Smoking meats and other foods becomes so much easier with an electric smoker. This smoking device allows you to cook various kinds of foods without having to deal with the complicated steps. Just with the electricity as its power source, you can start the smoking process to cook your next delicious meals, whether it’s bacon, cheese, chicken, fish, or any other. Best of all, it’s also a perfect addition for your next BBQ party.
Electric smokers often use wood chips as the source of heat and smoke when you cook your foods. However, pellets are also an excellent alternative to wood chips. The question is whether it’s best to use pellets in your electric smoker. The answer is yes. This simple guide will help you learn more about using pellets in them.
Why Use an Electric Smoker?
First, before we talk about pellets, you need to know the benefits of using an electric smoker. There are plenty of benefits you can get when you use it. There are various things that an electric smoker can offer, which you cannot get from the regular charcoal smoker. So, what makes it a great buying choice?
Here are some benefits of using an electric smoker:
No complicated preparation needed. With an electric smoker, you don’t need to prepare everything before your barbecue party or any other cooking session, as you just need to plug the device to a wall outlet, put on some wood chips or pellets, and start the cooking process. It’s perfect for beginners.
It’s easy to find and use the wood chips and pellets. Wood chips and pellets are available in various department stores and online stores from various brands. The size of the pellets and wood chips is also very compact and small, so you can organize them with ease, unlike the regular charcoals.
It’s convenient to start the cooking process. The electric smoker often gives you various cooking modes with temperature controls that you can use as you see fit. Do you want to cook BBQ? There’s a mode for that. Bacon? There’s a mode for that. It’s also true for other meals.
You can control the temperature. It’s easy to control the temperature by just switching the dial, so you can control how to serve the meals. You also don’t need to control the airflow just like in the regular smoker.
It’s portable and flexible. You can put the electric smoker anywhere, as most of them are portable. It’s great to use for outdoor cooking. Remember, there’s also flexibility of cooking various types of meals with the electric smoker. So, there are plenty of choices for you.
The Reasons Pellets are More Preferable than Wood Chips
Pellets and wood chips almost have the same functionality and offer the same benefits when you use them with an electric smoker. However, please note that some brands will only recommend you to use wood chips while some brands don’t recommend pellets, but you can still use them with no problem, and it also offers some additional benefits for you.
Here are some reasons pellets are more preferable than wood chips:
More refined. Pellets are not just chipped hardwood. It’s the hardwood made into sawdust before it gets pressed and packed as small pellets with the cylindrical shape. It gives you higher quality and long-lasting material for your electric smoker.
Best for cold and hot smoking. Pellets are suitable for both cold and hot smoking. So, giving a smoky flavor to your raw meats is easy when you use pellets. It’s also good for the regular hot smoking or cooking as well.
Gives best smoky taste for your meals. Pellets are also good for giving the best smoky taste for the meals you cook with the electric smoker. You can get a deep and tasty smoky flavor with pellets.
Various flavor options. Pellets also come with various smoky flavors you can choose. There are various brands of pellets that give you the options of various flavors, making your cooking even more tasty and delicious.
Produce much higher temperature for smoking. You can up the temperature in your electric smoker when you use pellets. Wood chips can only go to a certain temperature, but pellets can go much higher in temperature. It’s great to cook large meats.
Some Things to Avoid when Using Pellets in an Electric Smoker
Pellets might give you various benefits, but you need to know that there are also precautions before using pellets in them. Some electric smokers can only use wood chips because they are easier to burn. Pellets will require you to turn up the heat to a certain degree before you can burn it, and some of them can’t produce the required temperature to make pellets work as intended, which is the reason some electric smokers don’t support pellets.
Here are some things to avoid when using pellets in an electric smoker:
Don’t use pellets in a non-supported device. Please note that you can still use pellets in non-supported electric smokers, but you also need to understand that if the manual says that you must not use pellets, it’s easier for you to stay away from using pellets and use the regular wood chips instead.
Don’t get impatient when using pellets. Pellets require high heat to burn. So, with an electric smoker, it means that you need to wait for some time before you can burn the pellets and start the smoking process.
Put some pellets into the tray, but don’t fill it up. Don’t fill up the tray with pellets, as it might not be a best practice for the electric smoker. Leave some room for the pellets to move around. Remember, you don’t want to make the temperature too hot for the electric smoker.
Don’t use too many pellets at once. Use a few pellets in each cooking session using the electric smoker. Perhaps, 5-7 pellets are enough for you to use in one cooking session.
Don’t open the tray when the pellets are burning. Keep it safe when you use pellets for smoking your meats and other foods. Keep the tray closed and don’t open it while the pellets are still burning. This is to prevent any unintended effects.
Tips for Using Pellets in an Electric Smoker
Using pellets in an electric smoker is easy. You just need to put the pellets on the tray and then start the heating process. After some time, you can start the smoking process for your meats and other foods. However, there are some important tips you should know when using pellets in an electric smoker.
Here are some tips for using pellets in an electric smoker:
For cold smoking, using pellets is better than using wood chips, as it can provide you with more smoke flavors for your raw meats.
Choose a good pellet brand recommended for your electric smoker product, as it will provide better taste and cooking result for you.
Don’t leave the electric smoker unattended while using wood pellets, as it will burn fast and produce thick smokes as soon as it burns.
Use the wood pellets suitable for the meats or foods you want to smoke, as it will provide different tastes for the different varieties of foods.
You can use a smoke tube when using the pellets instead of the regular smoker tray.
Using wood pellets is the same as using wood chips in an electric smoker. You just need to pay attention not to fill up the tray when using the pellets, as it might produce too much heat. You can also use a smoke tube if you prefer.
Yes, you can use pellets instead of wood chips. Many electric smokers support the use of pellets, but some brands or product models advise you against using pellets. This is often because of the produced heat, which is not supported by the device. And remember, using pellets might also void your warranty if the electric smoker doesn’t support it.
Yes, you can. You can use pellets made by Traeger for electric smoker products that they make. You can also use it for electric smoker products from other brands.
Yes, you still can use pellets in a non-pellet smoker. However, please note that it will often void your warranty. Also, if the smoker advises against using pellets, it might be better for you not to use it or use it only for special occasions.
So, the answer to the question if you can use pellets in an electric smoker is yes. It’s a simple answer, and almost all of them, such as the ones released this year or few years ago, can use pellets. You just need to pay attention to the manual instruction that comes with your electric smoker product.
Some old smokers might not support using pellets, but even more so, it’s still possible to use it. Pellets have many benefits compared to the wood chips, as already explained in this guide, and you can try using it from time to time if you are a regular wood chip user. It might give you a unique smoky taste in your meats and other foods. Happy cooking!