Pellet Smokers are wood fired smokers that burn compressed wood – or Pellets – as the sole heat source. They allow you to cook at precise temps and are very versatile since you can cook at low and slow temps, to high heat grilling and even baking.
Pellet grills have an electronic controller that allows you to set your temps and an auger system that controls the rate at which pellets are dropped onto the fire. This gives you a mild, clean smoke throughout your entire cook. Very efficient grills, pellet smokers are simple to use.
Smoking On A Pellet Smoker
A pellet smoker is a cooker that runs off of compressed wood “pellets”. This type of grill has been around for a while, but now days I’m seeing more and more of them at BBQ competitions.
My first pellet smoker was a Yoder YS480. Yoder smokers are known for being quality products and this little unit seemed to be well constructed.
How a pellet grill works is pretty simple. They all have a hopper that holds pellets. In the bottom of the hopper is an auger that moves the pellets slowly into the fire box. This is where they are burnt which produces heat and smoke for cooking.
The cooking chamber is pretty standard. On the YS480 there is a 20”x24” grate (480 sq inches) plus an optional 2nd shelf which brings the cooking area up to 800 sq in.
The whole cooker is ran by a built in control panel that is basically the brains of the smoker. On the Yoder it is as simple as flipping a switch and pressing start. It immediately starts dropping pellets into the fire box where a heating probe starts the fire. There’s no messing with a flame, lighter gel, or anything else. The cooker does the work for you.
It’s preset to climb to 350 degrees, but it’s easily dropped to smoking range by pressing the temp down button a few times. There are also 3 different settings on the Yoder depending on how hot you want to cook. This thing has a range of 150-600 degrees.
How can a little pellet produce enough smoke flavor to give meat a true Barbecue taste?
You may have heard that pellet smokers can’t produce the same smoke flavor as traditional bbq grills, and this was a concern of mine too. Candy Weaver, owner of BBQr’s Delight pellets, broke this down too me:
“In the process of making pellets only pure 100% wood is used. This wood is compressed so tight that all of the moisture is removed and when burned, all you get is pure smoke and heat. There are no fillers or binders in these pellets, so the flavors are as pure as any sticks of wood you may be using now.”
As far as operation goes, pellet smokers can’t get an easier. If you can turn on a light switch, you can fire up this smoker.
And pellet smokers create just a small trace of smoke and If you didn’t know better, you would think that it’s not enough. You’ve heard me say it before… A little smoke goes a long way!