Glassdoor Electric Smoker
Glassdoor electric smokers are also a popular option in the market today.
Besides the fact that they are more modern, they offer users other benefits that are not found on metal doors. They allow users to keep an eye on the food without having to repeatedly open and close the door every time they need to do so.
- They allow users to continually check on the food without having to open the smoker
- They are more aesthetically pleasant.
- The door is fragile.
- Visibility is affected by the mist.
Factors To Consider When Buying An Electric Smoker
Of course, like any other appliance, there are factors that you ought to consider when buying an electric smoker. These are highlighted below.
It is paramount to assess the brand before settling for a particular electric smoker. You should conduct good research to ensure that you get a brand that is renowned for quality and durability.
Ease of Cleaning
Before buying an electric smoker, you need to consider how it is cleaned.
The best would be to get an electric smoker that can be easily cleaned and maintained. Users should have a hassle-free experience in accessing the various compartments of the device. An electric smoker that is difficult to clean lacks hygiene and is a health hazard to the users.
Size is another important factor that should be considered when buying an electric smoker. An electric smoker that is too small may not be adequate to prepare enough food for your family. On the other hand, a huge size might result in raw foods. Therefore a medium-sized one is usually the best.
How Do I Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker?
Mastering the using wood chips wood chips for electric smokers is partially an art and a science, not mentioning the fun aspect of it. Wood chips make a great option for an electric smoker for foods such for steaks, chicken, or fish as these do not cook over long periods. To use wood chips in an electric smoker, you will just have to perfect a few steps highlighted below.
- Firstly should ensure that the ventilation system is not obstructed and also that there are no leaks at the doorway. Poor ventilation and will prevent the chips from burning adequately.
- You then load the wood chips into the loader or tray.
- The loader is then put into the smoker. Some electric smoker models feature an ‘unload’ handle that allow the chips to fall into a chip try located over the heating element.
- The electric smoker is then tuned to the preferred temperature level.
- Add your steak, close the door, and wait for your tantalizing meal to smoke.
Should Wood Chips Be Kept Wet Or Dry?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to wood chips for electric smokers. To be blunt, the answer to this question is subjective and depends on personal preference.
Dampened wood chips imply that will have the heat being maintained inside the smoking compartment for a longer duration relative to dry ones. The reason for this is simple. Water boils or undergoes evaporation at around 212 degrees F.
On the other hand, keeping dry chips has its merits. Wet wooden chips overall cool the appliance, making it difficult to maintain a constant temperature. Dry chips have the advantage of improving the ease of maintain a steady temperature.
With this in mind, the choice of whether to keep your chips or dry will ultimately depend on how you prefer your food smoked, because taste is subjective.
However, despite your personal preferences, it is important to highlight that digital-type electric smokers feature both wet and dry wood chips settings, allowing you to set your smoker accordingly.
No doubt, an electric smoker is a useful appliance and should feature in every household. This is particularly for barbecue lovers, who would regularly love spoiling their taste buds with smoky steak.
An electric smoker offers several advantages relative to its charcoal or gas counterparts. It uses a clean source of energy, requires minimal supervision, is easy to use, and can be used even in places where there are fire bans in effect.
It is also paramount to highlight that there are several types of electric smokers, each with its own merits and demerits. These include digital, analog, ones with metal and glass metals doors. Users will have to assess the ones that are best for them based on personal preferences. With so many electrical smokers on the market today, choosing the right one can be a daunting task.
There are several factors that users should consider before settling for a particular electric smoker brand and model. These factors include the manufacturer’s reputation, cost, size, and ease of cleaning.
Another vital component of an electric smoking is how pit bosses use wood chips for electric smokers. It is because these are the ones that are primarily responsible for the smoky taste and aroma that characterizes food prepared in an electric smoker.
Users will also have to decide on whether they intend to keep their woods chips dry or soaked, based on their personal preferences. With all these details, if you are a food fanatic and do not currently own an electric smoker, then why wait, go and get one today!
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