How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (2023)

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (1)My wife always laughs at me when I cook. Mainly because when I'm making a killer smoked meat combo, I tend to fiddle with the buttons for hours. At least until we decide.Opt for an electric smoker.

Which was great, except for the fact that...

I had no ideahow to use an electric smoker🇧🇷 Which, as you can imagine, made my wife laugh even more as she tried to figure out the ins and outs of my new electric smoker.

I spent hours researching, digging into the manufacturer's warranty and trying to figure out how the thing works.

After much trial and error, I finally figured out exactly how my smoker worked. That's why I decided to create a step-by-step guide for other people who want to smoke but don't know where to start.


  • 1 Learn how your electric smoker works
    • 1.1 Everything you need to know about your smoking body
    • 1.2 The digital control panel
    • 1.3 bowl of water
    • 1.4 What about the weird drip tray?
    • 1.5 Last but not least: the wood chip tray
  • 2 A step-by-step guide to teach you how to use your electric smoker
    • 2.1 Step One - Season and Prepare Smoker for the First Time
    • 2.2 Step two: prepare your smoker to prepare tempting delights
      • 2.2.1 How to use wood chips in your electric smoker: Here's what you need to know
      • 2.2.2 Preheat your smoker for the baking process
      • 2.2.3 The Myth “How do you soak wood chips for an electric smoker?
    • 2.3 Step 3: Take the time to add more wood chips and water to the pot
      • 2.3.1 Preparing this dish that would make my wife fall in love again
    • 2.4 Step 4: Time to freshen up, clean up and eat!

Learn how your electric smoker works

I think the most important part of figuring out how something works is taking the time to understand how and what makes it work the way it does.

Because of this, before I get into a detailed breakdown of exactly how to use your electric smoker, I want to briefly go into the details of what the key components of your electric smoker are and why they are so important.

Ready to start?

I believe there are eight key elements to any electric smoker. be these:

  • smoking body
  • Digital Controller-Pad
  • bowl of water
  • Wood chip container with lid
  • drip tray

The following 3 minute video will quickly walk you through these components on a Masterbuilt electric smoker. You will find the same pieces in all the smokers. At the end of this post we give links to videos of well-known brands of electric smokers:

Everything you need to know about your smoking body

The body of the smoker of your electric smoker is the heart of the operation. All that heat or smoke will want to escape the clutches of your juicy meat one way or another. The body of the smoker should be well insulated to keep all the heat and smoke in, at least until you open the front door of the oven.

A poorly designed incense body leaves shavings that burn heat for no reason. Worst of all, the hard work you've put into your meat is wasted in uneven cooking. I know, believe me, it spoils.
If you are still looking for an electric smoker, pay special attention to the body of the appliance. Make sure you can access the wood chip bin without having to open the front door.

(Video) How To Season New Electric Smoker Easy Simple

I also double checked that the label guarantees a fully insulated heat ready unit for my meat.

The digital controller keyboard

If the body of the electronic smoker is the brains behind this operation, then I like to think of that particular component as the brains of the operation.

The digital control panel, located primarily on the top (front) of the electric smoker, is where the magic happens. From this control panel, you can set the temperature, manage timers, manage cook times, and manage any other cool features your specific smoker might have.

If you recently purchased an electric smoker, you probably have a Masterbuilt or Char-broil electric smoker. These are the two most popular brands. Although they may differ in terms of the features they have, the basic functionality still works the same.

I highly recommend reading the product instructions as they provide detailed instructions to help you understand exactly what you need to know when it comes to operating the digital controller.

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (2)

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (3)

bowl of water

As you smoke your food, the humidity in the electric smoker can drop rapidly, leaving your food dry and juiceless (eww). This is where the water tray comes into play.

The most important thing about your water bowl is that it be large enough to hold at least a glass or two of water at a time. Depending on how much meat you want to cook per round of course.

A lot of people don't know this, but I've found it's best to use hot water in the water pan while cooking. This will help keep the smoker hot while the cold water cools it down, ruining your delicious piece.

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (4)

And the weird drip tray?

Have you ever eaten a traditional barbecue? Even better with a flame source like heat? Can you notice the juices dripping from the meat bring the flames to life, burning up all the hard work you've put into a delicious meal?

This is where your drip tray becomes important.

Basically, the purpose of this component is to collect all the juices that come out of the meat, thus avoiding temperature fluctuations.

But that is not all.

When you want to maximize the flavor of your meat while preparing a delicious smoky sauce, your drip tray will become your best friend. I find adding a little water, wine, herbs, maybe even some carrots - it's delicious at the end of the day.

(Video) Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker: Features and Benefits

If you decide to use the drip tray this way, it's important to add more water as needed to ensure it doesn't dry out; Leaving your sauce in ruins.

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (5)

Last but not least, the wood chip tray

The smoky flavor of an electric smoker is the main draw when it comes to getting one. At least it was for me and my wife. So I saved the most important part for last.

This is where the flavor is made (or broken). The most important thing to keep in mind with the bowl of chips is to constantly add a cup or two of wood chips during your smoking session to keep a nice, steady stream of smoke.

Because of this, it is important to be able to access the bowl of fries without having to open the main chamber of the smoker, which causes heat and smoke loss and affects the flavor of the meat.

When I started, these were the main components (something I wish someone would tell me!)

Now it's time to move on to the step-by-step guide that explains exactly how to use your electric smoker to prepare a delicious Sunday lunch.

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (6)

A step by step guide to teach you how to use your electric smoker

Step One: Season and Prepare Your Smoker for the First Time

When I bought my electric smoker, I just wanted to smoke some meat. But in my anticipation, I had already done some reading on what to do with your electric smoker. One of the most important tips is the so-called smoking cure/seasoning.

I had no idea what that meant.

Essentially, it is the process of cleaning the smoker prior to use.

I know I also thought, "why do I have to bother cleaning a new electric smoker?"

The problem is that these days, the factories responsible for making these electric smokers have to process bulk orders, which means there is a high chance that your electric smoker has not been sanitized.

Dust and chemical residue from the manufacturing and shipping process doesn't just make your first meal taste strange. But it can also have a negative impact on your health.

The good news is that you don't have to worry about seasoning/curing as often. When investing in an electric smoker for the first time, all you have to worry about is flavoring your electric smoker when you change the type of meat you smoke.

Here is a detailed guide on how to flavor your electric smoker:

(Video) Can you ACTUALLY taste a difference between an Electric and an Offset Smoker

  1. Make sure the wood chip box and water catcher are in place (make sure there is no water in the tray).
  2. Make sure your electric smoker is plugged in (oops) and press the power button to turn it on.
  3. Raise the temperature to at least 275 degrees F.
  4. Set the timer for 3 hours.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of wood chips during the last hour of the process.
  6. Let's hum! When the time is up, turn off the electric smoker to cool down.
  7. Tada, it's that simple: your smoke is now ready to brew tempting delights.

Step Two: Prepare Your Smoker To Prepare Tempting Delights

How To Use Wood Chips In Your Electric Smoker – Here's What You Need To Know

One of the great benefits of an electric smoker is that you can still get that wood smoke flavor from the wood chips. But it can be confusing if you are new to the concept of smoking your food with wood chips.

The good news is that collecting wood chips is as easy as visiting your local grocery store, hardware store, or you can even buy them online.

You may be wondering, "Well, what kind of wood is good to smoke?"

I personally prefer cedar or hickory chips. But eagle, cherry or plum chips work well. The average smoker uses about 4 cups of wood chips every 3 to 5 hours. It's important to make sure you have enough before you start cooking.

Trust me, I've run out of wood chips before - the meal was more than a little disappointing.

Most electric smokers come with a special wood chip tray. But if you already have an electric smoker without a chip tray, check out how to cook with chips.

How to use an electric smoker and how do they work? -HomeTechLab (7)

Preheat your smoker for the baking process

On average, electric smokers take 30-45 minutes to warm up from the cold. Well, at least to heat the meat to cooking temperature.

The first thing to do is add about a cup of wood chips to your chip tray before lighting your smoker. From here, turn it on and set the smoker to preheat.

If you find that your smoker has stopped producing smoke, feel free to add more chips to get a nice, even smoke over the meat, which will make a world of difference to the overall flavor of the meal.

I find that I am adding about a cup every hour when using my electric smoker. Once your electric smoker is nicely browned, you should set the temperature on the digital pad to around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature for smoking most meats.

The Myth “How to Soak Wood Chips for an Electric Smoker

In fact, I found this particular place quite amusing. You will see that there has been a long debate between using wet wood and dry wood when using wood chips in your electric smoker.
The purpose of using wood chips in your electric smoker is to create a nice, even smoke that will give your food that smoky flavor you're looking for.

Some believe that using damp wood in the smoker provides that steady stream of smoke. But I will not interfere in the debate.

If you want to try soaking the wood, it is recommended to leave it in water for at least an hour or two before using it. From there, you can use the wood shavings as normal.

Step 3 – Take Time to Add More Wood Chips and Water to the Pot

I know how tempting it is to throw meat into the electric smoker as soon as it's ready to smoke. But I think this is the best time to add water to your water bowl. You will want to add about ½ cup of water once the smoke has died down a bit.

In case you didn't know, this water acts as a moisturizer for your pet during the smoking process. Make sure it's not trying to rise and crisp (I did, not great really!)

(Video) How To Use Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Basic Model

If you need to add more chips to vent the smoke (literally), I personally think now is the best time. I usually add at least another cup of wood chips at this point.

Here is an important tip.

As you place more tiles on the chipboard, the last thing you want to do is adjust the controls. I can't tell you how many meals I screwed up before discovering this crucial aspect.

Just adding chips will result in a temperature rise that will level out quickly.

Making This Entrée My Wife Would Fall In Love With All Over Again

That's it! My first time was stressful. I finally got a chance to see if everything I had read about an electric smoker was true!


During the preheat session, I said that you want your electric smoker to reach around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. When it's at that temperature, your smoker may beep, beep, or make some other strange noise; it all depends on your model.

Without thinking...

It's time to take the marinated meat out of the refrigerator and place it in the smoker.

All you have to do is place the meat in the body of the smoker (smoker) and smoke until it is very tender. This can take between 3 and 8 hours.

Throughout the process, you want to keep an eye on the smoke, making sure it's nice and even. If you notice it spurting out, add more wood chips. I really like that nice, even flavor, and I'm sure you feel the same. form.

Step 4: Time to freshen up, clean up and eat!

Well that's it. Personally, I prefer to cool down and clean my electric smoker as soon as possible, as this reduces the chance of stubborn buildup that is more difficult to clean. (Who wants to spend Sunday afternoon shaving the smoker?)

For this reason, I recommend that you cool your electric smoker while you eat. After that, it's time to clean out your smoker to prepare it for your next cookout.

Cleaning your stove doesn't just protect it from wear and tear. But it also reduces the likelihood of leftover food, dust, or other dirt and debris surrounding your meat during your next barbecue. Which, as you can imagine, is terrible for your health. Not to mention the taste of your food.

Here is a detailed guide to help you clean your electric smoker.


1. How To Use A Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
2. Brinkmann Electric Smoker Initial Setup HOWTO
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3. How to Operate the Little Chief Front Load Electric Smoker
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4. How Does An Electric Smoker Work: 3 Amazing Things You Need To Know Before Buying One
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5. Char--Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef Technology - Review
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6. Electric Smoker Tips
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