How To Choose Wood Pellets For Smoking
Youve picked your pellet grill, but before you start cooking on it or grilling with it how can you tell if the pellets are of high quality? Lets find out what we should be looking for.
A good wood pellet starts off slow and then gradually heats up to a constant temperature instead of going straight from cold to hot as a low-quality one will do.
Hard Type Wood or Soft Type Wood
Some people prefer hardwood pellets because they are stable and burn at a consistent temperature. They provide pure, thick smoke which means that the smoker will be enjoying their meal for longer than with softwood pellets where there is more ash production due to inconsistent burning temperatures.
Softwood pellets are perfect for those who want to go green. With a higher BTU, these pellets burn out faster than hardwoods and contain less lignin which is great news if youre sensitive about the environment because it means that they have fewer chemicals in them.
Hardwood is great for slow, low-temperature smoking. Softwoods are perfect if you need to cook large quantities of food quickly and efficiently.
Which wood are you looking for? Different types of woods offer different flavors and levels of smokiness to your meats. Some can be mild, while others pack a punch! We have listed some good choices here:
Ash Content of Wood Pellets
Moisture Content of Wood Pellets
What Is The Best Pellet Grill
Having a pellet grill means you can enjoy delicious, tender, and smoky food all the time without making any mess.
The grills we have discussed above are all meant for different purposes and you should keep your preferences in mind before choosing a reliable option.
However, if you want to go with our recommendation, then simply choose Traeger Grills Pro Series 575. It offers a 6-in-1 cooking interface with grilling, roasting, baking, searing, braising, and BBQ. Meanwhile, the extensive 575 sq. inches grilling space makes it compatible for large parties. In the end, you can control it through your smartphone app as it offers a wireless connectivity option.
So, thats all about the top-rated pellet grills available in 2022. Give your feedback about this guide so that we can review and update it in near future.
Complement Your Favorite Foods
Each pellet flavor, or type of wood, has a unique taste and naturally complements certain foods. Wood pellet flavors are generally classified in a range from mild to strong with woods such as alder and maple on the mild end, and hickory and mesquite on the stronger side.
Which wood pellet flavors enhance your favorite foods? Try some of these combinations, find the ones you love, and take your grilling to the next level.
Alder wood pellets provide good smoke with mild flavor and aroma. Its a highly versatile wood that pairs well with mostif not allfoods.
Add a lightly fruity smoke to mild flavored meats, baked goods and vegetables. Apple wood pellets combine so beautifully with chicken, youll never want to cook it any other way again.
Naturally enhance your food with a subtly sweet, fruity flavor. Cherry wood pellets provide a robust smoke with great overall taste. Make sure to try it once. Youll more than likely try it a second and third time too.
Arguably the most popular barbecue wood nationwide, hickory pellets deliver a strong flavor. Hickory complements many types of meat very well, but its especially good with traditional barbecue meats such as brisket, tri-tip and pork shoulder. If you find hickory a little strong, try mixing it with milder pellets such as oak or apple.
All-Purpose Wood Pellets
Traeger and Camp Chef also provide an all-purpose blend of wood pellets.
Speciality Wood Pellet Blends
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Best Portable Pellet Grill In 2022
There is a huge range of wood pellet grills now on the market, and the number seems to keep growing year on year. However, what if youre not looking for a full-sized pellet grill/smoker, what if you are looking for a small unit to go in the back of your car, truck or RV to take camping or a day out at the beach etc? Well, thats where portable pellet grills come in and there is now quite a range of options to choose from. So lets look at the contenders to try and work out which portable pellet grill is offering the best deal.
Below well compare the specs/features and price points of eight portable pellet grills to determine which is providing the best deal
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
In a rush? Jump to my conclusion on what I think is currently the best overall portable pellet grill considering features such as temperature control technology, cooking area, weight, hopper capacity and price point.
What Are Some Of The Drawbacks To Using A Pellet Grill And Smoker
Every appliance in your home has at least one drawback and this is certainly true when it comes to pellet grills. No matter how great something is, theres always room for improvement so keep that in mind.
Pellet grills are often used by beginners because theyre simple enough to use without too much hassle but if youre looking for something even easier then you might want to think about electric smokers instead! They dont require as much attention as pellet grills and the process of using them is pretty similar all you have to do is plug it in and turn it on like a TV set since most models dont even have buttons to mess around with plus they tend to be very efficient.
Having said that, there are a few drawbacks to using pellet grills and they might be something you want to consider before buying one:
First off, pellet grills take longer to warm up than other types of smokers. This isnt really a problem since youre supposed to leave them on for several hours at a time but it can still get annoying if you just want something quick.
Secondly, their cost is usually higher than the average smoker this is because they include so many great features which make them perfect for beginners! If you dont think those things matter all that much then feel free to find an affordable model but keep in mind that cheaper options usually mean fewer features and lower-quality materials.
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Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill And Smoker
Z Grills has been making grills for other brands for over 30 years, and in 2017, it started selling under its own name, which allows for its competitive price point. This pellet grill has over 1,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, and it offers a stainless steel build with a large 700-square-inch cooking surface and a 20-pound hopper capacity. It has updated temperature controls and ranges from 180ºF to 450ºF.
For a step up at a still competitive price point, consider the new 7002 series it has a PID controller, which helps maintain an even temperature, a temperature probe and a hopper with a viewing window. In our tests, the 7002F performed similarly to its competitors in terms of how it cooked food, although it seemed to be more on the powerful side. Its frame and door was a little thinner than other models and required more careful handling.
Dimensions: 48 x 22 x 51 inches Grilling area: 700 square inches Hopper capacity: 20 pounds
Best Portable Pellet Grill
How To Smoke A Turkey On A Pellet Smoker
Smoking a turkey on a pellet smoker is also fairly easy to do. All you need is your favorite recipe, some good pellets, an aluminum pan, and your meat of choice.
You should set up your grill for indirect heat first by letting the fire burn off completely then turning it down to about 200°F before placing the meat into the cooking chamber. By doing this, you will ensure that the internal temperature of your bird stays at 165°F which makes it safe to eat without having to worry about getting food poisoning or anything similar to that.
Once everything is set up properly you only have to go through the normal pre-heating process and wait until the turkey reaches its optimal internal temperature before removing it from the cooking chamber.
When cooking a turkey on a pellet grill, the most important part is to use an aluminum pan. The bottom of your bird will be sitting in it and this prevents the meat from burning and delivers all of that delicious flavor right into your mouth! You can also add some water or other liquid if you want to make sure the inside stays moist but I usually prefer not using anything so I get to enjoy pure unadulterated smoked meat with just enough seasoning for my taste buds. As long as you follow this method, theres no way you can mess things up so go ahead and try it out!
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Th Contender Pit Boss Sportsman/mahagony Portable
The second portable pellet grill design from Pit Boss is the Sportsman/Mahagony Portable. Whats the difference between the two? The difference is purely cosmetic, therefore as the Mahagony model is typically $100 less, thats the version to get.
There are no feature/specification differences between the Sportman and Mahagony portable models: Images PitBoss-Grills.com
While they feature the same control panel technology there are a couple of differences between these portable models from Pit Boss and the Tailgater above. These models have a significantly larger rear-mounted hopper of 19lbs. Furthermore, they also offer a larger cooking area of 387 sq.in. As a result, they are also the heaviest Pit Boss portable models at 91 lbs.
Who Pellet Smokers Are Best Suited For
Even an entry-level pellet smoker will set you back more than a charcoal grill or gas grill. But for a little bit extra upfront, youll enjoy the simplicity and versatility that is causing pellet smokers to take over patios around the country.
It doesnt seem that long ago that only two companies were making pellet grills. Back in 2008 if you wanted to buy a pellet smoker you could choose between Traeger and MAK.
Its a testament to the popularity of this type of smoker that there are now so many new brands available to choose from.
Prices for decent pellet grills start at around $400 and can run well over $1000. When you can get an excellent charcoal smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain for under $300 you may be asking yourself why would you want to buy a pellet grill?
It only takes two words to sum up the benefits of cooking with a pellet smoker. Convenience and versatility.
If the price isnt a deal breaker for you though, the convenience is really amazing. Get used to throwing a brisket on, setting the temperature and then just get about your day without a worry.
Because pellet smokers run off electricity they can also be a great choice if you live in a condo or are unlucky enough to have restrictions on burning charcoal or wood.
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Determine The Cooking Area & Need
You should define your needs before you make a choice. If you are looking for a pellet smoker that can meet a usual households needs, you will require a different cooking range than in a situation if someone is looking for a device for a backyard party. In either case, your need should determine the cooking area of the grill you want to buy.
However, if you choose to buy a grill with a more extensive cooking area, you will consume more pellets than a smaller smoker. That is why we frequently say that bigger is not always better.
Another thing to mention here is the difference between the total cooking surface area and the primary cooking area. The primary cooking area refers to the top-most shelf in the cooking container considered the most important one. However, that is not the case in reality. Due to the convection mechanism, you will find even distribution of heat throughout the grill. As a result, the bottom rack is as essential as the top one.
In conclusion, you should consider the total cooking area instead of the top rack area while making the purchase decision.
How To Find The Best Pellet Grill For You
- Cooking capacity is something you should factor in before you purchase any grill. Will you be using it for small family dinners, or larger backyard parties? Also consider what type of food you’d like to cook. Most will comfortably accommodate your typical bbq fare, like burgers and ribs, but if you want to smoke a large piece of meat or steak, a large grill is your better bet.
- Hopper size affects how long you can leave the pellet grill unattended in addition to how often you’ll need to refill it and buy more pellets. A larger hopper allows for long smoking sessions without having to check in often. The amount of pellets used per hour varies based on the pellet and grill. It also varies based on the temperature used more pellets burn at a higher temperature versus a lower one, but lower temperatures usually mean longer cook times and more pellets.
- WiFi capability allows you to keep an eye on your food without being on top of it. Connected apps often monitor the internal temperature of foods with temperature probes, the air temperature and the amount of pellets left in the hopper.
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How A Pellet Grill Or Smoker Works
Pellet smokers or grills have a lot of similarities with their charcoal, gas, and electric counterparts. However, one thing sets a pellet smoker apart from other types of smokers how it creates heat.
Unlike charcoal and propane smokers, pellet smokers use wood pellets as fuel. These pellets are fed into feeding inlets located on the sides of pellet smokers. These pellets make their way into augers that feed the pellets in a pellet smokers burn pot.
The burn pot of a pellet smoker has underneath it a heating rod. Its similar in many ways to the heating plates you find on most kitchen stoves. The heating rod on its own will not create a fire.
However, with wood pellets, enough flame can arise to create the smoke you require. A fan located within the heating part of the pellet smoker stokes the heat.
For the most part, pellet smokers or grills have the same type of temperature control mechanism. The temperature controller is an internal computer for the pellet smoker. It ensures that everything from the fan to the number of pellets fed is in sync to deliver the temperature you desire.
It does this for the entire duration of smoking or grilling.
In short, pellet smokers:
- Use pellets as a fuel source for heat
- Burn pellets using a heating rod
- Have internal temperature control computers that regulate the smokers temperature
Best Budget Pellet Smoker
As with most things in life, the bigger something is, the more it probably costs. That isn’t the case with the Pit Boss 700FB grill. For just around $500, this grill features 700 inches of cooking space with both direct and indirect heat zones. Its temperature range goes from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heat can be controlled with a dial on the front of the grill. It may not be able to connect to an app on your phone, but the temperature controls make it easy to let a brisket smoke for 12+ hours while you do other things around the house.
A review from Smoked BBQ Source actually applauds the searing ability of this smoker, which isn’t always expected with pellet grills. A grill with so many features and cooking space is hard to find for this price point. “If you’ve been considering dipping your toe into the world of pellet grilling and smoking, this is a great grill to consider,” the review reads.
You can purchase the Pit Boss 700FB from Amazon for $525.
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Best Wifi Pellet Grills/smokers Under $1000
Its much more competitive for the best WiFi pellet grills under $1,000 as you will see below. However, first, what is your best option if youre looking for WiFi functionality in a vertical pellet smoker?
Its quite an easy recommendation, as its currently the only vertical pellet smoker with WiFi built-in, the Camp Chef WiFi XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker. So what if you have a budget of up to $1,000 and you are looking for a horizontal pellet grill/smoker?
Well, you have several options from Traeger, Camp Chef, REC TEC and Weber to choose from. Grilla Grills have now introduced their own Alpha Connect WiFi control panel as well. First off, lets discuss Camp Chef, and their Woodwind pellet grills and alternatively their Gen 2 WiFi control panel.
If you are looking to monitor multiple cuts of meat via WiFi through an App the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grills are currently one of the best options: Image Campchef.com
If you want to monitor the internal temperature of multiple cuts of meat through WiFi via an App, currently one of the best options is the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grills as the control panel features 4 meat probe ports.
Camp Chef do now fit a WiFi-enabled control panel onto their budget SmokePro range as well. However that Gen 2 WiFi control panel only has 2 meat ports.
I believe the Traeger WiFire app to be one of the best options for BBQ beginners: Image Traegergrills.com