How Does an Electric Smoker Work?

Smoking is an incredible way to make delicious food, but you need the right smoker to make it happen. Electric smokers are one of the more popular options in the modern world, and they can be powerful tools when it comes to making amazing meals. Let’s explore how they work and what kind of experience they offer.

how does an electric smoker work

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    What is an Electric Smoker?

    When most people think of a smoker, they imagine traditional smokers, not electric smokers. An electric smoker, however, can offer many of the same benefits. The only difference is that an electric smoker relies on electricity to generate heat and function.

    An electric smoker works the same way as a standard smoker, acting as an outdoor cooking medium. It can use smoke for cooking various food types, including meats of all kinds—red meat, poultry, and fish—as well as vegetables.

    How Do Electric Smokers Work?

    All smokers have a closed space where smoking occurs, and electric smokers work similarly. Electric smokers use electricity to heat up a closed chamber using an electric heating feature.

    The electric smoker’s heat may cook the meat, but the smoking still comes from the use of wood. Wood is used to create a delicious smoked flavor, which is what smoked food is so well known for.

    As the electricity heats up the cooking chamber, anything inside of it will start to cook. Electric heating chambers can also offer different temperatures, which are controlled by a simple gauge to allow users to set the appropriate smoking temperature.

    The Pros and Cons of an Electric Smoker

    Every type of smoker has benefits and drawbacks that can influence the cooking experience. Knowing the pros and cons in advance can help you to make a decision that best supports your personal interests and cooking habits.


    There are several benefits to using an electric smoker:

    • Consistent Temperatures—These systems stay at the right temperature during the cycle.
    • Easy to Use—Using an electric smoker is a very simple process in most cases, even for beginners.
    • Can Be Used with Different Foods—Smokers are highly versatile, and electric smokers are no exception.
    • Less Smoke—Since electric smokers use electricity, the smoke is often less severe and more direct. This is ideal for those who love smoked food but do not like smoke or live in areas with fire bans.
    • Needs Less Monitoring—Since electric smokers do not require manual work, they can be left to their devices while your food cooks.
    • Low Price—Electric smokers can be obtained at a great price.


    There are a few drawbacks that are associated with using an electric smoker:

    • Cannot Reach High Temperatures—Most electric smokers cannot reach high temperatures over 300°F, so you cannot grill on an electric smoker.
    • Least Amount of Flavor—Electric smokers give much less smoky flavor than cooking over a pellet or charcoal grill. Because there is no actual fire.
    • NoSmoke Ring—Electric smokers can’t create a smoke ring on the meat.
    • Dependent Upon Outlets—Without an electrical outlet, you cannot use your electric smoker.

    Preset Settings Don’t Always Work—Some believe that presets on available electric smoker models can be limiting compared to other options.

    The Best Foods to Smoke on an Electric Smoker

    Using an electric smoker is a wonderful way to enjoy delicious food with a smoky flavor, but it does offer better cooking for materials that are easier to cook. When using an electric smoker, it helps to avoid using large cuts of meat, as they may take a long time to cook. The best options include chicken, pork, and beef for these smokers.

    An electric smoker is most effective when used for thinner cuts of meat and vegetables that are either whole or cut. This is why it is so popular to use these systems for making jerky. However, you can use an electric smoker to cook a variety of foods that you want to give a smoky flavor.

    Tips for Using Your Electric Smoker

    When using an electric smoker, it is always best to follow the instructions that come with your system. All electric smokers have different features and specifications, so general advice may not always apply.

    Tips that focus on the cooking experience, on the other hand, can provide much better outcomes when using an electric smoker.

    Can I Use Aluminum Foil in My Electric Smoker?

    The electric element makes some people wonder what is safe to put in an electric smoker. Once again, this is an area where you will want to read any instruction manuals that come with your smoker. However, in most cases, aluminum foil can be safely used inside an electric smoker unless otherwise specified.

    While it is safe to use aluminum foil in most cases, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t change anything. Most people find that aluminum foil decreases the cooking time of food. You may end up cooking food faster and with less smoky flavor, so consider that with use.

    Does an Electric Smoker Need Seasoning?

    Seasoning is a common practice used to burn off any remaining grime or residue that might have ended up in the system during the manufacturing process. It is an effective way to ensure a better flavor straight out the gate when you start smoking food. Electric smokers can benefit from this just like any other smoker type, so it is common to season them.

    Does an Electric Smoker Use a Lot of Electricity?

    Since electric smokers are powered by electricity, it is understandable that people often have concerns about their energy consumption. Fortunately, electric smokers do not use a high volume of electricity to cook food. Since they are also used irregularly, it is not too common to use a lot of electricity with these devices, even when food is smoked for hours.

    The Best Electric Smoker Alternative: Pellet Smokers

    An electric smoker is one option for preparing delicious meats using slow cooking. However, they are not the only option available. A popular alternative to the electric smoker is the pellet smoker.

    Related reading: Pellet Smoker vs. Electric Smoker: Which is Better?

    Z Grills L6002B Pellet Grill

    The Z Grills pellet smoker is a top pellet smoker that offers all of the benefits of an electric smoker and more. Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry, trusted by over 650,000 pellet grillers. Reliable, easy to use, and offering precise temperature control, Z Grills pellet grills make delicious food full of smoked flavor. Able to work as a smoker, traditional grill, oven, and more, you can use pellet grills to make tasty food for every meal!

    About The Author

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    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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