If you are one to relish on smoked food, then you need a high-quality smoker, probably a modern electric one. This way you just set the temperature, times controls, and leave it to do all the cooking for you.
However, given the varied types available in the current market buying one can be a bit hard and confusing.
For some tips on getting the most out of your electric smoker, read on to avoid overcooking expensive meat.
1. Use the right wood
Never use scrap or treated woods with your electric smoker, as they are likely to produce unhealthy gas that is harmful to you. However, you can opt to use hardwood such as mesquite and hickory, as they are the perfect choice for smoking.
Nonetheless, before you place these bagged wood chips in your unit, soak them in water. This way the temperature is kept at the desired level and the wood does not flame up. Besides, the wood will last longer and produce more smoke if it is wetted.
2. Always smoke chicken on a hotter setting
Chicken is not supposed to be smoked low and slow, aim for a temperature around 275°F and let it cook for around 1-2 hours. It is important the chicken be cooked properly, as the undercooked chicken is obviously dangerous to your health.
You can check the internal temperature of the chicken to know if it is done. The internal temperature should reach 165°F before it is safe to eat. If you opt to judge whether it is cooked or not by the amount of time, it has been cooking, you will end up with bad food on your table.
3. Preheat the appliance
A common mistake most beginners make when using an electric smoker is placing the food in the appliance early. You should set the desired temperature on the smoker and leave the heat to rise to the level wanted, before placing the meat in the cooking chamber.
You can monitor the heat with your electric smoker’s inbuilt thermometer, to ensure that it is just right for smoking.
Take note that the smoke needs to be bluish and not whitish and that wood chips need to start to ash. Therefore, check that every step is covered before placing your meat in the smoker.
4. Clean your smoker regularly
Cleaned smoker racks tend to give better barbeque. So always clean your smoker on a regular basis.In case there is leftover grease and oil on its shelves, clean it ASAP. Do not let it sit on your unit for long, as it will go rancid and be harder to clean later on.
You can use water and vinegar to clean your appliance, but avoid hard chemicals for the cleanup. Some units come with removable parts, making the whole job easier to do.
5. Preseason your appliance before use
The best way to ensure you make the most out of your electric smoker is to preseason it before use, for best performance as well as flavor. You can do so, by setting it at 275°F, before leaving it active for around 3-4 hours. You can place some wood chips on it for the last hour.
This will give you a chance to see if the electric smoker is working as well as how it maintains temperature. After you are done, you can turn it off, allowing it to cool before you start smoking your food.
6. Always use foil on your grill racks
You can save time on the cleanup of your smoker by using foil on your grill racks, heat deflector pan as well as a drip pan. Clean grills always make better barbecue, as any oil or grease left on the grates can go rancid and stick on your food making it taste bad. The leftover grease and oil can also produce smoke when it gets hot, during your smoke time.
7. Use brine solution for meat
Before you smoke your meat, you need to ensure that it will have flavor and still be delicious. For this, you can use a brine solution to soak it, be it chicken or turkey. This way it gets loads of flavor. You can mix salt with some seasoning and soak the food in, overnight. You can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
The mixture should be enough to cover the food thoroughly so that it adds loads of flavor in it and help tenderize it.
In conclusion, smoking food is not easy for most. You need to know some basic parts of an electric smoker, and how they work best to make your meal delicious.