The Old Smokey is one my top picks for best electric smoker, and for good reason. Read on here to see why a great smoker doesn’t have to cost more than $200!
The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is a lightweight barrel smoker with a powerful heating element rated at 1,250 watts and capable of getting the unit up to 250F comfortably. This model uses two smoking grates accessed from above.
It has a tightly-sealing lid and temperature is maintained with a crude temperature adjustment rheostat. The walls of the smoker are not insulated and will lose considerable heat, but the powerful element typically ensures sustained heat, even in cold environments. Unfortunately, a temperature gauge does not come standard, but can be purchased separately rather inexpensively.
Notably, the sealed nature of this smoker allows it to keep food highly moistened. Likewise, the minimal air infiltration also means there is little risk of wood chips burning too quickly. As a result, I would personally avoid soaking chips beforehand. Filling the water pan is also optional and may not be warranted for cuts where you’d like a harder, drier finish.
Another consequence of being a closed space is that it goes through wood very efficiently and can get food to serving temperature very fast – which is another reason why you should always use a thermometer with this model.
Smoking Capacity & Dimensions
The capacity of the Old Smokey is solid, and it appears that most users should be able to get between 15 and 20 pounds of meat in there between the two grates. In my book, this is great for a smoker that’s merely 24 pounds, 28 inches tall and about 15 inches in diameter.
Consensus of Users
This smoker has a very well-established, 4.5-star following, particularly for its ease of use, durability and results.
The one bone of contention for some is that it humidifies food too much, or that the tightness of the can prevents a bark from forming and suffocates beneficial combustion. There is an element of truth to this, I think; however, as some have noted, all you have to do to restore a bit of oxygen balance is to leave the lid slightly ajar. Alternatively, if you want to provide a bit more flow, you could drill some holes up and down to get some more air into the can. But proceed at your own risk!
Beyond the airflow issue, the vast majority of users give this model a straight 5-stars, as do I!
Price & Value
Generally in the neighborhood of about $150, the Old Smokey Electric is a screaming good deal.
Considering how much you can do with this little smoker and how easy it is to use, there’s just no reason to look for another smoker in this price range.
As we mentioned in our top picks, as here, the Old Smokey Electric smoker is the currently the best electric smoker you can buy for less than $200. Just don’t forget to opt for the temperature gauge when ordering – you’ll need it!