Cook Delicious Food in the Best Pellet Smoker
There are many different types of smokers on the market that each have their own unique way of cooking food. I have always enjoyed the juicy and evenly cooked food that is provided by a pellet smoker.
Whether you’re a casual backyard barbecuer or you like the challenge of creating championship meat, this guide can help you determine which is the best pellet smoker for your needs.
Producing the best-smoked food is an art, and having the right equipment and tools for the job is important. The best pellet smoker should keep your food moist and tender, while infusing it with a mild smoke flavor.
How Pellet Smokers Work?
Smoking meat has come a long way, from the time of inhaling the ashes and smoke and laboring to keep a constant temperature to the modern technology found on most grills.
The best pellet smokers allow you to “set it and forget it,” cooking your food perfectly for you. Due to this fact, the popularity of pellet grills has grown, as now just about anyone can smoke their food easily.
Pellet smokers use small food grade wooden pellets, each cylindrical pellet is made of sawdust from hardwood that is compressed. When compressed the lignin in the wood is activated, which is like a natural glue that keeps the pellet in its new shape.
The pellets burn away cleanly and start smoking at high temperature and continue to smoke at low temperatures. This is because the pellets are made with only vegetable oil and no other additives, meaning it leaves behind little ash.
Most pellet grills use electricity and can be plugged in and used immediately. Anyone can use them, it a matter of selecting the right settings and filling the hopper with pellets. The hopper controls the amount of pellets used and a rotating auger is used to deliver more pellets when needed.
The pellets are burned in away and the smoke is diffused by a fan. Which means that all the food in the grill will become lightly smoked.
The Advantages of Using a Pellet Smoker
The best pellet smokers are fool-proof, you cannot over-smoke your food using this type of grill. Period. In fact, these grills work just like a convection oven, you can put whatever you want on and leave it, knowing that it will be cooked evenly. Most of the high-end pellet grills come with specific temperature controls, or even pre-set meals, allowing you to cook food at the desired temperature.
Designed to heat up fast, pellet smokers will not produce flare-ups or fires, making them safer and easier to use than other cooking methods. Pellet smokers are available in a wide range of sizes, for individuals cooking for two or those who like to throw big parties cooking for all the neighbors.
Pellet smokers are versatile, allowing you to cook in just about any type of weather or circumstance. A small bag of pellets (20-pound bag) can last for many cook-outs, but it all depends on the weather (wind and rain) and temperature settings.
On most pellet smokers you can roast, smoke, barbecue, bake, or braise food. It all depends on what features it has, for more information check out the Barbecue Beat.
Plus, pellets come in many different flavors, from bourbon to hickory. This means that you can try different flavors or try something new and use a combination of pellets. Get creative and find a new dish that will leave you craving more!
The Major Drawbacks of Using a Pellet Smoker
Even the best pellet smoker cannot grill your food. You will not get those beautiful grill marks or a golden brown sear. This is because pellet smokers use indirect heat, using a fan and convection system to cook food.
Although you cannot grill food, you can caramelize your food by preheating a skillet or cast iron grate for at least 20 minutes directly on the smoker before cooking your food.
Dependant on electricity, pellet smokers are limited to where they can be used unless you have an inverter or generator. In fact, because these grills run on electricity and have many moving parts, they can break. This is not an issue with wood or charcoal grills.
Plus, pellet smokers are generally more expensive than an ordinary grill, costing anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand.
Pellets must be stored properly, or they can completely disintegrate. If pellets get wet or are kept in a moist environment they will get wrecked. If you happen to live in a humid climate, it is important to store your pellets in an airtight container to keep them dry.
Pellet smokers may not produce the flavor you were expecting. Most think that a smoker will saturate the food with a woodsy flavor. However, the best pellet smoker will only infuse the food with a mild smokey flavor.
Especially, if you are cooking at a high temperature. When smoking food, the lower the temperature the more smoke you will get and the more flavor. If you wish a stronger smoke flavor just start with a cold grill and put your meat on while the pellets are reaching the desired temperature. (If you are looking for a smoker with set-it-forget-it simplicity and good flavor, on a modest budget, go gas or propane smoker)
Top 5 Pellet Smokers on the Market
This is my personal favorite as it is easy to use and with the touch of a button starts cooking. Not only is this smoker easy to use, but it is also easy to clean. Just wait for it to cool down and then take some warm soapy water and clean with a pad made for stainless steel surfaces.
Even the grates are easy to clean, you won’t even need an expensive brush to scrape the grill with. I love everything about the Rec Tec, from the quality design to the temperature control.
- The Rec Tec uses smart technology to maintain a precise temperature to cook your food evenly.
- This means you can not only smoke your food, but you can grill, sear, and bake it as well.
- When used with pellets this grill makes the highest quality food for all your guests.
- Even cooking in the backyard in the wind, the Rec Tec will stay at the temperature you set it at.
- I have been using this smoker for many years and it still works like new.
- There is not much to complain about when it comes to the Rec Tec, it does have a couple of cons. Although you cannot sear your meat with this grill (you can buy an attachment) it works like it's supposed to. Cooking up large amounts of food, from meatloaf to pizza, you can fit just about anything in it. However, it will only smoke your food lightly.
Memphis Grills is an expensive option, but it is worth it. This smoker uses WiFi and something called intelligent temperature control. This means that you can check on your food from anywhere, work or home, using the free Memphis Grill Application!
Furthermore, this grill comes with built-in automated recipe, so it knows what temperature to cook your food at and for exactly the right time. Regardless of whether you are using indirect or the direct flame mode.
- The Memphis Grill has many great features.
- This top of the line grill is double walled and uses dual convection fans and an oven-grade gasket to produce the most delicious food for your family.
- This grill also has a dual pellet system, which means you can mix and match flavors and know that it will not run out of pellets when cooking.
- This grill works great, but it does have a couple of design flaws. The heating element is not very secure, and as such, it may move, which in turn causes a variation in temperature. When any temperature change happens, this grill will automatically feed pellets to maintain a constant temperature, which could cause an overflow of pellets. To avoid this problem, all you have to do is ensure that you burn away or clean any remaining pellets and ash.
Camp Chef makes a great pellet grill and smoker that comes with a digital temperature control panel, which allows you to "set it and forget it." The temperature read out is display on the dual LED screen, showing both internal cooking and food temperatures, giving you more control than ever before.
When your food is cooking the grill automatically dispenses more pellets when needed to maintain a consistent temperature. Plus, it automatically shuts off when done, whether you are slow smoking or grilling.
- This grill has different settings from a high to low temperatures, to cook you food properly.
- With a lot of room to cook food and a removable upper rack, you can make just about anything.
- Afterward, the grill has a cleaning system that drops down, which means you no longer have to take apart the grill to clean it.
- It also has a removable drip tray to clean out the ashes, which makes it the best smoker for those who don’t want the hassle of disassembly.
- This grill works great, however, there are a couple of minor problems. This grill needs assembly, and some parts are heavy, you may need help. The pellets are fed into the hopper, which allows the auger to release more when necessary, but this mechanism runs out of pellets faster than you may think. Over time this unit will show some wear and tear, so you must take good care of it.
Char-Broil is an infrared smoker that can use pellets to smoke or roast your favorite food, from seafood to steak. Using infrared to cook your food locks in the flavor and sears the meat, while keeping it nice and juicy. I can attest to this as the food turns out delicious.
- This 2-in-1 electric roaster and smoker is easy to use, with 15 temperature pre-settings, a cooking basket, adjustable racks, and warming basket.
- You can even fry up a 16-pound roast or turkey in the Char-Broil.
- You simply program the internal temperature you wish and when the digital thermometer reaches the desired temperature it automatically turns off the fryer and cooker.
- Plus, the pellets are easy to load into the smoker box.
- Another bonus is that you can transport it around even when cooking with the cool-touch handles.
- There are a couple of minor setbacks with the Char-Broil. Although the temperature seems to be accurate, it would have been nice to see the temperature displayed somewhere. The interior could have been designed a bit better, having more shelving options or a way to hang up different pieces of meat would have been easier. When you use this as a smoker, I advise using pellets and not wood chips as they need constant attention and are hard to keep going.
Louisiana Grills makes a pellet grill that is a great way to create quality food right in your backyard. Using pellets allows you to add real flavor to your meat or vegetables easily. This grill takes the hassle out of watching your food, worrying about fires or flare-ups is a thing of the past. With the easy push button controls, you can automatically set the temperature and have it automatically shut off, producing perfect food each and every time. Whether you have 30 minutes or a whole day to slow cook your food.
- This grill has some great features and many benefits.
- It uses a burner and exhaust system to circulate the air and reach a higher temperature faster and allows you to use the entire interior of the grill to cook food.
- This convection method cooks your food evenly and produces tasty meals. Overall, this product has a few flaws but does the job.
- With just a few flaws this grill is very efficient and works well to cook any type of food. The construction of the grill could be a bit better, the construction is cheap and the paint job was done poorly. This grill could us a drip pan or a small door where you could change pellets easier. It could also use a place to attach your cooking utensils, like a shelf or hooks.
The best pellet smoker is the Rec Tec, as it gives you the most control over the smoking process and has a large cook space. This durable smoker uses smart technology to maintain an exact temperature and has many settings, from smoke to grill, to cook your food to perfection every time!
The Rec Tec is the best because it is calibrated to give you precise temperatures when cooking and it automatically takes care of the cooking process for you. The ultimate goal is to cook food to your tastes and a pellet smoker from Rec Tec is the way to go.