How to use an electric smoker?



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  • How to use an electric smoker?

    I was given a Sportsman Elite 30" electric smoker for my birthday last week. I've never owned a smoker, so while I was looking over the instructions and some included recipes, I noticed the following: only use outdoors, do not use within 10 feet of anything flammable, and don't use in the rain.

    With some of these recipes indicating a 12hr cook time, there sure is no way to predict a whole day when it isn't going to rain.

    I am considering building a little "shack" to put this thing in... just a little something with a roof to protect the electronic doodads incase it does rain.

    Any thoughts or advice? How are these things used "in the real world"?

  • #2
    I have a Bradley electric smoker and have used it in the garage with the door open. A carport would be great. Building a shack, as you suggested, would work well, too. I have seen some guys put their smoker in a store bought garden storage locker - a heavy duty plastic shed that is about 6' high, 3' wide and 2' deep or so… Be sure to cut a vent in the top!
    English is an odd language. It can understood through tough thorough thought, though.


    • #3
      Note, this is how I use my big chief. You'll have to experiment to find the times that work for your smoker

      After much experimentation I found the best way for my to get a consistent product was to dry brine the fillets with brown sugar and salt for 2-3 hours at room temp, a quick rinse in cold water to remove the excess sugar/salt, then pat them dry with paper towels. For the big chief, I put a fan in the flapper door for the wood chips and run it a couple of hours. After that I put a mix of water soaked hickory chips and alder chunks and put plug the smoker into a light timer set for 5 hours. A single pan of wood chips is plenty of smoke flavor, and 5 hours seems to get the fish dried just right with the box over the smoker to get the heat up. The nice thing about the timer is you don't have baby sit it, just plug it in and let it go. Seems smoking is often an evening proposition for me.

      I put my smoker on my back deck under the eve of the roof, yes less than 10' from the house. I won't use a smoker inside or in the garage. The smell of the smoke would build up over time, and there is a fire danger when you have wood on a heat source hot enough to cause it to smoke.
      Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

      If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


      • #4
        Use a Bradley myself and love it. Go to the Bradley Smoker website and select forum. There are more recipes and advice there than you want to read. Will give you lots of insights and ideas. My favorite is the 3-2-1 baby back ribs recipe. Basically 3 hours of smoke, 2 hours in foil with some juice in it, and an hour after sauce is applied. You are looking for the bone show. 220 temp the whole time. 5-6 hours is average. Lots more detail about this on the Bradley forum. Best ribs I ever had, fall off bone type.

        The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.


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