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Question about smoking at higher temps

simoon

Newbie
16
21
Joined Aug 13, 2014
I recently bought a Z Grills pellet smoker, and so far, I am happy with it. Got it brand new and unbuilt off of Craig's list for less than half of retail price.

I am experienced with stick burners and vertical electric smokers, and I have had no problems getting enough smoke on my meat with the pellet smoker...until last weekend.

So far, I've done ribs twice, once wrapped, once unwrapped, and a 'poor mans' brisket (chuck roast), and the results were great. Deep and defined smoke rings, tender (but not too mushy), and plenty of clean smoke flavor. These were all done at 225.

But this last weekend, I decided to try turkey thighs. I brined them in an IPA, salt, sugar, citrus brine, and smoked them at 275 (wanted crispy skin) until they reached about 168 internal. I noticed through the entire smoke, that there just was not that much smoke being produced, like for the ribs and chuck I did previously.

Don' t get me wrong, they still ended up tasting very good, but the smoke was pretty light on them. Not like the fully smoke flavor of my ribs and chuck.

I'm thinking that I should have done them at 200-225 for a couple of hours, then turned them to 275. I read a couple of places, that pellet smokers burn too cleanly at 275, and just don't produce that much smoke at higher temps.

Has anyone had any experience getting good smoke at higher temps with pellet smokers? What did you do?

*and please, no "you can't get real smoke flavor with pellet smokers" posts, because I proved otherwise with my ribs and chuck.
 

smokerjim

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
6,178
3,003
Joined Jan 14, 2014
Your correct about the higher the temp the less smoke, like you mentioned start lower for an hour or two then crank it up, I use a smoke tube with mine for extra smoke especially at higher temps.
 

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
6,223
3,219
Joined Dec 30, 2016
I recently bought a Z Grills pellet smoker, and so far, I am happy with it. Got it brand new and unbuilt off of Craig's list for less than half of retail price.

I am experienced with stick burners and vertical electric smokers, and I have had no problems getting enough smoke on my meat with the pellet smoker...until last weekend.

So far, I've done ribs twice, once wrapped, once unwrapped, and a 'poor mans' brisket (chuck roast), and the results were great. Deep and defined smoke rings, tender (but not too mushy), and plenty of clean smoke flavor. These were all done at 225.

But this last weekend, I decided to try turkey thighs. I brined them in an IPA, salt, sugar, citrus brine, and smoked them at 275 (wanted crispy skin) until they reached about 168 internal. I noticed through the entire smoke, that there just was not that much smoke being produced, like for the ribs and chuck I did previously.

Don' t get me wrong, they still ended up tasting very good, but the smoke was pretty light on them. Not like the fully smoke flavor of my ribs and chuck.

I'm thinking that I should have done them at 200-225 for a couple of hours, then turned them to 275. I read a couple of places, that pellet smokers burn too cleanly at 275, and just don't produce that much smoke at higher temps.

Has anyone had any experience getting good smoke at higher temps with pellet smokers? What did you do?

*and please, no "you can't get real smoke flavor with pellet smokers" posts, because I proved otherwise with my ribs and chuck.
High there and welcome!

I don't own a pellet smoker but have read a million posts like this and other pellet smoker posts.
The solution would be to get a pair of pellet smoker tubes and burn pellets in that tube for smoke. Burn one tube in pellet smoker and have 1 ready to swap once the one burning runs out. You can alternate and basically burn forever :)

As you see higher temps = less smoke. With poultry though u want that higher temp so skin isn't rubber and is instead edible or even crispy.
Briskets, ribs, chucks, pork butts, etc. don't care what temp they are smoked at so you can go quite high with them but will lose smoke. Solution = smoke from pellet tubes again.

So in short produce smoke with a pellet tube for flavor. Burn pellets in the hopper for cooking temp. Now you have smoke control and temp control separated for the best results you can come up with.

I said get 2 tubes so you can run them one after another. The tubes may get you 3-5hrs of smoke so if you have 2 you burn one and when it is done u add the other and keep swapping until you get all the smoke you want (think long brisket or porkbutt smokes).

The pellet trays need more oxygen and are reported to not work in pellet smokers so stick with tubes. Find extended ones and ones that are oval or octagon shape so they dont roll on you.

Finally. If you go this route you will have seperate heat and smoke control.
In this case you can burn the least expensive pellets that burn well (pit boss) as your heat source and supplemental smoke.
You then burn premium 100% wood pellets brands in your pellet tubes to get the best smoke flavor you are looking for.(Lumberjack or Perfect Pellet are 100% of the wood on the label or they explicitly tell you its a blend. All other brands blend where you may get a max of 35% of the wood on the label and the rest of the wood is usually alder or oak, very disappointing) These Lumberjack/Perfect Pellet pellets are more expensive but they DESTROY other brands when it comes to smoke flavor because they are 100% of wood on the label or are premium blends where they don't skimp on the main wood you want. You can also buy a different bags of 100% and make your own custom blends (what I do) and burn in your pellet tubes.

This little trick will have your good 100% flavor wood lasting forever being used in the tubes and save major hits to your wallet since you can burn less expensive pellets for like $15 for 40lbs. Win-win!

Something like these tubes (never bought these so can't attest to them but u get 2 and they are all just tubes with holes so I bet these work fine and are 12inch each):
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I hope this info helps :)
 

RCAlan

Smoking Fanatic
402
237
Joined Aug 26, 2018
I recently bought a Z Grills pellet smoker, and so far, I am happy with it. Got it brand new and unbuilt off of Craig's list for less than half of retail price.

I am experienced with stick burners and vertical electric smokers, and I have had no problems getting enough smoke on my meat with the pellet smoker...until last weekend.

So far, I've done ribs twice, once wrapped, once unwrapped, and a 'poor mans' brisket (chuck roast), and the results were great. Deep and defined smoke rings, tender (but not too mushy), and plenty of clean smoke flavor. These were all done at 225.

But this last weekend, I decided to try turkey thighs. I brined them in an IPA, salt, sugar, citrus brine, and smoked them at 275 (wanted crispy skin) until they reached about 168 internal. I noticed through the entire smoke, that there just was not that much smoke being produced, like for the ribs and chuck I did previously.

Don' t get me wrong, they still ended up tasting very good, but the smoke was pretty light on them. Not like the fully smoke flavor of my ribs and chuck.

I'm thinking that I should have done them at 200-225 for a couple of hours, then turned them to 275. I read a couple of places, that pellet smokers burn too cleanly at 275, and just don't produce that much smoke at higher temps.

Has anyone had any experience getting good smoke at higher temps with pellet smokers? What did you do?

*and please, no "you can't get real smoke flavor with pellet smokers" posts, because I proved otherwise with my ribs and chuck.
I posted this in another thread earlier this month. Great info and options for you to consider…
Non- PID Controller Pellet Grills will produce a tab bit more smoke, due to their temp swings and cycling of the pellet feed. Pellet grills with PID Controllers will tend to have more stable temperatures, with the trade off of producing a little less smoke. As mentioned by others, you do have a few options to add/improve the smoke production of your pellet grill. 1. Always start your bbq’s low and slow like at temps from 200* degrees or lower for the first couple of hours and then bump the temperature up to finish. 2. You can add a pellet smoke tube and fill it with pellets or a mixture of pellets and hardwood chips. 3. You can also invest/add a Smoke Generator to your pellet grill that burns real hardwood and charcoal. SmokeDaddy has the Magnum P.I.G. which is very nice and effective in adding real hardwood and charcoal smoke to your pellet grill. 4. Lastly, if you have enough space in your pellet grill, you can add a smoke basket and fill it with hardwood and charcoal. I’ve added both, a smoke basket and the SmokeDaddy Magnum P.I.G. smoke generator to my Pellet Pro Austin XL Pellet Grill. I get true hardwood and charcoal smoke throughout my entire cook, from start to finish .

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.02…. All things are possible if you try hard enough. Adding a smoke basket is very effective and the overall cost for a basket is about $30.00.. Most pellet grills produce very little smoke above 250* degrees, so learning and knowing how your particular pellet grill works is key. IMHO, start with adding a pellet smoke tube and a smoke basket for an investment of about $50.00-$60.00 dollars. Use a mixture of pellets and hardwood chips in the smoke tube and load the smoke basket with charcoal and your choice of hardwood. Give that a shot first and see the improvement in the smoke production and the smoke flavor profile on the proteins being bbq’d. Lastly, if you want a huge boost in hardwood smoke production and a more Set it and Forget it setup, then I would suggest checking out the SmokeDaddy Magnum P.I.G. Smoke Gen. Properly loaded, it’ll give you a couple of hours of hardwood and charcoal smoke production, without adding extra heat to your pellet grill and they’re super easy to reload if necessary. I hope the advice and tips help. Good luck.

__________________

Char-Griller 980 GF… Pellet Pro Austin XL and a few more mods... In SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
 

1MoreFord

Smoking Fanatic
601
305
Joined Jan 4, 2020
Let me pile on to some of the previous info. With a pellet grill start low for a while to get as much smoke flavor as you can and then bump the temp up. You can go up a bunch as long as your rub does not have much sugar in it. With poultry you need to get over 325°F for crisp skin. A pellet tube is a good idea too.
 

GrumpyGriller

Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
207
157
Joined Jan 29, 2021
I too have a pellet smoker (Timberline 1300) and use both a smoke tub and the Amaz-N 3-row tray in virtually all my cooks. They most definately help with the smoke and I typically use a different flavor for the tube/tray than what I have in the main hopper. I may well go get a third tube so I can run 2 simultaneously and have an extra for the really long cooks. Now - all that being said, I've read conflicting opinions on how long various proteins can absorb smoke, so could be a moot point after a brisket or butt is on for 12+ hours :)
 

bigfurmn

Master of the Pit
1,691
1,368
Joined Feb 25, 2016
IF you have another grill gas or charcoal, smoke it for a few hours and finish it on a screaming hot grill for a crispy skin. I do that with chicken wings and thighs and it works well if you have another grill.
 

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