May 18, 2010
An electric smoker is a meat smoker that does not use traditional charcoal or woodchips to create smoke; instead it has a heating element and a smoking element that creates steady heat and smoke to cook your meat to perfection. There are many electric smoker brands in the market, but how do you know which is the best meat smoker to buy? Experts, chefs and avid meat smokers agree that an electric smoker must not only bring out the smoked aroma and flavor in meat, sausages, poultry and fish but at the same time be energy efficient as well.
The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is a conventional electric smoker that lets you cook without the need to inspect meat at all. Compared to other cheap meat smokers, it has a convenient heat thermostat that gives you options to cook (or smoke) in different styles. The design of the Old Smokey allows the evaporated juices to drip back to the food because of the flat lid or top. The heating element is so powerful it can cook large pieces of food at the same time. You may add woodchips on a chip tray located near the heating element for that smoky flavor and taste. The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is priced at $129.00 at Amazon.com.
Those who bought the Old Smokey Electric Smoker loved it since it is easy to operate and even when you are new to smoking meat, poultry or fish, you will have consistent results. No more loading charcoals and tending the smoke, you can sit back and wait or prepare your side dishes with ease knowing it will cook meat just the way you like it.
Although it is a fairly large smoker, some users actually preferred something bigger and were not impressed of the capacity of the Old Smokey at all. The interior may be too small when you want to smoke large chunks of meat and large portions of fish but the Old Smokey will cook consistently and efficiently each time you use it.
The Masterbuilt 20070910 30-inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker is a large 2 -1/2 cubic foot electric smoker that can smoke huge pieces of meat at one time saving you time and energy with its 4 large smoking racks. The exterior is made of powder-coated steel and is fully insulated to make cooking more energy efficient. New features like a digital control panel, a 24- hour timer, air dampers, side loading feature for woodchips, auto shut-off and thermostat controls make cooking easier and more efficient. The removable drip pans located at the bottom and at the rear makes clean up a breeze. The Masterbuilt 30-inch electric smoker costs $199.00 at Amazon.com.
Most who have tried using the Masterbuilt smokehouse smoker instantly liked the way the electric smoker worked. You can smoke meats to perfection at the least amount of time compared to non insulated cookers and grills. All the features are perfect and the price is certainly affordable. Meats turn out delicious with the smoky flavor and taste that you crave for; chicken and turkey will also cook evenly with large sized poultry cooked from the inside out.
However, other users would like to cook in higher temperatures which this electric smoker may not be able to do. Replacements for busted heating elements are also impossible to find. Some find parts ordering and customer service for the Masterbuilt was very difficult as well. Check out customer complaints and reviews of the Masterbuilt smoker to learn more about heating element replacement and customer service flaws before you think of purchasing.
The Masterbuilt 30-inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker with window and RF controller welcomes you to the 21st century smoking pleasure. This electric smoker is equipped with a large capacity grill to hold more meat than you can cook, a glass viewing window and with digital features that tops most electric smokers. It has a digital remote control with the ability to monitor temperature and time as you cook. The side loader for wood chips makes smoking meats more efficient. It has chrome-plated racks and a built-in temperature probe to check on meats as they cook to perfection. The Masterbuilt costs $289.00 at Amazon.com.
Most who bought the Masterbuilt 30-inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker found it very easy to use and clean; just prop your meat, chicken, turkey or fish inside the grill and watch them cook. The viewing window may get smoky but you can still view your meats with an internal light and monitor with an RF controller.
Cooking with the Masterbuilt also allows you to do other things like prepare dishes, set tables and many more without having to stand by and turn the meat over and over again. It is a perfect electric smoker for professional chefs and even for industrial use since it is efficient and easy to operate.
What users disliked about the Masterbuilt was that the heating elements were inefficient to cook at much higher temperatures compared to charcoal burners and gas smokers. But if you are looking for a meat smoker minus the hassles of charcoal and gas then the Masterbuilt is the smoker for you.
Different electric cookers and smokers have different features that set them apart from other cookers. The best electric smokers have also begun to become more popular than charcoal or gas smokers because of ease of use and convenience of indoor cooking when the weather turns for the worse.
The Brinkmann 810-7080-8 Gourmet Electric Smoker and Grill with Vinyl Cover is an electric smoker that has a 1500 watt heating element to create heat plus lava rocks to create smoke. The smoker’s body is made of strong steel covered vinyl with a small door to conveniently place woodchips as needed. The grills are chrome-plated and are strong enough to hold up to 50 pounds of meat or poultry. It costs $89.99 at Amazon.com.
Homeowners who have used this electric smoker all agree that it was fairly easy to use and was also very easy to clean and maintain. The entire unit was so easy to clean and this prevented awful cooking smells that made other smokers inconvenient to use. Meat cooked tender while fish and poultry cooked with the smoked flavor that you are looking for.
Although the Brinkmann 810-7080-8 Gourmet Electric Smoker was a sell-out, there were several flaws that consumers noticed about the smoker: the door to place woodchips in was a bit small making it very awkward to place water and chips in. The smoker also used more chips that other electric smoker counterparts and without any temperature controls, you need to check on your meat time and time again. The body does not have enough insulation making cooking during cold weather inefficient and very difficult. Most users would rather have a cooker that insulated well and had a larger capacity than the Brinkmann 810-7080-8 Gourmet Electric Smoker.
The Brinkmann 810-5290-4 Smoke ‘N Grill Electric Smoker and Grill is another electric meat smoker wonder from Brinkmann that has a powerful 1500 watt heating element to evenly cook meat, fish and poultry from the inside and out. Large chrome plated steel grills can hold as much as 50 pounds of food; the dome lid makes smoking efficient. It comes with a water pan and cool wooden handles. It has a 1 year limited manufacturer’s warranty and costs $103.00 at Amazon.com.
Users found the Brinkmann 810-5290-4 Smoke ‘N Grill a true value for their money. It was easy to use because you don’t need to add charcoal time and time again. Since it uses electricity, your food will never smell or taste like gas or charcoal at all. It will cook a large turkey and ribs at one time plus will never make food half cooked; everything will turn out moist, tender and delicious.
Fish was also easy to cook with the Smoke ‘N Grill, although not all fish sizes would fit, you can chop large fish into small portions to cook evenly. Others who have tried smoking sausages and hams were surprised how easy it was with the Brinkmann Smoke ‘N Grill. Cold cuts cooked half the time and consistently even on the inside.
What users dislike about the Brinkmann 810-5290-4 Smoke ‘N Grill was that it is made of very thin metal that does not insulate heat that much especially during cold winter days. But if you are looking for a low priced smoker that needs no fuss to use, then this BBQ smoker is for you.
The Bradley BTIS1 Original Fully Automatic 4-Rack Outdoor Food Smoker is a high end electric smoker that is fully automatic which uses a side loading feature to make cooking more efficient. Let wood-flavored bisquettes make your food taste and smell like smoked meat; each bisquette burns for 20 minutes. It has a 500 watt cooking element and a 125 watt smoking element that can heat the 2,288 cubic inch interior to 280 degrees max. Large grills, trays and drip bowls make cooking and clean up faster. Has a durable powder-coated steel exterior and an aluminum interior which can withstand years of smoking use. The Bradley is priced at $240.65 at Amazon.com.
Those who have purchased the Bradley Outdoor Food Smoker found that it was very easy to use and was fairly easy to maintain as well. The automatic loading feature made cooking or smoking a lot less of a hassle and can cook any type of meat to perfection. Fish comes out tender, not dried out and withered. Meats like ham and sausages retain their natural juices and will smell and taste the smoked flavor you have always wanted. The large capacity of the Bradley saves you time in cooking large batches of meat for commercial use.
Although it seems that the Bradley Outdoor Food Smoker is a perfect electric meat smoker, some would rather have a smoker that could cook at a much higher temperature. Many found the heating element to be weaker compared to electric smokers of the same capacity and features.
The future for electric cookers?
Certainly more features to make cooking faster and more automatic. There will probably more effective insulation techniques and better ways to monitor food as they smoke to perfection. The price of an electric smoker will certainly become more and more affordable when new and cheaper technologies are discovered and put to use.
All of the reviewed smokers are adequate for smoking barbecue. It depends on how big your budget is and how many people you have to feed that will determine which smoker you end up. It also depends on how much you plan to smoke and how often.
If you can afford it the Bradley and Masterbuilt electric smokers receive high reviews and provide a high quality smoking element.