How Does An Electric Smoker Work? [Tips and Tricks]

Electric Smoker is becoming a household item these days as it is less fussy and easy to operate, no matter how inexperienced you are. With a little bit of practice, you will be all good at cooking with electric smokers.

I find these smokers effortless to use because temperature adjustment and time settings usually are automatic. There are some people who have an option that electric smokers do not give that smokey taste that you can get using a propane or charcoal grill, but they can be messy at times.

If you do not know how does an electric smoker work then no worries. You will get answers to every question about its working here.

What Is An Electric Smoker?

An electric smoker is a kitchen appliance you can use to smoke food by utilizing heat indirectly. It is like a traditional smoker but uses electricity to create a controlled temperature. As it uses electricity, it is much easier to use and clean than traditional smokers.


Electric smokers have a heating element that produces smoke from wood chips or pellets placed inside the smoker box. The chips are burned and produce smoke, which travels through vents into the cooking chamber.

Electric smokers can also be used to cook foods other than meat, such as vegetables, fish, and even fruit. These smokers usually come with a digital control panel that allows you to set the temperature and time, which is ideal for creating different types of food.

Some electric smokers also have sensors that detect when the food inside is done cooking, so you do not have to check on it constantly. You can find several electric smoker types from the market or purchase online.

Some of the significant among them are as follows:

Offset Smoker

An offset smoker will allow you to smoke your meat directly over the fire. Backyard chefs use these smokers because they are easy to set up and use.

They have a water or drip pan below the firebox, which will catch any drippings from the meat as it cooks.

For those who want to smoke their meat in the winter months, offset smokers are ideal when there is no heat source available.

offset smoker

Kettle Smoker

Kettle Smoker

The kettle smoker is an offset smoker with a larger outer diameter and a smaller inner diameter.

It is popular because it lets you use gas grills or electric grills that lack access to direct heat sources like fireboxes or charcoal grills would provide.

Using it, you can cook multiple items at once, such as sausages, ribs, and brisket.

Vertical Smoker

The vertical smoker is similar to the offset model but has a smaller firebox that sits less than halfway up the box.

The vertical smoker has a basket where you can place your food while smoking it at low temperatures so that they do not get too dry or burned while cooking.

Having no attachment to the bottom of the box allows you to easily move it around your cooking area when needed.

vertical smoker

How Does An Electric Smoker Work?

If you know how an electric oven works, relax because an electric smoker’s work is not different. Electricity goes through the power supply under the drip tray of the smoker, which helps it to function. After plugging the power cable in and turning it on, you need to hold on because it ignites the wood chips for smoking.

It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the wood chips to start burning at their full, so it is good to add food after this time. Once the smoker gets properly hot from inside, you can put the food on the cooking grates, especially meat. The heating element of the smoker starts to get heat due to the current in it, resulting in burning wood chips producing smoke. 

If you have seen the working of various types of smokers, such as gas, charcoal, or pellet smokers, you can observe that it has an additional water tray. The water inside the tray starts to vaporize as the internal temperature of the smoker goes up. Your meat gets smoke from the wood chips and water vapors to give you a juicy and smokey meal in the end.

Cleaning an electric smoker is much easier than other smokers on the market due to the stream production by the water tray. Usually, the smoked meat sticks to the cooking grates in a gas or charcoal smoker.

Unlike gas or charcoal smokers, electric-powered smokers are entirely sealed, meaning there is no way for the vapors or smoke to escape. 

How To Use An Electric Smoker?

The following steps will help you use an electric smoker as a beginner: 

  • Season the electric grill to eliminate dirt, grease, and factory residuals, so they can not contaminate your food. Apply the cooking oil to the inner walls of your smoker and heat it at maximum temperature for at least 2 ½ hours. 
  • Preheat your electric grill for 10 to 15 before you cook the food. Place the food to smoke on the grill grates of the electric smoker.
  • Add wood chips in the firebox, but make sure that you have the right type of wooden chips for better flavor. Otherwise, place them in a bag and add them to the firebox once you are ready for smoke production.
  • Add water to an electric smoker until it reaches the level you want it to be during the cooking time (usually between 1/2 and 3/4 full). 

If needed you can pour in more water, but never fill it too much. 

  • Set your dial to a temperature setting. The setting will tell you what temperature you should set for your vents. So, smoke will leave the cooking chamber of your electric smoker and not escape through open vent holes. 
  • After that, please turn off the smoker and get the smoker’s food out. Once the smoker cools down, you should properly clean it before packing up. 

How Long Does An Electric Smoker Take To Heat Up?

It depends on the smoker’s size and type, what you are cooking, and your cooking style. The average time to heat up a charcoal or gas grill is about 15 minutes.

For electric smokers, the time range is between 15 minutes to 1 hour, usually depending upon the model.

How To Smoke Meat In An Electric Smoker?

If you have an electric smoker, here’s how to smoke meat in it:

  • Put your meat in the smoker, fat side up. If you are using a drip pan, put that on top of your meat. You can use the drip pan for indirect heat if you like there is no need for it. Consider using only direct heat (and closely monitoring your temperature).
  • Set your smoker temperature based on how thick or thin your cuts are. It depends on which type of wood chips you are using as well. For example, for a 3-pound piece of beef brisket with applewood chips. Set the temperature at 275-degree Fahrenheit and stick with it for 3 hours.
Smoke Meat In An Electric Smoker

Final Words

With my electric smoker instructions, you can add the same smokey flavor to your foods for which gas and charcoal smokers are popular. Undoubtedly, an electric smoker can not match the fabulous taste of fossil fuel-powered cousins, but still, it gives you the tendency to smoke in a condensed space. Hopefully, you will understand “How Does An Electric Smoker Work? ” if you read this electric smoker guide.

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