How to Smoke Meat & Vegetables Using an Electric Smoker

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An electric smoker allows you to slow-cook smoked meat and smoked vegetables without the need of tending a fire. For most electric smokers, it’s a matter of placing the food into the smoker and leaving it alone until the item’s cooking time is up. Some smokers have temperature controls on them, while other models have just one temperature. With the latter, you need to monitor the smoking time closely to avoid overcooking the meat or vegetables.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood chips
  • Seasonings
  • Meat thermometer
  • Set up the electric smoker in a spot out of the wind. Place it on a level, non-combustible surface that’s at least 5 feet away from the house or any other structure. Set it so the electrical cord reaches a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, outlet. Do not use an extension cord.

  • Place the wood chips in the electric smoker following the recommendations of the manufacturer. Some smokers require that the chips soak overnight in water. Other smokers require that you use specially designed wood tablets in their smokers.

  • Add water to the water pan in the smoker. Depending on how long you smoke the meat or vegetables, you may need to replace the water during cooking. If you do, unplug the unit while you refill the water pan. Avoid getting water on the electric element.

  • Plug in the smoker and preheat, if necessary. Allow the time recommended by the manufacturer or watch for the signal from the thermostat that the smoker is ready for food.

  • Prepare your meat and vegetables for smoking. You may choose to marinate the meat or season it with a rub. Coat the vegetables with olive or vegetable oil and seasonings, if you wish. Insert a meat thermometer into the meat.

  • Arrange the meat on the cooker’s racks. Depending on the size of your cooker, you may need to add different foods at different times to finish all of the items at the same time. Vegetables take less time to cook than meat. Follow the cooking time for the specific items you are cooking in the electric smoker.

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