Barbeque is a cuisine that is very popular to the American South. The origins of American barbeque stemmed from low-income citizens only being able to afford the toughest cuts of pork and beef. These ingenious peoples discovered that slow cooking the meat would tenderize it and fall off the bone. Smokehouses and portable smokers used scented woods, such as hickory, maple or apple, to cook the meat a low temperatures.
The phrase “low and slow” is derived from the usage of smokers at temperatures under 200 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours. The problem with smokers is unless you have a decently sized outdoor area, the smoke that permeates from cooking can offend neighbors and passersby. This is why portable smokers are not often seen in densely populated urban areas. However, the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker helps solve many of these issues and can be used on a small outdoor area without causing complaints.
What to Consider When Selecting an Electric Smoker
There are several different things to consider when selecting a smoker. First is the amount of food that will be smoked at once. A small smoker is sufficient for a family of 4 whereas something resembling a 55 gallon oil drum is required when tailgating. This is in relation to the amount of space available for a smoker to be used. A small balcony/patio at an apartment building may just be large enough for a smoker on the small side.
In addition, an electric smoker versus a wood burning smoker should be considered, again, depending on the amount of space available. Finally, the construction of the smoker is important. The smoker’s design should mention how it is insulated to keep the heat inside the smoker. Typically, the smoker should have double walls and may include fiberglass or Styrofoam for additional heat retention and to prevent the heating element from working too hard to maintain the desired cooking temperature.
Benefits to Owning a Smoker
Being able to barbeque your own meat allows you to experiment with different cuts of meat, seasonings, wood chip combinations, and how lean you prefer your meat. Many cuts used for barbeque are fatty, especially brisket and pulled pork, but if you prefer a leaner cut, owning your own smoker allows you to choose for yourself.
In addition, the option between a wood burning and electric smoker depending on your living arraignments gives you the flexibility and option to barbeque your meat in a manner appropriate with your surroundings. Finally, hosting a barbeque with meat your painstaking prepared is a feeling of accomplishment and pride once your guests bite into your perfectly smoked ribs and gush at how moist and tender they are.
Overview of Top Smokers
Barbeque has been around for centuries and many major grill manufacturers offer a wide-range of smokers. Bradley, Char-Broil and Smokin-It are no exceptions and each offer electric smokers similar to the Masterbuilt.
1. Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker
The 3.5 star Amazon-rated Bradley Digital Smoker is an electric smoker with 4 racks. The temperature is controlledBradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit and can cook food up to 8 hours at a time. The multiple racks allow the user to smoke different meats at the same time.
This is similar to the Masterbuilt in just about every way except it requires to be hooked up to a generator that is separate from the actual smoker.
2. Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker, 30″
Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker, 30Rated 3.5 stars on Amazon.com, the Char-Broil Electric Smoker is from one of the largest manufacturers of charcoal and propane grills. This is a large electric smoker with 1 cast-iron and 3 chrome-plated cooking grates.
What set this smoker apart is the double walls for even insulation which leads to even cooking and heat retention.
3. Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker
The 5 star Smokin-It Electric Smoker can cook up to 22 pounds of meat in aSmokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker single load and is constructed of stainless steel with fiberglass insulation. This makes cleaning easy but also means that the smoker will get quite warm while in use, even with the fiberglass keeping the heat in.
The maximum temperature is 250 degrees Fahrenheit and with adjustable and removable shelving, this can accommodate any cut of meat within reason.