An Electric smoker may well not be a ‘traditional’ way to smoke food and not necessary for the traditional pitmasters but the electric smoker brings with it a number of benefits that can more than justify its place as a quality food smoker of choice for many.
The benefits that an electric cabinet smoker offer include:
1) Electric smokers are perfect for beginners.
If this is the first smoker you are buying, then ease of use is an important factor.
Using an electric cabinet smoker is pretty much as easy as working an electric oven. You don’t need to master the art and sometimes unpredictable nature of heating your smoker with wood or charcoal where many factors can come into play and can have an impact on your cook.
This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t get great smoking results from an Electric Cabinet Smoker, you certainly can. The food you smoke can be just as good as any other method of smoking food.
With an electric smoker, you simply set it to the desired temperature adding your desired wood chips, set the time and your away.
And the results are hugely satisfying.
After you have become more familiar with the smoking process with your electric smoker, you may decide to move on to a more traditional type of smoker. Or, you may decide that electric smokers are just right for you, and stick with them (perhaps upgrading to a bigger or more expensive unit).
Whatever you decide to do, the fact remains purchasing an electric smoker is a great way to start smoking, and learn some basic techniques before deciding what direction you wish to take.
2) Cost – Electric smokers are one of the cheapest types of smokers.
Electric smokers are more affordable than most other types of smokers, quality brands such as Masterbuilt start from little over £200.
Both electric smokers and pellet grills offer “set and forget” convenience, but for a good pellet grill, you can expend to pay upwards of £500, though you do get a few extra features with a pellet grill. Plus, some pellet grills also have the ability to grill with direct heat as well as smoke with indirect heat.
It really comes down to your needs and budget, and if you think spending extra on a pellet grill is worth it to you, there’s nothing wrong with that decision.
3) It couldn’t be simpler.
This is similar to our first point, but being easy to smoke on isn’t only useful for beginners.
When you take out the need to light the charcoal, control airflow, and understand the nature of temperature spikes, you are left with plenty of time to focus on flavourings with various rubs, brines and sauces.
Quite literally, to run your electric smoker, all that you are required to do is to fill the water tray, add your choice of wood chips, turn the cabinet smoker on, adjust your settings of desired temperature and time, allow it to reach temperature, and then add the food.
The digital controls on the Electric Cabinet Smokers are really easy to set up and control. Plus, several models even have a Bluetooth feature whereby you can control the smoker via your phone.
4) You can turn your Electric Smoker into a cold smoker.
If you are interested in smoking different types of food, then electric smokers offer great versatility.
For instance, you can easily cold smoke bacon or cheese using an electric smoker. It is also possible to prepare dried meats, meat logs and loaves, fish, sausages, and even desserts in an electric smoker.
Some brands of Electric Cabinet Smokers offer attachments which allow you to convert the smoker into a cold smoker, or you could simply use a cold smoke generator inside the cabinet with your choice of wood dust.
Reasons an electric smoker might not be right for you.
There are a couple of negatives to choosing an Electric Cabinet Smoker, but none that we feel out way any of the positives
1. Lack of a smoke ring
The smoke ring is the pink coloration just below the surface of the meat. It is a distinctive marker of a southern barbecue, and as such, many pitmasters take much pride in slicing open their brisket to find one.
A smoke ring looks impressive, and might matter to some, but it does not actually impact the taste of the meat. So if taste, and not looks, is of paramount importance to you, the lack of a smoke ring shouldn’t be an issue.
2. Not as versatile as other smokers
You’ll never be able to sear a steak or grill burgers on an electric smoker, this is also true with quite a few other smokers, though certain manufacturers include a slide and sear grilling option which gives you access to direct flame searing.
3. Parts can break down
Due to the fact that there are electrical parts in a Electric Cabinet Smoker, if a part fails, then it wont usually be something that can be repaired yourself.
Therefore, it’s important to understand the warranty situation regarding the smoker and use also choose an established, known brand that provide a good level of after sales service with regards to replacement parts and advice
Overall, there definitely is a place for a Digital Electric Smoker and probably alongside a standard grill would give you the best of both worlds. Also, it definitely a great starting point when beginning a journey into the world of smoking food.