People who are new to smokers always seem to gravitate towards either charcoal or gas smokers. Usually, it’s because that’s what their friends use, or they read something somewhere. To be honest, I don’t blame them; electric smokers are a reasonably new invention, and well, people are naturally going to be drawn to what they are familiar with.
To break some of the common misconceptions, I wanted to address the top 10 myths about electric smokers and hopefully make you feel more comfortable investing in one. If your looking for reviews check out our guide to the best electric smokers.
Table of Contents (click to open)
- 1 Myth #1 - Electric Smokers Are Just Ovens, Not A Real Smoker
- 2 Myth #2 - They Don’t Last
- 3 Myth #3 - Electric Smokers Cost A Lot
- 4 Myth #4 - They Will Break If They Get Wet
- 5 Myth #5 - They Can’t Get Hot Enough
- 6 Myth #6 - The Electronics Will Fail
- 7 Myth #7 - They Are Difficult To Use
- 8 Myth #8 - They Are Poorly Insulated
- 9 Myth #9 - They Are Difficult To Handle
- 10 Myth #10 - They Can Only Smoke One Type Of Food
Myth #1 - Electric Smokers Are Just Ovens, Not A Real Smoker
So let’s address the obvious, with electric smokers, there is no fire; it uses a heating element. This creates smoke by heating the wood, just like a fire does. The same compounds are released from the wood chips and interact with your food the same way.
Is there a taste difference? Some people say so, but I challenge you to tell the difference between meat smoked in a brand name electric smoker and a charcoal smoker. I guarantee in a blind taste test; you cannot.
Myth #2 - They Don’t Last
The saying “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here. Stick to brand names and avoid unknown names you haven’t heard before, and you should be fine. My electric smoker is five years old and still works as good as new. Treat your purchase as a long term investment, and it will last for years to come; buy the cheapest model you can find, and it won’t.
Myth #3 - Electric Smokers Cost A Lot
You can buy a quality electric smoker for under $200 these days, that will last for years and has a solid warranty backed by a brand name. Technology keeps improving and driving the prices down over time, but if you just looked into buying one even a few years ago, it was very different.
Myth #4 - They Will Break If They Get Wet
Electric smokers are an electronic device, so it stands to reason they can’t handle moisture, right? Well, it depends. If your planning on smoking ribs in the middle of a driving rainstorm, then electric isn’t for you. But I don’t know anyone who does that. Your electric smoker is built to withstand accidental spills, but really if you will be leaving it outside, you will want to buy a cover just like you would for a charcoal or gas smoker.
Myth #5 - They Can’t Get Hot Enough
Modern electric smokers can easily reach anything in the range of 100°-270°F. This is more than enough to make some good smoked meat, while also being flexible to go low enough to try some cold smoking.
Myth #6 - The Electronics Will Fail
I hesitate to call this a myth. A charcoal smoker doesn’t have many fancy doodads that can break. Compared with a modern smart electric smoker, you can manage from your Apple or Android device. So yes, it’s true there is more that can break, but the trade-off is convenience and precision control. In the past decade, technology has improved enough that this isn’t nearly the concern it once was.
Myth #7 - They Are Difficult To Use
The only people I see having trouble with an electric smoker are the sort that just has a problem with electronics in general. Because there is no fire, you can walk away at any time, and new Wifi and Bluetooth equipped models let you manage them from a simple app. It’s difficult to imagine a more comfortable to use situation.
Myth #8 - They Are Poorly Insulated
To be fair, this depends on the make and model you are considering. However, most models are built from stainless steel and porcelain-coated steel to lock the smoke inside and maintain a steady temperature. So the simple answer is this depends heavily on the brand and model you buy.
Myth #9 - They Are Difficult To Handle
I always recommend electric smokers to beginners over any other type. The reason is simple; controlling the temperature is super easy. You have none of the complications that come from trying to manage an open fire. Let’s be honest if you’ve never used a smoker before, it can be a bit intimidating; electric smokers make this hobby easy to get into.
Myth #10 - They Can Only Smoke One Type Of Food
Modern electric smokers can cook just about anything from brisket to pork butt and cheese. While it is true, there are some unique models like Little Chief, that are designed for prolonged smoking; this myth doesn’t apply to the rest of them.