Do you ever think of smoking delicious meals from indoor – right from your kitchen? Sometimes, setting your outdoor smoker and moving your ingredients outside sounds like a lot of work. And if it’s about to rain, what cooking options do you have to satisfy your appetite for smoked, flavored meals? Indoor smokers might just be the solution you are looking for!
If you are looking for the best indoor smoker to get for your home, then you have come to the perfect place. We have reviewed the foremost stovetop smoker, cold smoker and indoor electric smokers in this article.
Well, We have also broken down everything in the infotainment section there is to know about these appliances, and the things to consider to buy the most suitable one for you. Let’s get to it.
Why should I buy an indoor smoker?
If you can use an outdoor smoker, why bother getting the indoor option? Here are a couple of reasons:
1. You can use indoor smokers in a wide range of kitchen spaces:
These smokers are suitable for restaurants and food establishments with tight kitchen spaces.
2. You can use indoor meat smoker all year round:
With these indoor meat smokers, you don’t have to worry about the weather. You can use them throughout the year and in any season.
3. Indoor smokers are affordable and cost-effective:
Most indoor smokers only cost a few dollars. Since they use less electricity, gas, or propane, stovetop grills might also save you some utility bills.
4. You get more control over the meals you cook using an indoor smoker:
These smokers allow you to control the moisture, smoke level, and heat more precisely. When using them, you get to decide how smoky and tender your BBQ and meals are.
5. Indoor smokers are much easier to clean:
Most smokers come with drip pans, and they have inner racks that make it easy to clean up after use.
First, let’s Brush Up Your Knowledge on Indoor Smoking
Types of Indoor Smokers
There are three major types of indoor smokers:
1. Stovetop smoker
Stove-top smokers are the best indoor option for people who don’t want to go outdoors just to cook. In these units, food is placed on a rack or a pan beneath wood chips or dust. These smokers bring a different taste, flavor, and texture to food, so you might want to use them if you are trying out new things. A stove top heats the food contained in these smokers.
2. Handheld smoker
Handheld smokers, also called as cold smokers, provide the greatest control for smoking food. Unlike other indoor smokers, this type is used to infuse just a pinch of smoky flavor into meals. While some need power, handheld smokers are usually battery powered. They do not get hot.
3. Electric smoker
As the name implies, these smokers need electric power to function. Typically, they have heating elements and a thermostat or a dial to regulate your food’s temperature. So, all you need to do is plug the cable into the power outlet and place your food on the smoker’s rack.
How do indoor smokers work?
There are many indoor smokers out there, and each one has a different working principle from the other. Generally, a smoker works by heating wood chips or dust placed in a compartment and delivering the smoke to the food. This food may either be on racks or on a tray.
While hot smokers heat the food in the process, the cold ones infuse smoke without delivering heat. The final flavor of a smoked meal will depend on the flavor of wood chips used. But in hot smoking, the food should always become tender and cooked after smoking.
Factors To Consider Before Getting
— Best Indoor Smoker —
Getting the right smoke on your food is some skill, and you can’t achieve this without the right indoor smokers.
As Michael Nolledo, a seasoned BBQ lover, puts it,
‘In the world of BBQ cookery, no skill is more of a challenge than smoking foods.’
So, here are some factors to keep in mind when getting an indoor or inside smoker:
1. The food quality:
This is a no-brainer. There’s no use for an indoor smoker if it wouldn’t at least make your food taste better. So, you should consider getting the finest indoor smoker that’ll replicate the food quality you would have gotten from an outdoor unit. We recommend that you read reviews on each smoker on your list before you go ahead and get one.
2. Smoke generated:
When outdoors, you can use smokers that generate a lot of smoke. But for indoor cooking, your smoker should produce a low amount of smoke so that your kitchen’s detector doesn’t get triggered.
This limitation is perhaps why many people like Jim Shahin think that “Indoor smoking creates something of a sauna, and it comes close to delivering the same flavor as outdoor smokers even with little smoke.”
3. Ease of cleaning:
Indoor smokers must be well-designed so that cleaning them takes only a few minutes. Prioritizing this factor will prevent you from using aluminum foil to cover the tray or rack each time you want to smoke your food.
4. Smoking time:
No one expects an indoor smoker to smoke food as fast as the outdoor option. However, you should look for a smoker that smokes food in no time.
Best Stovetop Smoker Reviews in 2021
We’ll do one category at a time, though. So, here are the top 3 stove top smokers in the market today:
Nordic Ware Stovetop Kettle Smoker
This model- 36550 from Nordic Ware is a stove top kitchen smoker, which can also be used outdoor if you wish to, that I believe food art people might want to try out. Manufactured for professional and beginner chefs, the unit allows users to test out their creativity in the kitchen.
- Aluminized Steel
- 8.16 pounds
- 6.9 x 13 x 13.5 inches
- Nordic Ware
- Made in the USA
It’s made from aluminum steel, and the red porcelain-enamel coat is aesthetically noticeable. Compatible with electric, induction or gas stovetops, I like that this unit is quite easy to assemble. Everything you need to set it up is included in its detailed user manual.
There is no wood chips compartment, which isn’t totally a bad thing since you can spread the wood chips over the entire area of the smoker’s base. The food tray on this unit has perforations, which allow the smoke to circulate and infuse properly into your food.
Although stovetop smokers don’t usually have adjustable temperature controls, this unit has a thermometer and a tiny hole in the dome where you can stick it, so your food doesn’t get burnt.
No rule says you have only to use this unit indoors. If you’ve got an outdoor stove, then you might just want to try it outside. In either place, food turns out flavorous and smoky with this stovetop smoker.
The major problem I figured many people would face with this unit is its high food tray – because it sort of cancels out the advantage of having a high dome in the first place. However, if you live with this or get a food rack, you might just like it as much as the bbq customers who gave, stovetop smoker reviews, the high ratings on e-commerce sites worldwide.
This unit is excellent in giving pork, vegetables, meat, chicken, and fish a delicious – flavorful taste. And, It’s for sure one of the best kitchen indoor smokers in the market.
- It is easy to clean after use.
- The unit can be upgraded using steamer racks.
- It can be used to smoke virtually all types of meat, fish, and pork.
- It has a dome to cater to large chunks of food.
- The unit is oven-safe.
- Moisture and friction may cause the red coating to peel.
- It does not come with racks to increase the smoking area.
KitchenQue Indoor Stovetop Smoker
The Charcoal Companion – CC4132 is one of the best indoor meat smokers with many features anyone needs to make delicious meals in the kitchen. It isn’t pre-assembled, but I am sure anyone that picks the user instructions that comes with the product will understand how to put it all together.
- 6.67 pounds
- 613.5 x 12.5 x 9.5 inches
- Charcoal Companion
- Unit is dishwasher safe
- Sturdy design and construction
- Compatible with electric, propane, and induction stoves
- The product can go up to 400 degrees, which is high enough to cook meals.
- Has high cover for large chunks of food
- The best kitchen indoor smokers for meat
- Produces way too much smoke
- Side handles can get very hot after some time.
This unit has four major parts; a drip tray, base unit, grate and raised cover. The steel base makes it compatible with electric stovetops, gas stove tops, and induction cookers. Both the lid and the base have silicon handles that make it easy to open and move the smoker around.
The KitchenQue CC4132 has a built-in thermometer, which is great, especially as the manufacturer claims that the stovetop smoker can get up to 400°F. This implies that you can cook a chicken with it within an hour and a couple of minutes.
The unit comes with Hickory InstaSmoke, the manufacturer’s indoor smoking wood chips. However, the smoke from these wood chips might just be too much for your food and home. But if you want all the smoke and the flavorful taste in your food, then you might not mind finding this a problem.
You’ll get tasty meals from this smoker, and it’ll also come in handy when you want to give your meal a complex flavor profile. Overall, I think this is one of the best for value stove top smokers you can get.
Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker
This cameron stovetop smoker is the largest in the collection made by CMInternational, the manufacturer. It’s known as a table top smoker, a handy unit that anyone can use to smoke vegetables, pork, chicken, meat, and fish. The unit also doubles as a steamer, roasting pan, and a poacher.
- Stainless Steel
- 5.6 pounds
- 15 x 11 x 3.5 inches
- CM International
If you want to cook delicious meals in a few minutes, then this indoor stovetop smoker might just be the unit you are looking for. On the downside, there’s no thermometer or temperature control on this unit, so you have to time each meal yourself. You may also have to wrap the drip tray with aluminum foil, so you don’t have to scrub it after use, and the flavor remains on your food.
The body of the unit is made from stainless steel, and I found that every part is dishwasher safe. I also discovered that you could use it in an oven if you are looking for an easy way to cook delicious meals.
In a nutshell, this smoker has its flaws, but it also sports all the fundamental features you’ll need to make smoked meals in your kitchen at an affordable price.
- Release a low but effective amount of smoke
- The unit is affordable
- Functions with a lot of stovetops
- Heats up food quickly
- Relatively lightweight
- The unit’s exterior may get discolored after a while
- Handle and lid heat up quite quickly; you should have been operating carefully.
Top 3 Best Indoor Cold Smoker in the Market
Moving on to the next indoor smoker category, here are our top three cold smokers in the market:
MITBAK Portable Handheld Cold Smoking Gun
This portable handheld smoking gun from MITBAK might just be the cold smoking unit you’ve been looking for if you need a quick way to smoke your meal. It comes with a dome lid, wood chips, detachable hose, burn chamber, and a smoke infuser. So, you start smoking immediately after buying the unit.
- 2.85 pounds
- 17.7 x 12.1 x 5.3 inches
- Lithium battery-powered
Testing this unit was an enjoyable experience, as it’s useful in adding smoke to turkey, cheese, fish, beef, vegetables, and chicken. Although it is made specifically for indoor use, you might want to try this smoking gun out in the open after preparing a meal that doesn’t have enough smoke.
This MITBAK smoking gun comes with a low maintenance battery, which can also be recharged. It has three smoking speeds, all of which I found will deliver a lot of smoke as long as you use a lot of wood chips at a go.
My favorite feature about this smoking gun is that it has a comfortable grip and a stable base.
If you are thinking of adding smoke to a meal or even whiskey, then you might want to consider this our top pick indoor cold smoker.
- Relatively lightweight
- Easy to use to smoke
- Firm handle grips
- Relatively long hose
- Comes with a dome lid
- Needs quite a lot of wood chips to smoke food
2. TMKEFFC Portable Smoking Gun
I did a little research on this product and found that its customers, on popular B2C sites, gave it a 4.4 rating out of 5 stars. This made me dig deeper to understand why a lot of people think it is a functional unit.
- Weight: 14.1 ounces
- Power: 2 AA battery-powered
- Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 3 inches
- Manufacturer: TMKEFFC
- It smokes food quickly.
- Compact and easy to operate.
- Low maintenance is required for this product.
- Easy to use and fit together.
- Has a large compartment for wood chips.
- The unit does not have a temperature gauge.
- There’s no safe way to know the level of wood chips in the burn chamber without halting the smoking process.
The handheld smoker is one of the top indoor units you can get. It comes in different colors, but I like the shiny amber version and how it looks on the metal used to make the exterior. It’s a bummer that you can’t recharge this unit, but I think changing the batteries is a setback of this smoker that anyone can live with.
Testing this unit was fun, and it should take you only a few seconds to start lighting your meals. You can use it on meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, cheese, and every other thing you want to infuse smoke into.
Initially, I didn’t like that I had to turn off the smoker even after the wood chips or dust have entirely burned. However, I figured it’s not too much to ask, given that the unit is designed to give you control of how much smoke you add to your food.
This product has all the features a cold smoker should have, which is why it has made this list as the best for value indoor cold smoker.
3. Kaven Smoking Handheld Smoker
Our budget pick for cold smokers has excellent features that still make it a functional indoor smoker regardless of how relatively cheap it is.
- Weight: 12.2 ounces
- Noise: As low as 40 dBA
- Dimensions: 4.2 x 4 x 3.1 inches
- Manufacturer: Kaven
- Unique design
- Produces less than 40 DB of noise
- Has detachable, easy to clean fuel tank
- Easy to use
- 2-year warranty on the product
- It can be difficult to maneuver since it doesn’t have a handle.
- Fuel tank heats up easily
This cold smoker can add a smoky flavor to your desserts, nuts, vegetables, meats, and seafood in only a few seconds. Its body is made from alloy material and best-believe that it wouldn’t break if you use it properly.
The infusion smoker’s manufacturer claims that it wouldn’t reach high temperatures even when the wood chips are heating up. But one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s best not to touch the combustion chamber until it is cold.
I would have liked it more if it had rechargeable batteries, but I figured that it might not be a massive game-changer to change batteries once in a while.
Overall, I think you might find this product worth your money if you are looking for a functional and affordable indoor cold smoker.
Best Indoor Electric Smoker Reviews
We’ll do one category at a time, though. So, here are the top 3 electric indoor smokers / indoor bbq smokers in the market today:
Moving on to the next indoor smoker category, here are our top three in the market:
1. Oster Electric Smoker Roaster Oven
Unboxing and testing the Oster CKSTROSMK18 (which is, by the way, our overall best indoor smoker), was a fun experience. It’s a multipurpose indoor smoker oven that doubles as a slow cooker and a roaster. The standout feature?Just about anybody can use it conveniently.
- Weight: 16.3 pounds
- Material Type: Enamel Steel Pan
- Adjustable Temperature: 150°F to 450°F
- Heating Element: Up-to 1450 Watt
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 17.7 x 24 x 9.8 inches
- Manufacturer: Jarden Consumer Solutions
- It is easy to use.
- The smoker has a wide temperature range.
- It has two wood chips compartments, which are enough to smoke the whole meal.
- The smoker allows oxygen to flow through the food. Therefore, you don’t need to refill the wood chips often.
- It is easy to clean with removal pans and racks.
- It has a short electric cable
- The smoker’s lid gets greasy quickly.
This unit can hold up to 20-pounds of food, and I figured that it is designed to accommodate even the largest chunks. It’s nice that it has more than one compartment for wood chips, and they are large enough to add a smoky flavor to your food. Best of all, you can save as much as 30% of cooking time and 36% of energy using this cost-effective smoker instead of conventional ovens.
I like that this smoker works well indoors, but if you have a power outlet nearby, you might give it a try outside. Cleaning its enamel-coated pan and rack is also quite easy, which is another thing to like about the smoker.
It’s too bad the cable on this unit is short. But connecting it to an extension cord can solve the problem for you. If you don’t mind holding a greasy lid after smoking each meal, then this unit might just be the best indoor food smoker or electric smoker you’ve been looking for.
Meat, fish, and vegetables smoked with this unit are tasty and well-moistured. It is large enough to contain a 20-pound turkey like- turkey fryer and has a wide temperature range.
2. Emson indoor smoker pressure cooker
This kitchen smoker – 8303MO is one of the best for the value of electric smoker indoors you can get. The smoking performance is top-quality, and you’ll get a unique smoker ring with this unit.
- Weight: 10.7 pounds
- Material Type: Stainless Steel
- Adjustable Temperature: Auto
- Heating Element: Up-to 1000 Watts
- Dimensions: 13.2 x 13.2 x 12.6 inches
- Manufacturer: E.Mishan & Sons, Inc.
- Fast cooking time
- Has the option to cold smoke
- 2-years warranty on the product
- Sturdy stainless-steel design that prevents scratches
- Requires little wood chips to smoke
- Lots of parts to assemble before smoking
- Wood chips compartment isn’t central. So, only one part of your food might have a smoky flavor.
Unlike other electric smokers, this unit uses an internal pressure of 15 psi, which reduces the cooking time by a large margin. But the smoker’s cold smoke setting is what really sets this unit apart from the rest.
In the cold or regular smoke setting, this unit can handle about 4 pounds of food, but you might have to cut it down to fit the circular cooking space. It uses digital controls, which I think every smoker should adopt, but you can only set the smoking time and not the temperature with this unit.
I figured that this unit’s controls could bring up some weird error messages, especially if they aren’t cleaned properly. But it’s a good thing that the parts are made from stainless steel, so you can handwash them.
For the most part, I think this unit serves its purpose well and smokes almost all types of food excellently. Sadly, most of the parts aren’t pre-assembled, but I think anyone can grasp where to fit each part by using the user manual that comes with it. It heats up well, and if you use the right wood chips, you might just get the most delicious meal you’ve ever tasted.
3. Presto Indoor Electric Smoker
From my research, I found that quite some people have given this unit a 5-star review, and it’s easy to see the reason for this. The Presto 06013 is a well-designed indoor smoker electric with handles that make it easy to carry about.
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Material Type: Black Stainless Steel
- Adjustable Temperature: Auto
- Heating Element: Up-to 500 watts
- Dimensions: 19 x 11.5 x 12.2 inches
- Manufacturer: Presto
- Affordable indoor smoker cooker
- Multiple digital controls
- Has the option to cold smoke
- Has alarm to signal when food is ready
- Relatively lightweight
- Smoking temperature is not adjustable
- Water can condense under the smoker’s lid.
With this smoker, you cannot only hot smoke food, but it also has options for cold and combo smoking. The electric unit has a power rating of 500 watts, which might help save you some of your regular utility bills outlay in a month.
Unlike other units with digital controls, this smoker counts down the remaining cooking time and sounds an alarm, so you’ll know when the tender, delicious meal is ready. But the real selling point is its price.
When I first saw this unit, I could tell that it had a limited cooking space, and it turned out that I was correct. Although it can house about 6 quarts, fitting a large turkey into this smoker might be a problem. So, you might have to slice it up into large chunks and place in the smoker’s three-tier pan.
This Presto unit can be used as a slow cooker, and it has a non-stick dishwasher pot, which makes it easier to clean after each meal. I like that it has a seal around the lid to prevent smoke from escaping while cooking, but this design causes water to condense just under it. So, you might find it difficult to see through.
If you are on a budget but still want to get a top-quality indoor electric smoker to cook delicious and well-smoked meals, then this unit might just be one of the finest ones to get.
More Infotainment Of Indoor Smokers
Limitations of indoor smoking
1. It can be dangerous to smoke indoors if you are not careful
Although smokers have temperature gauges and alarms to tell you when your food is ready, accidents can still happen if you are not careful. So, always keep an eye on the food you are smoking.
2. Indoor smoking may be relatively more expensive than other smoking options
Indoor smokers have top-notch features. So, some of them can be a bit expensive. However, they might pay for themselves by saving you utility bills.
3. You home might smell differently
As you are aware, wood chips have different flavors. So, if you smoke in your kitchen, the chances are that within a short period, your kitchen and entire home would soon smell of the wood chips’ flavor or the meal you are cooking.
What’s the difference between cold and hot smoking?
When cold smoking, food doesn’t get past 80°F. Doing this allows the meal to remain raw and delicate. It’s a way to remove moisture from food and is suitable for cheese, vegetables, bacon, and other items that can melt easily when heated. You don’t need heat to cold smoke foods.
This technique allows food to cook while being smoked. When hot smoking, your food can get between 212°F and 280°F.
You’ll need to heat your food when hot smoking, and the technique is commonly used on briskets, ribs, pulled pork, salmon, and pastrami.
From our reviews, our overall best indoor smoker is the Oster CKSTROSMK18 Electric Smoker. It smokes all types of food properly in a short time, providing a similar effect on food as an outdoor smoker.
Apart from its use as a smoker, you can also use it as a roaster and as low cooker. I recommend this Oster smoker for year-round smoking because of its versatility and sturdy design.
In any event, If you’re a grill lover and looking for grilling, then check out our indoor grill reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
— Indoor smokers —
Can I use an electric smoker on a stovetop?
Although they look alike, using an electric smoker on a stovetop will not work. The heat from the stove top would be directed to the base, and not the heating element of the smoker. Hence, your food will not cook or get infused with smoke from the wood chips or dust.
Can I use handheld smokers on drinks?
Yes. You can use handheld smokers on drinks like beer and whiskey.
How long should I smoke meat when indoors?
You’ll need 6 to 8 hours to indoor meat smoking. However, briskets may take as long as a whole day.