YES… and NO
The popularity of electric smokers has been on the rise in recent years. Electric smokers are easy to use and still get great results. The set it and forget it nature of an electric smoker can quickly become a must have for any cook. Electric smokers are especially great for beginners as they often come with a selection of pre-tuned settings, allowing for quick and smooth smoking. All that can lead to the question “Can you use an electric smoker indoors?”. That is a great question. And the answer to that question is simply NO…and YES. Read on for more details.
For most standard electric smokers, you should NOT use an electric smoker indoors. Click here to jump down to the reasons why the answer is NO.
But sometimes the answer is YES. That’s correct, there’s great news for anyone that loves smoky flavors but does not have the option of having an outdoor electric smoker. Anyone that has limited outdoor or patio space may find themselves in this situation. For those in that dilemma, here is your answer. The solution is an indoor appliance like the Presto Electric Indoor Smoker. This is an example of a smoker that has the form factor of a slow-cooker. In fact, many of these devices also have slow-cooker capabilities along with being able to smoke food.
They are easy to use and have some of the same user-friendly functions that an outdoor electric smoker has. Check out this video to see how easy and convenient these products are:
In general, your typical electric smoker, like the Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Electric Smoker, would be very dangerous to use indoors. The manual included with that electric smoker explicitly states that the smoker should not be used indoors. Keep reading below to see all the other dangers of using a typical electric smoker indoors.
First, it’s important to note that smokers are dangerous pieces of equipment and should be handled responsibly by adults. Moving forward, here are the top possible dangers of using electric smokers indoors:
1. Fire Risk
Even when fuels, which are typically considered when you think of fire, is removed in the equation, electric smokers indoors still pose this risk. This is due to the current being passed through the heating element that can reach such a high temperature. Thus, it can easily cause other objects to catch alight.
We understand that the fire produced by this element is contained within the unit itself, but when operating a relatively large cooking device with open flames at any point, it’s best not to have it indoors.
2. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Possibly the main reason not to use a electric smoker indoors or in an enclosed space is the fact that you are purposely producing large quantities of smoke which contains carbon monoxide. For those unaware of how dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning is, it can be a cause of long-term respiratory issues, general health problems, brain damage, and death. Even a well-ventilated room would not be able to completely clear the amount of smoke produced by an average electric smoker.
3. Second-Hand Health Issues
With numerous toxins found in the smoke being lighter than air, they are easily spread across a wide area in a short period of time. It’s important not only to consider your health but also of those around you as it would most likely be tough for them to easily avoid the plume of smoke generated.
4. Carcinogenic Compounds Production
Leading on from both carbon monoxide poisoning and general health, it’s essential that you are aware of the high level of carcinogenic components that are found in the smoke. Prolonged exposure will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of developing cancer. The best way to prevent this is to take as many precautions as possible, including operating in an open-air environment for maximum dispersal.
5. First to Third Degree Burns
Don’t let the lack of a more obvious fuel source fool you as electric smokers still produce an incredible amount of heat that could easily burn the user during operation of the unit. This leads on to how the smoker must be overseen at all times to prevent any children or animals unknowingly coming into contact with the smoker and injuring themselves.
A Side Point: The Smell
When kicking out such high volumes of smoke as well as the meat, vegetable, or any product being cooked, you’ll notice that not only are your clothes or the room you’re in begins to smell but also the entire building. This unpleasant build up will quickly become noticeable. This means that the smoke is really hard to contain and requires open space.
General Precautions When Smoking Food
Now that you have a better understanding of why using an electric smoker indoors may not be the best idea, we’ve decided to list some fundamental precautions you should follow in order to produce the safest cooking environment possible.
1. Chemical Residue Contamination
Make sure that when it comes to smoking the meat, you don’t use makeshift containers such as steel cans. Even when these temporary objects are thoroughly cleaned, when a high level of heat is applied, all the chemicals used throughout the manufacturing process will contaminate whatever is in the container. That is why it’s always best to buy professional containers where you can safely smoke your meat.
2. Smoker Isolation
You want to keep your smoker away from other objects for a variety of reasons such as maximizing your ventilation and limiting the proximity of any possibly flammable agents. This will also provide you with a clear work space where you can prepare the meat before it goes into the smoker.
3. Food-borne Illness Prevention
Not uniquely aimed at smoking but rather general handling of food, it’s important to make sure the possibility of food contamination is kept to a minimum. This will involve the basics such as keeping poultry away from red meat as well as raw meat away from cooked meat. Hence, it is best to smoke them separately.
We can 100% appreciate the appeal of having a nice cold beer or glass of wine while smoking a ton of meat but this only invites problems and could put you in harm’s way. Thus, when using a smoker, it’s best to keep a clear head and wait until the meat is fully cooked so that you can properly sit down and enjoy a drink with your meal.
So, the answer to the question “Can you use electric smoker indoors?” is a yes and no. Yes ONLY IF you are using the slow-cooker type indoor electric smoker. But for the typical electric smoker the answer is NO because there are so many potential immediate as well as long-term dangers that are posed to not only yourself but also those around you.
If you still want to invest in an electric smoking unit check out our reviews at Best Electric Smokers. And we advise that you only operate outside and in a separate, fully-ventilated outhouse wherein natural air still flows freely. That will help promote the overall level of safety as well as giving you your own little getaway. Just remember, whenever you operate a smoking unit, preparedness can help reduce the risk of anything going wrong during the cooking process.