Old Smokey Electric Smoker: A Homegrown Classic

If you are looking for simplicity and portability in an electric smoker, the Old Smokey Electric Smoker may be just the best electric smoker for you.

The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is manufactured by Old Smokey Products Company, a company in Houston, Texas that’s been around since 1923, making grills and smokers that make people happy. They have an off-beat, friendly and relaxed vibe that makes its way into their products and customer service.

One of their top selling products is a small electric smoker called the Old Smokey Electric Smoker. This simple and efficient smoker has been on the market for a long time and has a solid history of pleasing a lot of customers over time. It is unique in this day and age due to its sheer simplicity. This actually is your granddad’s smoker and we think that’s a good thing.

So just to let you know, we’ve spent lots of time searching out the best features and descriptive opinions on this thing. We’ve done all your homework for you so you can easily figure out what works for you and get on with the fun part…making great smoked meats and veggies. So let’s talk about some of the interesting features of the Old Smokey Electric Smoker. If you want your questions answered faster, click below to navigate to the info you want. Otherwise, we’ll walk you through.

If you are in a hurry, you can check the price of the Old Smokey on Amazon right now.


Specifications of the Old Smokey:

First of all, it’s a pretty basic design. This smoker is basically can shaped. It is a 15 inch diameter cylinder that is 25.5 inches high. It has a 1250 watt single heating element at the bottom that can heat the unit up to about 250°F. Above the heating element sits a shallow, square tray for holding the wood chips. A grease drip bowl is then placed into the smoker and two round cooking grates rest on pins at two different levels. A flat lid on top seals in the liquids to keep the smoked foods moist and flavorful. The analog variable temperature controller is a removable unit that plugs in to the bottom edge of the smoker body.

What’s inside the Old Smokey Electric Smoker?

Starting from the bottom, just above the 1250 watt heating element, there’s a shallow square tray that’s used to hold the wood chips. You don’t have to use many chips. The efficient design of this smoker allows you to use a small handful of chips so your fancy, expensive bag of super custom apple wood chips will stretch a lot farther.

Next comes the grease drip pan, which is a fairly large bowl that sits above the wood chip tray. It’s NOT for putting water in, so don’t put any water in it. The Old Smokey doesn’t require any extra water. You can depend on that!

Next up: two round cooking grates. The lower one is about 12.5 inches in diameter. It sits 9 inches below the top grate. The top grate is about 14.5 inches in diameter and sits 4.5 inches below the lid. Both these grates have wire handles on that protrude upward so you can lift them out of the smoker with relative ease….I said relative, so make sure you read on.

The whole thing is topped with a tight-fitting flat lid to seal all the moisture in. And it is really tight-fitting. You’d be amazed.

What’s on the outside of the Old Smokey Smoker?

Not much. No really, this is a simple smoker. It’s a big steel can with a lid. It has a handle on the lid.  Old Smokey has two handles on the side so you can pick it up and move it. It sits on a low wire rack that boosts the smoker up by 2.5 inches to keep it from burning your patio deck. It has a plug in controller just like your electric skillet (remember those?). You turn the dial to set the temperature. Easy peasy.

So how do you use the Old Smokey Electric Smoker?

Well, most of this is purely a matter of preference, but the general operation is pretty simple. Before you do anything with your new smoker, you will need to season it. I tell you how below just in case you want to know what to expect before you get the owner’s manual. Don’t worry. There will not be a test on this. You will get to read the manual before you go to smoking.

So, basically, when you are ready to smoke….that means you have your meats all prepared with rubs and spices and whatever else you prefer…you put a small handful of your favorite wood chips on the little tray. I suggest putting the tray in first and then reaching in to put the chips on it, otherwise, it will be super awkward to get the tray in there without spilling the chips. Then put the grease drip pan in there next. You can cover it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup if you want. Never hurts.

Now that you’ve got the setup, it’s almost time for the food. 

Do NOT put water in this smoker. It’s not that kind of smoker. It is a special smoker that’s specially sealed and very efficient. It doesn’t need any extra water. I promise. All the liquids in the food will condense on the lid and drip back down onto the food. It’s that well sealed.

Then you can either put the meat on the lower rack and lower the lower rack down onto the first row of screws. (Did I say lower enough?) Or…or you can put the rack in first and lower your food down onto it. I guess it depends which is easiest for the food you are smoking. Then put the second rack in if you want. Maybe you don’t want. Maybe you’re smoking a big bird. Then you put the lid on. Plug in the controller if you haven’t already and set it for your preferred temperature. The rest is up to you. You know what you are doing, right? This is as plug and play as it gets, but you will need to play around with times and temperatures.

Is everything you need for good smoking included in this package?

Nope, unfortunately. You’ll need to get the optional temperature gauge that doesn’t come with your smoker. Otherwise it will be quite difficult to know if the internal temperature is where you want it to be. This certainly will fluctuate with outdoor temperature, so it’s a foregone conclusion that you’ll need one of these. The temperature gauge is available in a 2 inch or 3 inch round size. You can easily install this yourself wherever you prefer on the smoker body or the lid.

You’ll also probably want to get a meat thermometer to go with your setup. You can drill a little hole in the lid or side to accommodate one, or you can stick it under the lid. This will “unseal” your smoker a bit, but this could be okay for you. Some people like to crack the lid a bit to let out some of the excess moisture. Remember what I said about not adding water?

The Good: What I like about the Old Smokey

  • It’s super simple. Not much to break. Not much to set up. No electronic controls to go on the fritz.
  • Because it has a tight fitting lid, the juices stay in the smoker and it produces a super moist smoked product.
  • It doesn’t cost much for an electric smoker.
  • It doesn’t have much assembly out of the box.
  • It’s not very heavy at only 23 lbs. So you can move it inside easily, like you’re supposed to.
  • It has a super reputation for longevity and great customer service.
  • It should last you a long time, but you can get replacement parts for all of it…..easily.

The Bad: What I don’t like about the Old Smokey

  • The shape can be a bit awkward. The round tube is not as convenient as the fridge door style of the cabinet electric smokers.
  • It’s so well sealed that you won’t get the same bark that you would on most typical smokers where you have to add water. You can crack the lid and this can help with that.
  • This smoker is not insulated so its performance will be more affected by outside temperature than an insulated smoker.
  • The racks are literally held up by the ends of screws that you install from the outside. These are not very easy on your hands when you reach down inside. So you need to be careful not to gouge your skin.

Is this the right smoker for you?

There’s something out there for everyone, but the Old Smokey Electric Smoker is the best bet for people who like to keep it simple. It is not a very large smoker, so this is your smoker if you want to smoke a brisket and some sausages, or one smaller turkey. It’s not going to do full racks of ribs without cutting them up. You should get this smoker if you enjoy a classic American made product that has been around for a long time. 

Check the price of the Old Smokey Electric Smoker on Amazon.

If you want something bigger, you should check out the Masterbuilt 30 and Masterbuilt 40 electric smoker line here.  If you still like a small smoker but you want a cabinet style unit, you can check out the Landmann 26 electric smoker here.

Does the Old Smokey Electric Smoker come with a warranty?

Yep. The Old Smokey Products Company offers to repair or replace defective parts for a period of one year from your date of purchase. This doesn’t cover rust or normal wear and tear. That means when you start smoking and it gets smoky looking on the inside, this is normal and you can’t have a new one. But you knew that, of course.

What accessories can I get for my Old Smokey Electric smoker?

You will need one of these for sure:

Temperature gauge 2”

Temperature gauge 3”

You are supposed to bring your smoker inside when you are not using it. It’s like a kitchen appliance and you need to take care of it. But in any case, you might want a cover for it. Here it is:

Old Smokey Electric Smoker Cover

Can you get replacement parts for the Old Smokey Electric Smoker?

Why certainly you can. That’s what’s particularly cool about this company and this smoker. I like that you can get pretty much any part you want except the smoker body. If you mess up or lose any part inside or out, including the handles, you can get a new one. If the dog chews your controller cord, you can get a new one. Or maybe if you can’t get the steak rub flavor off the grate, you can get a new one for a pretty low price. Here’s where you can get:

  • Replacement heating element
  • Replacement wood chip tray
  • Replacement drip pan
  • Replacement thermostat and cord
  • Replacement lower grate
  • Replacement upper grate
  • Replacement wire stand

The Ugly: More things you might want to know about the Old Smokey Electric Smoker.

Well, it’s not all ugly.  I was just channeling Clint Eastwood.  Here’s the dirt on the Old Smokey.  Anyway….

What’s the Old Smokey Electric Smoker made of?

The main body of the Old Smokey Electric Smoker is made of corrosion-resistant high quality aluminized steel. There are some heat resistant plastic parts on the handles and the analog temperature controller.

Where is the Old Smokey made?

It is manufactured right here in the good ole U S of A. The Old Smokey Products Company manufacturing facility is located on the north side of downtown Houston, Texas at 1620 Maury Street.

What wattage is the heating element?

1200 watts at 120 Volts AC.

Is it insulated?

No. It’s just a sheet metal can. It’s simple and effective, but you must keep little hands away from it, just like you would with a grill. Your pets are probably smart enough to stay away, but that’s your call.

How hot does it get on the outside?

Hot enough to burn you. Don’t touch. Use the handles.  See above.

Is it well sealed?

Is it ever! No need for a gasket on this one. The neatly machined lid fits so well that the manufacturer even discusses a funny story where a customer took the food out of the smoker and immediately set the lid back on the hot smoker. Well, if you remember your thermodynamics lesson (what? you didn’t study thermodynamics?), what happens when the volume of heated air inside a sealed vessel cools down? Yep. It shrinks! Crushed the steel can like a soda can! Pretty cool! They replaced it for the customer, but don’t let this happen to you. Let it cool before you stick the lid back on.

Oh, and sometimes people like to crack the lid a little while smoking so that they get more of the standard crispy bark on the outside of the meat. You’ll have to experiment to see what you like.

Does it hold a constant temperature well?

The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is NOT insulated in any way. It is very affected by wind and outdoor temperatures. It would be best to protect it from the wind. Some people like to wrap some insulation around it to improve performance on super cold days. There are many creative ways to do this. You are on your own there!

That said, the temperature controller is analog and should be pretty accurate. The upper range is about 250°F. It keeps constant temperature okay in temperate to hot weather, but it’s a heating appliance, so if it has to buck nature, it’s going to have to work harder.

Is it hard to clean?

That depends on how you feel about cleaning it and what parts you feel the need to clean. The grates and drip pan are easy. The inside takes a little more doin’.

How do you clean it?

The grates and drip pan come out easily and you can just pop them into the kitchen sink for a basic scrub in hot soapy water. I use an old toothbrush for stuff like this. A little soaking never hurts. You can also line your grease drip pan with aluminum foil for extra protection.

The inside of the smoker is a different story. It’s going to get “seasoned” so it’s going to look a bit yucky after you’ve smoked a few times. You shouldn’t worry about this. But due to the sealed design of this smoker, you have to put some absorbent material into the bottom of the smoker that’s kind of like plain kitty litter, to soak up the excess drippings and moisture that make their way to the bottom of the smoker. These will need to be mucked out every now and then. 

More on cleaning…

Some people “steam clean” their smoker by putting some water in the drip pan and running the smoker on high for a while.  Others wipe down the inside of the canister with soapy water, but this can be awkward due to the screws sticking out around the inside that are for holding up the racks.  But whatever you end up doing, make sure you let it get well dried out before you put the lid back on for storage.  This is a must.  You don’t want it to rust.  The warranty doesn’t cover rust.

Cleaning this is not rocket science. Don’t let it stress you out. Choose your own personal requirements for getting it clean and set your routine. You can do this!

Can you replace the heating element?

Yes, and everything else too. You probably won’t need to for a long time, but it’s there if you need it. See above.

Do you need to wet your chips? And should you add any water?

No, no, no, no, no. Don’t add water. We can’t emphasize this enough.  It’s going to be steamy in there already. Don’t wet your chips. Don’t put extra water in there. Just don’t. You won’t be happy. Mark my words.

How many chips will you need?

Just a handful. It’s a very efficient and well sealed unit, which you probably know by now if you’ve been following along. So you can just add a few chips and get on with it. You can spend all the money you save on wood chips by buying better cuts of meat. That’s what this smoker is all about.

You can help things along by turning your smoker on high for about 30 minutes to get things smoking in there and then you can turn it down lower for a slow cook.

Does the smoker produce a bark or smoke ring?

Things are so moist and well sealed in there with the lid on tight that you might not get that bark you want. You’ll get a smoke ring though. If you want the bark, you’ll need to dry it out a bit. Crack the lid. Experiment around.

Will it cook a large turkey?

Probably not a large one, no. Maybe 15 lbs. You’ll need to take out the top grate. This will give you 13.5 inches of vertical space and the diameter of the smoker, which is 15 inches. Measure your bird before you buy it and see if it will fit. You want some room around the edges to let the smoke circulate, so your bird can’t be the full 15 inches.

Here’s what it looks like to do a turkey in the Old Smokey Electric Smoker.

Can you cold smoke in the Old Smokey Electric Smoker?

Not really. The lowest temperature setting on the control unit is probably too high for most cold smoking applications. If you want to be able to cold smoke, you probably should choose another model, like the Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker with cold smoking attachment.

Can this smoker be used indoors?

No. Of course not. Why would you want to? It’s a smoker. Do you want your whole house to be smoke flavored? I didn’t think so. Besides, it’s dangerous. Just don’t do it. Do it outside in a well ventilated area. Then bring your smoker into the garage or shed when it’s cool.

What’s in the box?

Besides the smoker body itself, you get:

  • the upper grate
  • the bottom grate
  • the drip pan
  • the wood chip tray
  • 2 side handles
  • 1 handle for the lid
  • the lid
  • a lid hanging clip
  • the thermostat controller with cord
  • a supply of wood chips
  • absorbent granules for the grease
  • an owner’s manual

Does it come fully assembled?

No, but there’s really not much to do. It’s just the handles and the screws in the sides that hold up the racks. You can do it. I know you can.

Now if you want to get the optional temperature gauge, which I heartily recommend, this is a bit of extra work, but it’s still not rocket science. Just get it. You’ll be glad you did.

Does it have a long cord?

No. The cord is about 5 feet long. Try to find a place near an outlet to use this smoker. This applies to all electrical heating appliances. If you MUST extend, use a heavy duty extension cord that is the shortest you can find.

Do you have to season it before you can use it?

Yes. When you first get it, you need to break it in by burning off the machining oils from manufacture. You will need to heat it up on high for 10 minutes without the lid, then put the lid on and continue heating for 10 to 15 more minutes, then let the smoke out. You’ll need to do this two or three times over until all the oils have burned off. That’s it.

Then to season it, there’s a basic process. Take all the racks and grease tray out of the smoker. Put a few chips on the wood chip tray. Then put a cheap piece of meat or a couple strips of bacon on the top shelf, put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes. The smoke will coat the inside and your smoker will be seasoned and ready to use.

So is that all?

Well, that depends. Is there anything else you’d like to know about the Old Smokey Electric Smoker or do you just want to tell us something? We always love to hear from our readers. We hope we’ve provided you with a valuable resource in your search for the best electric smoker for you and your family. Please let us know how we are doing by leaving a comment below.

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