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How do you feel about electric smokers?

I live in a condo where I can’t get a regular smoker. Already have an electric grill built into the unit. I don’t think putting wood chips in one will be a problem as long as it’s electric(I do put them in my grill. Doesn’t work too well.) Is there one you recommend? Many Thanks!
 
Smoke Hollow makes a decent one you can pick up for a relatively cheap price. Our local Lowes store carries them. I've had mine for 5 or 6 years now, with good results.
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
I use a Masterbuilt dorm fridge-type smoker exclusively, and like it fine. I cannot get it to make a smoke ring, but I am fairly convinced a smoke ring is purely aesthetic. I think it cost about $180 on sale at Home Depot. Seems to do a good job with everything I have tried in it--brisket in particular, pork shoulder, sausages, chicken, salmon. Large enough for my purposes.

But if the question if whether you could use it inside an apartment, I really have no idea. I had not considered that.
 
I would never recommend using a smoker indoors. Too many potential risks and dangers for you and the people in surrounding condos.

If possible, use your balcony if you have one. If not, skip the smoker. Smokers should only be used in open air environments.

 
If you have no other option they're OK. The issue is that electrics smolder the wood chips/chunks in a pan for the most part which results in dirty smoke. Over the years, I've found the key to cooking good barbecue is to burn the flavoring wood hot as possible while maintaining a low cooker temperature (easier said than done). Forget meats, rubs, sauces, etc... smoke is the most important ingredient. Most folks who are serious about the hobby end up with a stick burner. I don't have one so I do what I can with the tools I have.
 
I have an MES (masterbuilt electric smoker) with a Amazin pellet smoker mod. It is a great combo, the electric holds the heat consistent and the Amazin pellet tray works perfect. As a bonus, this will also do cold smokes for Lox and Cheese. I would recomment getting a good remote thermometer as well.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
I agree that they can be fine cookers. I've had good food come off electric smokers. But, yeah, they can be a bit dirty. They also can be a bit bland. All that, though, has a lot to do with how you use them. An advantage is that both heat and smoke are pretty easy to control, as you don't depend on wood for heat.

In any case, as others have said, don't do this sort of thing inside.

Over the years, I've found the key to cooking good barbecue is to burn the flavoring wood hot as possible while maintaining a low cooker temperature (easier said than done). [. . .] Most folks who are serious about the hobby end up with a stick burner.
The key to running a clean fire on an offset is to have a good coal bed. To REALLY do it right, you burn your wood down to coals in another fire and then add those coals to the firebox of the stick burner as you need them, but that's a hell of a lot of work and goes through a hell of a lot of wood. The other way is to start with a coal bed (typically, a pile of well lit charcoal) and replenish that coal bed by adding logs that are appropriately sized for your pit.

Just as an aside, my pellet cooker turns out barbeque that tastes just as clean as my offset ever has. No one has been more surprised that I have. I suppose that has something to do with how remarkably efficient it is when compared to my stick burner.
 
I had a masterbuilt and thought it was too much to keep it clean. stuff splatters all over and cleaning it was a pain, sold it and now i have a camp chef pellet, and I really like it. easy and reliable, has been fine.
 
The key to running a clean fire on an offset is to have a good coal bed. To REALLY do it right, you burn your wood down to coals in another fire and then add those coals to the firebox of the stick burner as you need them, but that's a hell of a lot of work and goes through a hell of a lot of wood. The other way is to start with a coal bed (typically, a pile of well lit charcoal) and replenish that coal bed by adding logs that are appropriately sized for your pit.

Just as an aside, my pellet cooker turns out barbeque that tastes just as clean as my offset ever has. No one has been more surprised that I have. I suppose that has something to do with how remarkably efficient it is when compared to my stick burner.
The secret to good barbecue is just plain hard work.

 

TexLaw

Contributor
The secret to good barbecue is just plain hard work.
Quite true. One, day-long brisket cook on an offset will teach anyone that. Getting to know your pit helps a lot, but it's still a good bit of work. I'll get my 10,000 steps on a day like that and never get further than 50 paces from my bed!
 

oc_in_fw

Contributor
I have an MES (masterbuilt electric smoker) with a Amazin pellet smoker mod. It is a great combo, the electric holds the heat consistent and the Amazin pellet tray works perfect. As a bonus, this will also do cold smokes for Lox and Cheese. I would recomment getting a good remote thermometer as well.
Haven’t had lox since I left Cleveland in 92. There was a deli on Public Square that had a great bagel with schmear and lox. They did a great pastrami, too.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
I have a friend who swears by his Bradley electric smoker. I don't know all the details about it, but it uses pucks for its "smoke generator." I don't know how much that contributes to the heat generation.

I considered it a great deal when looking at pellet cookers.
 
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