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Owning a smoker means you can enjoy a variety of your favorite meats, sea foods, cheeses and vegetables all with a smoky, flavorful taste.
Check out the details on electric smokers and wood smokers to see which one would best satisfy your taste for foods with unique flavor.
Electric Smoker vs. Wood Smoker: How do they compare?
Ease of use
Electric smokers are easier to use than wood smokers.
You can set the temperature via the smoker’s digital controls to get the precise amount of heat you want for your food items.
The heating unit operates on electricity so there’s no wood or charcoal to load into this smoker.
If you’re new to smoking foods, you may want to start with an electric smoker.
A wood smoker requires a little more effort to achieve and maintain the temperature you want to cook at.
You do have to monitor the temperature as you cook foods over a period of several hours.
If you’re inexperienced at smoking foods, using a wood smoker would likely entail a lot of trial and error.
But, once you learn how to use it successfully, you may never consider using another type of smoker.
When comparing the cooking times of electric and wood smokers, an electric smoker gets the cooking done faster.
The precise temperature setting contributes to its cooking speed.
An electric smoker heats up quicker than a wood smoker mostly because its heat source is more controllable.
Plus, there’s less airflow inside an electric smoker resulting in reduced evaporation.
These things all add up to getting your smoked food on the table quicker.
Wood smokers are known for taking a long cooking time.
But, when a piece of meat, vegetable, cheese, or other item is left in a wood smoker for hours it’s able to fully take on that smoky flavor.
So, when it comes to cooking time, you have to decide what is more important to you.
Do you want to get your foods smoked quickly?
Or do you want to dedicate a bit more time to smoking foods in order to achieve a particular taste?
Neither option is wrong. It’s all about personal preference.
What to cook in an Electric Smoker?
Burgers, corn, trout, bell peppers and sausage are great for cooking with your electric smoker.
If you have a favorite dish such as chicken or shrimp, smoking it in an electric smoker is going to give it an extra dose of flavor.
What to cook in a Wood Smoker?
Pork chops, rib roast, salmon, and bacon are just a few of the foods that would benefit from the penetrating smoky flavor provided by your wood smoker.
If you’d to like to have a pile of vegetables, then corn, asparagus, zucchini, and eggplant are all enticing ideas.
In addition, cheddar and pepper jack cheese are big favorites of many people who own wood smokers.
Putting a delicious wedge of cheese in a wood smoker makes it even more enticing when it’s on your plate.
If you want a smoker that brings out the most flavor in practically any food, then a wood smoker is the better of the two options.
The hours a wood smoker takes to cook a brisket, lobster tails, chicken, bacon, or corn on the cob allows the smoky flavor to really sink in.
Safety precautions with smokers
As with most smokers, it’s best to take some basic safety precautions with either a wood or electric smoker.
The first precaution to take relates to where you put your smoker.
Make sure you place the device on a flat, even surface so it won’t tip or wobble.
Choose a location for your smoker that’s about ten feet away from your home.
This prevents the heat from damaging the exterior of your house.
Of course, you have to make sure that you choose a spot for your electric smoker that’s near an electrical outlet.
It’s important to setup your smoker in a place that has protection from strong winds.
You don’t want your smoker to blow over whether you’re using it at the time or not.
When using your smoker, wear a pair of heat resistant gloves. This allows you to reach into the smoker to move or retrieve food items without burning your hands or arms.
Also, the handle of a smoker may get hot as the interior heats up so wearing the gloves gives you protection.
Purchase Price and Maintenance Costs
When comparing the purchase price of an electric smoker vs. wood smoker, a wood smoker is less expensive.
A small wood smoker can cost less than $100 while the price for electric smokers usually starts around $200.
The prices of these smokers go up as they increase in size and more features are added on.
Both of these smokers have low maintenance costs.
If you decide to get an electric smoker, you won’t notice a large increase in your electric bill as a result.
Owning a wood smoker requires you to purchase wood or wood pellets as fuel. These are inexpensive items.
However, the total cost of these materials would vary depending on how often you use your wood smoker throughout the year.
If you have a problem with your electric smoker, it’s going to cost more to repair than your wood smoker.
There are more parts to an electric smoker that may need to be fixed or replace.
Alternatively, a wood smoker has a simpler design.
A comparison of these two smokers reveals that the wood smoker is more environmentally friendly than the electric smoker.
If you use a renewable source of fuel such as pellets for your wood smoker, that makes it even more environmentally friendly.
Pellets are made of recycled wood so you’re reusing a resource.
Cleaning and upkeep
Both of these smokers need a certain amount of cleaning and upkeep.
However, a wood smoker needs a little bit more cleaning attention than the electric model.
The cooking racks of both electric and wood smokers need to be cleaned after use.
Meat drippings can create a greasy surface on the cooking racks.
Over time, this grease can cause buildup that’s very difficult to remove from your cooking racks.
In fact, sometimes it’s easier to replace cooking racks with a lot of greasy buildup than it is to clean them.
Leftover pellets or pieces of wood need to be swept out of a wood smoker after cooking food.
That way, you have a supply of fresh wood pellets with each new cooking project you’re working on.
As you see, a comparison of these two smokers shows they each have advantages and disadvantages.
It’s best to consider how much time you want to spend smoking foods and how important a truly smoky flavor is to you and your family members.
You’re sure to end up with the perfect smoker for your household.
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