Getting smoke from an electric smoker

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Assistant Cook
Oct 10, 2008
I have just bought an electric smoker and I simply do not get the "smoke" flavor I had from the wood burner. Any one have suggestions?
I have a Brinkman square smoker and the chips burn in the "chip tray" but I do not get much smoke. I thought about adding foil packs in the drip pan at the bottom, but that's below the heat? I also thought about making some foil packs and put them on the racks below the meat.
I think the chips have to be close to and above the heat. Higher up under the meat or under the heating element may not be a good idea. You'll have to experiment with more or fewer chips, more or less soaking, foil wrapping, different wood and possibly different locations.

One of our members has an electric smoker and may check in later with some advice.
I have a gas smoker. It wasnt getting the smoke up fast enough. i modified the rack that the chip tray sits on to make it closer to the heat. the next step was using a iron fry pan for the chip box.

Try to put the chips in before you put the food in to get them burning. If you are using chunks, use chips to get them smoldering while heating up the smoker.
I asume that you bring the smoker up to temp before putting food in.
kbevill said:
I have just bought an electric smoker and I simply do not get the "smoke" flavor I had from the wood burner. Any one have suggestions?

kbevill said:
Hickory chips - soaked about an hour.

Yep - your problem is that the wood burner and the electric smoker do not heat the same. While you need to soak your chips before adding to the wood burner - you need to add them dry to the electric smoker so they will heat, smolder and smoke.

That should have been mentioned in your instruction manual somewhere.

Anyway, try that and let us know how it works.
I have just bought an electric smoker and I simply do not get the "smoke" flavor I had from the wood burner. Any one have suggestions?

Electric smokers will not produce smoke like a wood burner would. Don't soak the wood and place beside or as close as you can to heating element. Also add one charcoal briquette along with the wood.

The problem with almost all electric smokers is the element is either on or off, there's no on halfway...Therefore sometimes the chips will smolder some times they won't...The brinkman electric smoker is difficult to maintain a stable temp because it's not insulated...Not sure where you bought it, but if lowes I believe they have a 90 return policy, I'd return it if it were me...
I typically use my Weber Kettle for my smoking chore, and with charcoal, and chunks of wood, it does a great job. I did have an electric smoker though, and it also did a great hob. The wood was fine chips, or even sawdust of the smoking wood, and the chip/sawdust tray was laced directly on the heating element. It produce lots of smoke, but required a fireproof wrap below 65; F. outside temp.

I find that as was mentioned above, that the wood must be dry. Once it is smoldering, then needs to be sufficient air-flow to keep it smoldering, without flaming. That;s where your vents come in.air flow to the wood is critical.

My suggestion, use small, dry chips, or sawdust in the chip tray, and make sure the chip tray is close enough to the heat source to get the wood smoldering. Make sure the vents are letting in enough air to keep the wood going.

I am fortunate enough to have done a lot of camping in my youth, in wet, rainy fall weather, in snow, on hot beaches, and during summertime camping. I've had to use green wood, punky wood, wet wood, hardwoods, and soft woods to make an sustain fires for warmth, and cooking. Once you understand fire, you will have more success in getting the smoke you want. Remember, fire requires three things, heat, oxygen, and fuel. Remove any one of those three things, and the fire goes out.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the Norh
Smoke should be thin and blue. I have a couple of smokers for outdoor use, both use hardwood charcoal and wood. No fancy temp control gadgets. All the electric smokers I've seen are not very well built.
fo electric smokers, I have had very good results with this -

My Dad purchased one when I was young, and made the best smoked smelt I've eaten. I've used the Little Chief model and have smoked everything from pork chops, to whole chicken, to my own pastrami (smoked corned beef). The company also has products for both cold, and ot smoking. Best of all, these don't break the bank. I've seen them on Ebay for less than $100. The heating element is on all the time, and so keeps the smoking chips smoldering continuously. And no, I don't work for the company, and except for going on line and searching, don't know how to contact them. I just have had good luck with the product, just like with the Weber Kettle charcoal grill.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
It’s fairly common practice to keep a dish of water in a smoker. It helps minimize temp. swings.

I’d you’re using wood chips, two hours should be ample, you can’t expect them to last forever. If you want most smoke, add more chips. That’s what I do when I smoke with charcoal in a Weber kettle.
You can slow and extend your smoke by closing down the air getting to the chips. I put a piece of heavy foil over my chip pan.

Then I poke a handful of small holes, then adjust as needed. It's an art and takes practice.

Though many times I put a bunch of holes and just add more chips or smoke pellets. I tend to use pellets more than chips, but it varies with my mood.

But a typical smoke pan with big openings will give you about two to three hours, as it burns up too fast.
Top Bottom