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Electric versus Charcoal - Taste Difference

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a MES 30" smoker that I've used all summer.  It makes good tasting food, and I'm pleased with the results.  Am curious how the taste of finished meat in a charcoal smoker tastes compared to an electric smoker.  Is it the same?  Or is it better?  It's just my wife and myself, so don't need a huge smoker collection, but I've found an almost too good to be true deal on a WSM 14.5" and am considering adding it to the stable. It's a small smoker, but just right size wise for two IMO.  Thanks for the input.

post #2 of 10
I have a mes 40 and it works great. .... But I jus got a chargriller Akorn Kamado cooker and absolute love it. I just wish I had got one of these years ago.
And yes I think wood junks and charcoal taste better.
So easy to regulate the Akorn , uses very little lump charcoal. I can smoke do pizza , anything at all. I can run it all day at 220 or go up to 700 for a sear
post #3 of 10

I cannot tell you what you need to do, only tell you about my opinion.  I had a pit that I would babysit and sometimes my fire would get too hot/cold, charcoal would not light right, didn't have enough left in the bag and had to run to the store, blah, blah, blah.

  A few years ago a relative gave me an old Brinkman Smoker that you plug in and no temp setting.  I liked it enough that I ended up buying a MES 30" and have used it for a bit over two years.  I will never buy charcoal again.

  I have had good luck with my MES and when it dies, I will buy another electric smoker.  I cannot say the food is better, or not as good but the bottom line is that I like cooking in my MES.

post #4 of 10

Having the firebug gene being passed down through the generations in my family... :th_violent5:


...I prefer charcoal...




As for the taste, I'm believe it all comes down to one's personal preference. With the ability to use products(Todd's A-MAZE-N) to make smoke in the electric smokers, ease of preparation should also be considered.


Personally, I wouldn't trade my WSM for an electric. I am having too much fun experimenting, using various woods(and combinations) to change the flavor profile. I know I'm getting good smoke smells and flavors in everything with my WSM. Every weekend, I work at wine/food events,. My gf brings leftovers for lunch, once they are reheated, anyone nearby wants to know where the food came from and how to get some themselves, just from the smell of the smoke. 



If the price is right... 241.png 

post #5 of 10

I smoked with my Chargriller offset smoker/grill for years and loved it. but hated the expense of the charcoal and wood chips. I still use it to grill, but since getting my mes 40, I will never use the Chargriller to smoke again. There is no difference in the taste as far as me, my family or friends are concerned. But the difference to my wallet is substantial. 

post #6 of 10

There is a difference...Not better just different like changing to a different smoke wood. If you are getting a good deal, go for it...JJ

post #7 of 10

I have used a gas smoker for around 6 years and recently made the jump to Weber WSM 22 and it's night and day. I thought my ribs couldn't get any better...I was wrong

post #8 of 10
Thing about the Kamado is that it uses very little charcoal , u can fill it up and do a 12-15 hr smoke and still have some left over. I never paid much attention to these until my kid bought one. Now I'm a believer.
Like I said I'm happy with my mes 40!with the amnps, but it'll probably sit in the garage now. Unless someone buys it off me.
post #9 of 10

I have to agree, there may be a slight difference in taste with the electric.  Most likely because I do not let the temp flare up over the entire smoke with the electric. Might be because of the smoldering of the wood chunks rather than the burning of the wood chunks.  Electric might be slightly different in taste, but it is a whole lot easier to use.  More consistency with a lot less watching and tending.  Just put wood chunks in, put the meat rack in, go do other things while you are waiting for the beeper, and take it out.  Keeps it simple


That said, we prefer chicken on the charcoal smoker, The skin dries up more to our liking.


Good luck to you and your decision. 

post #10 of 10
Charcoal is head and shoulders above anything electric or gas. And, wood is better than charcoal. The tastier smoke, the moisture, the bark are all better. Wood is where BBQ started and wood is the ultimate fuel IMO. It takes a little work, but who doesn't enjoy playing with fire. Anything worthwhile takes a little work. Joe
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