Memphis is world famous for barbeque, everyone knows that. We get spoiled with such great barbecue readily available around the Memphis area, but what if you want to make your own??? Do you like ribs?? Smoked chicken?? Baked beans??? Pulled pork??????? SMOKED BRISKET??????????? Yeah, me too!! You can make all of these delicious foods at home, the way you want them, much easier than you think. I was a weekend warrior when it came to cooking out. I would spend 6 hours tending to a wood burning smoker to cook a slab or two of ribs, constantly watching the time and temperature, missing whatever football game everyone else was watching because I was on grill duty. I finally got tired of it so I skeptically purchased an electric smoker. I really wasn’t expecting much but my cooking world has changed forever!!!
I purchased a Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker not sure of what I was getting into. I chose this particular unit because it is compact, has digital time and temperature settings and you can add wood chips without opening the smoker door once you have started cooking. Most electric smokers are set up this way. Some of my friends made fun of the little electric smoker and said it would not cook meat correctly, wouldn’t make smoke etc. etc… Well what do you need to smoke food on a wood burning smoker? A heat source and smoke. Guess what you get in an electric smoker… a heat source and smoke. This is a much debated topic in the barbeque world, some people think electric smokers are cheating?? Cheating or not, not my call. Electric smokers are definitely easier. You set what temperature you want to cook at, then set the time, add wood chips as needed and put water in your water pan if that is an option.
Here are a few things I learned the hard way:
- Make sure to check the instruction book on how to break your smoker in. I thought I could go home and start cooking, wrong. I had to run mine on high heat for 3 hours before cooking food in it, not sure if all electric smokers require this but worth looking into.
- Make sure to remove all styrofoam from inside of your smoker before turning it on. Yep, I didn’t do that so much…….. don’t judge me
- Find a stand or sturdy table to put your smoker on. These things sit on the ground and I am kinda tall, bending down to get food in and out of these things is a drawback. I found a perfect stand for mine, I’ll save that for next time??
- Read a cookbook on how to smoke food… there are several to choose from. Research on the internet for times and temperatures for cooking different things.
- I recommend hot dogs for the first thing you cook in your smoker, they are cheap in case you mess up. Experiment with expensive meat once you get used to what your smoker is gonna do.
- Get a good meat thermometer to make sure everything is cooked properly.
- Have fun and enjoy all the fantastic new foods you can make!!!!!!
I’ll add some recipes and more advice soon. Feel free to leave any advice or recipes in the comment section……