The biggest appeal of pellet smoker is how easy they are to use, compared to charcoal grills. They are simpler in every aspect, including startup, temperature control, and even maintenance.
Before you cook anything, you need to season the smoker. This is a crucial step for any type of new smoker, and helps protect it from the negative effects of long term continuous use. Essentially you will apply amcooking oil to the grates and inside of the chamber and then take the smoker on a ‘dry run’ without food. This will cook the oil onto the inside surfaces of the smoker, forming a protective layer across it. After you have seasoned it, leave the smoker to cool and rest for at least 24 hours before using it again.
So, how do pellet grills actually work?
The wood pellets are poured into the box on the side of the grill known as the hopper.
An electrically powered auger motor filters the proper amount of pellets into the cooking chamber.
There, they are lit by the igniter and heat the chamber.
While this occurs, fans circulate air in the chamber to create convection and a smoky, delicious cloud of flavor. The motor will stop the input of pellets once the inside of the chamber has reached the correct temperature.
Preheat your smoker before using it to cook; this can take about 10 minutes or so. Next, add your meat onto the grates and cook it!!
Add your pellets next. Pellet flavors vary, and can dramatically impact the quality of your final cut of meat. While mesquite or hickory works well with strong and robust meats like brisket, they will overpower chicken, turkey, and fish. If you decide to smoke poultry, use light and sweet wood like apple or cherry. If you’re smoking ribs, apple is the perfect pick.
Smoke your meat over that indirect heat; blue smoke is usually a good sign. Low and slow is the way to do it. Give that smoke lots of time to impart those wonderful flavors to your meat.
Once you’re done smoking meat after several hours, the last step you want to do is to shut down your grill. Unlike a charcoal grill which you can just allow to burn out, a pellet grill will require you to manually shut it down.