The flavor and the versatility have made wood pellet smokers a favorite with serious backyard chefs. A good wood pellet smoker will smoke, roast and grill.
A wood pellet is a little piece of hardwood about 1/4-inch in diameter that looks sort of like a large pill. Wood pellets burn quickly and cleanly and produce a fine ash. Wood pellets burn at about 8,500 BTUs per Dollar. They can be purchased in an assortment of types ranging from oak and hickory to apple, mesquite or cherry. In a normal pellet grill the pellets are fed from a storage hopper to what’s called the burning box at a controlled rate. You can adjust the rate depending on if you want a low temperature for smoking or a high temperature for grilling.
Since the wood pellets feed automatically, you can turn the unit on, give it 10 to 15 minutes to heat up and literally be ready to immediately grill. This makes it as convenient as a gas grill but adds the flavor of wood smoke to your cooking.
Most companies that manufacture wood pellet smokers have a temperature control unit (sometimes optional, but fairly necessary) that allows you to set the temperature to within 5 degrees of what you believe would be ideal. This automation is also great when it comes to smoking. You can smoke for hours in a temperature controlled environment with little work from you.
One important thing to think about before you invest in a wood pellet smoker, is the cost and availability of fuel. Since a pellet grill uses only pellets, you need to be sure you have a good source for them. Wood pellets sell anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00 a pound, though you can get them for less if you buy in bulk.
When you have the smoker on high, it will consume about 2 pounds of pellets per hour. This is the temperature at which you would grill steaks and burgers. You probably wouldn’t want to run the grill for a full hour but an average, high temperature cooking would be around 30 minutes.
When you have the wood pellet smoker set to smoke, it will consume about 1/2-pounds of pellets per hour. This means that if you plan to smoke your meal for 10 hours you will use 5 pounds of pellets. If you are doing a lot of smoking or grilling you could use a lot on pellets meaning that this can be more expensive than a gas grill. It really pays to shop around for the yes price on pellets but make sure you are getting good quality as well. Bad pellets can jam up a pellet grill and cause your fire to go out.
If you are serious about getting real wood fire flavor in an easy to use unit, you really need to consider buying a wood pellet smoker.