What is an Electric Smoker?

An Electric smoker work in a similar way to your regular household oven. Electricity powers a heating element that’s housed inside an insulated chamber.

Because there’s no fire, any smoky flavour you want must be created by adding wood chips to a tray above the heating element. Being so close to the heat makes them smoulder and release fragrance that’s then imparted in the meat.

Even though electric smokers are like an oven, most are for outdoor use only. This means you’ll need access to power on your patio. Or, portable models can be connected to your car and/or battery via an inverter.

If you’re wondering about the results you can get in an electric smoker vs. using a smoker with a real flame, no, don’t expect the same level of greatness. Electric smokers can’t create the same sort of smoke ring or crispy bark that are bi products of the natural combustion process. That being said, if you live in an apartment  where you’re not allowed to have an open flame, or, you simply want the convenience of plug and play, electric smokers are still an excellent option that are quite capable of producing delicious meals.


Grilling on an Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are designed to keep the temperature low and slow. That means that they’re dedicated smokers and you CAN’T grill on them as well.

Pros of using an Electric Smoker

  • No hassle of trying to light a fire

  • Cheap to run

  • You don’t need to have fuel handy (well apart from having access to power)

  • They’re suitable for using in apartments and other residential areas where fires aren’t permitted

  • Many double as a portable smoker as well

  • Temperature control is automated

  • Easy to use

  • There are some great commercial and semi-pro electric smokers you can use at home

Cons of using an Electric


  • Doesn’t taste the same as meat smoked over a real fire

  • It’s very difficult/impossible to create a smoke ring and perfect bark

  • Not suitable for grilling

  • Can’t set up multiple heat zones as the temperature is regulated throughout

  • Must have access to power

  • Many have small water and wood chip trays that require you to add more fuel reasonably frequently

Who Should Buy an Electric Smoker?

Electric smokers are an ideal, and often the only option for people who want to smoke meat on an apartment balcony or patio where open flames aren’t permitted.