Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker Review
Electric grills and smokers are a relative newcomer to outdoor cooking. With modern technology, you can achieve a similar cooking experience to a propane smoker or grill – in the same way that modern electric hobs have revolutionized the kitchen market.
I’ve tested several electric grills, and in this review, I’ll be pitting the Smoke Hollow 30 up against that competition to see if it’s a good buy.
The Smoke Hollow is a simple unit to use. It comes with 3 temperature settings, 2 cooking spaces plus a rather traditional black enamel finish on the case. This electric smoker might just be the product for those who want the electric convenience, without sacrificing looks.
Cooking space measures about 500 square inches, that’s good for an electric grill and should be enough for family use. It also weighs a modest 50 pounds and comes with a decent set of carry handles on each side – this is one smoker with a decent level of portability.
Part of the benefit of running an electric smoker, is the ease of setup. There’s some light assembly required out of the box, with the legs and handles requiring some fitting. Thankfully, Smoke Hollow are known for their quality so you’ll discover easy to align parts and an instruction book that’s easy to follow.
It took me 30 minutes to get the unit setup for first use which is about right for a grill at this level.
The only problem I had, was that the electrical lead is woefully small! If you were to buy this grill today, I would budget to get a decent extension cable to run into your garden.
As is common with electric grills, getting up to temperature is easy. Simply set it to your desired temperature and let it fly! There’s only a small number of temperature settings on this smoker, so it might be a little constricting for the smoke connoisseur; however, this could be just the ticket for people who don’t want to mess about too much!
To add wood chips to the Smoke Hollow, you need to open the front door to get access. Like all vertical smokers, this can cause a rapid lowering of the temperature within the cook space. On the plus side the electric element is quick to respond to that, yet it will take a few minutes to get back up and running again. My advice would be to have your wood chips ready to go and only have the door open for short periods at a time.
My other issue, was trying to get the required temperature to smoke with. It took some time to find the knob setting that corresponded with 200 – 250 degrees, it might be an idea to do a dummy run first with the Smoke Hollow so you’ll be better placed to work it in anger!
Other than that, the Smoke Hollow was easy to use and after an hour, I had figured out the optimum amount of wood chips and temperature to dial in. I discovered that leaving the wood chip tray about half full produced the most smoke. Obviously, this means opening the door more often to keep it topped up; however, having your chips ready to go with each opening helps keep your temperature constant.
I was brave on my first run with the Smoke Hollow, going the whole hog and smoking an 8-pound brisket! That’s part of the reason I was so eager to find the sweet spot for running the grill quickly! After a while, I could hold the smoker at about 225 degrees and produce a decent amount of smoke.
The brisket came out lovely and juicy at the end of my cook. It also had a lovely smoky flavor which was a surprise – I had heard stories of the Smokey Hollow not producing enough smoke.
I’ve a feeling that not filling the wood chip tray completely full is the key here, and I would urge anyone suffering from lack of smoke to give it a try.
Overall, I found my time with the Smoke Hollow enjoyable. Build quality is good and once you figure out the temperature control kinks, you’ll be able to run a consistent cook with ease.
There’s a positive and negative to electrical smoker portability. On the happier side, the Smoke Hollow weighs in at just 50 pounds and it easy to carry thanks to those carry handles assembled out of the box. However, at the end of the day, this smoker needs mains electricity to work and you’ll be restricted to the places you’ll be able to cook out in.
If you do decide to take your Smoke Hollow on the road, you’ll be pleased to hear that I fitted this smoker in my Ford Focus easily. You can also dismantle the handles and feet it you really want to pack it into a tight space.
The Smoke Hollow has made me think twice about the merits of the electric system. It’s easy to achieve temperature, lightweight and crosses that gap between gas grills – which are often quite a bit heavier and require a gas bottle too.
There are negatives to electrical grill life, namely the fact you need mains power and the energy consumption. I would had loved to run a test to see just how many Watts this grill uses.
Energy use and mains power aside, the Smoke Hollow certainly came up with the goods as far as taste is concerned. My brisket came out delicious and the wood chip tray did exactly what it should. Filling the tray about half full certainly produced more smoke and it’s a “hack” I’m going to carry onto my other electric smoker reviews – it seems the way to go!
Basically, if you’ve your heart set on electric, understand the issues and have a $200 budget, you won’t go wrong with the Smoke Hollow, it’s a nice piece of kit!