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Pellet vs gasser? Any thoughts

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    Pellet vs gasser? Any thoughts

    Got a propane smoker and am considering a pellet. Got two questions for this knowledgeable group. 1) would I be losing smokiness going to a pellet smoker (I know compared to charcoal or wood sticks, it is less) and then 2) any thoughts on vertical pellet smokers? I like that the water pan is right below my meat and the smaller footprint. But if there’s even less smoke taste, not interested. Thoughts and opinions? (I guess that makes 3 questions!)

    #2
    Maybe I'm the outlier, but having owned a Traeger for almost 10 years, I never ate food thinking "man I wish it was smokier", I always felt like it had just the right amount. I'm the wrong guy to ask on a gasser, I just don't have the desire to add one to my arsenal. The reason I no longer own a Traeger is they are mechanical and it was becoming a bummer always fixing something on it.

    I find the pellet cookers to be perfect blend of gasser convenience but with wood flavor. Good luck!
    Last edited by au4stree; March 24, 2020, 01:39 PM. Reason: Edit to add: I have no experience with vertical smokers.

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      #3
      I like the flavor from me gassers (old one and current one). Don't know anything about pellet poopers.

      Comment


        #4
        Started with an offset with wood or a charcoal/wood mixture, went to the PBC, eventually gas with wood in the offset (converted that dude), kettle with charcoal/wood mixture, pellet smoker......the 100's I've cooked for can't tell, I can't tell, other than I get more sleep with the pellet.

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          #5
          Depends what wood you use with your gasser. If you use hefty chunks, and especially if you add more t/o the cook, you may get more smoke with it. If you used chips and only toss one dose on, you may find more smoke with a pellet. Pellets are very delicate, but noticeable, since there's a little smoke the whole cook, but never a lot of smoke.

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          #6
          I appreciate all the quick feedback. Some good thoughts and not off the cuff remarks you get on other forums. All helpful to make a decision.

          Comment


            #7
            IMO, a pellet grill’s benefit is solely convenience. I’m guessing you are talking about a vertical gas smoker? I’ve always been happy enough with the smoke from a pellet grill. I don’t have hands on with a vertical model, but know the pit boss are very susceptible to getting moisture in the pellet hopper, so if you are storing outdoors, keep that in mind. Camp chef makes one too with a hopper that appears to match their Woodwind grills.

            I will say if you are willing to deal with the minor issues with the SmokeFire, it’s by far hard the most pronounced smoke profile of any pellet grill I’ve had.

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              #8
              Pretty strong argument that you need both.

              Comment


                #9
                Depends on what you are actually wanting. I have a vertical gas smoker and had a GMG pellet. I ended up getting rid of the pellet grill because it just didn’t perform like expected. I had auger issues and very uneven temps. Plus I already had a gas grill. I kept the vertical smoker because we use it as a second oven a lot, so it has a duel purpose. I bought a PBC and love it!!

                Comment


                  #10
                  I don’t have one, but have thought of getting a Campchef Smokevault 24, especially as I have a natural gas hookup I could use it with, if I move the wood pile and make a spot for it. There is also a Masterbuilt gas smoker with a thermostat I believe.

                  If I get a pellet smoker it is likely going to be a Grilla. Their original model is vertical and takes less patio space than most pellet smokers, with the extended upper rack you can fit a good bit of food on it.

                  Comment


                  • Dadof3Illinois
                    Dadof3Illinois commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That Campchef Smokevault doubles as an oven when you need extra space during the holidays or big feeds.

                  #11
                  love my vertical gas smokers, I have two...love my vertical charcoal smokers, I have 4 (2 are trailer rigs), love my offset stick burners, I have 2 (both in the trailers). I do not like pellet poopers. I get better smoke in the Gasser, as easy temperature control and set and forget, and none of the problems. To each their own.

                  Comment


                  • jfmorris
                    jfmorris commented
                    Editing a comment
                    So texastweeter do you have the SmokeVault, and do you recommend it? If so, how many of the typical 8# boston butt do you think the SmokeVault 24 would hold?

                  • texastweeter
                    texastweeter commented
                    Editing a comment
                    jfmorris yes I have the 24. With the racks supplied you could probably do 12-18 butts. Yes I recommend it. I cook on it probably more often than any of my other smokers. Hot-spot is at the top as the heat "pools" there.

                  • jfmorris
                    jfmorris commented
                    Editing a comment
                    texastweeter wow - I never expected that it could hold 12 to 18 butts. I was thinking 6 to 9, with 2 or 3 per rack. If you can fit 4-5 per rack, that may make this my next MCS purchase.

                  #12
                  There's a lot of good info here. I think I need a spreadsheet to sort it all out. But that's a good problem! The other day I read Max's review of the SmokeFire. Seemed like a pretty good unit. Maybe I'm reading too much into his review, but it seemed like there were issues he felt needed to be tweaked, like maybe it wasn't quite ready for prime time? I'll take another look at that one. And, I have to say, convenience is one of the main reasons I'm looking at the pellet smokers. If there was a little bit of smoke lost, I'm fine with that; a lot, no. And, Jerod, I like hearing that you haven't really noticed a difference. I did read about the Grilla, also. As reviews said, because of it's strange design, it puts out a lot of smoke, but still not up to charcoal or wood sticks if that's what you're looking for. So many smokers, so little time!

                  Comment


                    #13
                    I would say regarding the SmokeFire that if you are willing to use drip pans, don’t mind scraping it out after every longer cook, use Weber’s pellets, and get the hopper insert from Weber, it will cook very well. They are releasing new firmware that has a relight function if you do bridge and flameout too. The cleaning was the biggest factor for me. They missed a few of their promises. However, you know what it is now from all the reviews before you would buy it, so these would be disappointing surprises like being one of the first to discover them. I’ve had a couple moments where I wish I would have kept it, but them look at my Summit charcoal and say, nah I can get hotter on that in maybe five minutes more. The SmokeFire really does grill well as well as smoke.

                    I’m using a Woodwind now and it’s got enough smoke for me, but less than the SmokeFire.

                    Comment


                      #14
                      The Woodwind does look nice, no doubt.I'll have to read more about it.

                      So a question no one as yet addressed or maybe it's not a big issue. Early in looking at smokers in general, and Max Good commented on this in Meatheads, an advantage of vertical smokers (other than smaller footprint) is that the water pan is directly below your food and helps keep everything a little more moist. I do like that in my present Smoke Hollow. But is that a big issue or not? It seemed to make sense to me, but maybe it's not a big deal.

                      Comment


                      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
                        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I don't think I've seen a single pellet grill that recommends a waterpan. The gas ones do because it's a dry heat. Pellets supposedly release moisture during the burn. Some folks will use a drip pan to reduce cleaning needs, but I have yet to meet a meat that needs a waterpan with my pellet cooker.

                      • glitchy
                        glitchy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Actually, the SmokeFire manual recommends a water pan on long cooks. The first recommendation I’d seen (or actually paid enough attention to notice anyway) for one in the plethora of poopers I’ve owned. I used one cooking brisket on the SmokeFire and it was the best brisket I’ve ever made. A big problem is usually space for one in a pellet grill.
                        Last edited by glitchy; March 25, 2020, 08:24 PM.

                      • glitchy
                        glitchy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        and I’m very happy with the Woodwind, I don’t expect it to grill like the SmokeFire nor put out the smoke level of my Summit or OKJ though. There’s just enough for smoke to be another spice in the recipe.

                      #15
                      OK, that's good to know. I just assumed that all vertical pellet smokers were like all gas pellet smokers. (and we know what happens to people who assume--prime example right here). What you learn from people who know! Seems I should have figured that out awhile ago but didn't. Feeling pretty dumb right now 'cuz that was one of the reasons I was looking for a vertical PS; what a surprise I would have had. Opens the door up to other possibilities. Probably can't un-see my question, can you . . .

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