Using and Electric Smoker

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Original poster
Aug 27, 2007
Mt Vernon Virginia
I recently bought a Rival KC electric smoker. I tried doing a meatloaf today and smoked it at 300 F for about 1.5 hours to an internal temp of about 160F. The meat loaf(I used ground sirloin) was moist and tasty as I used a recipe based on America's Test Kitchen. But it didn't have much smoke flavor. I used hickory chips soaked in water for about 1 hour and when I put them in the bottom of the roasting pan, they were pretty wet. The Smoker has a drip/water pan into which I poured about 1/2 c red wine. I noticed that when I took out the loaf almost all of the chips seemed to be free of charring.

I'm kinda disappointed in the results. Any suggestions from the experienced smoker for increasing the smoke flavor from this unit? Should I use more chips, more soaking, decreased cooking temperature. What's your opinion about using the water pan?

Would very much hearing from you guys (or gals).

Rich, welcome to the forum. We're glad you're here! Please head over to the Roll Call forum and introduce yourself proper.

As far as your meatloaf is concerned. ...I think the problem may have been the soaking of the chips. Most times we soaks chips if we're cooking/grilling. The reason is because they're going directly on fire. In your case, you were on an electric element and you had a considerably shorter cooking time frame. In the future, wrap your chips in foil and put small holes in the foil. Remember, it doesn't take much wood to impart the flavor to the dish.

Good luck!!
I'm a stickburner, but IMHO I would drop my temp to 225-250 range, don't soak your chips and yes use the drip pan, With the high temp and wet chips I would say you cooked the meatloaf before the chip had a chance to produce much smoke, the reason they weren't burnt.
Meatloaf is a tough one because the meat tends to cook too quickly. Drop the temp down by opening a door or anything that you can do to regulate the temp. And another thing I found is that smokey flavor is hard to infuse in ground beef. Maybe it is the electric smokers, but I have had a tough time getting much smoke in it.
Welcome to SMF the best BBQ site on the net

I agree with Shortone.
I soak my chips all the time and get plenty of smoke in my Masterbuilt electric. I'm not familiar with the smoker you got, but the first time I used mine, I got the chip pan too far from the element and had the same problem. Once I lowered the chip pan she smoked away. Just my two cents, I'm relatively new too so I'm probably missing something.

In the summer I use an electric smoker. What I have found is that I am having better luck with my smokes with soaking my wood chips overnight then draining the water and putting the chips into a ziplock and freezing them. Now, they are always reay !!!

I have found gathering the chips is easier and being well soaked they smoke nicely. Hopefully this works for you also.

In my propane I do chunks, chips and sliver's and am planning on doing the same with them.

Hope this suggestion helps..... I do like having presoaked wood reay in the freezer, it is a great conveinience and also easier to work with in my opinion.
I'm going to have to try the freezing trick. I got started this winter and would soak too many chips. I was keeping them in a detached garage and the were good for months. I didn't change up when it got warm and twice I went out and the leftover chips from the last smoke had to be pitched. Now I'm trying to just soak enough (hard to do) and keep the remaining draing chips in the air conditioned house. Freezing might be a great idea.
I have a bottom shelf, half full of frozen chips (different types of wood), it works great for when I forget..... it has worked well for me. The meat needs to prepared and I foget the smoke..... is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.