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One of the questions I’ve been asked the most is can you use an electric smoker in a garage? You may want to use an electric smoker in the garage for a variety of different reasons. Maybe there’s cold or rainy weather and it’s not worth it to smoke completely outdoors, but you still want to make that delicious BBQ.
To be completely honest with you, the answer isn’t super straightforward. Obviously, any smoker grills with a flame you should absolutely not use in a garage under any circumstances. With electric grills and electric smokers, it’s a little more of a gray area.
With that being said, I always tell people that you CAN use one of these cookers in a garage (and I know some who do) BUT you need to be very careful and take some safety precautions that you might not otherwise take if you were doing a simple outdoor cook.
Personally, I’d strongly advise against it and don’t think there is a circumstance in which I would use an electric smoker in my garage but it can be done.
In the rest of this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know for using an electric smoker in the garage.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide
I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention right of the bat that your electric smoker will emit carbon monoxide if you are using smoking chips.
Now, electric smokers will most definitely emit less carbon monoxide than cooking with a regular smoker – in some cases only trace amounts – but it’s enough that it could be dangerous if you aren’t careful and have long periods of exposure in a tight area.
That may sound over the top precautionary, but to me, poisoning is nothing to mess around with and not worth the risk. Even if the possibility of it happening is highly unlikely. You should 100% have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your garage and be sure that it’s working properly.
Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation
With that in mind, it’s crucial that you have good ventilation and airflow in your garage. This means your entire garage door should be open and the electric smoker should be as close as possible to the outdoors so that there is an easy flow of air, and the smoke emitted can all escape outside.
At a minimum, you should crack the garage door and have a fan or two going. An open window helps a lot as well.
Carbon monoxide isn’t the only reason that ventilation is important. Using an electric smoker in the garage can cause serious smoke damage if you aren’t careful. Strong ventilation is super important to prevent smoke damage and the smell after you’re done cooking.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the smokey smell that is a byproduct of grilling meats. But, if you don’t have good ventilation systems in place, the smell will be overwhelming and possibly ruin walls and other items in your garage if you aren’t careful.
Even if you have a good flow of air, expect the garage and your items in there to smell like smoke for a little while after you cook.
Check Your Equipment
This advice applies across the board, but when you’re cooking in an enclosed area you want to make sure there aren’t any hiccups. Check to be certain that the voltage on your extension cord is big enough to handle your electric smoker in the garage.
Alternative to Electric Smoker in Garage
Like I said, I advise against using an electric smoker in the garage just because I don’t see a scenario where that would be 100% necessary.
If you really want to get smoke on and it’s raining outdoors, I’d suggest getting a tarp or BBQ canopy to cover up the area where you want to cook. This is a much better alternative than the garage and you can re-use the equipment for camping or tailgating.
I’ve seen a ton of forums on grilling where posters mention using an electric smoker in the garage with no issue. It’s certainly true that you can do it, but just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean it’s safe or that something bad won’t happen in the future.
Once again I’d advise against it but if you do, make sure to take the precautions outlined above!