There are two possible reasons why you’re here reading this article. It’s either you’ve just bought a smoker, or you’re thinking of buying one. But, regardless of what the reason is, for sure, it’s because you want to get the most out of its everyday use.

As we know, smoking is a beautiful cooking method that cooks food low and slow, so it becomes tender, juicy, and tasty. And you can only get this if you knew how to use an electric smoker well.

So, here are the best seven tips and tricks we can give to help you get the most out of your electric smoker:

1. Clean Your Smoker Regularly

Traditional smoked barbecue wagyu beef brisket

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Like any other equipment at home, it’s essential to keep your smoker clean. 

One particular thing we love about Electric smokers is that they burn food cleanly and give it a smoky and delicious taste. You can’t achieve that with a dirty electric smoker. 

If you’ve heard people saying that burnt residue will make your food tastier, don’t listen to them. Those would only make your food taste bitter, plus, presentation-wise, the black specks don’t give your food much of an appeal. 

Besides, cleaning your electric smoker isn’t much of a hassle if that means you’ll be maintaining a high-quality cook on your food at all times. Just simply follow the instructions manual on how to best clean your electric smoker. 

To make cleaning easier, we recommend covering your grill racks with foils to make cleaning easier. You can also use the same method to cover your heat deflector and drip pan.

Clean your smoker every after use, even if it’s just by simply wiping off grates, grease, and oils. But, clean out your electric smoker thoroughly at least once every 3-5 uses.

2. Pre-Season Your Smoker Before Its First Use

Traditional smoked barbecue wagyu beef brisket

Always season your electric smoker before using it for the first time. 

This may sound like a hassle as you’ve probably bought an electric smoker, so you can use it immediately after plugging. Well, hear us out first because there’s a good reason why you should do this. 

You see, pre-seasoning your smoker will ensure that any manufacturing residue is removed. This way, you get to ensure that your food remains safe to eat. On top of that, that first run of smoke coats and seals everything inside and, at the same time, brings out more smokey flavor on your food. 

In other words, it makes your electric smoker run more efficiently, and we think that’s worth the effort.

3. Don’t oversmoke Your Food

Traditional smoked barbecue wagyu beef brisket

Always season your electric smoker before using it for the first time.

Be easy when it comes to smoke because more smoke doesn’t necessarily add better flavor to your food.

If this is your first time, then you should know that one tray of pellets or chips should be enough to add enough smokey flavor to your meat. That’s how little you need. But then again, if you prefer to have it stronger, then add a little more, but never too much.

4. Learn How To Control Temperature Swings

Grilled Marbled Meat Steak Filet Mignon With Seasonings.

Expect Temperature Swings: Between 20 and 30 Degrees

Learning how to control temperature swings will help you a lot in providing perfection in the cook of meat when using an electric smoker.

You see, the temperature inside an electric smoker is known for its swings. This means the temperature setting may go above or below the set temperature of up to 20-degrees Fahrenheit. This means that even if you think you’ve set the temperature to 220-degrees Fahrenheit, that won’t be very consistent because of these swings.

What you should do is set the temperature below the desired smoking temp. Make sure to monitor the temperature carefully as it climbs, and when you reach the desired temperature, set the temperature to your desired temperature again. This way, you get to minimize the swings.

We also recommend using your own temperature probe, so you ensure that temperatures are accurate.

5. Experiment With Hardwoods

smoked salmon on charcoal grill
You should also try experimenting with hardwoods. That is if the electric smoker you bought comes with a wood-burning option.

Experimenting with wood chips to use will help you create a flavor that you prefer. You can create a custom wood blend.

This is based on preferences, but if this is your first time, it’s highly recommended that you follow these rules:

Beef is suitable to be smoked in all types of wood, except for apple. Chickens will also taste best when using any wood chips except for oak and maple, while fish is tastier when you use alder, oak, and mesquite. Lastly, for veggies, you can use hickory, pecan, and maple.

6. Always Give Yourself Enough Time

smoked salmon on charcoal grill

Remember, smoking is known for low and slow cooking so that meat is cooked more tender, juicier, and tastier. So, make sure that you always give yourself enough time and never hurry the cooking process.

Here’s what’s usually recommended:

  • Briskets and Pork Butts are cooked at a standard of 220°F, which usually takes about 1.5 hours per pound.
  • Whole Chickens are recommended to be set at a temperature of 250°F, which usually takes about 4 hours.
  • Chicken Thighs are cooked at 250°F for 1.5 hours, while chicken quarters are cooked at the same temperature but for 3 hours.
  • Whole Turkey is cooked at 240°F for 6.5 hours.
  • Meat Loaf is cooked between 250-300°F  at 3 hours.
  • Spare ribs are cooked between 225-240°F  for 6 hours, while baby back ribs are cooked at the same temperature but for 6 hours.
  • Smoked corn and smoked potatoes need to be cooked at a temperature of 225°F for 1.5-2.5 hours.

These are recommended for beginners who are still getting used to this. But once you gain experience, you’ll be able to determine what’s the best cook for your meat.

7. Give Yourself Enough Cooking Space

smoked salmon on charcoal grill
Last but not least, give yourself enough cooking space.

Another rule for electric smokers is that the bigger, the better. This does not only refer to the size of meat but the size of the electric smoker itself. However, we also don’t recommend choosing a big-sized smoker if you have a small patio.

What we mean by this is that you make sure that you find an electric smoker with a cooking area large enough so you can cook big-sized meats precisely.

There are two types of smokers you can buy, vertical and wide. Vertical smokers allow you to cook more meats at the same time, while the wide-type smoker will enable you to cook bigger pieces of meat without cutting it.