If you're looking to take up smoking food in order to add a new depth of flavor to your meats and cheeses, you may be tempted to start with your grill. But while many smoking techniques can be practiced using your grill, your food will be so close to your heat source that you'll be barbecuing more than smoking. To really obtain the sort of great smoky flavor that's authentic, electric smokers are the tool the home smoker needs. Electric smokers help take some of the guesswork out of smoking and allow you to safely smoke the foods you want. Control The Temperature One of the biggest advantages to electric smokers is that they can control the temperature just as you'd control temperature in the oven. Rather than try to adjust a fire or heating element in a grill or in a homemade smoker, electric smokers are calibrated to allow you to preset a temperature and hold that temperature without a lot of maintenance.
Some have enough control that you can use them for cold smoking, which is a technique that involves using smoke to flavor the food without actually cooking it, which is part of the process in creating foods such as bacon. Safety Many electric smokers accomplish the smoking process without actually creating a fire, which is also a lot safer than using a traditional smoker. Depending on the one you buy, some electric smokers will allow you to also control the amount of time it will be on and even the amount of smoke it creates for the food. All of this adds up to an appliance that is safer to use than a grill or a homemade smoker.
Electric smokers are more like crock pots for outdoor cooking rather than ovens, and all the control that one offers adds up to greater safety when cooking. Extra Capacity Electric smokers exist for needs from small to large. Some are about the size of a household trash can, while others can be as big as a large grill. If you enjoy having people over for a barbecue or just plan to make a lot of smoked foods for freezing and later use, electric smokers allow you to smoke a lot of food.
Some have multiple racks so you can place even larger portions of food inside. If you're trying to use a grill to smoke large portions of food, it can be difficult to keep some of that food away from the heat source, so an electric grill is definitely the way to go with large batches of meat. With extra capacity, enhanced safety, and greater control over temperature, electric smokers are the way to go if you are looking to create great food.
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