Investing in a meat smoker is a good way to enjoy different cuts of meat. The electric smoker is a product made with convenience in mind. Long ago, people spent hours tending the fire for smoking and this was a taxing, meticulous process. Technology made the whole procedure easier so if you love the taste of smoked meats, you can buy a meat smoker to get richly smoked and flavored meats at home.
But purchasing a meat smoker can be confusing, especially if you are not armed with the right information in order to choose a quality product. In this article, we are going to provide you with what you need to know about meat smokers.
Benefits of a meat smoker
Here are some of the reasons why people are buying meat smokers.
Cook a variety of meat cuts with delicious smoky flavor
Smoked meat is a great dish for dinner, picnics and summer parties. You prep the meat using your choice marinade or rub, let the machine do the work, and you have your own delicious smoked fare. It is convenient and you do not have to keep watch on the meat all the time since the device will do that for you.
Enhances the flavor of vegetables
Yes, you can smoke vegetables in a meat smoker and doing so will provide greater dimension to their taste. Vegetarians can now enjoy smoked vegetables using the machine. The smoker also lets the vegetables’ natural sweetish flavor to come out and it is further enhanced by the smoking process; your vegetables are even more delicious.
Host picnics, parties and BBQ dinners
There are available meat smokers with sizable cooking surfaces that allow smoking meats in greater amounts; hence, it is an excellent device for gatherings and cook-offs. You can entertain your guests by way of your smoking prowess and amaze them with the taste of great, home-cooked smoked meats.
Healthier eating regimen
One of the benefits of owning a meat smoker is that it aids home cooks in saving oil used for cooking and helps reduce calories as well. This facilitates a healthier eating regimen. You are eating good, tasty and healthy food with the help of a good meat smoker.
Manage a number of food items at once
Compared to charcoal and wood grills, electric meat smokers include a number of trays that allow you to cook several items at once. It also comes with a temperature controller so you can set the required heat; this allows your food to be cooked properly in a closed setting without needing your constant attention.
Kinds of meat smokers
Meat smokers come in different forms and shapes. The difference between each meat smoker is the kind of heat source they use in order to operate.
The wood smoker offers a traditional smoked flavor and style. However, this is not beginner friendly since making a fire and keeping the flames going takes experience. Wood smokers though allow you to use a good selection of wood chips, like hickory, cherry, and mesquite, for a more enhanced smoked flavor.
Electric smokers work in a different fashion compared to wood units. They operate by means of electricity and not through the use of propane, charcoal or wood. There are models that include a timer feature for additional convenience. This particular feature lets you set a required cooking time that does not need constant supervision.
Many cooks consider electric smokers the best way to smoke meat at home. They are quite user friendly as well.
This kind of device operates in the same manner as the wood type; it makes use of charcoal briquettes as its chief fuel source instead of wood chips. However, you can still supplement a variety of wood to the device to add some of the flavor similar to wood smoke.
The propane kind operates by using natural gas. It makes use of a tank setup that adjusts and controls the unit’s internal temperature. Starting the device needs minimal effort compared to wood and charcoal smokers. However, it imparts a less-genuine smoked flavor compared to the wood and charcoal types.
Choosing a quality meat smoker
Buying the best meat smoker will not only depend on choosing proper heating sources; there are other factors that will come into play. Here are important aspects to consider.
An efficient surface for the cooking has enough space to properly accommodate and smoke meat. The larger models often have greater cooking surfaces. However, you can improve the size of the cooking area by adding racks to the internal chamber of the device.
If you have plans to hold picnics or parties outdoors, or maybe travel with it from time to time, you must consider a model’s size and its portability. Smaller units are great for travel. Models with removable legs and collapsible spacing are also recommended for easier transport and storage.
Lots of companies which manufacture BBQ equipment and smokers now have models with different features. There are some who limit their search for appliances by only looking at products from a particular brand or product line. They often base their buying decision on previous buys and loyalty to a certain brand.
There are models that are provided with features not only limited to smoking meats and other foods. You will often see smoker and grill combinations with open-flame cooking areas and smoking segments. This is versatile if you are both into grilling and smoking.
If you plan on using the device only outdoors and want to leave it there, you may have to go for a product that can resist rust and the elements. Consider buying a protective cover with it, plus consider inside storage as well. Investing in a quality meat smoker means you have to take care of it.
We cannot avoid damage and accidents or cases wherein the warranty of the device runs out. Thus the need for replacements. Usually, the most commonly replaced items on a smoker are the pans, lids and smoker handles. Make sure that the manufacturer is able to provide replacement parts should the need arise.
5 Suggested Meat Smokers
We have listed the crucial details you need to know about meat smokers. Now we continue with today’s hot crop of meat smokers. The best meat smoker is one that will cater to your needs, and has a quality construction and unwavering functionality. It should last you for many smoking cookouts. Here are short reviews of our top-5 products.
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker
The Masterbuilt 20070910 has a larger cooking surface compared to similar smokers. You can operate the device simply with just one push of a button and adjusting the digital controls. The digital control panel allows you to set the required temperature anywhere from 100-275°F.
The controls help you regulate the temperature at the needed rate in order to get excellent smoking results. It has an inner lining that has been specifically assembled to sustain the smoky flavor for the meat.
The heat and smoke remain within the cooker for optimum smoking and will never escape unless you open the door; hence the meat is evenly cooked and smoked in the manner you expect.
Its walls are 100% insulated so it makes for energy-efficient and even cooking. It has a 24-hour timer and an auto shutoff feature so you will never overcook or undercook your meat. It also includes a wood chip loading system for a smoother, more convenient smoking process.
- Fuss-free cleaning and operation
- Includes adjustable door latch
- Has extra durable construction
- Made with high-quality materials
- Easy to set up
- Produces lots of smoke and provides steady temperature throughout
- Shelf brackets easily disengaged whenever you pull the shelving
- Spill shield has some sharp edges
- Instruction manual not clear enough for beginners
Smoke Hollow 26142E 26-Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control
Smoke Hollow’s Electric Smoker makes for convenient smoking at home. It is one of the company’s constant best sellers due to its features and affordable pricing. It has a 26” size and will accommodate the skills of both beginners and experts.
It has a minimalistic design which makes for easier control—it does not feature complicated digital controls and automatic feeders. Instead, you have is a combination of a heating element, a wood chip pan, water pan and a damper, all the items you need for smoking meat.
The device has a 1500 watt heating element with completely adjustable and detachable temperature controls. It has 2 chrome-plated cooking grids which can be adjusted to your preferred height so it can ably accommodate different size meat.
It has a water and wood chip pan, plus side handles and a cool-touch spring wire door handle with a latch system to prevent burning users’ hands.
- Comes at an affordable price
- Able to perform well
- Can easily be cleaned and maintained
- Does not make use of gas
- Able to provide meat with delicious smoky flavor
- Recommended by many users
Comes with limited warranties
Masterbuilt 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit (Used on Masterbuilt Digital Smokers)
The Masterbuilt 20070112 Cold Smoking Kit is an accessory designed to be used on digital electric smokers from the company. It can be used not only on raw meats, it can also accommodate certain cheeses, sausages and for adding flavor to fish.
However because it operates at colder temperatures, it does not really cook food; instead it adds smoky flavors to the food. The woods that go really well with the attachment include apple wood and cherry wood. You can also try other sorts of food for cold smoking like bacon, butter, peppers, beans, nuts, and vegetables.
The device is a great addition to your Masterbuilt digital electric smoker. It features a gravity-feed mechanism that will work perfectly in order to guarantee a slow, yet consistent burning of your choice wood chips. You will be able to have up to 6 hours of constant smoke.
It is designed for a better smoke delivery due to its greater capacity for wood chips; you won’t have to deal with refilling. It has a sizable ash tray, so you won’t have to empty the whole thing all the time while smoking.
The device is efficient since the majority of the chips are smoked so it leaves little to no ash. The temperature and the smoke are also easier to control in this add-on.
- Durable and designed to last
- A snap to clean and maintain
- Can take in plenty of wood
- Users can clean the ash without opening device’s door
- Bigger ash tray means users won’t have to unload it each time
- Creates delicious smoky flavors for various foods
- Users can only acquire the quantity of smoke they need if all the wood chips have fallen to the bottom. You have to shake the wood chip bin from time to time to settle all chips
- Does not have handles or a stand, so it is a bit awkward to move the device from one place to another
- The device requires a heavyweight extension cord
- Leaks smoke a bit, but produces enough smoke for good smoking so it’s not that much of a bother
Masterbuilt 20072115 Smart Digital Electric Smoker
Electric meat smokers are not at all hard to use; even beginners can easily get the hang of it. The Masterbuilt 20072115 Smart Digital Electric Smoker is a simple device but it packs a punch when it comes to smoking meat.
It comes with Bluetooth technology controls so you can regulate the device by means of a compatible smartphone; your smartphone can switch the power on, keep track of the smoker’s cooking temperature, set the timer, and check the temperature during the smoking process. It has an LED screen which is glare proof so you will be able to see the display even in direct sunlight.
The device also includes a meat thermometer plus a total of 4 racks to guarantee that the food is properly cooked/smoked. It has an ample cooking surface as plus side-loaded wood chips and air damper for better control of the smoke. The device also comes with an 800-watt heating element to maintain a continuous process of up to 275°F.
- Produces exception smoked meats
- Easy to assemble
- Chrome-plated racks are easy to clean and maintain
- Bigger cooking surface can accommodate different sizes of meats
- Has Bluetooth smart technology for convenient control
- Meat probe works decently and sets proper temperature of meat
- Has back wheel which makes transporting the device easier for users
Limited Bluetooth range
Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker
The Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is a well-designed meat smoker that can be used for backyard smoking. It is a great item to have if you like parties in good weather. You can impress your friends with your smoking skills by using this meat smoker.
It has the company’s classic back porcelain-coated steel exterior and a bigger high-dome lid. It includes 2 heavy-duty nickel-plated cooking grates which provide a cooking surface of 481 square inches.
The heavy-duty steel plates translate to longer service since they are not going to fall, even with all that weight from the food. It’s not going to rust easily, plus it is easy to clean.
Other components of the smoker include a built-in thermometer, separate vents on lid and bowl, a water pan, a nylon handle with heat-resistant properties, and a storage cover.
The integrated lid thermometer allows users to check the device’s temperature, while the porcelain-enameled water pan provides steam to the smoking procedure to keep meats tender and moist throughout cooking.
- Has strong, durable legged foundation to keep device from tipping over
- Has upper and lower vent gaps which lead to a consistent smoking process
- Has bigger water pan for accommodating wood chips and water
- Can easily be assembled and disassembled
Needs constant checks to guarantee it will not overcook food inside
The purchase of a meat smoker is great for home cooks and foodies who love the taste of smoked foods; it is also a neat addition if you love throwing outdoor parties. There are models on hand which can be used outdoors. However, before making your decision, consider the important factors mentioned above.
Check reviews for more information about a particular product, especially comments from people who have bought and used the product; their comments are usually honest and will tell you if there are any problems that might be encountered with the product.