Smoking meat is a great way to slowly cook meat to prevent it from spoiling and infuse various flavors into the meat. And electric smokers are the easiest way to do this since unlike regular charcoal smokers, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the right temperature etc. since electric smokers do so themselves. You just need to set it up once, and you can forget about it for several hours. Indeed, electric smokers are specifically made to make the process of smoking meat convenient.
Once you’ve bought one, you will probably be unsure as to how to use an electric smoker and the first question in your mind would be to understand how to use it.
The next part of this article will show you exactly how you should use an electric smoker and extract the most out of it.
#1 Set Up Your Smoker In A Safe Place:
The first order of things is to ensure that your smoker is in a safe area where it is not a fire hazard in the waiting. It also has to be in a well- ventilated space- so having it anywhere indoors is not a good idea. It should ideally be placed on a level concrete surface in a garden or yard at a reasonable distance from anything which can catch fire.
#2 Cure The Smoker:
Before you ever smoke meat in the electric smoker, you need to make sure that any dust, harmful chemical fumes and other odors and solvents are removed from it.
To do this,
- Coat the insides of the smoker, including the walls and the racks thoroughly with cooking oil.
- Switch on the smoker and let it run for a couple of hours. This will ensure that all the fumes, dust etc. are eliminated and will no longer have any effect on the meat you smoke in the smoker.
Once this process is done, turn off the smoker and open it up to ensure that all the smoke is removed and the smoker is cooled properly.
#3 Prepare Meat For Smoking:
Since almost all types of meat like seafood, poultry, red meat etc. can be smoked, it is obvious that the processes will vary a lot. However, while the duration of smoking and the specific ingredients used for the process may differ, the underlying concept remains the same:
- Clean the meat properly and remove extra water.
- If needed use various spices like oregano, chilli flakes, basil, thyme, finely chopped garlic etc. and dry rub the meat to ensure that it opens up and is primed for absorbing the flavor.
- You may also use a wet marinade made with yogurt, curds or different sauces to infuse stronger or different flavors into the meat depending upon your style of cooking.
#4 Start Up The Electric Smoker:
Once the meat has been prepped, comes the most defining step of the smoking process. Now, all you have to do is add wood chips or wood chunks to the electric heater.
People have varied choices when it comes to preferring one over the other, but it all comes down to individual preference since the only difference is in the taste. Whether you use wood chips or wood chunks doesn’t affect the smoking process at all.
Wood chips are available in several variants like hickory, oak, plum, apple, alder, cherry etc.
About 4- 5 cups of wood chips should be sufficient for a 5-hour smoking session.
If you have an electric water smoker, you can also consider putting in a pan of water as well, since the steam helps to soften the harder meats as well. It can also be used as a secondary way of infusing flavors into the meat by adding water-soluble substances like beer, apple juice or wine in the water.
#5 Add The Meat:
Once the smoker reaches the desired temperature as per the recipe and the type of meat you are cooking, add the meat to the electric smoker. It is recommended that you wait till the temperature is right because in the time it takes for the smoker to reach that temperature, the meat can dry up the meat and spoil the entire batch.
Now, just sit back and relax while your meat goes through the smoking process. It can take anywhere between a couple of hours to an overnight smoking session for the process to finish depending on the type of the meat used and the recipe.
#6 Enjoy Your Meal:
Check whether your meat has been done using a thermometer by plunging it inside the meat, at the center. Once the temperature has been achieved, turn off the ether, remove the meat from it and serve it hot!
#7 Clean Up Properly:
Once you have finished using an electric smoker, it is very important to clean it up immediately, before the grease released from the meat has time to settle. If left unattended, this can take a long time to clean up and make it difficult to eliminate the odors of the previous session.
Use a spray of warm water mixed with a bit of liquid soap or lemon extract and spray it liberally on the insides of the smoker. After a few minutes, wipe it clean with a cloth, rinse with water and again wipe off the water with a dry cloth to prevent rust formation.
Also, you should either move your smoker back inside your garage until your next use or at least cover it up with a waterproof covering to protect it from the element.
Electric smokers are a pleasure to use and are extremely convenient. In fact, the process has been simplified so much that it is very difficult to make mistakes. If you follow the above steps consistently, you should be able to enjoy your smoking process while ensuring that your electric smoker lasts for years together without any issues and gives you several memorable experiences to last a lifetime.