How To Care For Your Electric Smoker

Outdoor cooking is not only great fun but it gives you some of the most delicious food you will ever eat and, whats more, you can enjoy it with your family and friends. Whether it is a slow roasted chicken or a fresh smoky rib, you get great food with minimal effort. Outdoor cooking has become even simpler with the introduction of many advanced grilling and smoking appliances that you can buy cheaply and conveniently online. These machines work very well and are normally very reliable; provided you know ins and outs of the appliance and use it properly that is! As with any machine, improper use of your electric smoker or failing to care for it in the right way can lead to trouble.

So provided you know how to deal with setbacks with minor adjustments and maintenance, you normally, don’t need to take your electric smoker to a professional and it will give you many years of trouble free operation. You can settle most of the issues you might face with proper handling and care which will not only save your time but will also keep your maintenance costs down. Lets look at how to care for your electric smoker.

How to deal with Common Problems Your Electric Smoker May Face

If the smoker doesn’t start up:

  • Check to see if the power plug of the is inserted correctly in an outlet – seems like common sense right? Well, you would be amazed at how often a half-inserted plug can cause problems at the cook-out. Make sure that all the connections of the machine are tight and that the power breaker in your home electrical connection box is not tripped. Check the fuse and if needed replace it with a new one.

If smoker is Jammed/not burning properly/damaged:

  • There may be some wood chips (loose ones) trapped in your smoker. If this is the case, your electric smoker will not burn properly so, make sure that you clean it after each use and check to ensure that no wood chips are left trapped under the tray, in the door hinges or anywhere out of sight. Get rid of them in order to make your smoker work properly.
  • A poorly functioning or damaged smoker can also be the result of using soft wood for burning. Woods like pine or fir should not be used with your smoker. Instead, go for alder, cedar, plum, hickory, cherry or maple chips which can be easily found at your grocery or hardware shop or available online.
  • An electric smoker is often rendered ineffective or useless because of its biggest enemy, rust. Every time you clean the smoker, check for the formation of rust and, if found, scrape it away instantly. The build up of rust can completely ruin out your smoker so keep on diligently checking for it, and take action early. To get rid of the rust, you should use good quality high grit sandpaper or a wire brush.

If your electric smoker is not properly smoking food:

  • Electric smokers must be given enough time to heat up properly. Preheating is important in order to smoke food properly and the normal operating temperature is normally between 200 – 250 degrees so you should not let the temperature rise above 250 degrees for a long period of time. You should allow some additional time after you have placed the food in the smoker so that the appliance can get back to the normal operating temperature as, inevitably, some heat will escape while the door is open. During the cooking process, some heat make also escape with the smoke so you must have the damper almost full closed. Also, make sure that the smoker is placed at a place where it is not too windy in order to have consistency in temperature.
  • Many people complaint about unevenly cooked food from their smoker. One of the major factors that results in uneven cooking is the amount of food you are cooking at any one time in your smoker. All smokers, whether big or small, have a limit to the amount of food that they can properly handle. If you are overburdening your electric smoker then you will not get good results with smoking. Also, overfilling the smoker will affect the devices lifespan so, in order to keep your smoker in good shape for years, you must check and use it according to the manufacturers recommended capacity and rack items to smoke accordingly.

Some Useful Tips

In order to reap the full benefits from your smoker, you should follow all the useful tips that we have shared here. These tips will give your electric smoker both an extended lifetime and will deliver the best possible results.

  • After each use, unplug the power cord and let your electric smoker rest and cool.
  • When stored outdoors the unit should be covered or, if possible, keep it inside. Keeping it covered will prevent damage from the elements, prevent rust and will extend its.
  • After each use, you must clean the smoker. The drip bowl and tray must be washed.
  • The smoker must not be submerged in water.
  • Applying cooking oil to the smoker is important as this removes any residue that may be lying on it. You should coat the smoker with cooking oil according to the frequency specified in your smoker’s user manual. On average , your smoker may need oiling every 6 months but for heavy usage you may need to oil it every 3 months. For specific instructions, as we said, refer to the user manual.
  • No other cleaners or dirty cloths should be used for cleaning the smoker. Always use a wet clean cloth.
  • Racks and trays must not be covered with aluminum foil.
  • Keep the appliance away from reach of children. Never leave it unattended in the presence of children.
  • Different types of electric smokers are available and each one of them has different instructions for operating and maintenance. You must read and follow instruction manual for your specific model and acquaint yourself with its particular features.
  • If you are new to using an electric smoker, we recommend you opt for a reasonably priced model and get some experience in smoking before making the investment in a higher priced model.


Electric smokers are great investments and they will normally last for many years provided they are taken care of and are maintained well. Regular use, cleaning and care will not only make you a master at smoking but will also give your equipment a longer life span. Understanding your smoker and operating it according to the manufacturer’s instructions is of the highest importance. There are different kinds of smokers available on the market and so you must know how to use the one that you have.

You may not need to buy an expensive smoker to get the best results but a good electric smoker is one that is maintained well. This guide gives you an insight on what common problems may arise when you use an electric smoker and most of these common issues can be solved at home with ease.

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