If you want to infuse rich and complex flavors into meat, cheese, poultry, and fish, a smoker would be a great investment.
As you compare the various smokers on the market, you’ll find plenty of options that use pellet fuel.
Pellet smokers aren’t as common as charcoal, gas, or even electric models, but they do offer some unique advantages.
To learn whether pellet smoking is right for you, it’s important to start with the pros and cons.
You’ll be able to evaluate the advantages and any downsides to make an informed decision.
Here are the most important things to consider before you buy a pellet smoker.
The Basics of Pellet Smokers
You’ll find a range of pellet smokers and pellet grills on the market.
The names are used interchangeably to describe the same type of outdoor cooking station.
They both use indirect heat to cook food over a long period of time.
While gas and charcoal grills are designed to cook food quickly, pellet smokers and pellet grills usually take hours to cook the same ingredients.
Rather than applying heat directly below the food, the heat and smoke will come from an offset chamber that radiates heat.
A pellet smoker has more in common with a convection oven than it does a traditional grill.
You won’t be able to sear or chargrill your food. Instead, you’ll be able to slow-cook cuts of meat to infuse maximum flavor.
The Pros of a Pellet Smoker
There are some key advantages to be enjoyed when using a pellet smoker. We’ve covered the most important below.
- A pellet smoker offers more options and versatility than a standard smoker. Depending on the model you choose, it will be possible to roast, smoke, barbecue, and even bake inside your pellet smoker.
- Pellet smoking offers the best results for smoked meat. This is because they are designed specifically to infuse maximum smoke flavor with indirect heat. When compared to smoking in a normal grill, the results are far better. For rich and complex flavor, a dedicated pellet smoker is an ideal choice.
- Flavor options are virtually unlimited. Pellet chips are made from natural wood pieces, with flavors like hickory, maple, apple, mesquite, cherry, and more.
- Temperature management is simple because most pellet smokers have advanced designs with automatic timing and heat control. The hopper ensures a consistent level of smoke throughout cooking.
- Most models reach smoking temperature within ten to fifteen minutes. Only gas grills are easier and faster to get to cooking temperature.
- Pellet smokers are designed for serious home cooks, so they are generally large, offering plenty of cooking space. This means you can easily cook whole turkeys, chicken, duck and other game, large BBQ cuts, and anything else that you want to infuse with a rich flavor.
- Unlike a charcoal or gas smoker, pellet models are easy to use. There’s no need to measure or weigh the wood that you will use. Pellets are distributed as needed and cooking temperature is regulated by an electronic thermostat.
- Value is incredible because a high-quality pellet smoker will last for many years without problems. Even though the initial price might be higher than a comparable gas or charcoal grill, longevity, ease of use, and amazing results add value.
Do the pros of pellet smokers appeal to you? Take a look at the downsides before you spend money on your next smoker.
The Cons of a Pellet Smoker
Pellet smokers are perfect for serious enthusiasts, but they’re not the best solution for home cooks who want to sear and cook over direct heat.
Here are the cons to consider before buying a pellet smoker.
- A pellet smoker needs electricity. Most models are large and difficult to move around. Portability isn’t an option when choosing a pellet smoker.
- For the best results, the food needs to be cooked slowly, usually over several hours. For real flavor enthusiasts, this won’t be a problem. However, if you want a cooking experience similar to what you would have on your stovetop, you’ll be better off with a standard gas grill.
- Pellet smokers and grills have more moving parts than other designs, so they aren’t as durable.
In most cases, the benefits of a pellet smoker will outweigh the downsides.
Before you make your final decision, take a look at one of the most popular models on the market today.
Taking a Look at Your First Pellet Smoker
If you want a quality pellet smoker with plenty of cooking space, consider the Z Grills ZPG-6002B 2020 Model.
This offset pellet smoker uses an automated hopper and has more than 570 square inches of main cooking area.
It’s perfect for smoking, roasting, and barbecue-style cooking for large cuts of meat.
Now that you know the pros and cons of a pellet smoker, you’re ready to find your next outdoor cooking station.