cost to smoke ribs in my electric smoker

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by plj, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    I have a "kill-a-watt" meter, very handy for determining how much electricity something uses. So last week I decided to see how much it costs me to run my electric smoker. Here's a picture showing hours & kwh used:

    3 racks of ribs, mac&cheese, frozen corn w/ evoo S&P. No water pan this time.

    Total smoke time (including warm-up) = 7 hours & 3 minutes
    Total electricity used = 6.72 kwh
    my cost of electricity = 12 cents per kwh

    Total Fuel cost to cook ribs = 80 cents
    value of home smoked ribs = priceless
  2. dave from mesa

    dave from mesa Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Great idea. I've heard talk about how much it costs to run an elect smoker but no hard facts. [​IMG]
  3. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Is that one 1250 watts? I guess my 800W MES uses even less!

    Thanks, I was wondering about this. [​IMG]
  4. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Its great to have such a meter, however you can do the math yourself

    [font=Arial, Verdana, sans-serif]Doing the Calculation
    Once you have the watts for your electric smoker (see rating plate) and your power company's charge per kilowatt hour (Kwh) (it is on your electric bill), just run the numbers:
    [font=Arial, Verdana, sans-serif]To find the cost to run your smoker:[/font]
    [font=Arial, Verdana, sans-serif] 1. Total up the watts per day for the item to get total watts/day.[/font]
    [font=Arial, Verdana, sans-serif] 2. Divide total watts/day by 1000 to get the total kilowatt hours (Kwh) per day.[/font]
    [font=Arial, Verdana, sans-serif] 3. Multiply the Kwh/day times the cost per Kwh* to get cost/day.[/font]

    Example... my smoker 800 watts...

    Smoke for 7 hours x 800 w = 5600 watts
    5600/1000 = 5.6 Kwh
    5.6 x cost or .12 cents per Kwh = .672 cents for 7 hour smoke..

    hmmm lets see, compared to LP or Charcoal, I am saving enough each smoke to buy a pork butt each smoke.
  5. Very handy bit of information there, I appreciate you posting that! Until this post, I had not given it much thought except at the very beginning when I started doing it. My calculation (or justification) of getting and continuing to run the smoker was that the local rib joint that served what I liked charged $20 for a rack of ribs... I can buy 3 racks at Sam's for about $30 (give or take). Cost of rub and smoking was still less than $20 so I was ahead.

    So... now I have some info to pass along to the wife when she says "you're using too much electricity now, what about when the fridge project gets going"

    Knowledge is power![​IMG]
  6. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    These calcs are good ones, but the actual cost will be lower than this because of the off times after it reaches temperature. The Kill A Watt gives actual times. Without it, plj's at 1200 watts would be 8.4 Kwh x .12 cents = 1.01 for the 7 hour smoke estimating at "always on". I aways knew the costs were pretty low, but for me the interesting part is that now we know that the smoker was "on" about 80% of the time so that makes your guesstimate formula even more accurate. Taking your numbers, .672 * 80%= about 54 cents so even better!
    I have the same 800 watt version, and I'm at 11.9 cents so my #'s fall pretty much in line with yours. Good to know.

    Of course, since plj has an extra 400 watts, the warm up and recovery times will be faster so it'll turn off more than ours will, so 80% probably doesn't apply to us with the same conditions for all of us.

    Plj- what was the outside temp and how windy was it during this smoke so we'll have a reference point?

    Of course, 13 cents over a 7 hour period is pretty much in the splitting hairs category. [​IMG]
  7. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I guessed a couple of dollars a while back butt I'm really surprised to see it this low. What a deal compared to the other fuels, especially compared to lump!

  8. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    Yes, you are correct (except for the on/off cycles as SmokeGuy pointed out).
    In fact I've measured just about every electrical thing I own, and also estimated the usage & cost. Estimates were surprisingly accurate. Spreadsheets are wonderful!
  9. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    Sorry, I should know enough by now to have mentioned that.
    partly cloudy, light breeze all day, 40s in the morning when I started, 60s at chow time :)
  10. mama's smoke

    mama's smoke Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    This is great info. The hubs now has another reason to love my MES, besides the "fruits" of my addiction.
  11. hmm thats about 1/10 of the cost of the charcoal I use in making ribs..

  12. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    well here is my meter that does work and i use it just to see the wheel move.[​IMG]
    that means it is still cooking[​IMG]
    never calced the cost but just fun to watch[​IMG]
  13. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    Wow that is a heck of alot cheaper than It cost me about 3/4 of a 18lb bag on a good day. Guessing that is about 4.50 to 6.00 but in the end still priceless!!

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