Pellet grills/smokers have kind of caught my eye these past few months, but I was wondering how the overall smoke flavor is when compared to stick burners or electric smokers? I was browsing the pelletheads forums and have read more than a few posts where members complain about getting zero smoke flavor at all. That goes for every brand of pellet grill as well and not just the Mak 2 Star General, GMG or Traeger. I've seen videos of various pellet grills on their smoke cycle/setting and it looks like they produce a ton of smoke. I just don't understand how folks are getting no smoke flavor at all.
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Smoke flavor on a pellet grill?
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It may depend on the pellets. I have a Traeger and while I'm new at this game, when I used Bear Mtn pellets, I was getting plenty of smoke flavor. I tried Traeger brand and found them to be bland.
I have a Traeger and I like the convenience of it, but as far as smoke flavor I don't think you can beat a good old fashioned smoke. I have only used the Traeger pellets and while I do think the flavor is good, I would hardly call it a smokey flavor like I get when cooking with chunks of hickory or maple. The other thing for me is I have used every different kind of pellet they make and I cannot tell one bit of difference in the flavor.
With that said, I do love cooking my chicken breasts on it. I can set it to 375F drop those babies on there and I don't have to flip them! Love that. I have also done pork tenderloin and it comes out nice and tender. The bottom line is that this thing is convenient to cook on, but when I want the "real" smoke, then I build myself a fire.
I've got Traeger and a Stumps. I do believe that pellets do make a difference but each to their own. While there have been very successful competitors that use Traeger pellets I am not a big fan of them. I like 100% (name your wood) pellets, just feal like I get a "deeper and richer" flavor. Personally I like the Hickory that cookinpellets.com sells. I've also used his perfect blend and it is nice but more mellow. Smoke is such a personal taste, you'll get a different opinion everytime you ask someone! I've been relatively happy with mine and its results. More importantly...so have my guest.
FWIW - Traeger has a patented process in which they use wood oil from the named flavor, i.e. they use hickory oil to add a hickory flavor to whatever would it is they use as the base for the pellets. Bear Mtn pellets, to me, have a MUCH better wood flavor becuase, I believe, they actually use the flavor wood in their pellets. I bought Traeger pellets and once they're used up, will not make that mistake again.
Have had my Traeger BBQ075 for about a yr. Love the easy way to cook. Set it and walk away. Tender, juicy all that but like many others smoke flavor is close to non existant. I can get more smoke flavor with my old weber with some wood chunks on the coals. Really disappointed with that aspect of the grill. The grill creates lots of smoke but htat's it. You see the smoke, you smell like smoke but you can hardly taste the smoke.
I have a GMG Daniel Boone Pellet grill and LOVE IT! Will never go back to anything else! As for pellets, I use the GMG Premium Gold Blend. Hard to find a better pellet. It's a mix of 70% oak 20% hickory and 10% maple. And they do a great job, giving a nice smoke ring to just about anything. If I am smoking something that I really want to bring out a pronounced smokey flavor, I'll use my Amaze N Pellet Tube smoker inside the grill, filled with pellets and lit at one end, and it'll smoke a good solid 6-8 hours and give you a great smoke.
Hope that helps a bit.
AMPS or Smoke Daddy....i'm partial to the Smoke Daddy because when you really learn how to use it's one of the best things on the planet. I encourage going to their website to learn more because many pellet users use them.
Yes, get an A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker, tube for extra smoke. I have a 12 inch tube that will burn for about three hours.
with a tube smoker you can cold smoke. I have cold smoked salt, cheese as well as all kinds of meat .
Some great things about pellet poopers is the convenience factor is very high, and because you are still cooking with wood, they comply for use with KCBS competition rules (if you are so inclined), and the versatility of what you can cook in them is great, from chocolate chip cookies to pizza and everything in between.
When cooking at higher temps with the pellet smokers, they do impart less smoke due to the pellet burn being more efficient at higher temps, but even when cooking at those temps, 325+, everything I have cooked on them has had some smoke flavor added, while not overpowering, it is definitely there, and very pleasant. Try some boneless/skinless chicken breasts with a HOC blend (hickory/oak/cherry) and you will see what I mean, throw some potatoes on for a couple hours and taste the magic. :-)
All pits have their plus's and minus, pro's and con's, etc... One great thing about pellet cookers, unlike some other smokers, is you really don't ever have to worry about creosote getting to your food , they are designed to burn so efficiently that you probably couldn't get that tongue numbing, bitter flavor even if you tried.
Again, it is all about personal preference, I think burgers taste best when cooked over charcoal, but they also taste phenomenal cooked on a pellet cooker, and because I am just lazy enough, I will go fire up the pellet cooker in a heartbeat versus digging out the charcoal any day of the week. :-)
Because it can be a significant investment, I'd recommend visiting some friends/acquaintances who might have one to see if you like the flavors, ease of use, etc... before taking the plunge. Maybe even make sure where you buy it has a good return policy, or a trial period, etc...
I don't mean to sound like a pellet smoker advertisement, I'm just sharing what I have learned and experienced, but I would suggest their use to anyone looking.
Edited by Bluto - 4/15/13 at 11:44am
- Smoke flavor on a pellet grill?
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