Best Indoor Smoker of 2021 – Top 4 Picks

When you’re looking for the best indoor smoker, you expect it to deliver real smokey flavour, have enough space to smoke the traditional meats, and be safe to use from the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether you’re looking for the best stove-top smoker, indoor electric smoker, or the best indoor smoker for its price, we’ve broken it down to basics making it simple for you to find your new smoker.

Quick Comparison: Best Indoor Smokers

Overall Best Indoor Smoker

Nordic Ware Kettle Smoker

Features

Cooking space: 6.9 x 13 x 13.5 Inches
Smoke Quality: Medium
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors

Best Indoor Kettle Smoker

KitchenQue Indoor Stovetop Smoker

Features

Cooking space: 13.5 x 12.5 x 9.5 Inches
Smoke Quality: Great
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors

Most Affordable Indoor Smoker

Camerons Stovetop Smoker

Features

Cooking space: 11 x 15 x 3.5 Inches
Smoke Quality: Medium
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors With Kitchen Exhaust Fan

Overall Best Indoor Smoker

Nordic Ware 36550 Indoor/Outdoor Kettle Smoker

Features

Cooking space: 6.9 x 13 x 13.5 Inches
Smoke Quality: Medium
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors

  • Easy & simple smoking
  • Very safe to use indoors
  • Works on gas, electric, and induction cook tops
  • Must be used on an indoor or outdoor stove
  • Not the biggest cooking space for meats like brisket or pork shoulder

What Matters The Most:

  • Does not require large amounts of wood chips to smoke, just two tablespoons for reliable results. It is recommended to use shredded wood chips, but verified buyers and reported that regular wood chips work fine.
  • This hardly leaks any smoke making it very safe to use indoors, and won’t leave your home all smokey! If you have a kitchen exhaust you can choose to still use it to be extra cautious.
  • it’s a simple indoor smoker that delivers that smokey taste we love to our foods, what more could we ask for!
  • Thermometer built into the top makes it easy to keep the temperature right.
  • High-quality build, great heat insulation for keeping the temperature constant.
  • Built for low & slow, recommended temperatures between 190-210°F.
  • Interchangeable water pan means you can wet smoke or dry smoke your meats.

Concerns:

  • Because of the lesser amount of smoke produced, this usually won’t produce the same results as an outside model, but still imparts a real smokey flavour.
  • The top and handle aren’t insulated and get quite hot requiring use of cooking mitts for safety.

Overall

If you’re looking for a reliable and safe indoor smoker at an affordable price this is the one. It’s very easy to use, with only a few parts to it which also come out for easy cleaning. Although it doesn’t have the largest capacity, it does deliver real smoke flavour to what is inside. It’s highly durable, versatile, and reliable. Certainly a contender as an indoor smoker.

Best Indoor Kettle Smoker

Charcoal Companion CC4132 KitchenQue Indoor Stovetop Smoker

Features

Cooking space: 13.5 x 12.5 x 9.5 Inches
Smoke Quality: Great
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors

  • Produces real smokey results
  • Safe to use indoors, minimal smoke leakage
  • Large capacity
  • Top quality build and material
  • Must be used on an indoor or outdoor stove
  • More expensive

What Matters The Most:

  • Built & specifically designed for indoor use. Leaks almost no smoke, but still produces enough to circulate, infuse, and deliver us real barbecue results.
  • One of the largest indoor kettle smokers.
  • Works well on electric, charcoal, gas, or even induction cooktops with a diffuser.
  • High quality steel construction & stainless steel grill.
  • Heat safe silicone handles and lid
  • Comes with Hickory Instasmoke, which is shredded wood chips, for maximum smokiness. You are able to use wood chips, but shredded wood chips or wood pellets help with a more consistent smoke.
  • You’re easily able to add more woodchips throughout the smoke, allowing you to control how smoky you want it.
  • Reaches up to 204°F hitting a low & sweet spot.

Concerns:

  • The KitchenQue is a premium product with a premium price-tag. There are other rival models that are a bit cheaper
  • Have to use shredded wood chips for optimal results.

Overall

You pay for what you get with the Charcoal Companion KitchenQue Indoor Stovetop Smoker. A premium product, specifically designed to maximize smokiness, but safely indoors. The KitchenQue has great smoking capabilities, circulating the smoke around the meat in its deep dome body to deliver real barbecue results. Its large capacity, high-quality build, and innovation in kettle smoker performance make it a clear stand out.

Most Affordable Indoor Smoker

Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker

Features

Cooking space: 11 x 15 x 3.5 Inches
Smoke Quality: Medium
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors With Kitchen Exhaust Fan

  • Durable stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Very affordable
  • Cannot fit large, fat items like whole chicken, pork shoulder, brisket etc.
  • Not the greatest smokiness

What Matters The Most:

  • Simple, affordable indoor smoker unit.
  • Given its simplistic and durable design, this stove top smoker is great for a beginner, or someone who wants real smokey flavour without the price tag.
  • All components fit nicely within the smoker and the handles fold away making it great for easy storage.
  • Comes with the smoker, stick-free rack, drip pan, the lid, and even a wood chip sample with a recipe guide.

Concerns:

  • Limited in space, can’t smoke larger meats such as brisket, pork shoulders, or full chickens.
  • This unit can’t stand up to the results of full production smokers. This unit still produces real smoked flavor, just not as strong.

Overall

This little smoker isn’t made to replace the outdoor heavy production smokers. It’s designed to smoke meat easily indoors, in your kitchen. It’s a very affordable option that delivers a simple smoke to meat, vegetables, and fish. It’s made from stainless steel that’s dishwasher safe, and also durable.

Definitely a great choice for a casual smoker, that wants something simple but still gives that smokey flavour we all love.

Best Large Indoor Smoker-Oven

Oster Roaster Oven

Features

Cooking space:  Large, 18-Quart
Smoke Quality: Low
Safety Recommendations: Safe Indoors, Doesn’t Produce Smoke.

  • Large space of 18qt will fit almost anything you want to roast comfortably
  • Can be used for roasting, slow cooking, and baking
  • Easy and simple adjustable temperature
  • Amazing quality and performance
  • Oster no longer supplies the model with a smoker built-in (Oster Smoker Roaster Oven). This is a newer model, without the smoking function
  • No smoking capabilities

What Matters The Most:

  • The Oster Smoker Roaster Oven was a great success as an electric indoor smoker, providing a strong and real smokey barbecue flavor. However, they no longer supply this model. 
  • This is the newer model, the Oster Roaster Oven. Although the smoking function has been removed, it doesn’t everything else you would traditionally love in low & slow barbecue. Therefore I’ve still given it a shout-out as a top performer here.
  • Large space of 18qt will fit almost anything you want to roast comfortably.
  • Great temperature control, excels at lower temperatures (low & slow).
  • Simple and reliable roasting.

Concerns:

  • If you are a smoke lover and want to experience real barbecue smokiness, this model just won’t do, simply because they removed the smoking function.
  • Only comes with a single tray, so when cooking ribs you can’t have them on separate trays for more even smoking.

Overall

  • When you’re looking for low & slow perfection, the Oster Roaster Oven really is the go-to. However, since it’s hard to source the smoker model, it’s not ideal for those who love the distinct smoky taste.

Indoor Smoker: A Buyers Guide & What To Look For

Space

When choosing a smoker it’s important to consider what food you actually want to smoke. Then you make sure the smoker has the capacity to fit it. The space inside an indoor smoker, or crockpot, is usually measured in quarts (qt).

For reference, A full chicken, pork shoulder, and brisket will comfortably fit into a 6qt pot. A rack of ribs will fit as long as the smoker is long enough (at least 12 inches long, you can always break the ribs into two racks if required). If you are wanting to cook a 16-20lb turkey, make sure you look for a larger capacity of around 14-18 qts.

Consider what you actually want to smoke, and be sure that there is enough internal space to fit the item comfortably to give it a good smoke.

Quality Build

When looking for an indoor smoker, you want something that will last and deliver a quality smoke every time you use it. The material it’s made from, and the way you will use it also will determine how easy it is to keep clean.

Flavor

Smoke adds a unique flavour to the meat whilst cooking. When considering an indoor smoker you want it to deliver the essence of this flavor, but from the comfort of your own kitchen. Indoor smokers tend to produce less smoke, which does mean you won’t get the same smokey flavor on your foods as a larger, outdoor model. However, if you want to have a smoky flavor imparted on your foods, electric indoor smokers and stove-top smokers will certainly deliver real results.

Safety

Safety is the main priority when using a smoker. If you have the space, it is always recommended to use a smoker outside. These smokers tend to produce a lot less smoke given their indoor smokers, but it’s still important to use them safely. If you are using them inside just be sure you have a well ventilated area, and ideally a exhaust fan above the smoker (such as above a usual stove-top).

How Do Indoor Smokers Work?

Although it differs from model to model, there are two methods that indoor smokers can rely on to deliver, well, the smoke.

Wet Smoking

Wet smoking refers to the presence of a water pan which serves a few key purposes. Primarily it’s there to provide more water vapor, or steam, which mixes with the smoke, keeping the meat moist and enhancing the smoky flavor. It also helps keep a consistent temperature and absorbs some smoke.

Simply light the wood chips which lie in the bottom compartment of the indoor smoker, known as the wood chip tray. Place on the water pan and fill it with lukewarm water. Lastly,  place the grill grate on and wait for the smoker to get up to temperature before placing your meat on.

The smoke will begin circulating, and the heat will cause some of the water to vaporize providing a small amount of steam. Throughout the cook, the meat will remain moist but develop a nice bark, and real smokiness. 

Dry Smoking

A water pan isn’t always needed and depending on what your smoking you may wish to go with a drier option, in combination with spritzing the meat for a more formidable bark. Dry smoking simply means without the presence of a water pan. Dry smoking indoor smokers simply rely on the smoke produced from the wood chips or pellets.

Although dry smoking won’t usually actually dry out the meat, it’s worth keeping an eye on, and investing in a quality bbq spray bottle so you can control the moisture on the meat manually, in case it needs a bit of love.

What Types Of Wood Are Recommended For An Indoor Smoker?

Indoor smokers aren’t suppose to rival the smokiness of a charcoal smoker using wood chunks and coals. But, you do expect there to be real smoke flavor. In order to get the most out of your indoor smoker, I would recommend using strong smokiness woods, such as hickory, mesquite, or oak.

These woods naturally produce more of an oomph of smokiness. If you are looking for a more mellow smoke you can always go with a fruit wood, such as cherry, apple, or peach.

For full details check out the full guide to smoking wood.

Final Words

When you’re looking for an indoor smoker, you expect it to deliver real smokey flavor, have enough space to smoke the traditional meats, and be safe to use from the comfort of your own kitchen. The Nordic Ware 36550 Indoor/Outdoor Kettle Smoker does just this to a ‘t’, even at a very affordable price. It’s always recommended to use an exhaust fan but is safe to use indoors if you do.

If you’re a beginner or just looking for an inside alternative to your normal smoker, Camerons Stovetop Smoker will deliver smokey goodness to your food, at a very affordable price. If you’re only needing a small unit to smoke smaller amounts of food, Camerons even off a Gourmet Mini Version, which has just as many outstanding reviews.

Don’t forget, when smoking inside safety is a priority. These units are safe to operate inside, but depending on the smoker they may produce some excess smoke. They are best to use under a kitchen exhaust system to get rid of the smoke.

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