GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker review: Low and slow cooking on the kitchen counter

Crave wood-smoked meat year-round but live in a colder climate (or an apartment)? GE's new indoor smoker will have your taste buds, but not smoke alarms, going off.
GE Profile Smoker Open Door
Brandt Ranj / Popular Science

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Typical smokers live outside. They’re huge, extremely hot, and often emit tons of fumes that would, at best, smell up your house and, at worst, kill you with their emissions. The GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker with Active Smoke Filtration allows cooks to impart genuine smoke flavor into meats, vegetables, desserts, drink accouterments, etc., right there in the kitchen. This isn’t simply adding a box of pellets to an oven; it’s a truly self-contained flavor-imparting smoker. This review-in-progress charts my initial experience and testing and will be expanded as I continue cooking.

GE Profile Indoor Pellet Smoker

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Overview

There are three main barriers to entry for anyone who wants to get into making smoked food: space, a steep learning curve, and money. GE addressed the first two with its $999 Profile Smart Indoor Smoker with Active Smoke Filtration. However, while this tabletop smoker isn’t necessarily more expensive than its full-sized outdoor competition, it does require a sizeable upfront investment, especially if you’re just starting your journey into smoking food. And quickly, I found it worth it. I’d never smoked meat before getting to test the Profile Smart Indoor Smoker and was surprised at how simple it ended up being, thanks to some shrewd moves on GE’s part.

Pros

  • Surprisingly little smell
  • Deep smokey flavor
  • Easy cleanup

Cons

  • Cost

The Verdict: GE’s Profile Smart Indoor Smoker with Active Smoke Filtration makes an intimidating cooking technique possible to master without setting a foot outside.

The GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker’s setup

Setting up the smoker took all of 15 minutes and no tools. Its three racks and side rails were neatly tucked away inside its main chamber, and additional accessories—like its magnetic meat probe, water chamber, and counter guard —were packaged separately. GE’s instruction manual was well-written, and the step-by-step instructions were easy to follow. I was especially pleased that this smoker’s meat probe can be placed anywhere on the side of the smoker rather than being relegated to a fixed spot—and its readings can be monitored in the GE Profile Connect+ app on your phone (which can also be used for adjustments after you set the appliance up on your WiFi network). Once the smoker was fully assembled, I peeled a protective sticker plastered on top of its control panel and plugged it in.

While the smoker relies on wood pellets to impart smokey flavor, their heating element requires electricity. I worried that its energy draw might have been too great for an outlet inside a pre-war New York City apartment, but thankfully, it wasn’t. I noticed no ill effects during a three-hour-long cook. Be mindful that you’ll need a grounded outlet to use this appliance. Upon plugging the smoker in and flipping its power switch, I was greeted by a refreshingly easy-to-use interface. A dial allowed us to choose between different cooking presets for commonly smoked foods like brisket, pork, and chicken wings, which significantly lowered the learning curve for getting the right cook.

First cook with the GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker

Getting three settings right is paramount if you want to get a great cook, but sometimes you don’t have years to become a great cook. GE simplified the situation by including a cookbook written by pitmaster and restaurateur Dallas McGarity. The cookbook includes a handful of recipes, but critically, it has a cheat sheet that illustrates the proper temperature, cooking time, and smoke level for every common cut of meat. I followed Chef McGarity’s directions, and they didn’t steer me wrong, as shown in the photo below.

A perfect cook for a first-time meat smoker.

Preparing the smoker for a cook was a two-step process—aside from following the meat as instructed—that included loading two cups of wood pellets into its hopper and filling the water tank up to the prescribed line. From there, pressing the smoker’s dial in allowed me to choose the time, temperature, and smoke level. Once the smoker reached the correct temperature, I set wings on its racks and played the waiting game. Thanks to its tight gaskets and seals, there was barely a mild scent of smoke throughout the entire three-hour cook, which comes down to GE’s engineering. While wood pellets burn, the smoke circulates inside the smoker’s chamber. Spent pellets are dropped into the water tank to prevent them from creating more smoke. Hot air blows out through vents, but the smell was milder than what you’d expect from a roasting chicken inside an oven. My smoke level was set to three, so it’s possible a 10-hour cook at the highest smoke level (five) would have been more pungent. Sounds like a challenge for later.

GE says you can fit up to 40 wings on this smoker’s three racks, and that’s entirely possible if you buy them pre-cut into drumettes and flats. I cooked full chicken wings with no prep—wingtip and all—and fit a little over 20 snugly tucked together. GE also says the smoker can fit a whole brisket cut in half, a 14-pound pork butt, a full chicken, or three racks of ribs cut in half, depending on how many racks you use and their placement. If you’re worried this indoor smoker won’t be able to satisfy a crowd of four to six people, don’t be.

Indoor smoking experience

The most remarkable part about testing the Profile Smart Indoor Smoker with Active Smoke Filtration is how hands-off the process was. This is par for the course in the food smoking world, where the edict is to cook low and slow for up to a full day, but I was surprised at just how unfussy this smoker was. Once the timer ran out, the smoker automatically entered an “auto warm” state, which GE says can keep food safe for up to 24 hours. I couldn’t wait long enough to test that and dug in. These were hands-down the best chicken wings I’ve made at home, even when compared to frying, air frying, and baking. The smokey flavor permeated the entire wing, which had reached a fall-off-the-bone consistency. Each wing was cooked completely through, and the taste was identical regardless of which rack or side of the smoker it was in. This was easier to accomplish because I was cooking food that was a uniform size. Cooking brisket or a whole chicken would necessitate using the meat probe to ensure each area was cooked properly.

Cleanup

Once the cook was over, it was time to clean the smoker, which was an easier process than you’d imagine. The smoker’s racks, drip tray, and water tank are dishwasher safe. I wiped down the inside of the smoker, kept the door open for a few minutes to let any lingering mildly smoky smells dissipate (not necessary, but a personal preference), and reinstalled all of the newly cleaned pieces. While I couldn’t myself using this smoker every day—how much smoked food can one eat?—it’s entirely possible to get this smoker ready for sanitary, near-continuous use.

So, who should buy the GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker?

It’s ultimately difficult to find any real fault with the GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker with Active Smoke Filtration, and I can easily recommend it to aspiring or well-seasoned pitmasters alike. This mini-fridge-sized appliance allows you to get the results you’d expect from a real barbeque restaurant in your house, though you’ll have to wait several hours rather than a few minutes for the meal to be served. Those patient enough to wait will be rewarded, though, and I look forward to continuing to put this countertop convenience through its paces with different wood-smoked cooks. If anything, this appliance allows food smokers to enjoy their hobby year-round or enables those living in cities to have a taste of a cookout.

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Brandt Ranj

Staff Writer, Commerce

Brandt Ranj is a commerce reporter at Popular Science. He writes about the latest and greatest gadgets, from headphones and TVs to chargers and cables. He splits his time between New York City, Long Island, and Croatia, carting test gear around the U.S. and the globe.