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As far as electric meat smokers go, you can knock them but for the ease and convenience factor they are hard to beat for everyday smoke cooking.

I now own a Cajun Injector smoker which is electric and a Bradley 4-rack smoker which is electric and I have to say that these models actually do very well and depending on your circumstances, may be exactly what you need especially if you live in an apartment or an area where open flames are not allowed.

I suppose the biggest reason some people decide to use an electric meat smoker is for convenience. You will not find most purists using one (something I am not).. they like to tend the smoker the old fashioned way and find great pleasure in the bond between man, wood, and fire.

When it's all said and done, an electric unit allows a complete novice to be able to turn out a pretty good piece of smoked meat with very little knowledge or skill.

It also allows an expert to smoke a piece of meat almost completely unattended while taking care of other duties.

I borrowed an electric meat smoker several years ago before I had units of my own just to get a feel for the unit and to decide for myself the advantages and disadvantages to using an electric unit.

I was immediately put out by the fact that it had no way of adjusting the temp. I understand now that some models have temperature controls and some do not but that really aggravated me right off the bat.

I had selected some choice spare ribs for the occasion and had them all ready for the smoker only to discover that the ribs would not fit on the rack.

I had did not have my weber rib racks with me and so I rolled the ribs into a circle using a metal skewer to hold it intack and set the ribs vertically on the metal grate.

The meat was done sooner than expected which led me to believe that the smoker cooked hotter than the normal 220-230 range that I liked.

We have discussed this to some degree in the forum and it was discovered that you can in fact buy an electric smoker with temperature control or just install a rheostat in line like a dimmer switch for lights but with a
higher amperage rating.

An electric smoker in my opinion is only good for those who do not want the hassle of having to watch the smoker and work at maintaining the correct smoking temperatures. I have friends who feel this way and that is perfectly fine however, for someone like myself who enjoys a little more control even if that means I must stay close by during the entire smoke, it is not recommended.

 

Update

I wrote that article more than six years ago and it seems as I get older that comfort means more and more to me. I rarely do the all-night cooks any more and believe it or not, the electric models are looking more tempting especially now that I own a couple of models that allow me to set the actual temperature that I want it to maintain.

 

Cajun Injector

A company by the name of Cajun Injector sent me a cabinet style electric smoker several years ago to try out and I have been quite impressed believe it or not. It is an insulated cabinet with five racks..well four and a half I guess.. with a side chute for adding wood chips or pellets. It also has a pan in the bottom to catch drippings and a water pan for adding some moisture to the air and to create a barrier between the heat and the meat.

The heat/timer controls are completely digital and allow you to set it to maintain a certain temperature for a certain time.

All in all, if you are in the market for an electric smoker then this type of smoker is a great unit. You just can't beat how easy it is to use but I don't want to give the impression that it is a hands-off model. You will still need to add wood chips or pellets about every 30 minutes or so and perhaps more often than that depending on what type of wood you use.

I plan to experiment with putting a few larger wood chunks in the chip tray to see if I can get more smoke time out of it. But until then, just not having to deal with the temperature fluctuations of a charcoal or wood smoker is nice at times and makes this a very nice unit to keep on the patio for those special occasions.

There are also other electric models which are much more expensive but do take the cooking to a higher level such as the Traeger and the Bradley units which the ability to feed smoking wood, in the form of pellets or bisquits, to the firebox.

This particular model is no longer available from Cajun Injector however, a very similar smoker to this model is the Masterbuilt 30-inch electric smokehouse and can be purchased via Amazon.com by clicking HERE.

 

Bradley Smoker

I have also received a test unit from Bradley which I have come to really enjoy using. It is a lot more hands off than the Cajun in that you load it up with "pucks" of wood and the smoker unit feeds a new "puck" every 20 minutes to keep the smoke going steady for hours on end.

Using the Bradley smoker, you could essentially, load it up with meat, set your temperature and your smoke time and leave the unit completely unattended for quite a while. Many folks may find this quite tempting!

I love it when I have things to do that take me away from the house but also have food that needs to be cooked.. it certainly does the job for you when you just can't be there to do it yourself.

This smoker is available on Amazon.com with free shipping by clicking here.

 

Also see my articles on the wood smoker and the propane gas smoker.

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

29 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. nick May 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I have a 20070910 mes smoker got on birthday need any tips never used one before.Do i need to check the temp of the controls to make it is correct also need a separate probe for meat correct. thanks nick

  2. david bacon April 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    I started smoking on a Weber Kettle in the ’70’s and eventually bought an offset charcoal/wood burning smoker mid 90’s. In 2012 I bought my first electric, a Cookshack and never looked back. So very convenient. I noticed the Smokin-it (SI) line and bought a Model 3 as a gift for a family member. The quality was top notch and on par with my Cookshack (CS), although it was analog. And very affordable. With the advent of incorporating a PID in the SI smokers, I acquired a model 3D and passed the CS to my son. The 3D is every bit as reliable and robust as my CS was. Its design and features are in some ways better than the CS and equal in others. And while more expensive than smokers available in big box stores the SI line is just flat out better. And they are NSF certified. As with the CS, I can do overnight smokes without any worries. Do I miss smoking the old way? Yes, but the convenience makes up for the “fun” of losing sleep and constantly feeding in more fuel. The SI is my go to smoker; someday, the old offset will get a new home.

  3. Mike June 22, 2015 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Looks like the majority of posts are from novices like myself. Up until a 3-4 years ago I used a “old school” wood only smoker that would cook up to 50 lbs. (four briskets). Maybe I’m just getting lazy in my old age but for just me & the wife I switched to a electric Brinkmann ($79 @ Academy). Easy to clean the racks (2) & water basin w/oven cleaner & garden hose in the driveway. I bought a meat thermometer @ the Dollar Store to keep an eye on the temp (220*-230*) & I change the lava rock (Home Depot $4 a bag) about once a year. With the two rack setup I can cook about 20 lbs. of meat…just the top rack for just the wife & I. We prefer dry rub meats & I add the soaked oak/hickory/pecan wood two hours before the meat is ready. Cook times for this smoker…whole chicken/turkey breast/ribs…4 hrs., whole turkey/small wild hog quarter…6 hrs., pork shoulder/brisket…8 hrs.

    Can’t wait for football season…let’s smoke some meat!

  4. Dennis Rusch March 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    I have a Traeger Smoker and it works pretty well for me. Anybody else out there with a Traeger?
    ++Jeff – Really Enjoy your recipes and Website.
    Your Rub Recipe is my go to and can’t be beat!!!
    Dennis Rusch

  5. Denny Fast February 12, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Hey Jeff

    Have you ever experimented smoking beef tongue ? I have done them a few times and they turn pretty good. I skin them out first uncooked ( raw ) with a sharp fillet knife and a steel handy to keep it sharp. It yields . 3 pieces of meat with the back of the tongue being like a small well marbled roast.

  6. Steve Baldwin December 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    OK, I have an expensive electric smoker and have had good luck with it. With all of your experience, what is your choice of smoker, bottom line.

    • Steve Baldwin December 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      I meant “inexpensive smoker”.

  7. garry thomas August 31, 2014 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    I bought a masterbilt electric smoker with remote,,,,,i’m not very experienced in smoking meat,,,but always willing to try,,,,,i just love this one,,,,i want to smoke a brisket,,,afraid I wont be able to cut it with a band saw,,lol,,,had a couple like that,,lol all help is apprieciated thanks,,,,garry

    • Paul September 30, 2014 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Garry, I recently purchased the Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite smoker and love it. I followed Jeff’s brisket recipe and it came out fantastic!

      • Cuck October 3, 2014 at 3:23 am - Reply

        Remember low and slow. Try the Jeff Phillips website. Look in the archives for the brisket recipe. If you follow it, you won’t go wrong.

        • Paul October 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm - Reply

          Thanks! I’ll have to check that out.

  8. Jerry Schroeder August 15, 2014 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I have 2 Masterbuilt Electric Smokers. They are fantastic. On several occasions I have smoked brisket on them serving up to 80 people per occasion. Prep the meat, heat the smoker to 215, add wood chips and away you go. I keep loading chips for about four hours. I then wrap the briskets in foil, put them back into the unit and go to bed. 8 hours later you have tender, tasty BBQ.

  9. Todd Drake March 21, 2014 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I have a home built electric smoker and I think one of the biggest advantages is the ability to smoke at lower temps. For smoking sausage it is critical to have temp control especially for lower temps and it is hard to do with other types of smokers. My $.02 contribution.

  10. Rich March 20, 2014 at 9:41 am - Reply

    I use a Smokin’ Tex electric smoker and love it. It’s easy to use and have never had anything bad come out of it. Not a traditionalist? Oh well… 🙂

  11. Darrell December 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I just bought a Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite electric smoker, and  I am having a hard time getting it to smoke. I bought some chips from cabelas but no matter if I put the chips in soaked or not i get no smoke. The one time I did have smoke I was affraid to open the door to check the wood for fear of losing my smoke…… Any tips would be appreciated!

  12. Chuck Bissler September 8, 2013 at 6:02 am - Reply

    Jeff,

    Purchased a Masterbuilt smoker this Spring, after owning charcoal and gas. The over nighters don’t bother me any more. The temp remains constant. I have followed your recipes and have nothing bur rave reviews. This past weekend I did beef short ribs.. 12 lbs for 10 people with no leftovers. 

    • Kim Fokken March 14, 2014 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      I got a Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse digital 30″ for Christmas from family and am looking forward to start smoking meats. This is going to be a learning experience. I haven’t gotten to use it cause of our Minnesota winter. However I have been looking at recipes and trying as a beginner what is a good thing to start out with on the learning to smoke. I picked up a back of hickory chips. My smoker still needs the 3 hour seasoning process to do yet before starting to do food. It is still new, not been started up yet. I think that the learning experience is going to be the preparing more than the actual smoking.

  13. David June 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    I"m new to smoking.  I bought an electric smoker called a smokin-tex 1400.  It seems like pretty solid, there mid tier and cost $540.  

    Should I be adding chips along the way during 3 to 5 hour smoke?  The wood chips seem to have a direct affect at where the temperture is going to be.  They burn up the temp drops.  They only tend to last 30 minutes.  They say don't soak them and don't use more than about 6 ounces.  Is that all I need for a long smoke? Any……advice out there…..thanks

    • Myron June 22, 2014 at 11:25 am - Reply

      only use 6 oz of chips at a time but you will need to edd chips about every half hour thru the whole smoking time

  14. Vanessa April 4, 2013 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I have a Masterbuilt electric also and plan to smoke a large butt this weekend. Can anyone recommend a good wood to use? My meat rarely has a good smoke flavor to it and the smoke really doesnt smell that good while it's cooking. I've been just buying the small bags of chips at Publix and soaking them for about 20 minutes.

    • Tanya June 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      I buy the jack daniels whiskey barrel wood chips. They have by far been my favorite. They are a little pricer than the others but they never give off a burnt wood smoke as i have noticed some of the cheaper ones do…and nobody wants your meat to task like burnt smoke…blah. 🙂

    • Kim Fokken March 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      I have heard that chips should be started the day before or 12 hours at least. I just got a bag of hickory, I will probably be picking up other chips along with way sometime too like applewood. And someone mentioned about reloading chips, I got an email that meat only takes smoke for the 1st to 2nd hour of smoking. wet or dry, 1 loading of chips should be sufficient but the reloader on the masterbuilts is nice, not having to open the smoker up while in the smoking process. I am new at this smoking stuff too will be learning alot along the way.

    • bill May 9, 2014 at 9:41 am - Reply

      i have a masterbuilt electric electric 3 rack with the wod chips that came with it i also added apple wood 2″ apple tree cutting from my apple tree in the yard which is trimed yearly and is dried and used in the smokersetting on the heating on the element still using the first 2″ log from 2 years ago smoking a brisket today for mothers day. i love my smoker only burning a bin of ribs on a cold day becaus it cook to fast but on a warm day at 2ood it will smoke all day and turn out a cabitnet full of ribs or meet for people to eat. my only complaint is i do not get to eat them because of the people grabing them before i can get them

  15. Mike March 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    I have a masterbuilt smoker and I love it. No problems with the temp. Highly recommend! Love the website by the way.

    • Vanessa April 4, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Do you know if you can use the Bradley Bisquettes in the Masterbuilt? I don't seem to have good luck with the wood chips.

  16. Rick March 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    I had a Bradley 4 rack smoker. Took it back after 1surgery smoke session. Could not get the unit above 175°. Now looking again.

  17. david February 19, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Hello from a fellow Oklahoman from OKC!

    You have a great site. I have an Old Smokey i got as a gift. and it has a temp. control and gage. The problem is the gage only goes to one temp no matter what i set the temp control to. I cooked a turkey the other day and it looked like the Griswold Christmas turkey..haha, becaus I had no idea what the temp was? I think I may get the Masterbuilt you talk about.Ii do not do this much and don't want to spend a lot of money. Again, nice site and thank you.

  18. Tim Traynor February 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    I have a Bradley and absolutely love it for the same reason and I can leave to run some errands and know that my ribs, brisket, chicken is going to be ok until I get back. I will still use my classic offset smoker most of the time and enjoy being outside with a cold beer in my hand especially when the weather gets a little warmer.

    • Jeff Phillips February 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      I agree with you.. I love to use my big wood smoker whenever I can but when I have other things to do and I need good food and not much bother, the Bradley is my go-to smoker in many cases.

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