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Best Indoor Smoker 2021: Ready, Set, Smoke!

by Outdoor Cooking Pros September 30, 2021

Best Indoor Smoker 2021: Ready, Set, Smoke!

No celebration is ever complete without a  barbecue together with friends and family.  

An indoor smoker is YOUR answer to small living spaces, inclement weather, or even just to conveniently have everything set up right in your kitchen!

To help you with your culinary grilling journey,  here's a round-up of the top indoor smokers out there, and as they say, when there's a grill, there's a way!

 

Top Indoor Smoker Products 2021

1. Nordic Ware Stovetop Kettle Smoker - Best Overall 


Who knew that an indoor stovetop smoker could provide authentic wood-smoked flavor? 

We did, which is why we're sharing this glorious piece of news with you.

This Nordic Ware indoor stovetop smoker tops our best indoor smoker list because of its versatility and handiness, compatible with the gas and electricity right inside your home! 

Pros

  • Can be used as a stovetop smoker for indoor cooking and as an outdoor smoker too
  • As a stovetop smoker, you can use indoor gas or electricity
  • Ceramic and induction burners also work well with this type of stovetop smoker.
  • Oven-safe as well
  • Capable of both cold and hot smoking techniques
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • It cannot smoke food on its own, since a stove is a requirement
  • Like any other outdoor smoker that uses wood chips,  this indoor stovetop smoker exposes you to wood dust, which may be hazardous to health. Be sure to read about the recommended limit of exposure.

2. Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker - Best Value

Considered one of the best indoor electric smoker products available, Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker is popular because of its sleek modern design and awesome double-wall insulation.

The vertical orientation gives ample cooking space, which makes it great for indoor use.  If you have the extra money to spend, the features of this indoor electric smoker are well worth it!

Pros

  • Digital controls allow for a more precise smoking process
  • It comes with a meat probe and thermometer to monitor the meat's internal temperature
  • The overall design is better at trapping heat, which is the key for smoking food
  • The glass door allows you to keep an eye on your meat without having to open it
  • The stainless steel latch keeps the heat in

Cons

  • It comes at a higher price point, which is expected for a deluxe  indoor meat smoker
  • High-tech digital controls can be a bit confusing. (Note: be sure to read the manual to get the settings right, especially the cooking temperature and cooking time of the dish)
  • Like most smoker models, this model uses wood chips. Refer to health warnings related to the effects of wood dust.

 3. Camerons Products Stovetop Smoker - The Original (11” x 15” x 3.5”) - Best Budget

Stovetop Smoker - The Original (11” x 15” x 3.5”)

The best kitchen indoor smoker is always the simplest one to use, and the build of this indoor smoker is as simple and user-friendly as it gets!

You can never go wrong with a stainless steel Camerons Products Stovetop Smoker that can act as a roasting pan, steamer, and poacher all rolled in one.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use; no difficult mechanics and controls
  • It is made of stainless steel, and is therefore dishwasher safe
  • This stovetop smoker can be used on multiple heat sources (like electric, gas, etc.)
  • It is portable enough for campfires
  • It comes with wood chips that are ready to use, ensuring that you get that same smokey flavor as restaurants right away

Cons

  • Not recommended if you want to smoke meat with larger cuts because the depth is shallow
  • Not designed for cold smoking
  • Make sure you have an externally vented exhaust fan when using this indoor smoker. The smoker's lid is a good enough fit to keep smoke seepage at a minimal level, but it is always best to exercise caution

4. Emson Smoker

Double-Feature Wonder

Dubbed as the "only indoor pressure smoker", it is no wonder Emson Smoker made it to our best indoor cooker list.

Unlike with other electric smokers, you get a pressure cooker and a smoker for the price of one!

Pros

  • The sealed cooking chamber of this pressure cooker accelerates the cooking time by up to 50% and also helps tenderize meat
  • Can also be used as a slow cooker
  • Possesses a cold smoking feature that allows you to cold smoke fish, vegetables, and cheese
  • Compared to other indoor smokers, this pressure smoker makes use of fewer wood chips to create the needed smoke component

Cons

  • This compact indoor smoker can cook for a  limited capacity (2-3 people), therefore not suitable for big cookouts
  • Cleaning can be a challenge as gunk can build up and get stuck, which may affect the controls 

5. Gramercy Kitchen Company Cocktail Smoker-Best Handheld

Gramercy Kitchen Company Cocktail Smoker

Coming in a small package, Gramercy Kitchen smoker is one of the best electric type smokers for indoor smoking. 

This battery-operated mini indoor smoker is a handheld cold smoker.  It uses a smoking gun to release visual smoke and is best suited for cold smoking your favorite cocktail drinks as well as charcuterie and cheese boards.

This is perfect if your cooking space is in need of a space-saving solution, or if you plan to smoke on the go!

Pros

  • Portable and easy to use
  • This smoker model can produce smoke in minutes
  • Quiet operation, compared to most indoor smokers
  • An indoor smoker +smoker gun + wood chips + cleaning brush = WIN!

Cons

  • The smokey flavor is not as intense.  Unlike other indoor electric type smokers or a traditional charcoal smoker, this handheld version only infuses the smoke flavor

 6. Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill, Gray - Honorable Mention

Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill, Gray

Though not necessarily marketed as an indoor smoker, this compact Weber's 52020001 Q1400 has a cooking area of 189 square inches and is a powerhouse when it comes to cooking up an authentic smoky flavor.

This model is best for apartment dwellers and indoor meat smokers.

Pros

  • "Plug in and Grill out"  convenience (no wood chips and charcoal  companion needed!)
  •  You get the same smoky flavor across the whole grilling surface because the cast iron cooking grates make the heat evenly distributed
  •  Easy to clean because the grease is funneled in a catch pan

Cons

  • Being an outdoor grill,  it is best to use this electric smoker on your balcony to avoid having too much  smoke inside your home

    Choosing the Best Type of Indoor Smoker

    Overwhelmed with all the smokers provided above?  Before making a decision on which of these best indoor smokers is best for you,  make sure you are well informed of the different indoor smoker variants. 

    Who knows, the best fit for your indoor smoking needs might just be on this list.

    Electric Smoker

    Electric indoor smokers are preferred because of their convenience to use, much like the plug and grill tag line mentioned previously.

    This type of smoker truly comes in handy when there's an outlet somewhere near your cooking space.

    Furthermore, these indoor smokers generally have two types of controls, analog and digital. Want to know the difference?

    • Analog smokers are easier to use because to smoke the meat, you simply set the dial to the desired temperature and manually control the thermostat. This type of smoker model is ideal for the no-fuss users who want an easy-to-navigate on and off switch when one wants a smoked meal. 
    • Digital smokers have more options to choose from, which is great as it allows you to regulate the temperature with the type of meat you are trying to prepare.  The electric thermostat controls the heating element to maintain the proper level of both heat and smoke. 

      The electric smoker variant is best suited for people who can't burn wood[1] or charcoal in the place where they live, due to the intense amount of emissions.

      It's also great for those who prefer convenience because once you set the temperature and timer, you can relax without the need to constantly watch over the food in your smoker. 

      Kettle Smokers

      This kind of indoor smoker usually comes with a base, water drip pan, smoking rack and thermometer, a built-in vent, and a high dome cover.

      Because of all these inclusions, we can confidently say that you can't really go wrong with a kettle smoker!

      What's good about this kettle smoker is its multi-functionality.  The high dome cover gives you space to cook larger meat portions. 

      If you remove the water drip pan and smoking rack, the base and dome cover can be used as a traditional kettle roaster.

      A typical kettle smoker uses wood chips, but this may vary depending on the model and type of your kettle smoker. 

      Stovetop Smokers

      This type of indoor smoker works by placing the food in a covered rack or tray inside a smoker and placed over a heat source like a gas range or electric stove.

      For this type of smoker, you may also opt to purchase a charcoal companion to aid you in your wet or dry smoking.

      These smokers usually use wood chips or saw dust for smoke production, which are easy to come by nowadays.

      Things to look out for?

      Keep an eye out for solid stainless steel construction and how well it seals the smoke. A tight lid is good for moisture, heat, and smoke retention, essential elements for hot smoke food.

      Handheld Smokers

      As a relatively new indoor smoker tool,handheld smokers come in compact travel-friendly builds.

      The cocktail smoker works by heating wood chips in the chamber of a smoking gun.

      The handheld cocktail smoker comes with different accessories such as a smoking box and smoker's lid, but the basic components comprise a smoker gun and wood chips.

      This cold smoker has a hose attached to the base smoker gun. Once it is heated and the smoking gun is coursed through the opening lid, it can start blowing smoke to drinks and food. 

      Indoor VS Outdoor: Which One Is Best for  Me?

      Indoor Smokers

      Indoor smokers are preferable given there's a convenient power source nearby.

      This is because the best kitchen indoor smokers usually make use of gas and electricity, making them ideal in set-ups with access to such.

      These come in handy since you just have to plug them in or attach them to your stove, and are especially preferable if your area of residence is strict with smoke regulations.

      Outdoor Smokers

      An outdoor smoker shines when there is a great amount of ventilation possible.

      Unlike in indoor settings, having an open-air environment is great for these machines since they often produce a large amount of smoke.

      Usually, outdoor smoker models are also bigger and bulkier compared to indoor smokers, so this type may be ideal if you wish to smoke a lot of food items all at once.

      Cooking With Your Indoor Smoker

      There are different techniques you can use with your indoor smoker. Understanding the difference between hot smoking and cold smoke is a good way to start.

       

      • Dry smoking uses indirect heat to cook the food.  It makes use of the smoke coming from the wood chips or wood chunks to bring out the smokey flavor.
      • Wet smoking, on the other hand,  uses a water pan to produce moisture and helps the smoke stick to the food, in order to achieve an authentic grilled flavor. Additionally, keeping the temperature consistent helps make the meat tender and juicy.

      Cleaning Your Indoor Smoker

      Now that the best part (eating) is over, are you ready to face the aftermath?

      Needless to say, the key to a long-lasting appliance lies in the proper maintenance and cleaning of this item!

      There will be little chance for mold growth or rust formation if you clean the smoker regularly, but before washing, find out which parts are dishwasher safe.

      More importantly, know the parts of an average electric indoor smoker and the appropriate cleaning materials commonly used, to guide you through the maintenance process:

      Cooking Rack

      This is dishwasher safe and can be cleaned using soapy water. If the residue is persistent, soak the rack with a soapy mixture for 30 minutes before washing it. 

      For soapy water, the grease-cutting dish soap variant is preferable. Mix this with warm water and use this mixture with a clean damp cloth.

      Drip Tray

      Most kitchen indoor smokers have drip trays where the marinade and sauces gather, instead of landing on the bottom. You can wash this tray using the soapy mixture mentioned above, or apple cider vinegar. 

      The acidity level of the apple cider vinegar clears out the grease in seconds and prevents the build-up of bacteria and mold. To do this, simply mix equal parts of vinegar with water.

      Given that there are no electric components attached to the drip tray, it may be considered dishwasher safe. It would still be best to double-check your instruction manual, or the product information, to confirm this.

      Cooking Chamber

      A wooden grill scraper should be used to scrape all the dirt from the walls of the chamber.

      Spray your apple cider vinegar mixture and leave it on for a few minutes to soften the residue. Following this, use a cloth to clean the sides of the chamber.

      A bristle brush is recommended to reach the insides of the cooking chamber.

      Be gentle with the brush, even with the stainless steel types.  Additionally, make sure to choose plastic bristles and not metal, or else you will end up damaging your smoker. 

      Thermostat or Temperature Control Panels

      Wiping this lightly with a clean damp cloth is enough, just as long as you do it on a regular basis.

      Take note that these parts of the smoker may be fragile, so do try to exercise great caution and care as you handle them!

      Is Grilling Still Possible, Even Without Outdoor or Indoor Smokers?

      Yes, it is! You really don't need a special device to smoke your food.

      All you need is a grill, wood chips, and a drip pan.Here's how you can perform a simple smoking technique given the cooking space you have available:

      1. Soak wood chips in water for at least an hour. Remove excess water when done.
      2. On a pan, prepare your fired-up hot coals with an inch of water. Using long tongs, add the pre-soaked wood chips. 
      3. Arrange the food on your grill rack and put it on top of the pan and cover.
      4. Check the temperature,  doneness of your food, and water level every now and then, and adjust when necessary. Keep in mind that over smoked food becomes too bitter, while under-smoked food could still be raw. Note: be sure not to add any more wood during the last half of the intended smoking time!

      Let's Get Cookin, Good Lookin!

      Indoor electric smokers caught your eye? What about a stovetop type for your kitchen? Or maybe a handheld would be nice to have around?

      If you're still looking for a definitive conclusion of what to pick, then look no further, because you're in the right place.

      Our Top Pick

      With all that's been said and done, our top pick for the best indoor smoker goes to the Nordic Ware Stovetop Kettle Smoker, for its ease of use and the perfect balance between value and practicality. Simply place it on top of your stove, and you can start smoking almost immediately!

      Check Today's Price

      Want to Spend a Little Bit More?

      Coming in hot for our second pick is the Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker!

      While it is indeed on the pricier side, the level of controllability and customization you get on this device is unmatched. With a digital control panel to take charge of every aspect of your smoking, along with a high-quality product build, you are truly able to get your money's worth out of this thing!

      Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker

      Check Today's Price

      But If You're New to an Indoor Smoker and Want Something Affordable

      Who else could it be but Stovetop Smoker - The Original (11” x 15” x 3.5”)? Keeping things simple and classic, this smoker gets the job done and at a very affordable price too!

      Boasting a straightforward and uncomplicated setup, this option is the best indoor smoker for both newcomers and casual meat-smokers!

      Stovetop Smoker - The Original (11” x 15” x 3.5”)

      Check Today's Price

      Smoking is a truly versatile cooking technique that can bring out deep and mature flavors from simple ingredients. Hopefully, you were able to find your next smoking purchase in this article, and that you are able to whip up delicious dishes for family and friends!

      Outdoor Cooking Pros
      Outdoor Cooking Pros


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