An electric smoker for outdoor barbecuing has several advantages over smokers that use wood chunks or gas for fuel. Electric smokers typically work with wood pellets that dispense into a burner box to produce smoke. These appliances also have a thermostat for more precise temperature control when smoking large and thick cuts of meat, such as pork roasts and beef brisket. To determine how long to cook meat in an electric smoker, you must know the weight of the food and the minimum internal temperature for safe consumption.
Place the meat on the food scale and make a note of the weight.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to start the electric smoker. Set the thermostat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the meat on the cooking grates, close the lid and smoke for approximately 20 minutes per pound. A 10-pound pork shoulder, for example, would require about three hours and 20 minutes to smoke. Cooking a six-pound brisket in the smoker will take about two hours.
Pierce the meat at the thickest point with the thermometer tip as you approach the end of the smoking time. The USDA recommends that you cook beef, steaks, roasts and chops to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground beef, pork, veal and lamb roasts should be smoked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoke poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
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