How To Use An Electric Smoker Like a PRO

Electric smokers are the game changers for smoking different meat cuts and birds. It takes the guesswork out of the game as you don’t have to babysit your food during cooking. Although you still need to look for the cook time and temperatures, you don’t need to spill fresh burning coal now and then.


Today, many electric smokers are AI-enabled, which notifies you about the cooking time and temperature and everything even when you are away. Moreover, electric smokers have features that are unparalleled with traditional charcoal smokers.

Today, I’m going to tell you all the ins and outs of using an electric smoker. It does not matter whether you are a new chef or a seasoned chef. Our guide will help anyone to use an electric smoker for the first time.

Working Of An Electric Smoker

The electric smoker does not have a place for burning charcoal. Instead, they have a heating element that can be a rod. From the rod, the heat is generated and move to the cooking chamber, where it cooks the meat from the convection process. The water tray is placed in the cooking chamber too.

Furthermore, it houses a wood chips tray where you can pour wood chips during cooking for more enhanced flavor.

The vents on the top and bottom can regulate the heat and temperature, just as charcoal smokers do. Handling electric smokers is much easier than traditional smokers as it does the labor of increasing/decreasing heat by itself. Many electric smokers are also wifi and Bluetooth enabled, which lets you monitor food remotely.

Smoking With An Electric Smoker In 10 Easy Steps

Now that you know how an electric smoker works let me show you how to use an electric smoker grill in ten easy steps

1. Season Your Smoker

You only need to season the smoker when you are using it for the first time. After unboxing it, thoroughly clean every part of the smoker. Now get oil to say it’s cooking oil, love oil, or any other oil and rub it on all the smoker’s inside parts.

Turn on the smoker by reading the instructions manual, leaving it on for 2 hours or more at 250 F. after that, turn it off and let it cool down completely.

Before seasoning, please read the user manual whether it needs to be seasoned or not. The smoker’s seasoning varies from brand to brand, but you can consider this straightforward way of seasoning in general. Besides, you don’t need to season the smoker after every use, as those leftover oils do the job.

2. Turn The Smoker On

Now that you have seasoned the smoker, it’s time for some real fun.

Before starting the smoker, check the chords and sockets for any broken link, as with a damaged power supply, you will be ruining all those expensive cuts.

After checking, turn on the smoker by pressing the buttons or by rotating the knob. You can set your desired temperature by the control knobs, digital panel, or with the mobile app (wifi-enabled smokers).

3. Preheat

Preheat the smoker for half an hour while setting the temperature to 225 F. generally, for the meat, 225 F is enough for preheating. Still, every meat cut calls for its own heating requirements, so you must set the preheat time and temperature accordingly.

4. Fill The Water Pan

The water in the water pan of the smoker keeps the meat moist till the end. Many smokers house a water tray and a dedicated slot for it. But if your machine does not have one, you can use an aluminum tray and place it on the bottom of the smoker.

While filling the water tray, use hot water instead of cold to help maintain optimal temperatures.

Besides, serving the water tray ¾ with hot water. Do not brim it up with water. Furthermore, handle the water tray with care as the smoker might be very hot when placing it. You can use tongs for placing it safely.

5. Prepare The Meat

You must be mindful of what you will be cooking in the smoker, so prepare your favorite cuts before starting to smoke. If you are up for some larger meats like ham or turkey, you need to brine them first. After brining, you will be asked to coat them with the layer of your favorite rubs. In the case of other meats, you only need to season them with your favorite rubs and leave them for quite some time. All in all, smoking meat in an electric smoker has its own needs for marination and brining, so you must stick to the recipe for that.

6. Place It And Lock The Door

After seasoning meat, you need to place them onto the racks thoughtfully. The larger cuts must go into the lower shelves, and smaller amounts must go to the top racks. Keep in mind that don’t leave the smoker’s door open for a long time while placing the meat because it will leave all the heat out. After placing the meat, lock the door of the smoker.

7. Smoke For The Required Duration

Slow and low cooking takes hours, and you need to be patient while smoking foods. You can refer to the recipes for the smoking duration. Besides, you can also use meat probes and temperature indicators that tell you whether the food is ready.

8. Add Water Or Wood Chips If Needed

The electric smoker comes with a tray for using wood chips in an electric smoker. Here you can pour them to add flavor and taste to the meat. You can use hickory, maple, or applewood chips for smoking. You can add chips from time to time to the smoker to get more smoke from the electric smoker. You can also check the smoke level inside the smoker and then guess whether it’s time for more wood chips. Besides, also keep an eye on the water pan and refill it when it gets low.

9. Wrap The Meat When Done

Look at the meat probes or instant-read thermometers whether the food is done or not. After smoking meat, you can remove it from the racks and wrap it in aluminum foil, where it distributed the flavor evenly.

10. Clean The Smoker Thoroughly When Done Smoking

When you are done cooking on an electric smoker, clean it thoroughly for the next use. This way, you can maximize the lifespan of your machine. Before starting the cleaning:

  • Let the smoker cool down entirely.
  • Clean the smoker by removing all the removable parts out.
  • Get a damp sponge and thoroughly clean the smoker.
  • On the flip side, wash the wood tray, water pan, and other gears in the dishwasher or by hand.
  • Place all the parts inside the smoker and cover it.

Below I’m providing a video where you can see how to clean a masterbuilt electric smoker:

Electric Smoker Tips And Tricks

As a new chef, it is a little bit troubling to get the best out of your smoker; for that, I’m mentioning some tips and tricks that can help you get the best results every time.

  • It would be best if you use your meat probes or instant-read thermometers. Please don’t rely on built-in thermometers because they are often misleading.
  • To add more flavor to the birds and porks, you must brine them for quite some time. Below I’m mentioning a video where you can see how to brine a turkey. The same way you can brine ham or pork too:
  • To make cleaning easier, line the cooking racks with aluminum foil.
  • Do not open the smoker’s door now and then, as it will ruin the purpose of low and slow cooking by escaping the heat.
  • Cook the meat according to the temperatures it needs. Turkey and chicken can endure high heats, but ham and brisket require lesser temperatures, so check the temperatures according to the recipe.
  • Please do not over-smoke meat as it will lead to dry and bitter meat.
  • Do not spill extra wood chips as it will add unpleasant wood flavor.


It takes time and practice to season the electric smoker. You need to give yourself some time to get into smoking meat. If you are entirely new to smoking meats, I prefer you not to go for expensive meat cuts like brisket and turkey. You can smoke salmon or chicken fillets at the start, and when you start to get the hang of it, try out smoking turkey and brisket. All in all, using an electric smoker is not that difficult; you only need to monitor temperature, that’s all.

Frequently Asked Questions {FAQs}

Q1. Do you need to soak wood chips for an electric smoker?

Ans1. No, you don’t need to soak wood chips for an electric smoker because it does the heat-regulating job by itself. Moreover, if you wish to soak the wood chips, do it for 30-60 mins.

Q2. How often do you add wood chips to an electric smoker?

Ans2. There is no pre-calculated rule for adding wood chips. Generally, you can add wood chips after 5-6 hours. You can check whether it’s time to add wood chips by looking at the smoke it has inside.

 Q3. How long do electric smokers last?

Ans3. An electric smoker can last somewhere between 5-10 years. Moreover, by proper cleaning and seasoning, you can get the max out of it.

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