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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 06-03-2018, 07:51 AM   #1
WildmanWilson
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Default What’s the point of a pellet smoker

I’ve been knocking around the idea of a pellet smoker but after seeing how many people add a smoker generator or tube to get smoke flavor I’m wondering why get one? Seems an electric smoker with the same smoke tube would be the same result. So what do the pellet smokers offer ?

Last edited by WildmanWilson; 06-03-2018 at 08:11 AM..
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:58 AM   #2
el luchador
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Good question. I look forward to the answers.

Maybe someone who has both pellet and electric can come in
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:02 AM   #3
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Pellet grills burn all wood but it's a clean burn. Much like cooking with wood embers or a super clean stick burner. These all produce a light clean tasting smoke that is a backdrop to bbq not the main component
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke ninja View Post
Pellet grills burn all wood but it's a clean burn. Much like cooking with wood embers or a super clean stick burner. These all produce a light clean tasting smoke that is a backdrop to bbq not the main component
Yep. In contrast, an electric smoker uses a heating element as a heat source and burns either chips, small chunks or pucks for smoke flavor. The wood typically smolder more than burns, so the smoke isn’t as clean, and a little goes a long way. In my Cookshack electric a gold ball sized chunk is more than enough.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildmanWilson View Post
So what do the pellet smokers offer ?

I think the appeal is in the immortal words of Ron Popeil "Set it, and forget it."
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
Yep. In contrast, an electric smoker uses a heating element as a heat source and burns either chips, small chunks or pucks for smoke flavor. The wood typically smolder more than burns, so the smoke isn’t as clean, and a little goes a long way. In my Cookshack electric a gold ball sized chunk is more than enough.
Where do I obtain these gold balls of which you speak?
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:40 AM   #7
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I’ve always been interested, several of my friends are pellitized. Some have two, one has three. I’m interested but I want a smaller high quality cheap cooker on closeout. Then, I’ll buy one and either fall in love, get it out of my system or be satisfied. I will someday, just because I need to know for myself. My friends are all quite happy with theirs
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:42 AM   #8
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I was a long term holdout on getting a pellet grill, but imagine having a perfectly burning 100 percent wood fire. No smoldering, no worrying if the wood is too green, 225 plus or minus the entire time.

I really think people playing up concerns about not enough smoke taste are overblown. Typically when you are cooking your sense of smell is overwhelmed so that day you don’t taste as much. I’ve never got a smoking tube and have no problem tasting the smoke and I notice it’s remarkablely more Smokey the next day for leftovers.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:06 AM   #9
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I have an original Traeger my dad gave me but I really only use it for doing my Yellowtail and Tuna I catch here. Since it's the original model with the old style controller, it's failed on me numerous times so I can't trust it for much else. Just the right amount of smoke for fish. YMMV
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:15 AM   #10
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1) Set it and forget it (PID controllers etc)
2) Consistency (no wondering how your splits or lump is going to burn)
3) Convenience (add some pellets to the hopper and flip a switch)
4) Subtle yet very present smoke flavor (real wood is burning)
5) Easy clean-up (no charcoal or wood ash to speak of. Use a shop vac now and again to vac out the firebox)
6) Versatility (buy the right pellet cooker and cook at 600+ degrees direct heat or smoke at 225* for hours)

That's off the top of my head. I could probably create a much more in-depth response, but having used multiple fuel sources and styles of cookers I am a proud pellethead.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:16 AM   #11
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If you are used to the flavor of fat burning on charcoal, pellet grills have very weak smoke flavor, but it is a cleaner flavor that lets you taste the difference between different woods. Adding a tube or tray lets you increase the intensity while still avoiding the burnt fat flavors but isn’t mandatory by any means.

The biggest draw is of course the set it and forget it part. You can’t always be feeding a stick burner unless you have employees.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:18 AM   #12
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Used to have a Cookshack electric. It made great que. Like Ron said, one or two small chunks of wood was all you needed. But the smoke never really penetrated deep into the meat. To me it seemed it was on the surface only. Switched to a Cookshack FEC100 pellet smoker, still easy to use, but it seems like the que it produces is so much better. I usually use a smoke tube only for cold smoking, if I want extra smoke, I'll run it at a lower temp for the first few hours. Normally for long cooking meats only.

I've used all sorts of cookers over the years, but now that I'm a lazy old fart that likes his sleep. I use a pellet cooker for long/overnite cooks.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:24 AM   #13
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We use our GMG pellet cooker a lot from smoking oysters at 150° to pizza at 500°

I prefer steaks over coals but the pooper does a great job on butts, ribs, and briskets.

It is nice to put a brisket on just before going to bed and getting a full nights sleep.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:34 AM   #14
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End of season close out might tip me over the edge to get one. I'm sorta like 16Adams, I want to see what all the fuss is about. Love it or hate it- either is fine- just don't want to spend a small fortune to find out.

The "set it and forget it" facet is not super important to me- I have drums- I basically have that ability now. Just in it for the search of something different.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:41 AM   #15
el luchador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildmanWilson View Post
I’ve been knocking around the idea of a pellet smoker but after seeing how many people add a smoker generator or tube to get smoke flavor I’m wondering why get one? Seems an electric smoker with the same smoke tube would be the same result. So what do the pellet smokers offer ?

Do you already have an electric smoker?

Ive never used one but apparently they can hold their own

https://youtu.be/yQ38bBi-9o0
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