We all love smoked meats and other foods, but there are many different kinds of smokers to choose from.
It makes choosing a smoker that is right for your needs much harder.
I had this issue a while back when I wanted to buy a new smoker, and a friend suggested I get a pellet smoker.
It makes me wonder about the pros and cons of pellet smokers.
When buying a smoker, it’s vital to weigh all the pros and cons to make an informed decision.
Some pros include that it’s simple to use, adds tons of flavor to your food, and gets clean and precise cooking.
Some cons include you can’t use them everywhere, and they have lower cooking temperatures.
I was somewhat at a loss trying to get information on the many types of smokers, so I consulted with an expert in smokers to get the information I needed.
He provided me with a lot of interesting information about the pros and cons of a pellet smoker.
I wanted to share all the information I found in this post.
How Does A Pellet Smoker Work?
Before we dive into the heart of the pros and cons of a pellet smoker, you must know how a pellet smoker works.
Pellet smokers are surging in popularity because they are easy to use and produce delightful food.
But there are some misunderstandings out there about the full function, pros, and cons of pellet smokers.
A pellet smoker is also called a pellet grill because this bad boy can do both. These pellet smokers/grills burn pellets (wood pellets made specifically for these smokers/grills) to create the heat and the smoke you need when grilling or smoking your food.
They work with electricity instead of gas or other fuel sources.
But many people are not fans of these types of grills, and in this post, we will look at the advantages and some disadvantages of buying and owning a pellet smoker/grill.
Many purist smokers don’t like using pellet smokers as they say that because it works with electricity means the quality of the food it cooks is below their standard.
In the end, it’s up to you to make an informed decision on what is the best fit for your needs.
Pellet Smoker Pros And Cons
When buying a pellet smoker/grill, it’s important to know if the pellet smoker will suit your needs.
These pellet smokers, also called pellet grills, work with an electronic heat source to burn the pellets.
These pellet smokers or grills have a unique flavor that has become more popular to use in backdoor cookouts.
The Pros Of Using A Pellet Smoker
When you are thinking of buying a pellet smoker, you need to get as much information as possible to make an informed decision.
Listed below are the pros of using a pellet smoker.
It’s Easy To Use
Smoking and grilling outside can be a very time-consuming activity as you need to keep a controlled temperature.
It has many other components that can cause a lot of stress. That is where a pellet smoker comes in handy.
It takes some of the hassles and stress out of smoking and streamlines the process.
Because it’s electric, you don’t need to battle to get it started like you do other smokers, and it heats to the exact temperature you need.
The Temperature Control
The pellet smoker has fantastic temperature control.
It uses a built-in thermometer that controls and regulates the temperature that you need the smoker to be without you needing to check on the temperature constantly.
A pellet smoker also measures the amount of fuel it needs, and the grill’s fan and hopper add more pellets as needed to keep the temperature constant.
So it takes care of all the work so you can relax and feel confident your pellet smoker will deliver deliciously smoked food.
It Adds A Lot Of Flavour
When you are working with a more traditional gas or charcoal grill, only a few flavors are available to you.
With a pellet smoker/grill, you get a ton more flavors in the pellets that are released when the pellets heat up.
You can even mix and match the different types of pellets to create your own unique flavoring, giving you more freedom to explore different types of wood pellets.
Some of the typical flavors that you get are:
- Hickory wood pellets: Hickory gives your food a smokey and rich flavor that resembles bacon
- Alder wood pellets: Alder gives your food a mild smokey taste with a hint of sweet
- Cherry wood pellets: Cherry gives your food a sweet and tart taste.
- Apple wood pellets: Apple gives your food a mild smokey and sweet taste
- Oak wood pellets: Oak provides a smokey taste that is stronger than oak but lighter than cherry.
- Maple wood pellets: Maple gives your food a mild but sweet taste
- Pecan wood pellets: Pecan gives your food a mildly spicy yet nutty taste
- Mesquite wood pellets: Mesquite has strong flavors that give your food a strong spice yet tangy taste.
The Cooking Is Clean And Precise
When you are using the grill function, it’s less messy than with other grills.
It’s clean and precise, as the ash is collected in a separate tray that you can remove when you are done.
The fuel also loads cleanly, and you don’t need to worry about making a mess as it loads the fuel itself.
Pellet Smokers/Grills Are More Environmentally Friendly
If you are wondering about the effect these smokers/grills have on the environment, then you will be glad to know that pellet smokers/grills are more environmentally friendly than gas or charcoal.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approves pellet smoker/grills as one of the most environmentally friendly types of smoker/grill.
The pellets are made from recycled wood that has been repurposed for cooking use.
Because it is made from renewable resources, it lowers the overall impact on the environment.
Furthermore, when the pellets are burned, they emit less harmful smoke, so they give off fewer emissions than charcoal smoke.
There Are Minimal Flare-Ups
Pellet smoker/grill keeps the heat (fire pit) and the grease drippings contained through the use of shields in the basic design of the pellet smoker/grill.
Therefore, it reduces the flare-ups to almost zero, making it a much safer option to use.
You Get A Larger Capacity
The core materials the manufacturers that are used to make pellet smokers/grills are almost the same no matter what the size is.
The only things that need to be adjusted are the size and length of the grates and chambers.
That means that most pellet smokers/grills are roomier.
You Can Do Much More With A Pellet Smoker Than Other Smokers
One of the best features of using a pellet smoker is that it’s versatile in what you can cook on it.
While many people say it’s not great for grilling meats until they are crispy, you can use your pellet smoker for grilling your food.
The wood pellets it uses as fuel give it a great taste.
You can also use your pellet griller for baking.
With other types of smokers and grills, you can only use a few cooking methods.
But with pellet smokers, you can smoke, grill, and bake, which makes it an asset to have at cookouts.
You Always Know When The Pellet Smoker/Grill Is Ready
You need to gauge if the temperatures of other types of smokers and grills are the right temperature, with a pellet smoker/grill.
There is a light or sound that goes off to alert you that the pellet smoker /grill is ready to use.
That way, you start your food at the correct temperature.
It Cooks Evenly
Many people will say that pellet smokers/grills have a learning curve but are easy to use.
The one pro that stands out above the rest is that pellet smokers cook your food evenly every time.
The temperature control and the way the pellet smoker works mean you won’t ever have to worry that your food will be cooked with one side raw and the other side burnt.
Many people praise the pellet smoker for this feature and prefer to use it when cooking big pieces of meat instead of its leading competitors.
The Cons Of Using A Pellet Smoker
While pellet smokers have a lot of benefits, as with all other kinds of smokers and grills, it has some cons as well.
In this section of the post, we will discuss the various cons of using a pellet smoker.
You Get Lower Cooking Temperatures
While a pellet smoker/grill has the benefit of temperature control that allows your food to be cooked evenly without the need for you to do a lot of tweaking, the temperatures stay relatively low.
Most pellet smokers only reach temperatures of around 4 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The lower temperature means you won’t really get the crispy chicken wings or crunchy ribs that easily.
It also makes getting that grill marks most smokers, and grill enthusiasts are proud of impossible.
There is no way to fix this, though, as not even the grill attachments you get when buying your pellet smoker offer much help in the crispy department.
The Overall Costs Are Higher
If you are wondering if the price of a pellet smoker/grill is worth it, then a few things to consider include:
- The initial costs are higher than when you buy a charcoal, gas grill, or non-electrical smoker.
- The other costing issues include the pellet smoker/grill working with electricity.
As this is the only way it will work, it adds to the overall working costs and your electricity bill.
- These types of smokers/grills can’t be repaired by hand, so you need to spend extra money on replacement parts.
That adds to the overall costs when it comes to maintenance.
- If you want to use other cooking methods on the pellet smoker/grill, you need to buy the extra accessories you will need to use the pellet smoker in other ways.
They Are Less Versatile Than Other Types Of Smokers
Pellet smokers/grills need electricity to work, making them impossible to use in wet weather conditions.
It’s also a problem because they work with wood pellets.
So if the wood pellets get wet or even damp, you won’t be able to the pellet grill, or you will need to spend more money to buy dry pellets.
They are also less versatile than other types of smokers as you can’t take them everywhere.
Many smokers are versatile enough that you can use them everywhere, and they aren’t too heavy, but that is not the case with pellet smokers/grills.
These are heavy smokers that can’t be taken everywhere, with the average pellet smoker or grill weighing up to 105 pounds.
So which limits its portability. There are pellet smokers that have been made smaller, but they still weigh a hefty 50 pounds each.
Warranties Are Not Sufficient
The warranties of the pellet smokers/grills are overall not that great in comparison to other smokers and grills.
The standard gas grill or smoker warranty is between 5-10 years, and the standard warranty for a pellet smoker/grill is around three years.
It makes the initial investment hard to swallow because it is higher than other smokers, and this can create a financial loss in the long run, should something go wrong.
So you might want to look for a manufacturer with a better warranty to ensure that you are at least partly covered if something should go wrong.
Pellet smokers, or pellet grills as they are also called, are a big investment, but it’s one that is worth it in the long run.
You can do so much with it, and it takes the guesswork and stress out of having a good ol’ fashioned backyard BBQ.
In the end, the verdict and choice lie with you and what would best suit your needs.
If you want to invest in a pellet smoker, you will be able to get the best flavors around with minimal work, and the clean-up is a breeze.
The benefits make it well worth giving a pellet smoker a try.