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    I think it’s pretty well accepted that pellet smokers don’t produce as much smoke flavor as an offset, for example. I just watched a Mad Scientist video where he theorizes the low moisture content of pellets is the main reason for the differences. I would think Dr Blonder might have a good explanation, but haven’t found it?

    CandySueQ may have some insight on this topic. I very much value her opinion.


    • CandySueQ
      CandySueQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, randy56! Being the opinionated pellet-pusher that I am, I do have thoughts on this video. I agree 100% with the Mad Scientist to get the best pellets you can. I don't think anyone has brought up putting a pan of water in the cooking chamber to add moisture. It was interesting to see moisture content of pellets. Those smaller diameter pellets have less than 1/4 inch pellets. I doubt that pellet moisture makes much difference. Burn efficiency of the cooker is BIG part.

    While that might be part of it, I would suggest that most pellet smokers produce less heavy smoke once they get to higher temps, some of the cheaper cookers don't even produce good smoke above 225. I would guess it's because pellet cookers have to compromise between smoke production (which happens between pellet dumps) and tight temperature controls, which thanks to certain brands marketing, is becoming the priority for buyers. On other fuel cookers, you get constant smoke and can produce it at higher temps consistently.

    The only place my pellet cooker was lacking for me was on fish or poultry cooks, just not enough time at higher temp for a great smoke. Luckily the firmware and design changes on my grill now produce excellent pellet smoke into the 375 range, and surprisingly decent smoke even past 500! Some pellet smokers are starting to have options for separate smoke and temp levels, which doesn't fully compensate for the differences between fuel types, but probably reduces the gap between heavy and light smoke.
    Last edited by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs; August 31, 2021, 03:42 PM.


      Yeah, low temps = more smoke w/ pellets. Temps swings do too. But the issue is that combustion is so complete with pellets, there's little left to go into the air and hit the meat. That fan hitting those burning pellets creates a super hot full combustion, like pointing a blow drier at a bonfire- huge heat and very little smoke. Pellets of course are dry processed wood not whole wood full of natural wood oils and water and sap and so on, so that process is amplified. We try to get thin blue smoke in a stickburner, but pellet cookers take this process to the umpteenth degree by their inherent 'near perfect' combustion.

      I always place my meat right in the cold pellet cooker, then turn it on, never preheat. That cloud of startup smoke is valuable. I find that on longer smokes, like a brisket, I taste more smoke than a short one like a burger. Obvious reasons there, more time for exposure.


      • Jerod Broussard
        Jerod Broussard commented
        Editing a comment
        Every cooker except the ol' pit barrel gets meat loaded before lighting. Still trying to figure out how to slip the charcoal basket through all that meat.

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        Probably don't want to pre-load meat in a stickburner either. But regarding the PBC...trap door mod? The WSM treatment? IMO not a bad idea. Jerod Broussard

      It's the combustion thing as Huskee alludes to.


        Well now I’m going to have to try using start up smoke. I’ve actually been cleaning my grates at the end of my cooks too. I do love the smell of that start up smoke.


        • DogFaced PonySoldier
          DogFaced PonySoldier commented
          Editing a comment
          Try adding a smoke tube?

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          I'll also put a couple thin chunks of wood under the drip tray right on the diffuser. There's a few options to boost smoke.

        Having just purchased a GMG Davy Crockett to take on RV trips ….after cooking only with real wood in my offset smoker for the last 6 years I feel I may be disappointed in the “smoke” I will be getting from my pellet smoker….lots of experiments ahead ….. I have only smoked salmon so far but that turned out wonderful….thanks for the smokeless expectations and how to maybe solve them…..


          BTW, I’m not complaining about lack of smoke, I actually prefer the lighter smoke flavor of the pellet grill. My question was really about the why. Here is the video I mentioned.



            I am a pellet smoker kind of guy. My Traeger on super smoke does just fine.
            Long live the pellet grill and BBQ too.


            • Huskee
              Huskee commented
              Editing a comment
              Whaaaa? No "long live PBR?"

            Smoke is ephemeral anyway. If you are smoking while it is raining there's your humidity.

            Huskee load cold meat, turn on pellet, walk away before you get consumed, not that I have some pre-loaded pellets in the fire pot


              I suggest reading these for a complete education.

              Dr. Blonder; Smoke Flavor.

              Meathead; Wood and Smoke.

              Bill Karau, aka KBQ; How Wood Burns.
              Pellet Cookers; Pro's and Con's.


                I think moisture would be a part of it, more efficient burn with a little pot needing a pretty hot fire to keep even low heat, fans pushing the smoke out of the smoker faster than air moves through most other types, etc. I also think design of the smoker is a big factor too. Many pellet grills have a full length drip pan and high mounted exhaust. This encourages most of the smoke to travel to the very front and rear of the grill and up and out the stack. My experience has been pellet grills that have a lower exhaust across the rear and/or drip pan designs that allow smoke up the sides too produce better smoke flavor. I still think Weber’s design where there is no drip tray produces the best smoke profile in pellet grills, except you end up needed to put your own drip pans in to avoid fires on fatty cooks, but your pan is like to be smaller than a typical grills drip tray. The best pellet grills still won’t match a stick burner though as they’re optimized to push as much smoke as possible across the food on top of burning full splits instead of sawdust.



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