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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
Mrdeville
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Talking Pellet Vs. Charcoal Smoker

Pellet vs Charcoal smoker. Which do you have? Which one do you feel is better and why? Thanks!
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:40 PM   #2
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None.. STICKBURNER
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:50 PM   #3
Michael Cowley
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I have owned charcoal, gas, pellet, and stick! I prefer pellet for a couple reasons.

1. ease of use set it and forget
2. No tending fires
3. No waiting for charcoal to heat up or logs to start fire
4. Runs on a PID algorithm so you don't have runaway fires and you don't have to worry about you falling asleep and fire goes out.
5. It doesn't make food taste like creosote. You get a kiss of smoke and it tastes great! You taste the smoke but the meat shines through.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cowley View Post
I have owned charcoal, gas, pellet, and stick! I prefer pellet for a couple reasons.
Out of curiosity, how much do you spend a year on pellets? That's really the only thing that potentially turns me off to a pellet smoker.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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I use a traeger pellet smoker and love it. I get more time to spend concentrating on the meat instead of worrying about maintaining a fire and temps.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpw View Post
Out of curiosity, how much do you spend a year on pellets? That's really the only thing that potentially turns me off to a pellet smoker.
You can buy pellets pretty cheap if you shop around. I've seen them for as little as $14 per 40lb. bag delivered if you buy 50 bags on a skid. Otherwise watch for sales.

As far as charcoal vs. pellet cookers go. I use both and enjoy both. I prefer the flavor of charcoal and I enjoy the convenience of the pellet cooker. Just depends on my mood for that day's cook... Cheers!!!
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpw View Post
Out of curiosity, how much do you spend a year on pellets? That's really the only thing that potentially turns me off to a pellet smoker.
My FEC-100 will run for an entire comp (16 hours of burn time) and use less than 8 lbs of pellets. That's about $3.50. That's a lot less than most charcoal smokers.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:10 PM   #8
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I have a pellet smoker and a stick burner. I used to have a WSM but I got rid of it.

In my opinion, the stick burner makes the best food but there is obvious effort involved in tending the fire.

When I am feeling lazy or just don't have time to tend a fire, the pellet grill does a real good job of smoking without creosote. I don't think the bark or the flavor of the smoke comes out as nice as the stickburner though but it is pretty close.

I got rid of the WSM because it had a tendency to leave a creosote flavor. I deep cleaned it every time I used it and used all natural lump to minimize smoke from binder material in most briquettes but there was always a slight hint of creosote in my food. It didn't bother most but it bothered me. I think it was due to the limited air flow in the WSM. Long cooks using a smoldering charcoal basket with limited air flow is going to create some level of bitter smoke.

I can't say I don't like charcoal because on a different cooker it may be great but my preference, for now at least, is to cook with sticks first, wood pellets second, and lastly charcoal.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #9
Michael Cowley
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Yea I agree with all statements here. It depends on what your looking for. All cookers have their uses. Some take more work than others. Pellets are cheap and if you get a good pellet unit you burn absolutely no pellets. I get 2tons of pellets for like 300 bucks delivered
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:25 PM   #10
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I've cooked on everything minus a big stick burner, and I am a total pellet convert. I got rid of my gas grill, my WSM, and my Bubba Keg in favor of my FEC-100 and FPG-500.

Pellet consumption varies a ton by model and type of cook so hard to make a generalization there, but I can unequivocally say I spend less time overall messing with fuel whether that be adding to the cooker, dumping ash, and even buying.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #11
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I have , Pellet , UDS and a stick burner , Pellet gets the most use , set it and forget it is a nice feature , especially on over night cooks
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Unread 06-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
My FEC-100 will run for an entire comp (16 hours of burn time) and use less than 8 lbs of pellets. That's about $3.50. That's a lot less than most charcoal smokers.
That's good to know. I have a backwoods at home so I stock up on kingsford when it goes on sale.

I like the idea of a pellet smoker for comps though, mainly because we use a Lang right now and feeding the fire all night isn't really my idea of fun.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 04:24 PM   #13
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Damn. I'm starting to get interested in the pellet cookers . . .
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Unread 06-26-2013, 05:01 PM   #14
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Lump charcoal for my Big Green Egg (What else?). Enjoy fire building and tending is almost unnecessary... almost... No creosote taste as long as you let fresh lump burn 30 min before putting the food in. If I wanted to concentrate 100° on food prep. (like at a comp. or commercial cooking), I might have a different attitude. One more thing... Most pellet smokers struggle to reach grilling temperatures ... of course, that's no problem if you have a dedicated grill. Gotta admit, though, there are times I'd like to just throw a switch...
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Unread 06-26-2013, 05:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cowley View Post
I have owned charcoal, gas, pellet, and stick! I prefer pellet for a couple reasons.

1. ease of use set it and forget
2. No tending fires
3. No waiting for charcoal to heat up or logs to start fire
4. Runs on a PID algorithm so you don't have runaway fires and you don't have to worry about you falling asleep and fire goes out.
5. It doesn't make food taste like creosote. You get a kiss of smoke and it tastes great! You taste the smoke but the meat shines through.
are you on pelletheads, s/n eric rowley?
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