Electric Smokers: What Should You Use Them To Cook?
So you’ve made the decision to invest in an electric smoker, known in some parlance as a cabinet smoker, and get your barbecue on. Maybe it’s not the most traditional way, but who has hours to spend tending to pit fires in the backyard or room for your own smokehouse? Electric smokers have a great many advantages, so don’t let anyone tell you that just because you’re using an electric that you’re not a real pitmaster.
But now what?
Of course, smokers are the carnivore’s dream, but dare to go beyond the traditional beef brisket, pulled pork, and chicken. We’ve put together some ideas and guarantee there is something here for everyone, even your vegan friends. We won’t bore you with the details, there are bookstores and websites chock full of every kind of recipe under the sun. Pick what sounds most mouth-wateriest to you and then go find a rub, a marinade, a wood palate, make it your own, and get to smoking!
Why to cook Pork in your electric smoker
First let’s think about meats, specifically pork. Pork roast and pork loin will turn out pulled pork for days, but you can also smoke pork chops, ribs (obviously), pork shoulder, ham, and the ultimate smoker’s goal – your own bacon. Then turn all of that into sandwiches, pork for fried rice and Asian dishes, ham and sausage for omelets, Canadian bacon for pizza, or a big ol’ rack of spareribs served with a heaping pile of coleslaw. And every holiday picnic needs a generous platter of hot dogs and brats. All of this can be given a new kick with your electric smoker.
How to cook beef in your electric smoker
Keeping with the basics, you can’t go wrong with the mainstay of smoked meats – beef. From steaks and chops to meatballs to brisket to ribs, there is nothing more American, both North and South. Trying to impress your in-laws or your boss? Prime rib. Cookout with the neighbors? Stuffed burgers. Book club? Kebabs with mushrooms and tons of vegetables. Anniversary? Filet mignon. Experiment with spices inspired by Brazilian steakhouses. How about Philly cheesesteaks? (Don’t forget the Wiz!) Smoke some flank steak for salads or veal to serve with pasta. Or just pop in a meatloaf or slather some smoked ribs in your favorite Kansas City barbecue sauce.
How to cook chicken and other poultry in your electric smoker
Poultry is another mainstay of smoked meats. Turkey, game hens, duck, and chicken are all perfect for the electric smoker treatment. Use exotic chips like applewood or mesquite for distinctive flavors and create jerk chicken, satays, marinated chicken thighs, turkey salad sandwiches, or even goose liver paté. Rule game day with platters of smoked wings paired with your favorite sauces or rubs. Chicken lends itself nicely to any number of world cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean, Caribbean, French, Mexican, Polynesian – load it into potstickers, stew it in curry, bread it and fry it up Southern style, or pair it with tzatziki for a cool summer wrap.
How to cook fish and other seafood in your electric smoker
What could be healthier than a lean cut of fish? An electric smoker is a wonderful way to prepare salmon and tuna or any kind of deep-sea fish like halibut, sea bass, or swordfish. Smoke lobster tails, skewer shrimp, or use any kind of seafood for fish tacos. Shellfish like scallops, clams, and mussels can be smoked for extra flavor before being pan seared or tossed into a robust winter chowder. Spent the day on the lake? Trout, walleye, bass, and other favorites from your line can be simply seasoned and thrown into the smoker either whole or filleted. A smoked tuna steak with a mango salsa makes a perfect summertime dinner on the deck.
What vegetarian foods to cook in your electric smoker
And as mentioned before, an electric smoker doesn’t have to sit idle for vegetarians and vegans. So many meatless options can be prepared in a smoker as a side dish or main course. Macaroni and cheese? Check. Corn on the cob. Double-check. Smoke pineapple, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, Brussels sprouts, dates, pears, or create loaded baked potatoes that are perfectly soft and smoky. Desserts in a smoker are not even off the table – how about Bananas Foster? Brownies? Smoked cheesecake with burnt sugar cream sauce?
Do breakfast in the smoker – eggs, eggs, eggs. Millennial avocado toast. Buckwheat pancakes and pastrami hash. A smoker is also an ideal solution for halal and kosher meats like goat and lamb. Hunters, don’t forget your elk and deer jerky, venison steaks, quail, and pheasant, which can all be smoked and enjoyed year-round. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. So go scare up some spices, learn to make chutney, round everything out with a glass of iced tea, a craft beer, or a cocktail and get your smoke on!