My hubby keeps mentioning getting a smoker. He wants a smoker, and he is the head cook in the house (I’m the sous chef!), so we’re starting to look at what’s available. If this one is on your radar, here is a bit about pellet smokers, including a brief history and smoking suggestions.
What are pellet smokers?
Pellet smokers use ignited wood pellets and fans to heat the food to a specific temperature, similar to a convection oven. Pellet smokers are used to grill, bake, smoke, and braise food. Almost everything that cooks in an oven can be prepared in a pellet smoker.
There is, however, a learning curve to figuring out how to make the best food in smokers. Keep reading for tips for getting all the flavor all the time.
Pellet smoker history
People who want to buy a pellet smoker may be interested in the history of these grills. In the early 1980s, Joe Traeger’s company adapted its home heating furnaces utilizing pellets to create a food cooking grill. Since then, other grill companies have joined in the production of pellet smokers.
Wood pellet smokers require electricity. Wood pellets are compressed wood shavings and sawdust. An auger puts them into a burn pot at a rate determined by the grill’s thermostat. The grill blows oxygen over the burn pot, maintaining a steady burn.
The key ingredient: Smoke
Because a pellet grill is very efficient, it will turn off when it reaches the set temperature. This is different from a charcoal grill, where the smoke continues. Wood pellets also burn more efficiently, producing less waste while imparting that all-important smoky flavor.
One great benefit of working with pellets is using different types of wood to change the food’s flavor. Using oak pellets can add a stronger smoky flavor to food, while apple pellets have a mild smoky flavor. Half the fun of cooking with a wood pellet smoker is experimenting and finding the perfect blend of pellets for your taste.
Consider cooking at a lower temperature to produce more smoke. Cooking at 225 degrees will create much more smoke than cooking at 450 degrees. Try cooking food for a longer time at a lower temperature and then turning the temperature up at the end to crisp the outside.
Some grills have a “smoke” setting. This option allows you to increase the smoke flavor when cooking on the apparatus. The smoker produces more smoke and holds it until the grill reaches the set temperature.
Pellet smokers tubes
A smoke tube is a stainless steel pipe that you attach to a grill for smoking. Operating the grill involves filling the pipe with wood pellets, essentially serving the same purpose as putting a smoking wood chunk on a charcoal grill. It will produce smoke and smolder.
Smoker boxes are small, metal boxes filled with wood pellets and placed on grill grates. These boxes also smolder and smoke.
Grill meat uncovered
Many think wrapping meat in aluminum foil keeps the moisture in, thus resulting in juicer, tastier meat. Apparently not!
When a chef wraps the meat, the foil blocks the smoke and prevents the delicious smoky flavor that the pellet grills otherwise provide. So that’s good to know – and avoid.
Check for leaks
Some pellets grills leak a lot of smoke. That creates a smoky atmosphere, but it also wastes a lot of wood pellets.
If this happens, a high-temperature sealant can provide the solution. This product will keep the smoke inside the grill rather than in the air around the grill.
A few last words on pellet smokers
Pellet grills are great for people who like to set a temperature and forget the cooking for a while. The apparatus can cook food beautifully. Chefs who want to improve their grilling can use the info above to take their skills to the next level.
Are you interested in getting a pellet smoke grill? Why or why not?