Smoking food is a delicious tradition that goes back hundreds if not thousands of years. However, operating a barbecue pit in your backyard isn’t always practical, leading some to wonder, can electric smokers be used inside your home? Maybe you want to use it inside for convenience reasons, or you’re worried about whether your electric smoker can get wet outside in the rain.
Regardless, the answer to that question is a resounding no for a multitude of reasons we’ll explain below.
Why electric smokers can’t be used inside
When asking the question “Can electric smokers be used inside?”, one simply needs to consider how electric smokers work. While an electric smoker may seem comparable to other kitchen appliances like a toaster oven, they’re very different and should never be used indoors.
Smoking produces carbon monoxide
It’s true that electric smokers produce less harmful pollutants into the air than wood or charcoal smokers. However, an electric smoker still uses a small amount of wood chips to produce the smoke that gives food flavor. Burning wood creates poisonous gases including carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that kills thousands of people every year. It is the exact definition of an invisible killer. To protect you and your family from this dangerous gas, use your electric smoker outside where there is a lot of fresh air to neutralize the effects of this deadly gas.
Using an electric smoker inside is a fire hazard
If you live in an apartment complex, they may have rules banning the use of smokers and grills on balconies — let alone using a smoker inside. This is because grills and smokers create fire hazards that could cause the building to catch fire. Even if you own your home, you’ll want to heed this warning: Never use an electric smoker inside your house. Electric smokers simply aren’t made for indoor use.
Smoking indoors makes your house smell
The smokey aromas created by an electric smoker are great for your fish, poultry, vegetables and meat. However, that smoke smell will be a whole lot less enjoyable on your furniture. The smoke particles that escape from an electric smoker will seep into your furniture, curtains and carpet. This will cause your entire house to smell of smoke, even long after you have switched off the smoker. The smoke smell is enjoyable when you’re smoking outdoors because it’s dispersed throughout the fresh air. But if you use a smoker indoors, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by the aroma, making it hard to breathe.
Can any kind of smokers be used inside your home?
If you’ve come this far and you’re still holding out hope for smoking indoors, great news! There are indeed some smokers that can be used inside. While they won’t do the type of heavy-duty smoking like you might be envisioning, stovetop smokers are suitable to use inside and will give food a gently smoky taste. Check out the Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker, which consists simply of an aluminum pan that goes over a stove burner. You put wood chips in the bottom, and then the food goes on top of the chips on a tray. The cover of the smoker is closed and the food is hot smoked over the burner.
A more premium option is the Nordic Ware Stovetop Kettle Smoker. Resembling a kettle grill, this works similarly and has a larger capacity to fit a whole chicken or a small turkey breast. While this may not quite be the type of indoor barbecue fantasy you were envisioning, using this type of smoker indoors will keep your family safe, your house intact and your furniture smelling fresh. These indoor-appropriate smokers will also allow you to safely take advantages of the same health benefits of using an electric smoker.
Ready to shop for an electric smoker to use outdoors?
If you’re still set on an electric smoker, check out our roundup of the best electric smoker reviews. And if you’re not yet sure what type of smoker is right for you, read 10 Advantages of Using an Electric Smoker and get educated on the differences between electric smokers and propane smokers.