If you are used to eating perfectly smoked meat pieces then you might not prefer it done in any other way. Whether its ribs, pork or brisket, smoking does something to the meat that changes its flavor inside out. It can produce juicy and tender meat due to the extended exposure to the flavorful smoke at low temperature.
Now there are different types of smokers available and they all have their pros and cons. In this post of electric smokers vs. pellet smokers, we’ll focus on two of the best-known types and see which one comes out on top.
So, let’s get to it!
Difference: electric smoker vs. pellet smoker
One thing at which an electric smoker is the best is that it allows you to initiate the cooking process with just a push of a button. You just need to press it and the smoker will start doing the thing.
The controls are either digital or analog. The digital version comes with a screen with all the heat controls while the analog smoker will have a rotary dial for you to make the adjustments to the temperatures.
However, there are a lot of probability issues. It does the cooking a lot faster than a propane smoker. But here’s the thing, it is only good if you prefer fast cooking times and you might have to compromise on those deep flavoring bites. With some special techniques and experience, you might be able to get close to the hardwood flavors but it still not matches when it comes to the essence.
This is where a pellet smoker comes in to play its part. This smoker combines all the features of an electric smoker and a propane one too. Pellet smokers work a lot differently than electric smokers and the process is a bit complicated too. There is a temperature control that allows you to keep the heat in check. For ignition, there is a heating rod and it uses wood pellets as fuel. The dial allows you to focus on the cooking process instead of having a look at the grill repeatedly.
One of the best features of a pellet smoker is that it can provide you with that deep flavoring that comes directly from the wood. This is something that you can never achieve using an electric smoker. You can also use different types of wood pellets to get mixed yet exclusive flavoring meat that you crave for!
In our comparison of electric smokers vs. pellet smokers, the next point of consideration is health effects. While smoking overall is considered to be a better choice of cooking foods as compared to other methods there is no comparison that needs to be done. Both these versions of smokers don’t use gas or charcoal as fuels and they also cook indirectly.
So there are very fewer chances that your food is going to absorb any harmful chemicals due to the combustion process. There are high risks associated with the combustion process in charcoal and gas grills and for this reason, they are considered to be very unhealthy. Researchers have found that grilling meat can cause various types of skin, liver and lung issues. Smokers, on the other hand, keep you safe from all these hazards.
How do pellet smokers work?
As mentioned above, there is a heating rod within this smoker that ignites the wood pellets. A combustion fan keeps that rod igniting and ultimately the pellets burning. There are vertically lined vents that are present inside the firebox and it creates a circular airflow.
There is another fan that is present within the pellet hopper and it maintains a positive pressure and it also prevents any burning back within the auger tube. The good thing is that pellet smokers come in a variety of designs and equipped with a range of different features. Due to this reason, different models come with different features and no one is similar to the other.
How does an electric smoker work?
Again, the heat here comes from a glowing metal rod. Wood is placed right above this rod and it is then allowed to smolder. The combusted heat then joins with the wood to create gases that can provide your food with that distinct flavor that you need. Some electric smokers feature a rheostat. This rheostat can lower the electricity flow just like an electric stove or hotplate.
Other models come with different heat settings. Instead of a rheostat, some models of electric smokers feature thermostats and they are far more sophisticated. With all these features you can control the heat very precisely according to your requirements and references.
Do you need to soak the wood chips or not?
It is a point of traditional wisdom that you need to soak the wood chunks or chips for some time before you start using them in your electric or pellet smoker. This is mentioned in all the recipes books and a lot of people also do the same. Let’s debunk this myth!
Wood doesn’t absorb water
The thing is wood doesn’t absorb a lot of water even if you keep it soak for more than 12 hours. Even after soaking much of the wood pieces are bone-dry on the inside. The surface area might have absorbed some water but that doesn’t matter a lot.
Produces blue smoke
Soaked wood chips or chinks will produce gray, white or black smoke as opposed to the pale blue smoke that dry wood chips or chinks produce. If you want a good flavor then you need that blue smoke because it is also healthier than its gray, black or white counterpart.
Prevent cooling down the coals
Another reason why you need to use dry chips or chinks is that soaked ones will instantly cool down the charcoal and you know you don’t want that to happen because when cooking meat you always have to maintain a steady temperature at all times.
Prevent dry pellets from catching fire
Some people complain that the dry chips tend to catch fire the moment you place them on the burning coal. To prevent this from happening you can use a foil and place your wood chips in it. Make a bag and poke some holes. Just place it on the coals. Even if you don’t do that it’s all fine, just let the wood burn. This is how you are going to get that pale blue smoke.
Planking also goes dry
Some people say that planking also requires wet wooden plank but the issue remains here as well. The midsection of the plank is still bone dry even if you soak it for more than a day. Why do you think they make boats out of wood? If water can penetrate wood then they wouldn’t have used wood to create the boats or they would have drowned very easily.
Boats don’t sink because water cannot penetrate wood apart from some of the surface area. So you don’t need to soak your wood pellets, chips or chinks even for half an hour as those recipe books suggest!
In conclusion, we will say that whether you use an electric smoker or pellet smoker, if you are health conscious then they both will work for you. None of them use any harmful fuels that can jeopardize your health. But when there is a case of comparing them both with each other, pellet smokers take the lead over electric smokers.
Electric smokers are good if you want to accurately control the cooking temperatures according to your requirements and preferences. But they will not provide you with that deeply flavored meat that you crave for. On the other hand, with pellet smokers, you can get all the flavors you want. These smokers can also cook your meat to perfection. All in all, pellet smokers can serve you much better than electric ones. Electric models are better if you want to cook your recipes at a rapid pace.