I've considered buying a traditional smoker before, but the thought of camping out in my backyard to keep my food's temperature consistent for countless hours has ultimately deterred me. For me to finally invest a smoker, it'd have to be self-sufficient and hassle-free — being able to use it indoors all year round would be nice, too.
The $999 GE Smart Indoor Smoker promises all those perks, packed into a unit that can fit on your countertop. While the hefty appliance is certainly not comparable in size to average coffee makers or toaster ovens, it's the "world's first" indoor smoker featuring an active smoke filtration system that turns wood smoke into flavorful warm cooking air.
I checked out GE's Smart Indoor Smoker just ahead of CES 2024. The demonstration started with a walkthrough of the special settings and companion app. You can assign your temperature, level of smoke and cook time based on a recipe, or you can use a number of presets based on what you're placing inside (ie. brisket, wings, pork ribs.) If you're not ready to eat when the cooking is complete, there's a mode that keeps your meal warm at food-safe temperatures for up to 24 hours as well.
Once introduced to the appliance, I moved on to sampling food made in the GE Smart Indoor Smoker. Now, if you never tried smoked mac and cheese before, I assure you it's a game-changer. Instead of being baking in the oven, it sits in the indoor smoker untouched for two hours. The result is gooey noodles seemingly injected with a subtle wood smoke. With just one bite, it felt like I was noshing over a campfire in the middle of nowhere.
Like some regular outdoor smokers, the flavor-packed smoke comes from hardwood smoking pellets. But the Smart Indoor Smoker achieves that signature smoky essence using a fraction of the pellets you need for outdoor smoking. As they burn inside, the smoke is filtered for cooking while the pellets are safely extinguished in an internal water basin.
In terms of capacity, the smoker can fit three racks of ribs, a whole brisket or up to 40 chicken wings. It's surprisingly spacious, and even has a dedicated spot for hooking up an included internal cooking probe to monitor the food temperature. But the best part? When you're done, the removable racks and drip tray can be tossed in the dishwasher. As someone who has several appliances that requires you to hand-wash all the individual parts, I get excited about these kind of conveniences.
That said, for its big size and high $999 price, this indoor smoker is probably not right for everyone. It's definitely more of a "hobbyist" buy. But if the idea of deliciously smoked food made right in your kitchen appeals to you, and you have the counter space for it, the GE Smart Indoor Smoker seems epic. At least, I know I'd want it at my upcoming Super Bowl party.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.