Electric smokers are perfect for people looking for the easiest and cheapest way to get into smoking meat. They’re very simple to use, generally have a lot of cooking space and you don’t have to worry about the difficulties of tending to fires. There are many different electric smokers on the market so finding the perfect one for you can be tricky. We’ve looked through the best electric smokers available todayand the Smokin-It Model #1 and Model #2 both made it onto the list. In our review of the Smokin-It Model #1 we’ll take an in depth look at why it made it onto the list and whether it is worth your money.
Smokin-It have quite a large range of products all the way from the small Model #1 up to the Model #5D that can hold up to 90 lbs of meat or seafood. All the designs and build qualities are very similar, so a lot of what we say in this review can be used in regard to the other models.
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What’s included with the Smokin-It Model #1
- Main smoker cooking chamber
- Four heavy duty 3 inch diameter casters (need to be attached with included wrench)
- Three stainless steel grilling racks with a room for four in total
- Drip pan that slides under the smoker
- Sample of hickory wood to season your new smoker
- 12 ft power cord
- 3 year warranty on parts and workmanship
Smokin-It Model #1 Specs
- Inside dimensions – 5 W x 13.5 D x 16 H Inches (31.8 x 34.3 x 40.6 cm)
- Outside dimensions – 15 W x 19 D x 20.4 H inches (38.1 x 48.3 x 51.8 cm)
- Rack size – 12 x 13 Inches (30.5 x 33 cm) – Racks are 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) apart
- Cooking area – 468 square inches
- Weight – 59 lbs (26.8 kg)
Design and Build Quality
The Smoking-It Model #1 has a very simple, yet effective design. It is literally a small metal box on wheels with a heating element at the bottom and a few racks. The build quality is fantastic though. It’s completely made from 18 gauge 201 stainless steel which means you get a strong, solid smoker that can easily withstand the temperatures and lengthy cooks that you’ll be exposing it to. The walls are also insulated with fiberglass to help reduce heat loss. This makes it extremely durable and very effective at holding its temperatures.
Another interesting design feature that is used to help maintain temperatures is the door. The actual door is made of the same high quality stainless steel as the rest of the smoker which means no heat or smoke is lost through a poor quality door. The handle is also made from the same stainless steel, it’s very simple again but works well. What’s interesting is that the door uses no gasket to seal in the heat. Instead, the handle and door create a compression fit that help keeps the temperatures very steady.
Inside there’s more stainless steel. The racks are all made of the same material as the rest of the smoker. All this stainless steel and the general high quality of build has allowed it to get NSF certification which means it can be used in restaurants and in other commercial purposes. You won’t get a quality electric smoker as cheap as the Smokin-It Model #1 that can be used for commercial use.
The heating element is 400-watt with LED indicators that works very respectably. It has a temperature range of 100°F (37.8°C) to 250°F (121°C). This gives you a nice range of possibilities when cooking, but it can’t quite hit the higher temperatures that other types of smokers can. You can do belly bacon or other meat that requires lower temperatures easily and you still have the higher temperatures for general smoking. Check out our smoking times and temperatures charts for more information on what can be cooked on the Smokin-It Model #1.
The heating element works pretty well, managing to maintain constant temperatures close to the desired temperature. We did notice a couple of fluctuations but honestly, they won’t make much difference and for a smoker that is usually less than $350 dollars we can’t complain.
Ease of Use
Like all electric smokers, the Smokin-It Model #1 is very easy to use. As there isn’t any open flame there isn’t any need to continuously check and monitor the smoker. This means that you get a true ‘set it and forget it’ style smoker. All you have to do is put your food in, choose your favorite wood chips, set the temperature and you’re all set. It is literally as simple as that.
Assembly is also very simple. It comes almost ready to go out of the box. You’ll need to attach the four casters if you want it to be portable, but the system will work as it is out of the box. This means, in theory, there is no assembly required which is very nice. Almost every other smoke on the market will require some form of assembly, this makes the Smokin-It Model #1 one of the best smokers on the market for ease of use.
The controls are very easy to use. There’s a simple dial that is used to control the temperature you want.
As it’s all stainless steel, this makes it very easy to clean. Simply grab a wet cloth and a little bit of soap and wipe it down.
What’s good about the Smokin-It Model #1
- One of the best things about Smokin-It electric smokers is how well they perform. They will flawlessly cook almost anything you put inside them to perfection. You’ll be missing the classic BBQ smoke ring but it’ll taste so good that you won’t realise it’s missing.
- The build quality is brilliant. You’ll notice how little smoke or heat leaves the smoker because of the solid and reliable build.
- Like many other cheaper electric smokers, the Smokin-It electric smoker series makes smoking incredible accessible. If you’ve never heard of smoking meat before you can easily buy one of these, look up how to smoke a pork butt and have some of the best pulled pork you’ve ever tasted a few hours later. They are generally that easy to use.
- It has a pretty good temperature range. You can smoke a huge range of food, including cold smoke foods such as cheese. A lot of other smokers, such as charcoal smokers, can’t smoke very well at lower temperatures, but as this is electric it does a great job at low temps.
- If you live in an apartment complex (or anywhere) where you can’t have a charcoal smoker then an electric smoker is an ideal alternative.
- All Smokin-It Electric Smokers are usable as commercial smokers. As it has an NSF certification, you are able to use this in restaurants and for other commercial applications. This makes it one of, if not the best, commercial electric smokers for sale and is for sure the best electric smoker for the money if you’re planning on using it for commercial purposes.
What’s bad about the Smokin-It Model #1
- You won’t get that classic BBQ smoke ring. Or at least not like you would if you used a charcoal or pellet smoker. The food still tastes great though. This isn’t a huge problem and if you’re going for quality of the food over ease of use then we’d recommend a charcoal smoker. If you’re looking for both (and have more cash to spend) then definitely look into picking up a pellet smoker.
- Compared to other electric smokers, this is a little small. You get 468 square inches of cooking space, which compared to the Masterbuilt 30 inch is almost half of what it offers. Also, the Masterbuilt is almost half the price of the Smokin-It Model #1. This can manage a lot of food though and is ideal for 2-4 people, if you need more cooking space then we’d recommend the Masterbuilt or the Model #2.
- It’s a bit more expensive than other brands. Like we mentioned before, it’s almost double the price of a basic Masterbuilt electric smoker and you get less cooking space. What you get instead is superior build quality and reliability.
Overall, we think this is a great option for someone that’s looking to get into smoking meat or that wants to try out an electric smoker. It’s amazingly well built so will last you a long time and will be a lot more reliable than other, cheaper brands. It produces great BBQ and is very easy to use and assemble. If you’re looking to get a bit more peace of mind from your electric smoker purchase, then we think that the whole Smokin-It range of smokers are a great choice. The extra cost will be well worth it when you’re still smoking brilliant food in a few years time.
Quick Tips and Tricks
- Season your smoker before you do anything else. The Smokin-It Model 1 even includes some wood chips for this very purpose. If you need more information about seasoning a new smoker check out our guide.
- Unlike a lot of other smokers, the Smokin-It Model #1 doesn’t need to be pre-heated.
- It’s recommended that you use not more than 8oz of wood chips at a time.
- We recommend using a cover to stop any damp or dirt getting into the electrics of the smoker.
Smokin-It have a great forum where you can find the answers to almost any question you might have.