In several homes around the world, smoking foods has been a great tradition for years. Not only are you infusing foods with flavor, but you are also enjoying the luxury of an outdoor activity that friends and family can enjoy. Using an electric smoker can also make the activity a whole lot easier than the the traditional charcoal smoking technique.
Having an electric smoker not only is easier, but a great time manager as well. With an electric smoker you can set the timer for the type of food you are smoking and let the electric smoker do the rest of the work for you. In addition, it frees the cook up from constant monitoring the progress of the smoked foods, which leads to enjoying leisure time with friends and family. If you haven’t gotten your own yet, make sure to check out our guide on the best electric smokers in the market, and we’ll get you on your way in no time.
Electric Smoker Types
There are so many different types and styles to choose from, you could get lost just trying to purchase an electric smoker. A few things to think about are:
- When will you use the smoker?
- What type of climate will you be smoking in?
- Vertical or horizontal smoker?
Knowing when you will use the electric smoker is important. If you are using a vertical smoker during the late fall or winter months; it must be properly insulated. Proper insulation will ensure that you get the best service from your smoker and heat will not escape before cooking your meat. Horizontal electric smokers can be used during any type of temperature, so they are really popular because of its seasonal functionality. Horizontal electric smokers are typically stronger and can stand up through just about anything, but they are clunky and sizable.
Techniques, Wood Chips, and Other Tidbits
Before actually using a new electric smoker, it must be cured or seasoned. To cure or season a new electric smoker you can use one of many techniques. You can probably find a recommended technique within the user’s manual, but there is also a quick typical technique that is used universally. The quick way is just to simply coat or grease the cooking surface area; such as the racks and the inner most parts of the electric smoker with cooking oil.
Once you have coated the smoker turn it on and run it for 2 – 3 hours. By doing this you are removing any residues, dust or solvents used in making the electric smoker by burning them off. Once done, open the smoker and let stand to cool off. Now it is ready to be used properly and can be enjoyed for the great flavors the electric smoker will provide. This technique is also done on pellet smokers and propane smokers.
Using Wood Chips— Getting that Great Flavor
Most electric smokers nowadays are equipped with pans or an area under the heating mechanism for wood chips. There are some electric smokers that do not have a wood chip area though. Using wood chips helps to create a smoky flavor. Wood chips come in different flavored chips from hickory, maple and even Jack Daniels infused chips . Depending upon the flavor desired, there are many to choose from. For a good smoky flavor, four cups of the desired chips is typically used for five hours of smoking. Try this when cooking brisket in an electric smoker!
Besides using wood chips, infused water is also a great way to add accents to smoked foods in an electric smoker. Using a water pan in an electric water smoker allows cooking with water flavored with orange peels, beer, or wine. Since water turns into steam, it will be a great way to not only infuse flavors, but tenderize your meats as well. Make sure temperatures are at maximum desired temp before adding your food to the smoker. It only takes three to eight hours for that great smoky flavor to infuse with meats.
Another great technique is the use of a tin can. If your electric smoker does not have an area for adding chips (this is not often the case nowadays), you can add your chips to a tin can and place it within the electric smoker. This technique is quicker and the steps may be repeated if desired. Make sure that the can is removed at least within an hour after sitting it in the electric smoker.
Preparing foods for smoking is a necessity. In order to produce great flavors, the intended foods must be prepared and enhanced as well. Some great foods for smoking including fish, beef, whole chicken and seafood. Seasoning your foods thoroughly will help to give it that extra boost. You can also marinate your foods overnight. Marinating will allow your meats to soak up all of the spices and juices you may have used— this is especially great when you are smoking ribs and other meat cuts. It will also help with the tenderizing of your meat. Remember do not reuse a marinade, it is not sanitary or a good idea. Discard the remaining excess.
Having a smoker is a great treat; there are so many different delicious dishes you can create with smoking foods. Not only can you smoke meats, but smoked vegetables are great also. Whatever decision you make, to use the traditional style or new wave of smoking foods; will turn out great. Make sure to read instructions carefully, cure or season a new electric smoker, use wood chips are infused water, and enjoy.