Electric Smoker

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2006
I am a complete novice and am just getting interested in Smoking. I'm reading that the electric smokers are probably the easiest to start with and that is what I need - easy! I'm confused though, I'm seeing some electric smokers with lava rock and some that don't use it. Which is best?
Bambi, Welcome to SMF. Check out the Electric Smoker Forum in the Smoking Supplies & Equipment Section. The choice of a smoker is based on two factors heat source and capacity. Since you have already mentioned that you want the ease that an electric smoker provides, then the decision about size comes into play. Some things you need to ask youself-

How many people do plan on feeding at one time?

Do you plan on having guests over when you smoke foods?

There is a bit of advice that fits here- Whatever smoker you decide to get-get the next size larger (if you can afford it) because later on down the road, you will wish that you had more space.

As for the lava rock question, I'll let those that use electric smokers handle that one.
i have a couple of friends who use electric smokers and nither one uses the lava rock but i could see where i could be beneficial.

i would assume it would retain heat better so the elements wont need to be on as much.

both of my friends love there ele smoker and are trying to get me to convert. i may get one for when i want something easy.

oh yea welcome to smoking
I received an electric smoker for my birthday last year and have really gotten into smoking...never saw one with lave rocks, mine doesn't use them. A few things I will mention before you purchase, #1, you want one that you can control the temperature. I have a temp control that is basically a dial from low to high. On high in 75 degree weather I'll maintain about 220, the other weekend it was about 85 and high cranked it up to about 250, in 40 degree weather, high won't get it up higher than about 190. I saw one at Cabelas that had heavier insulation and you could actually set a digital thermostat to what temp you wanted it to smoke at...I love the ease of the el smoker, and the product I have brought forth upon my table. I agree with dutch, there have been more and more times where I wish I my smoker was a little bigger for large gatherings, mine is definitely fine for my family needs, but I've got this smokin bug now so the search is on for my next purchase...might save up and get this new Caldera smoker - you can control the temp, charcoal and wood, down side is the $$$$ cost...I have the Mustang electric smoker, only $159 it's definitely the least expensive that I found with the insulation and thermostat. If I were to look at another electric I would look for one with at least a 1000 watt element, insulated, thermostat and at least 50 lb food capacity, there are some nice cookshack ones...The mustang you can get at Sportsmansguide.com or amazon.com

Welcome to the forum.

I have not seen anything with the lava rock thing going on either.

Have you decided which way you are going to go.

Do you have any other questions that we can help you with?
Well, I took the plunge and went the cheap route with the Brinkmann Electric. I figure that way I can learn a few things and see if my interest in smoking grows. If so, I'm sure I'll invest in a more advanced smoker. I just hate to put money on the line when at present it is something I'm interested in learning more about. Having said that, after my first smoke, I am very pleased. My brisket turned out pretty good and I'm ready to try something different. I think chicken is the next attempt. Anyone have any suggestions on some of the more simplier items to smoke, perhaps some tried and true recipes?
Welcome to the group and the smoker's life. keep up informed as to your good smokes, and your bad smokes. If you have questions, ask away we will do what we can to get you an answer.
yo bambi,
i luv my char-broil electric water smoker---
its simple simple simple----
its under a hundred bucks----you probably will need a vcontractor grade extention cord-15 amp load carry.
the water pan helps me alot.
i can smoke a large butt and 10 lb turkey at same time.
Like larry, I have a Char Broil elec. water smoker. I liked it out of the box, once I fixed the loose socket for the controller.
I had considered adding lava rocks for retaining heat. I read about the heat retaining properties of sand in the pan instead of water, tried it, and love it. A good rub on the meat helped seal in moisture/juices, and I didn't have to fiddle with adding water, etc.
I have used extra lava rocks in a two burner gas grill smoking situation (with one burner off under the meat, of course). It helped with the 'thermal mass' quite a bit, so much so that I could cycle the burner on and off every 30 minutes.
I can't offer any advice on the electric smoker (haven't used one), but welcome to the site. I'm new as well, I have a medium sized smoker with offset firebox, now I can't get enough! I've found myself smoking on every day off, nobody seems to mind though! Glad your here...
Howdy Bambi,

I'll be up in your neck of the woods visiting family in KC, this coming week. :D

A lot of electric smokers I've heard about can to a good job of smoking low-n-slow but don't get hot enough to crisp the skin on chicken. You can smoke the chicken to 150* internal temperature and then transfer them to a hot grill if you want crisp skin. If you're among those that don't eat the skin then smoke'm til they're done.
Hi Bambi, Welcome. I too have a ECB (Brinkmann) electric and I have the lava stones. I think they are mostly to hold heat, absorb grease and get your wood chunks off the bottom of the grill so they draft better (yâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]now smoke!) leave emâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji] in there, they ainâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t hurtinâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji] anything. Yeah, My ECB does just fine, I just cut up and brined/smoked a whole pork loin into Canadian Bacon! However the word got out (thanks to wifey) and it lasted about a week…haha! Oh well, thatâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s what itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s for I guess, Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ll just have to run over to SAMâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s and get some more. It did taste a whole lot better than anything Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ve ever bought in the store and a heck of a lot cheaper! About $2.50 a lb. So youâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]re off to a fine start, and these folks here will show you how to get the most out of what ya got! Get ready for some Good Grub!
Hello Bambi
I have an elec brinkman and love it bought it at a garage sale for $8.00 what a steal that was mine had lava rocks in and it work well.I also bought a metal box at wal-mart to put my soaked wood chips in you build up the lava rocks so the box is above the element and it works great.I did some country ribs smoked for 6 hrs they were geat,see picture below good luck and good smoking


Hi Bambi!...Welcome to the SMF!...
...We're glad to have you aboard!!...

Sorry I missed welcoming you earlier, but I've been offline since 2 July due to ISP/computer problems...
the brinkman uses lave rocks it is the kind you just plug in and let it go   i just about always use the water pan keeps things moist  remember smoking time is proportional to outside temp   the brinkman will cook a boston butt roast to die for
also this smoker will cook the most moist turkey you have ever eaten     i also have a fridge type temp control smoker to me meat is not as good does make great jerky
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