Whether you have heard about the convenience of electric smokers and are considering one or you have just purchased one, you might spend hours researching on how to get the most from your smoker. In order to save time here are some tips and tricks for cooking in an electric smoker.
No Chip Tray Required
Chip trays are inadequate and inconvenient, requiring refilling a number of times and leading to results that are less than desirable. The food is bland and doesn’t taste smoky. Most have given up using the chip tray in favor of a tube that lasts four hours or a long lasting box that lasts eleven hours to smoke meat which provides smoke consistently.
These use pellets, you simply fill them and light them, blow the flames out and place in the smoker. Make sure to open the vent, you need to experiment to get the flavor right for you.
When it comes to smoke, less is more. It takes little time to make the flavor amazing. Over smoked food is not something you want to eat, so experiment carefully. There is only the need for one tray of pellets or chips when smoking chicken most of the time to get the flavor decent.
Hotter Setting for Chicken
Chicken should be smoked for up to two hours at a temperature of approximately 275 degrees Farenheit. Chicken that is undercooked poses a danger so it is important that it is cooked properly. Check the internal temperature to make sure it is done and ready to eat. The temperature should be at least 165 degrees Farenheit before it is safe for you to eat.
Controlling Swings in Temperature
When the smoker is first fired up, its internal temperature can vary by twenty degrees below or above the temperature set point. You have to understand why variations in temperature occur to control them. When you set the temperature for your smoker, it will increase until it reaches the desired temperature. Once the desired temperature is reached, the heating element will turn off— but there will be a lag, so the temperature will continue rising before it actually stabilizes.
Variables like the outside temperature and the wind can affect how much the temperature rises. The temperature will start to decrease eventually and once it’s below the temperature setting, the element will start heating again. The temperature will keep dropping until the element’s effect kicks in, which is a result of a time lag. This happens with even the best electric smokers out there, so be patient and learn to work with it for better results.
Try setting the temperature to around 205 or 210 degrees Farenheit in order to get the temperature to reach 220 degrees in the cooker. The temperature should be monitored as it increases. When the temperature reaches the 220 degrees you were aiming for, set the controller up to 220 degrees from the lower temperature. Experimenting will help you to identify the fine adjustments that you have to make to cut down on the swinging temperatures as much as possible.
Cold Smoking Attachment
The option of a cold smoker attachment allows you to get as many as six hours of smoking consistently. It attaches to a digital smoker and uses wood chips to smoke at temperatures of 100 to 120 degrees Farenheit, which is ideal for the cold smoking of items like cheese. You need to use a seasoned smoker even though the attachment itself does not have to be seasoned. You should follow the guidelines set by the manufacturer when it comes to the cold smoking attachment purchased for your smoker.
There are a couple things to remember when using a cold smoker attachment. It is okay for the chips to initially flame up when you light them, and the temperature should be adequate for the smoke to be good. Finally, the smoke should be thin and blue before the food is put into it.
Vent Position Control
It is easier to find the correct vent position on an electric smoker than on a charcoal smoker. Leaving the vent completely open is usually best when smoking meat. This reduces the risk from creosote build up— a compound that helps to make the distinctive smokey flavor when used in small amounts, but can also get nasty very fast.
Creosote coating the food will ruin the taste but it is good to have a rather small amount when it comes to flavor. The vent should only be closed once you are done smoking the meat and when you need to increase the temperature in the smoker.
Easy Clean Up With Foil
Better results are achieved from having grill racks that are clean. By covering the racks with foil, you prevent grease build up as the foil traps oils and juices and can simply be removed. The foil will also keep grease and oil from sticking to the food. The drip pan and pan for heat deflection can also be covered with foil.
Wood Chips Should Not Be Soaked
The choice of whether or not to use chips is a personal one but they do not have to be soaked. When you soak them, it is not smoke that actually comes from them, it is steam. You want a thin smoke that is blue in color when smoking food as that is where the flavor comes from. To add, the moisture evaporating off of soaked chips makes it harder to regulate the temperature of your smoker.
Pre-Season Before Use
Seasoning the smoker will prevent the manufacturing process from leaving a nasty residue by removing it before food is cooked in the smoker. It removes dust, solvents and products with a petroleum base. A black coating left by a fine layer of smoke will seal and cure the inside of the smoker while giving the food that smokey flavor when you use it.
These tips and tricks will help to ensure that you have a pleasant and tasty experience from food made in your electric smoker.