Today we tackle the question of why you should NOT use an electric smoker indoors, and outline the only few scenarios where it IS ok.
The question of whether you can use an electric smoker indoors strangely enough sparks a lot of controversy among barbeque lovers in the online world.
With the popularity of automated pellet grills and electric smokers increasing every year, it’s important to answer this "burning" question so that we’re all on the same page, and everyone stays safe through the winter.
Electric smokers are incredibly easy to use and eliminate the need for charcoal or propane, both of which we KNOW must only be used in outdoor, well ventilated spaces. This allows electric smokers to be cheaper in the long run and more versatile.
Instead of having to stand around a smoker managing the temperature for hours, you can simply turn it on and let it work its magic while you concern yourself with other matters.
(Unless of course, you need a good excuse NOT to concern yourself with other matters.)
Here's a great video from one BBQ loving enthusiast on why he prefers electric smokers to charcoal:
Electric smokers have quickly become a must-have for anyone who enjoys the flavor of smoking and the set and forget convenience of an indoor oven.
But just because we use them like an oven, does that mean they are safe to use indoors?
Unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward as using an electric smoker itself.
Actually, the short answer is both YES AND NO, sometimes you can use an electric smoker indoors, and sometimes you can’t.
It all depends on your smoker.
Let’s look into both answers to see if you can use your electric smoker indoors or not.
Answer #1: Yes
Just make sure your smoker is specifically labeled and titled in its name as an INDOOR Smoker before EVER using indoors.
Yes, there is such a thing as an indoor electric smoker, which can in fact be used indoors.
This is great news for people with limited balcony or patio space, as they no longer have to miss out on the rich flavors that smoking can achieve.
Many electric indoor smokers come along with slow cooker abilities so that you can use them for double duty.
Indoor smokers are very easy to use and can come with some of the same features as an outdoor smoker, so you’re not compromising too many functions.
However, keep in mind due to the reduced air exchange the process of smoking can be slower with indoor smokers and you may have difficulty smoking dried food like beef jerky due to the high humidity in the cooking chamber.
Answer #2: No
Now onto the second answer - no.
This answer is much more common and if you were to ask the majority of smoking enthusiasts the question, we’re sure that they’d say no.
It’s because the traditional outdoor electric smoker would pose as a serious risk indoors.
Below we’ll be looking at a few of the reasons why it is imperative that you don’t use a traditional smoker inside your home.
Remember, indoor smokers have been built specifically for safety and outdoor models are not built to be used indoors.
Carbon Monoxide Levels Indoors
Large amounts of smoke and enclosed spaces do not mix.
Smoke comes along with the production of carbon monoxide, which has the power to poison people without them even knowing.
Carbon monoxide is a slow killer and can cause hallucinations, long-term respiratory issues, and brain damage.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is something not to take lightly, so using an electric smoker indoors could put you at risk of being exposed to dangerously high levels of the gas.
We think that it’s unnecessary to put yourself and your family in danger of poisoning, so don’t use the smoker indoors.
Traditional electric smokers are designed to be used outside with ample ventilation around them.
Electric smokers don’t require fuel sources; however, this does not necessarily mean that the risk of fire is nothing to worry about.
As the smoker can reach such a high temperature, there is still the potential for a fire to break out inside your home.
As insides of homes have more fire hazards, it’s best to keep the smoker outdoors.
Rugs, carpets, and flammable materials covering your furniture are just a few of the risks that might make a fire spread faster if it were to start indoors.
You can monitor the smoker constantly to ensure that a fire doesn’t start, but we think that it’s much safer and more sensible to simply keep the electric smoker outside.
Long-term health problems
Smoke is bad for us - we’ve all seen the posters, adverts, and protests trying to deter us from smoking.
Although there is no tar and nicotine coming from electric smokers, there is still plenty of toxins found in the smoke pouring out from the machine.
It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who you’re putting at risk by using your electric smoker indoors - it’s your whole family.
Smoke can linger in the air for up to 3 hours once you cannot see it anymore.
Moreover, a percentage of the smoke is actually invisible, so imagine how many more toxins are trapped around your home without you even knowing about them.
To avoid the dangerous health issues that come along with the toxins in smoke, don’t use a traditional electric smoker indoors.
Can You Use an Electric Smoker Indoors? - The Verdict
So, the answer to the question of whether you can use your electric smoker indoors or not is two-fold.
Yes, but only if you purchased an electric smoker specifically designed to be used indoors. These are smaller than traditional smokers and can usually double as table top slow cookers.
Having said that, if you’re looking to use your traditional electric smoker indoors then the answer is a resounding NO.
You cannot use a traditional electric smoker inside an enclosed space because of the dangerous risks that come along with doing so.
Fires, health risks from toxins, and carbon monoxide poisoning are just some of the reasons why the answer is an unequivocal no.
Risking the health of both you and your family is unnecessary, so why do it?
Electric Smoker Recipes
Looking for some smoky inspiration?
Check out some of our favorite recipes below that can easily be done in an electric smoker.
- Smoked Fresh Ham with Dark Rum Citrus Glaze
- Smoked Leg of Lamb with Guinness Marinade
- Smoked Bratwurst
- Grilled Bratwurst
- Smoked Gouda Cheese
- Smoked Oysters
- Pellet Grilled Steak
- Pellet Grill Turkey
Trash Can Turkey - OK, technically not made in a conventional smoker but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey...at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours! You've got to check it out!