how to use a smoker

How To Use Any Kind Of Electric Smoker With Wood Chips

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Usingusing a smoker an Electric smoker is definitely the most convenient way to smoke your foods.

Unlike the usual charcoal smoker, you can set it and forget it with an electric smoker, making them designed for your convenience.


This is because you won’t need to spend half the day monitoring its operation.

When you smoke meat with an electric smoker, you will be bringing out the best flavor of your meats. However, many people are simply unsure of How to use a smoker once they get it home.


The vertical type of Electrical smokers work quite efficiently, but you shouldn’t use them during the colder months, unless they are insulated properly.


Otherwise the heat will escape very fast and monitoring the temperature will be a lot more difficult. Horizontal smokers can however be used in any kind of season, as they are more durable, but they do take up a lot more space.



Using an electric smoker can be done efficiently by following the steps below.

Getting Your Smoker Ready for Use

If this is the first time you are using your electric smoker, you have to cure or Season it first.

The manual that came with it should explain how to do this, and in most cases, the process will involve coating the surfaces on the inside and the racks of the smoker with cooking oil.


Then turn on the machine and let it run for about two hours. When you do this, any solvents, dust and other residues will be burnt off.

You can turn off your machine and then open it up so it can properly cool off.


Prepping Your Food

Electric smokers are perfect for Smoking seafood, meat, fish or any poultry.

It depends on what you like in how you want to prep your foods before cooking. However, you may want to season the meat with spics and dry rubs or marinade it.

To ensure the flavor will be properly absorbed, you can do this overnight so that the seasoning has a chance to really soak into the meat.


Using Wood Chips in Your Electric Smoker

Many people wonder How to use an electric smoker with wood chips.

A lot of them are already designed for this, and they help to achieve the great smoky flavor of your food.


You can usually find the area for the wood chips right under the heat source.

Four cups of chips is usually good for about five hours of smoking.


There are many popular choices for Wood chips which include cedar, alder, hickory, maple, cherry and plum.

Just remember that many times when you add wood to your smoker it can cool it down unless you have an offset smoker.

Wood Chips

Although an optional method since a water pan is only applicable if you purchase an Electric water smoker, water makes steam when it’s heated up, so it will help to tenderize your meats.

When you want to add flavor, you can put aromatic ingredients into the water pan. Things like orange peel, beer, wine and apple juice work well.


Learning how do you use an electric smoker also includes making sure that the temperature you desire has been reached before putting the meat in.

Many Smokers have control setting buttons that are easy to use.


Meat will properly smoke in about three to eight hours, bringing out the smoky flavor you love and giving your meat the best texture.

You should also have a meat Thermometer which you can insert into the center of the meat to find its internal temperature. In this way, you will know whether the meat is done or if it still needs more time to cook.


Using Wood Chips Even When Your Smoker Isn’t Necessarily Designed for Them

When there is no wood chip pan in your electric smoker, using an electric smoker with wood chips is still possible.

Rather than using lots of foil over and over like most people do, you can take an empty tin can and use that to hold your wood chips.


It is best to use a can that you have cut the top only three quarters of the way and left the rest of it attached.

You can fill the can with the dry Wood chips right from the bag, and then you can bend the lid back down to close it up a bit.


This is important, because if you leave it open and the smoldering chips get too much air, they can burst into flames which will cause the temperature of your smoker to go way too high up. When you keep the lid closed, the wood will continue to smolder.

To place the can into the Smoker, use a pair of long tongs and set the can upright on the lava rock in between the coils.


You don’t have to touch the coils with the can since it will still be able to heat up enough to get the wood chips smoldering. As the can heats up, the chips will smolder and in turn flavor whatever meat you are cooking.


One thing to remember is that when the wood does begin to smoke, it can go quite quickly.


If you are not watching it, you might miss seeing the smoke and therefore think that it’s not working, so make sure you remove the can within an hour or so to check on it. You can refill it as many times as you need to for the meat that you are smoking.


Additional Methods to Use Wood Chips in An Electric Smoker

There are other methods in which you can use wood chips in an electric smoker, some of which are included below.

  • Wrapping them in foil as already mentioned
  • Throwing them in loose
  • Buying a separate wood chip pan

These methods will all work but the tin method works well if you don’t want to waste your foil or buy anything additional for your smoker.

Learning how to use a smoker is fairly easy to do, and you will be quite happy with the end results.

Smoked meats are very popular amongst many people, and now you will be able to make some yourself in your own back yard.

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  1. I tried using the traditional sized wood chips and got very little smoke, just now am trying a bag of finer chips almost looks like shavings and am getting the desired smoke I wanted

    1. My smoker doesn’t have a side wood tray but my manual still says to soak the chips first. Just got it for Christmas and am nervous to use it…ugh.

  2. Ran into problems smoking a 12 lb brisket in electric smoker…I figured it. Would
    Take 18 hrs to reach an internal temp190* at 225*….it had no stall point at 165* and reached 190* in 7 hrs…..I planned to smoke it overnight and be done by noon
    The next day…wrapped and put it in the fridge overnight but when reheated it
    got to be tough……what should I have done in this case……thank you


    1. I like to cooler rest mine after smoking. Pull it, wrap in foil or butcher paper and put it into a cooler lined with towels for about 4 hours. It will help it rest and reason the juices and help them to properly distribute through the meat. Even with it foil wrapped in the fridge, it cools too quickly, not allowing a good moisture distribution.

  3. I have an electric smoker. The heating element is exposed there is a sawdust pan. My question is do I have to use sawdust and do I put the pan directly on top of the heating elements, also were do I get saw dust for smokers


  4. I smoke brisket often with my electric. I start out at 170 for a few hours (starting around 9pm) with wood chips, then turn up to 195 (no more chips) until I get to aground 165-170 internal (normally around 7-8 in the morning), then wrap in foil with apple juice and take it up to 230 until internal is 200-205. Wrap it in towels and Throw it in the cooler for a couple hours. Ready by noonish.

    1. Thanks!! Trying the electric smoker for the first time & just want to make sure I am using it properly.

  5. I have a new Masterbuilt vertical smoker. I did not know that I cannot use it in the winter months. Can I still use it and it just takes longer or does it hurt the machine??

    1. You Can use your smoker in the winter.It should not hurt the smoker.
      Not too much below 30 degrees though or your smoker might not get hot enough.
      Make sure you put a food grade hy-temp gasket or gasket material in the door to make it seal better.

      After smoking is done and smoker is cool get it out of the weather.

  6. After smoking Hickory and apple wood I decided just to go back to Marlboro. Just kiddin.
    For me! Smoking with dry chips for two hrs is plenty..then wrap in foil after spritzing with a bit of juice or wine

  7. I just purchased a charbroiled,electric smoker. If I half to cook something for 8-9 hours do I open th door and add more wood chips? Thank you

  8. Just purchased a new electric smoker. My question is, do I soak the wood chips or use them straight out of the bag? Much or any difference?

    1. I would go to the website then go to FAQS and that should be a top question I have a masterbuilt and you use them dry

  9. I just cheated and added liquid smoke to the water in the water pan. Trying the wood chip method this weekend…

  10. i am using my masterbuilt electic smoker for the first time I wasn’t sure if I keep the lid on the wood chip tray I did after researching it but it does not say this in the manual so first timers are not sure

    1. You can but I would recommend getting smoking mats. There simple silicone mesh mats. In the long run they are cheaper. They are easy to clean and are good for fish or smallish foods like meatballs. You can get them on amazon and many of the electric smoker manufacturers make some specifically sized for their racks.

  11. First time with a smoker. How much chips? How often to add more? Soak them or don’t soak them? So confused…want to do a pork shoulder this weekend, please help. All websites say something different. Is this trial and error?

  12. I’m a newbie. The instructions say to add 1/4 cup of wood chips through the side chute door at the beginning. How do I know when to add more wood chips, if at all?

  13. You racist. I will not tolerate people prepping their food with spics. Food is meant to be prepped by using spicEs. Totally kidding here but thought it was an interesting typo in the “Prepping your food” section. Thank you so much for the tips and tricks

  14. I have a masterbult pro electric smoker with old diel for temp no buttons do i need to light the chips before smoking or no noticed smoker doesnt go over 300 degrees unless lighting chips and then misting water to get smoke not sure how to use it no manual

  15. Sounds like a strange question, but….can I cook chicken in the smoker without using wood chips? Could I just use herbs on the chicken and water in the water pan?

  16. I have a masterbuilt 40″ electric smoker….first time it did great but last 3 times it will not smoke???….I put about a cup or 2 of water in the water pan and then a couple handfuls of chips where they are to go…..I get it up to 225 for hours and it will still not smoke…I have the pan down where it should be….so frustrating…thank you…

  17. Personally I just started smoking meats. Most people wondering when to add more wood chips. The answer is multiple ways. Depends on temp and time desired to smoke. A little less smoke on the tail end will not hurt as long as water is still in pan. I would say at approx 230* F every 3 hours you should add some water soaked wood chips to fill your loading tray.

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