Of course one of your top concerns when deciding to get an outdoor electric grill will likely be your food’s flavor. You won’t be able to achieve a true charcoal favor because it’s a different cooking method, but over time your grill will smoke as it’s seasoned with each session. You probably won’t get a smokey flavor the first try or two.
For new grills, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for seasoning the grates. Now that I’ve used my grill for a few years, it’s sufficiently “seasoned” (aka messy on the inside) such that as it heats up it smokes, even after I give the grates a good scrub down. All the drippings into the lower pan heat up and provide smokey flavors as well. And depending on what I grill (anything that has more fat or is using a BBQ sauce), it continues to smoke.
When you first start, you may want to try soaked wood chips in thick aluminum foil that you put in the grill during preheating. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations and never leave it unattended while heating. Hint, wood chip boxes will probably take up too much space so being more creative with this is recommended. I haven’t used wood chips recently, but I also created my own cups by cutting up aluminum foil muffin tins and putting a sheet of foil on top with holes punched throughout to allow the smoke to escape.
Preheat the grill with the chips until it smokes. you may need to add more soaked chips depending on how long you’re grilling for.
Now that my grill is more than “seasoned”, I actually use smoke as an indicator if it’s sufficiently preheated.