Electric grills are a great purchase if you have smaller living spaces. They can save time during the cooking process and take up less space than their counterparts with the authentic flavor that is only found in direct flame or flames of charcoal!
So, ask yourself: how can you make your food have a smoky taste when using an electric grill? Here are some tips!
A quick warning: do not try to put coals in an indoor electric grill.
Indoor electric grills are custom designed with specific venting capabilities for smoke that depend on the heating fuel of your device. Adding charcoal into this equation can be harmful, as it contains certain gases which may release dangerous toxins if released inside an enclosed area (for example carbon monoxide). Stay safe!
TIP #1: Marinate your food ahead of time.
Same as you would when grilling with charcoal or gas, you should prepare your meat ahead of time by at least 1 hour up to 24 hours- and by that, we mean marinate your meat ahead of time.
Marinating your food with the marinade of your choice ahead of time enhances the flavor of the food you’re grilling, and it is also known to seal in the juices by creating a crust on the outside of your meat.
TIP #2: Allow your electric grill to pre- heat.
While it is common knowledge that once you turn on your grill, it takes at least 5 minutes to reach decent cooking temperature, you should allow your grill to pre-heat for at least 10 minutes, as well as make sure that the surface you will be cooking on is completely dry and clean.
These two factors allow the food you’re cooking to sizzle and smoke a little bit in its’ place, which helps give it some of the well- known smoky flavors that can be achieved with a charcoal grill.
TIP #3: Apply a small amount of oil.
Some tend to cook on an electric grill without bothering to add in some oil to the grates, however- there are some benefits to this move.
Once your electric grill has been pre-heated for at least 5 minutes, apply a light amount of oil onto the cooking surface. Use a clean paper towel and slightly dip it onto the oil, before passing it over the surface, coating all the sides and areas you will be using (do not pour it nor drizzle it).
Doing this makes flipping your food much easier and helps it sizzle while cooking.
TIP #4: Make a smoker box at home.
Bring out a small box made out of aluminum or crumble some tinfoil into a container of sorts, and put some charcoal or pre-soaked wood in it. Punch a couple of holes into the box, then place it into the grill ahead of grilling.
If you don’t have an aluminum box small enough to fit into your electric grill, you can:
Once your DIY smoker box is complete and placed on the grates, pre-heat the grill at a low temperature of 225° F to 250° F before adding the food to the grill. This allows the wood and/ or coals to start smoking slightly through the holes you drilled into the box and release a considerate amount of smoke prior to the cooking.
And don’t worry: if the wood or coals (or both!) run out while cooking, you can easily add more.
Be careful not to poke not enough holes into the aluminum box as the wood and/ or coals won’t get enough air to burn. And with that being said, also be careful not to poke too many holes into the aluminum box, because this way the wood and/ or coals will burn way too quickly and won’t smoke at all.
TIP #5: Use wood chips.
Similar to the previous tip, you will be needing a smoker box or pack to place the wood chips of your choice in.
- Cherry wood chips
- Subtle fruity flavor
- Goes great with fish, poultry, pork, & vegetables
- 192 cu. in. (0.003 m^3) sized bag
- Contains most popular flavors- Apple, Mesquite, Hickory, and Cherry
- 180 in cu of chips in each bag
- Works with electric and gas grills
- Great way to try new flavors or convenietly replenish your favorites
- Made in the USA
- Hickory wood chunks
- Rich subtly Sweet flavor
- Great for poultry, pork & beef
- 350 cu. in. (0.006 m^3) sized bag
Place a handful of the wood chips into the box and then place the box over the heating element directly. Once the chips have begun smoking and you’re ready to start grilling your food, move the wood chips to a cooler side in the grill and place the food in. Keep checking every 30 minutes to see if you need to add more wood chips to the box.
For this tip, unlike the previous one, you do not need to soak your wood chips before placing them in the grill. Wood chips already burn faster, and soaking them before cooking only makes the process take more of your time and takes away from the smoke’s intensity.
TIP #6: Don’t lift the lid of your grill.
As tempting as it might be to constantly check in on your food and move it around to make sure it is cooking on all sides- you need all the heat your grill can produce, especially since the device you are cooking with is an electric grill.
Keeping the grill’s lid closed allows the heat to flow evenly all over and captures the flavor of your food well.
TIP #7: Invest in an electric grill with a chamber.
Now, this might be one of the most obvious tips, but it is actually not possible for many due to local laws and regulations against bigger and more dangerous grilling devices, like charcoal grills.
With that being said, nowadays you can find electric grills in the market that already come with a smoker box and chambers so that you can put in the necessary items to produce the flavor you’re looking for, like wood pellets, wood chips, and more.
There are also electric grills that come with special fans and filters that can get rid of the smoke.