I am not clear how an electric smoker works but I am guessing there are two basic problems - one of design and the other of material specification.
I have dismantled many electric heaters of various sorts, lots made redundant because they were old-fashioned and expensive to run. Some of them were in excellent condition even though they were perhaps up to half a century old.
The remarkable thing about the design of these was how substantially over engineered they were. This was partly due to the fact when they were built a significant number of homes and offices were using direct current mains electricity, consequently the switches needed powerful springs to ensure a rapid connection and disconnection and the large contact area had a wiping action with a classic knife-switch design. Poor contacts from arcing generating additional heat was designed out. The switches were almost exclusively ceramic bodied.
The internal wiring was another point of interest. Where wire was used at all it was so heavy as to be practically rigid, probably an alloy of some description (possibly with nickel).
These were preformed into a shape where thermal expansion would be no problem and insulated with a woven asbestos sleeving; today's equivalent would be a woven ceramic. These "wires" would be terminated with an overly large and substantial screw and flat washer.
A significant number of heaters had no internal wiring and instead used flat metal strips, again insulated with heatproof sleeving.
Later heaters did use multistrand wiring but it wasn't copper - again it was probably an alloy and again covered with a woven insulation and even the terminals were rated for high temperature use.
Wire suitable for greater temperatures than 200 C and quite difficult to find but probably the best modification for your smoker would be a little over engineering and specifying wire capable of withstanding 450 C.
Check out the link to some wire wisdom...