Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More thoughts on Pellet Smoker Cooking

Most people who go from a wood, (stick burner) smoker to a pellet smoker find it does not give them the smoke flavor they were used to. Some of them add a smoke daddy, a small smoke generator for additional smoke. I went from water smokers to my Traeger so the smoke flavor I get is right for me. Hickory, mesquite, & cherry are some of the stronger flavor pellets. Most of the other wood is milder & I don’t see much difference in their flavor. I think most people will agree that a thin blue smoke is better than white smoke. Too much white smoke will give a more acrid taste. On a pellet smoker you get the most smoke flavor between 160 & 180 deg.
Some meat cuts that are suited to low & slow cooking are Pork butts & shoulders, pork ribs, beef briskets, and beef chuck roasts.
I find that most poultry, pork loins, and meaty beef roast are better cooked from 250 to 350 deg. You don’t get as much smoke taste but I think it is a unique flavor you get from being cooked over a wood fire. I brine most all poultry, unless marinated, and pork loins before smoking, this insures you get a good moist meat.
Even though the Traeger will get to 500 deg on a hot day, I find it takes too long & you burn up a lot of pellets to sear a steak & do a 10 min. cook. For steaks I use my Weber Q100. Although I do like hamburgers done on the Traeger, 300 deg for ½ hour, turning half way through. Those grill marks are pretty, but when you get it on a bun with all the fixins I don’t think you could tell if it had grill marks or not!
Last summer I tried about everything on my Traeger, pulled pork, beef brisket, pork ribs, braised pork belly, corn bread in a cast iron skillet, chili w/cornbread & cheese topping, pizza, beans, brats, sausage, mush, fish, meatloaf, potatoes, corn on the cob, veggies, jalapeno poppers, boudin balls and even cured my own bacon & smoked it.
Most all the meat I get from my local butcher less than ½ mile away. I also bought my smoker from him. He makes some of the best fresh brats around, at least 6 types. I also know I am getting fresh local meat. Some people are not that fortunate & must buy from large chain groceries. If you buy any meats in cryopaks & it does not say fresh but says packed in a solution, it contains salt. I would recommend soaking in water for a period to remove some & don’t use salt based seasoning or rubs.
My favorite cooks are pulled pork & pork ribs. For new years day I always have to have my pork & kraut for good luck, I do up some kind of pork roast or ribs, add sauerkraut & onions. Then my wife usually makes some knopfles, drop noodles to add near the end & serve over mashed potatoes. I did manage to do it on my Traeger this year. I did a rack of baby back ribs & some bratwurst, then added all to a large foil roast pan on the smoker & had the best New Years meal ever.


  1. Thanks and the comment on not enough smoke flavor. Us
    Using a stick burner, I was looki for a set and forget smoker so went to Traeger on recommendation from many friends. Noticed the smoke punch was not there. Going to try the different woods and see. Only had it for less than a month and there will be a leaning curve. Just have to find a way to store pellets ;-)

    1. Rick one product to add more smoke is amazen products. I have used the 6 and 12 inch tube. The 6 will kive about 2 hours of smoke and they work well. Here is a link the their product. Don

    2. The link did not work so will add it to my favorite sites. Don