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Cris
12-08-2017, 03:33 PM
I picked up a local magazine that focuses on the bar and restaurant scene of the city I picked it up in. The cover story grabbed my eye, a guy in front of a smoker with the tagline King of the BBQ. Cool. So I read the article, his advice is to use wood as a fuel source for the grill. So far, so good.
"Propane and gas are a dry heat, and they dry out your food." he said." Wood has water in it. It won't dry out your food it will add moisture to your food along with your sauces."
Guy in the article is wearing a Traeger hat and a Traeger apron. Turns out he is a brand ambassador for Traeger.

Which brings me to my question on pellet smokers. My understanding is the pellets are the source of smoke, are they also the source of heat? How much moisture is there in a pellet? Is it enough to add moisture to food?

rjdanko
12-08-2017, 03:37 PM
I wondered the same thing. never an issue with drying out with stick burner, however my recent attempt with a pellet grill seemed to yield a dryer product? Even considered using a water pan.

JokerBroker
12-08-2017, 03:41 PM
There is very little moisture in properly stored pellets. I believe it is 7%-8%. Comparatively, the splits for my stick burner will have about twice that much moisture.

W.I.T.W.A.G?
12-08-2017, 04:13 PM
so Traeger paid for the cover ad..thats cool:-P

jasonjax
12-08-2017, 04:16 PM
Yes pellets are a heat source.

I've had no issues with drying food out with any of my pellet cookers. There's plenty of water in basically anything we cook. Cook properly and you won't have dry food regardless of it being cooked via propane, natural gas, a heating element, wood, charcoal, pellets, steam, water, oil, etc....

JokerBroker
12-08-2017, 04:21 PM
Along the lines of what Jason said, meat is about 75% water.

EdLo
12-08-2017, 04:38 PM
Yes pellets are a heat source.

I've had no issues with drying food out with any of my pellet cookers. There's plenty of water in basically anything we cook. Cook properly and you won't have dry food regardless of it being cooked via propane, natural gas, a heating element, wood, charcoal, pellets, steam, water, oil, etc....

+1 with Jason, I believe it is the cooks' knowledge of how to cook with each individual fuel source. I have had a pellet smoker for a few years and yes my first few cooks overcooked and dry brisket every time. But this was the same on a stick smoker and a propane cabinet. Now that I have mastered my abilities on the pellet smoker perfect 90 % of the time.

Cris
12-08-2017, 04:49 PM
Learned a lot here today, guys. Thank you. Last question(for now)? Do you consider a pellet smoker to be cooking with wood?

JokerBroker
12-08-2017, 04:57 PM
Do you consider a pellet smoker to be cooking with wood?

I “wood”.

airedale
12-08-2017, 05:07 PM
There is no rule that says what the moisture content of wood or pellets is or should be. Moisture content depends on the moisture of the ambient air, averaged over a period of time. Moist ambient = moist wood and vice-versa. You can read about this on boards related to furniture making. Wood also expands and contracts asymmetrically as moisture content changes; this is a critical consideration in furniture design, where moist summer air and dry winter air must be accomodated.

My BIL rebuilds high-end pianos like Steinways where the wood fits must be carefully controlled, so he has a heated cabinet where the puts critical items until they attain the moisture content he needs, checking progress with a wood moisture meter.

Combustion of hydrocarbons creates water as a byproduct. I have no idea how the water concentration of the smoker air differs between hydrocarbon fuel and wood fuel, however.

Personally, I think the "ambassador" is spouting marketing puffery. Anyway, if our wood or our hydrocarbon fuels make for a chamber that is drier than we want, we can just add a water pan.

JokerBroker
12-08-2017, 05:17 PM
There’s no rule but there are guidelines for what a pellet’s moisture content should be and the goal I’ve been told is less than 10%. As the saying goes, “if it doesn’t snap, it’s crap”. That’s why pellets should be stored in such a way to keep excess moisture out.

Rockinar
12-08-2017, 06:05 PM
so Traeger paid for the cover ad..thats cool:-P


THIS.

All you were reading was a paid advertisement for Traeger. That guy on the cover probably uses a gas grill at home.

Burnt at Both Endz
12-08-2017, 07:02 PM
Which brings me to my question on pellet smokers. My understanding is the pellets are the source of smoke, are they also the source of heat? How much moisture is there in a pellet? Is it enough to add moisture to food?

Defiantly not enough moisture to add moisture to meat, with that said, the pot fan will create air flow. There is enough that most folks would say that it cause convection cooking. That will cause the product to cook quicker, some folks say that the quicker you cook food the less water loss of food. I agree to a certain point on that thought.

Properly cooked food will always be moist, no matter what method you use, that part I'm certain about.

Dweverett
12-08-2017, 08:26 PM
Learned a lot here today, guys. Thank you. Last question(for now)? Do you consider a pellet smoker to be cooking with wood?

Yes, you're cooking with wood -- just broken up into very small pieces. There isn't a heat source beyond the burning pellets. In many ways they are the epitome of the "small hot fire" that everyone talks about.

The electricity they use is to control how much fuel (both pellets and air) gets fed into the burn pot.

Going back to the moisture question, definitely a bit of marketing going on. That said, I know that Rec Tec specifically recommends against using a water pan in their pellet grill and feels that there is sufficient moisture. From my experience, there is a difference in bark formation between a pellet grill and say something like a kamado but as someone else pointed out it's due more to difference in airflow than anything to do with the fuel source.

JohnnyVanWinkle
12-09-2017, 05:33 AM
The results from pellet pits are fantastic. But I'd ignore that moisture topic. If interested, vastly better options today than Traeger. And this is coming from an enthusiastic Traeger owner is 25 years. Today I'm using a Yoder YS640, yet that's more for convenience and grilling ease than better results.

EdLo
12-09-2017, 08:22 AM
Learned a lot here today, guys. Thank you. Last question(for now)? Do you consider a pellet smoker to be cooking with wood?

I "wood" too!!

LTLurker
12-14-2017, 06:45 PM
I'm also using a Yoder 640. Picked it up off Craigslist. I had to put some TLC into it to restore it. Works great and built like a tank. I sold my stick burner because I just wasn't into throwing sticks into a smoker every 45 mins anymore.

preacher238
12-15-2017, 09:00 AM
I'm also using a Yoder 640. Picked it up off Craigslist. I had to put some TLC into it to restore it. Works great and built like a tank. I sold my stick burner because I just wasn't into throwing sticks into a smoker every 45 mins anymore.

I love my Rec Tec Pellet Smoker. Built like a tank as well. I use it when I want to do an overnight smoke and I don't want to stay up. However, there are times when I will use my Old Country BBq pits Over/Under or Vertical Smokehouse for the different smoke profile it adds.

But that all depends on how I feel that day...LOL! I agree with you, there are days I just don't want to tend a fire! :-D

snj1013
12-22-2017, 08:03 AM
Love my Rec Tec! Great product, warranty and company to deal with. The owners include a business card with cell phone numbers and answer calls on weekends and holidays. I’m sure there are others that may be better, but at the $1000 price point, hard to beat!

Raider18
12-22-2017, 11:08 AM
They are a learning curve. I'm still trying to find the right balance of smoke, which has a lot to do with the pellets you use.

Huskres
12-22-2017, 12:00 PM
I'm also using a Yoder 640. Picked it up off Craigslist. I had to put some TLC into it to restore it. Works great and built like a tank. I sold my stick burner because I just wasn't into throwing sticks into a smoker every 45 mins anymore.

Curious how much did you pay?