Have you just purchased an electric smoker and are wondering how to get the best from it? Or Are you confused about how to use the smoker properly? Or Are you dissatisfied with the value your smoker provides and expecting something more? Then, this article is for you. These might seem simple but definitely come to your rescue. Let’s get started.
The 10 Tips To Help You To Get the Best Out Of Your Electric Smoker
Ditch The Chip Tray
Many of us who are using an electric smoker would have had an awful experience using the insufficient chip tray. It is usually very small and has to be refilled several times. This causes a bland flavor in our food and doesn’t serve the purpose we expect from a smoker.
This has led many users to switch to Buzzlett pellet smokers. This is one of the convenient and inexpensive devices. It is a small box that can give up to 10 hours of thin blue smoke. To use this we must load the tray with pellets and light with a lighter or blow torch. Heat them for 45 seconds and then blow the fire off. Now load this into your smoker and sit back and enjoy.
Don’t Over Smoke Your Food
Yes, of course! We all use these smokers to get a smoky touch on the food. But remember too much of anything is good for nothing. Therefore don’t over-smoke your food and ruin it, because too much smoking of food could make it unfit for consumption, especially in the case of poultry. A Pellet smoker once loaded could be sufficient to cook your perfect chicken.
A well-seasoned smoker will need only a few hours of smoke during 8 hours of cooking. If you want to add more smoke to food then try switching to a fruit variety of wood like apple or cherry. But remember pecan is an ideal wood for long smokes and good for beef.
Smoke Chicken On A Hotter Setting
As discussed earlier, one load of wood would be sufficient to cook the chicken. It is a meat that cooks relatively faster. Always rely on the temperature to check whether the meat is cooked or not because undercooked chicken could be disastrous. 250º F-300ºF would be the perfect temperature for cooking chicken.
To check whether it is cooked or not check the temperature inside, it should be around 165ºF for a perfectly cooked chicken. While smoking in the chicken you can also add fruit woods in the pellet box to enhance the flavor. This step is completely optional and depends on our preferences.
Learn To Control Temperature Swings
Temperature swings are nothing but highs or lows over the set temperature. These are common in smokers. These swings happen because the device is built in such a way that if a certain level of temperature is reached by the smoker then the heating element will stop its functioning and will get to work again only if the temperature falls below the set range. The highs and lows largely depend on many factors such as climate or humidity outside etc.
Now how can we control these? Here is a simple trick to do this. If you want the temperature to be around 230º F inside then set the temperature to 240 ºF. And constantly watch for the rise in temperature, once it reaches 240 and starts to rise set it to 230 ºF. Therefore now swings will be reduced to a considerable amount.
For Cold Smoking Use Attachment
Cold smoking is nothing but a method of food preservation; it also adds flavor to our food. Many times cold smoking is misunderstood with the process of cooking but it isn’t it. The best temperature for cold smoking is below 86ºF because since cold smoking is a process of food preservation it should prevent bacteria from multiplying. The temperature at which bacteria multiply is most likely to be around 100-110ºF.
Now the next question arises, How to cold smoke? Well for this you have two options, first one is to use the attachment that is generally provided with the electric smoker. If you don’t have any then a commercial smoker generator that is available in the market which could be placed in the smoker could do the job. A cold smoker could be also a great option for cold smoking at your place.
Control Your Vent Position
Estimating the right vent position for your charcoal smoker could be more difficult than for an electric smoker. But it is advisable to keep the vent fully open while smoking your meat. By keeping the vent fully open we can avoid creosote forming on the meat. It is nothing but a thick oily substance left by the fire while smoking meat.
This substance, of course, adds flavor to meat but when it exceeds a certain limit it is awful on food. You can close your vent only when you have finished smoking your meat or when you want to increase the temperature of your smoker.
Use Foil On Your Grill Racks To Make Clean-up A Lot Easier
If you are a person who cooks then you must be aware that if cooking is a difficult task then cleaning is a herculean task. It is not easy to clean especially the items such as grills because the fire would cause tough strains that are hard to remove. Now, the aluminum foil comes to our rescue. Just before cleaning, heat the grill a little so that it will be easy to remove the strains. Now it’s time to grab the aluminum sheet and roll it into a ball. This would be helpful to rub off grime easily.
Don’t use your hands because you have heated the grill and might be hot. Now to keep it clean you could also spray some oil, once it’s cool which will make the cleaning process after cooking easier. Cleaning is as important as cooking in case of smokers because if left uncleaned it could affect the taste and quality of food that’s cooked the very next time. Aluminum foil can also be used to cover the heat deflector pan and drip pan.
Don’t Soak Your Wood Chips
Yes, it is not advisable to soak your wood chips for various reasons. Firstly when wood chips are soaked they produce less fire or smoke. The white smoke that you see is not smoke but the steam that is coming out from wet wood chips. The main reason for using the smoker is it gets a good smoky flavor in our food but when wet chips are used they will not add any good flavor.
Secondly, it will cause them fluctuations due to the moisture that’s been released from the wet woods. And finally, it will cause your smoker to rust due to the moisture content that’s been released into the air. Therefore soaking wood chips is not a feasible option at all.
Pre-season Your Smoker Before Using It For The First Time
If you have just unboxed an electric smoker and are planning to use it then this is for you. This process is necessary because any dust, oil, or residue from the manufacturing process would be removed easily. Most of the time these residues are petroleum based which can combine with food while cooking and can cause health issues. Therefore it is always advisable to pre- Season the smoker before use.
An additional benefit is that this can add a thin layer of black smoke that could be imparted to your food. All you have to do is to assemble and use the electric smoker properly. Clean them with oil. Keep all racks in place. Plug your smoker and vent out completely. Now set the smoker to 275 ºF and the timer to 3 hours. While adding woods add them after 45 minutes add them in a lot of 12 pieces every 20 minutes to avoid over-smoking.
Finish Poultry In The Over For Crisp Skin
Everyone likes poultry to be crisp, isn’t it? But the problem is that the maximum temperature in most electric smokers is around 275 ºF which is not sufficient to cook poultry crisp. So after cooking these in smokers, place them in the oven and cook them for 10 minutes to make them crispy. Once done cooking, now your crispy meat is ready to be served. Serve them hot and enjoy.
Hope these ten tips were really helpful and interesting. Don’t miss out on trying these because even though it seems to be a simple tip, it comes to your aid most of the time. If you are a beginner at using smokers then follow these steps and thank me later. Remember these tools will provide the fullest benefits deepening how you use them. Use them wisely to get the most benefits out of them. What you sow so you reap. Therefore the efficiency of these machines depends largely on how you maintain them and how you use them. So use them wisely, save your time and enjoy.