Do you love the convenience of your slow cooker but also prefer the rich flavor of a barbecue or, even better, food cooked over an open fire? If so, you might be in the market for an electric smoker, even if you don’t know it yet.
You may have already wondered if electric is the way to go. Let us tell you, now, that if you’re the “set it and forget it” kind of chef, it most certainly is. Smolder your meat and poultry to perfection while you get on with your day. You can forget about having to babysit your barbecue – your new electric smoker will cook your food to the perfect internal temperature slowly and safely.
Electric Smoker Overview
Ready to get started? Let’s look at 10 of today’s top-selling electric smokers.
The following table outlines some of the most important differences among these 10 smokers so you can quickly get an idea of which ones are best for you.
Good: It includes a larger-than-average cooking area, a couple of advanced features, and a special wood chip loading system, all at a reasonable price.
Not so good: It doesn’t produce as smoky a flavor as some other models since its wood chip box is further from the heating element.
Bottom Line: Its size, price and build quality, combined with a few nice extras, make this a good choice for those who want a reliable smoker offering control over the cooking process.
Good: Its dry smoke and low temperature combine to make it the perfect smoker for slow-cooking jerky. The window is a big plus as well.
Not so good: The controller is located uncomfortably at the bottom of the unit and you’ll only be able to control the temperature.
Bottom Line: Although it’s on the basic side, this smoker is a bargain, especially for jerky lovers.
Good: Unparalleled in terms of control, this smoker allows you to monitor its temperature as well as the temperature of your meat from its control panel or your cell phone.
Not so good: Some people will expect a larger cooking area considering how much this smoker costs.
Bottom Line: With this smoker, you’re paying for convenience and control rather than space. If you don’t need to cook too much at one time, you’ll appreciate how easy it makes smoking.
Good: As the smallest smoker on our list as well as the most lightweight, this is our clear choice as the best portable smoker.
Not so good: Its lack of a water pan sets it apart from all the others on our list and prevents it from infusing as much juice or flavor into your food.
Bottom Line: Its biggest drawback may also be its most important selling point, since the lack of a water pan is part of what makes it possible for this smoker to be so compact.
Good: This compact smoker is raised up on four tall legs, making it easy to use despite its small size.
Not so good: It comes with only two racks and doesn’t have a very large cooking area, limiting how much food you can prepare at once.
Bottom Line: Especially considering its low price, this is a great starter smoker for small families.
Good: It offers a reasonably large cooking area and is built with quality and longevity in mind.
Not so good: Though its legs fold up and it can be called a “portable” smoker, it doesn’t have handles or wheels for easy transportation.
Bottom Line: This is a good smoker for people who want to save money without sacrificing quality.
Good: It will cook your food for the desired length of time and even automatically load more wood biscuits, leading to evenly-smoked food without any manual intervention.
Not so good: This is the most expensive smoker on our page, ringing in at a full $300 more than our cheapest model.
Bottom Line: If you have the money to spare, a fully automated system is certainly worth the investment.
Good: Elevated so that you don’t need to bend down too far, this basic smoker includes a glass window and a thermometer so you can monitor your food as it cooks.
Not so good: Without many functions others on this list have and too tall for some storage spaces, this isn’t a good option for everyone.
Bottom Line: Assuming that you have some specific wants and needs, you might well be pleased by this smoker.
Good: You can track the temperature of your meat to ensure it is never over or under-cooked. You can also set the machine to alert you when your desired food temperature is reached.
Not so good: Its lengthy pre-heat time may make it difficult to get things started quickly on a busy day, making it less convenient than some other automated smokers.
Bottom Line: Considering everything you get for this decently low price, the long warm-up period isn’t that big a deal.