With electric smokers becoming more and more popular, a burning question has arisen. You see, many people wonder whether or not you can use these electric smokers indoors.
It’s easy to see why this has become such a hotly debated topic. I mean, think of the possibilities it would bring. If you could smoke ribs, brisket, or shoulders indoors, well then barbecue season just got a lot longer!
What’s great about electric smokers is the fact that they are so simple to use. Instead of worrying about lighting coals or charcoal, you simply need to flick a switch.
Once the smoker is on, you can let it carry on. There’s no need to stand around postulating over a grill with your barbecue tongs. You can sit down with your friends or family and enjoy their company!
As well as being easy to use, electric smokers tend to work out much cheaper over time. Again, this is down to the fact that you don’t have to pay for fuel every time you want to use them.
For many backyard grillers, electrical smokers have become a must-have appliance. Heck, they’re even popular amongst people who haven’t stepped foot near a barbecue in years!
In particular, people are drawn toward these smokers because they are self-monitoring. This leads a lot of people to assume that you can use them indoors. It makes sense. After all, if the smoker controls and limits the smoke, what’s the issue with it being in the house?
The answer to this is a bit convoluted. It really comes down to the kind of smoker you have.
Let’s take a closer look.
When Can You Use a Smoker Indoors?
You can use an electric smoker indoors if it is specifically listed as an indoor smoker.
These machines are typically much smaller than the enormous cabinet electric smokers. In fact, they more closely resemble a hotpot. Many of them actually double as a slow cooker for that matter.
These indoor slow cookers are ideal for people with limited real estate in the kitchen. The fact that they can be used as a slow cooker as well as a smoker is great because you don’t have to give over more unit space.
Some large cabinet smokers are designed for indoor use. These take up an incredible amount of space in your kitchen. They look like fridges in some cases.
However, we would like to reiterate the fact that you should definitely only use electric smokers indoors if they are marked for such use.
While these machines are wonderful for adding a beautiful smokey flavor to your food, this should not come at the cost of your health and safety.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Electric Smokers Inside?
Now, we hate to be a buzzkill, but we’d hate even more for you to get sick or injured. You see, the majority of electric smokers are simply not designed to work indoors where ventilation is reduced.
If you have got yourself a traditional electric smoker, make sure you’re using it outdoors. It just does not have the correct safety mechanisms to compete with indoor smokers.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the safety risks traditional electric smokers pose.
First and foremost, electric smokers can pose a fire risk when used inappropriately in your home.
We know that they don’t use fuel sources like coal, wood, or gas, but it can still cause fires. This is largely down to how hot the smoker gets.
The smoker, inside and out, gets incredibly hot over the hours of use. That’s how it is designed to work. However, indoors, your smoker is a lot closer to flammable items and materials than it would be outdoors.
Your carpets, curtains, rugs, kitchen towels and other flammable items are much more likely to come into contact with your smoker if it’s indoors. This could easily cause a fire if you are not carefully watching the smoker at all times.
However, if you’re watching the smoker at all times then you’re defeating the point of having a self-regulating electric smoker.
Smoke and Carbon Dioxide
I don’t think we need to tell you that lots of smoke indoors is not a good idea. Not only does it cling to everything, but it can cause serious health issues.
Now, if your kitchen is filled with smoke, you’d probably leap up and deal with the cause. You’d be able to do that because you can smell and see the smoke.
However, smoke has a friend that you can’t see or smell. You see, all smoke produces carbon monoxide. This gas is incredibly noxious and can very easily kill if it is not controlled.
Even if it doesn’t kill you, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, memory loss, lung complications and issues, as well as brain damage.
This is not something you want in your house.
When smokers are used outdoors, the carbon monoxide is able to dissipate because there is lots of ventilation. Indoors, the carbon monoxide cannot vent, and it will cause serious problems.
You might have a carbon monoxide monitor in your home, but is it in your kitchen? Ultimately, we would not risk it.
Smoking is not good for you. You might have heard this already. There are posters, adverts, and Ted Talks covering this very topic.
Now, we’re not comparing the smoke that comes out of your smoker with cigarette smoke. The latter is definitely much worse thanks to all the toxic chemicals they contain.
However, smoke is never something you want to inhale. The wood smoke that comes out of your smoker still contains lots of toxins that are going to cause long term damage to your lungs.
Even when the visible smoke dissipates, a percentage of the toxins and chemicals are still hanging around. This means that you can continue to inhale them hours after you’ve turned the smoker off.
Ultimately, unless your smoker is specifically marked as an indoor electric smoker, do not use it indoors.
You are putting yourself at risk of fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and smoke inhalation. There simply is not enough ventilation inside your home to handle these machines.