We know you have BBQ-ed your whole life, but pellet smoking and American BBQ may be relatively new to you. So, we are here to be your go-to experts on all things smoking and grilling. We’re here to discuss pellet smoking and pellet grilling in depth.
Pellet smokers and pellet grills are the same. They are more commonly known as pellet grills in America and pellet smokers here in Australia. These terms may be used interchangeably throughout the BBQ world. Pellet smokers or grills are designed to take out the guesswork in smoking.
In this post, we will cover what pellet smoking is and how these grills are different from other types of smokers. Finally, we will discuss why a pellet smoker is right for you and some tips if you are pellet smoking for the first time.
Choosing a pellet smoker
If you are in a rush, we recommend the best selling Z Grills 700E-XL pellet smoker. The large cooking area will comfortably fit 2 large briskets or 8 racks of ribs. It also features a storage space for you to keep your pellets and barbeque accessories.
We recommend only buying a pellet smoker from a company with a good track record for customer service due to the many moving parts in a pellet smoker.
What Is Pellet Smoking and Grilling?
To many people, pellet smokers are their ticket to saying goodbye to having to babysit their smoker the entire weekend.
As mentioned, it is built with convenience and ease of use in mind so you do not have to sit by and monitor temperatures or fuel levels.
You may hear pellet smokers referred to as pellet grills. Pellet grill is a term popularly used in the United States. And they both refer to the same thing.
Pellet smokers use all-natural hardwood pellets that are made of compressed sawdust. These wood pellets are food grade and safe to use for smoking your meats.
This is the easiest type of smoking to do because all pellet smokers have an electronic controller that allows you to set the temperature and walk away.
The controller will feed just the right amount of pellets via a motorised auger into the firepot to bring the smoker up to the target temperature.
How Is A Pellet Smoker Different from Other Smokers?
A pellet smoker is different from other smokers in that it is so easy to use. The two biggest pain points with every other smoker are the start-up and clean-up. There is no need to mess around with firelighters and charcoal as the startup process on pellet smokers is literally just a flick of a switch.
The only caveat is that it does cost a bit more than a traditional smoker. However, when you invest in a mid-range pellet smoker, you can be assured that you are getting a high quality product. Besides, pellet smokers also double as a barbeque and a wood-fired oven. Aside from smoked meat, you can use it to grill steaks, burgers, pizzas and even paella.
How They Are Similar to Other Smokers and Barbeques
Pellet smokers combine a few features from other cooking processes. A pellet smoker has similarities to the following:
- A charcoal or gas grill – As mentioned, you can use a pellet smoker as a barbeque grill.
- A offset smoker – It has the look of an offset or horizontal smoker, but it has a control panel that allows you to set the temperature and walk away.
- An oven – A pellet smoker is equipped with a temperature read-out and control plate similar to a traditional oven.
6 Essential Parts of a Pellet Smoker
The following are the components needed to successfully pellet smoke your meats. There are six essential parts to a pellet smoker:
- The auger and motor – Moves the wood pellets from the hopper toward the igniter.
- The intake fan – Helps circulate the heat and smoke produced from burning the wood pellets.
- The grill – This is the area where you set out your meats. They will begin to cook slowly over several hours.
- The hopper – This is the camber to the side of the grill where the wood pellets are contained.
- The ignition rod – The igniter is used to set the wood pellets on fire, and this is located in the middle of the grill.
- The wood pellets – The fuel used to heat the grill and provide a smoky flavor.
We cannot stress how important it is to only buy from a reputable company due to the many moving parts involved in a pellet smoker.
Why Should You Buy A Pellet Smoker?
You should purchase a pellet smoker because of the many perks it has. A pellet smoker is a versatile piece of equipment that would benefit any outdoor space. It is also a wonderful way to expand your kitchen into the outdoors.
A pellet smoker offers versatility because it can be used for all of the following, not just smoking:
You can easily do this because you have complete control over the temperature settings with the automated control panel.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using a Pellet Smoker?
One of the downsides is that the ignition rod, fan, controller and auger all need a power source, your grill must be connected to a power outlet.
While a typical pellet smoker is usually rated up to 300W, once the pellets are ignited, most will units will only use under 100W for most of the time This works out to be about 2 incandescent light bulbs.
If you’re in Australia, this works out to be under $20 AUD per year in electricity costs assuming 17c per kWh and 2-3 cooks per week.
Higher Price Tag
Pellet smokers are usually a bit more expensive than other smokers due to the many features that it comes with.
However, let’s be real, a quality gas BBQ usually costs an average of $900 AUD here in Australia.
You will typically spend just over a $1000 AUD when getting a quality pellet smoker backed by a great company.
If you’re on a tight budget, we’ve got a few great options to choose from that falls under the $1000 AUD range.
Tips For New And First Time Pitmasters
Being a first-time pitmaster can be a daunting challenge. There are quite a few questions that run through any new pitmaster’s mind. We have gathered some tips you can draw on as you go from a new pitmaster to a pro!
The following are a list of tips a pitmaster should follow when pellet smoking for the first time:
- Choose a good piece of meat – Choice cut or prime cut options are the way to go for American pitmasters.
- Use a flavorful seasoning and good salt – The dry rub is just as important as the meat.
- Know what temperatures you need to hit – Each cut of meat needs to be cooked through to a certain temperature. Ask your local butcher for advice on what the internal temperature your meat needs to be at for it to be done.
- Do not over smoke your meats – This is not too much of an issue with pellet smokers but over smoking can leave a build-up of bitter-tasting creosote.
- Get to know the hot spots – On every grill, some areas are hotter than others. Get to know where the hottest areas of your pellet smoker are and learn to place your meats around it to ensure even cooking.
- You are going to make mistakes – Do not be afraid to mess up. Part of the fun is finding the recipe and style that works best for you. If you are concerned about making a mistake, don’t be; it is all part of being a great pitmaster!
Being a first timer can be an overwhelming experience, but with a pellet smoker, there is a lot less to think about when compared to a traditional smoker due to the smart controller.
In Summary: Get Your Pellet Smoker Today
A pellet smoker is versatile, easy to use and a worthwhile investment that pays for itself in no time.
It is also a great option for a busy household due to the set and forget nature of it. There is not too much prep work or clean-up that is involved. So don’t you think it is time to get yourself a pellet smoker and see what the fun is all about? Click here to start looking at what your options are.