In this comparison of pellet grills vs. smokers, we’ll compare two of the most commonly used BBQ equipment. A smoker is all about those juicy steaks with that iconic flavor that we all love so much. On the other hand, a pellet grill is something that brings innovation and allows you to use wood pellets for that extra flavor.
In addition to that, you can do a lot more than just your steaks with a pellet grill. Both of these cooking equipments are excellent in their own regards. They cater specific demands of food lovers and they both have their own pros and cons. In this post, we will try to explore all of them in a brief manner.
So let’s get on with it!
Pellet grill vs. smoker – The difference!
To begin the comparison we must first understand what a pellet grill is and how a smoker differs from it. A pellet grill directly plugs into your electric outlet. It burns the sawdust of hardwood that has been compressed into cylindrical small pellets. You can monitor the temperature with the digital controller that is present inside the grill. A pellet grill can automatically feed the pellets for the purpose of maintaining the temperature. Pellet grills have grown in stature recently because they provide you with authentic woody flavor and you don’t have to babysit the whole cooking process as well.
On the other hand, a smoker is a piece of cooking equipment that allows you to cook slowly within a controlled smoky environment. Now there are different types of smokers that works on different types of fuels including pellets, charcoals and wood. You have to babysit the food and also have to maintain the smoke inside the smoker. In a traditional smoker, you will have to use wood for heating the food and providing it with that woody flavor. An electric smoker requires you to add wood to a heated chamber. In simple words, any piece of equipment that can maintain slow heat temperatures for long hours and can also create heat is technically a smoker.
Health aspects – Pellet grill vs. smoker
The next thing to consider in our pellet grills vs. smokers comparison is the healthy aspect. This is where pellet grills take the lead over smokers. According to a number of studies conducted by the National Cancer Inst. Certain types of cooking methods for meat including grilling on charcoal can increase the risks of cancer substantially.
On the other hand, the use of wood pellets can significantly reduce this risk because people are less exposed to carcinogens. Further research is being conducted in this regard as well. Wood pellets are far more effective in terms of health as compared to the cooking equipment that uses propane or charcoal directly as fuels.
Another point that you should note here is that smokers are for people who are very experienced in this regard. For a newcomer, it is more of a common practice to serve one individual with overcooked and the other with underdone steak while using a smoker.
However, in the case of pellet grills, the consistency is more common because all of your food is going to get the proper temperature and the amount of flavoring according to your requirements and preferences. Additionally, you don’t have to babysit your food either.
Are wood pellet grilled foods healthy?
Yes, wood pellet grilled foods are more healthy because they are involved in an indirect cooking method. Indirect cooking greatly reduces the development of any carcinogenic chemicals. The primary reason behind that is they are made of food grade materials and nothing else. There are types of other pellets for heating.
They are made of softwood and are only for the purpose of heating. If you use these pellets for BBQ then you are looking to create a chemical disaster and you don’t want to consume any of it. It is important that you only look for wood pellets that are made of food grade materials if you want to use them for cooking.
Are wood pellets toxic?
As mentioned above there are different types of wood pellets. Some of them are for heating while others are made for cooking. As harmless as they seem the heating pellets have a tendency to generate carbon monoxide.
On the other hand, if you are looking to buy the pellets that are food grade, even then you have to store them properly so that they cannot react with the oxygen in the air. Make sure that you always look for food grade wood pellets if you want to use them in your cooks.
How do pellet grills work?
The operation of a pellet grill is very simple. You just have to set its temperature using the digital controller. This will be the temperature that the grill will maintain for the cooking process. The computer inside this pellet grill will command the auto auger for feeding the pellets to the burn cup that is present right at the base of the grill. Within the cup, there is a hot rod that ignites and heats up the wood pellets.
Right above the cup, there is a plate for heat diffusion for dispersing any direct heat evenly across the grill. This even dispersion of heat will reduce any risks of your food ending up burning, right above that is a grease tray that collects all the fat and it also distributes the heat evenly across the grill. There is a blower fan with a function to circulate smoke across the entire system and this entire setup is to cook your food in a convection styled coking manner.
How long does a pellet grill last?
A pellet grill is going to last for a lifetime if you take care of it properly. Most of the good brands that have their pellet grills on offer come with long warranties as well. This means that these grills are extremely durable and often involve high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.
It is important that you only consider buying from top brands in the market because they will provide you with excellent products. However, you also need to consider that the products from these brands can be expensive as well. For this reason, you need to make your buying decisions carefully here.
If you are an avid outdoor BBQ lover then you look for durable cooking equipment and of course price is not going to matter for you. On the other hand, if you only do BBQs on rare occasions then a regular cooking equipment will suffice as well. Therefore, it is your choice to make which way you want to go.
How much smoke does a pellet grill produce?
The amount of smoke that a pellet grill can produce heavily depends upon two things: the temperature and the pellet kind. In the case of the temperature, at the ignitions stage, the pellets are burning and the amount of smoke at this stage is very high because there is a lot of thick white smoke. It seems as if your house is on fire. When the pellet grill has exited the ignition stage and it is settling towards its target temperature, this is the time when you will see the more settle blue smoke which is in some cases almost invisible. During this time you will see very little of that house-fire smoke.
The other more significant role in producing the smoke amount is the pellet kind that you use. If you use high-quality pellets without any filters then you will have a great chance to get the maximum amount of smoke along with flavor. Pellet materials also contribute here because some blends just don’t create much smoke while others do. The density of wood is the true culprit in this regard. For instance, the apple doesn’t smoke as good as hickory or oak. If you don’t have a cleaner fire pot and it is full of ash then the quantity of smoke will be low here.
In conclusion, we will say that a pellet grill turns out to be the winner in all regards in this pellet grill vs. smoker comparison. The reason behind that is the fuel that both of these cooking equipment use. Wood pellets are far better than any other fuel source for a grill. In addition to that pellet grills come with automatic controllers and you don’t have to keep your eye over the entire cooking process.
This ability is not there in the case of smokers. You can also intensify the flavor according to your wish and also cook according to varying flavor choices and preferences. There are so many recipes that you can cook using your pellet grills but with a smoker, you can only take care of your steaks and a couple of other recipes.