If you have a pellet grill smoker, you might be wondering why you aren’t getting a whole lot of smoke flavor out of your meats. You are not alone, this is a very common problem among pellet grill owners. The reason lies in how pellet grills function.

How pellet grills work: Pellet grills ignite and burn wood pellets in the firepot to produce both heat and smoke. As they burn hotter, they produce less smoke because of the efficiency of the fire. And when they reach the set temperature, they stop burning altogether for a time until they cool slightly and start burning again.

Smoking on a pellet grill: Unlike charcoal and wood-fired smokers that produce constant smoke, pellet grills require special techniques like lower heat, smoke tubes, and wood choices to infuse true smoky barbecue flavor. But don’t worry, there are some super easy barbecue cooking hacks you can do to get much more amazing smoke flavor out of your pellet grill:

1. Smoke at Lower Temperatures and for Longer Times

Because of how pellet grills work, the lower the temperature you cook at, the more smoke they will produce. Cooking low and slow at temperatures between 225-250°F (or even lower) gives the smoke more time to properly penetrate and flavor the meat.

2. Use a Smoke Tube

Pellet smoke tubes are inexpensive perforated metal tubes that hold wood pellets and produce constant smoke alongside your cook. Simply light one end of the pellets and it will smoke for hours, adding extra smoke to your pellet grill for more flavor without adding heat.

3. Use an Accurate Thermometer

Don’t rely solely on your grill’s built-in thermometer, which can often be inaccurate by up to 100°F (ask me how I know). Invest in a high-quality remote thermometer and adjust your grill temperature accordingly to maintain the desired temperature that is best for producing smoke.

4. Use the “Smoke” Setting

Many new pellet grills like Traeger have a “Super Smoke” or a “Smoke Boost” mode like the Weber SmokeFire that uses maximum smoke at low temps usually between 165°F up to 225°F. Use this setting at the start of a cook for an hour or two depending on the size of th meat to really amp up the smoke flavor.

5. Add a Water Pan

A water pan filled with warm water creates humidity inside the grill, which helps attract and absorb smoke to the meat’s surface. More humidity means more smoke flavor. A water pan can also help regulate the temperature of the smoker.

6. Spritz

Misting meat with apple juice, vinegar, or other liquids also increases humidity for better smoke absorption and can also help prevent the meat from drying out. Just be careful not to open the grill too often, as it will cause heat fluctuations and the smoke will escape.

7. Change Your Pellets

Quality pellets are super important and different types of wood in pellets have different flavors, from very subtle to very intense. Changing your pellets and trying different varieties that pair with the food you are smoking is a great way to get more and better smoke flavor. Also, different brands of pellets that are even the same wood type can have different flavors because of the ways they are made and combined.

8. Skip the Wrap

Wrapping meat like a smoked brisket mid-cook seals in moisture but prevents more smoke from reaching the meat, which might be desirable for some types of smokers. Consider skipping this step for maximum time with the smoke when using a pellet grill.

9. Keep the Lid Closed

Don’t peek! Opening the lid frequently releases smoke and heat. Keep it closed as much as possible.

10. Season with Smoked Salt

Smoked salt contains smoke flavor and acts as a “dry brine.” When you salt the meat ahead of time that flavor will be pulled deep into the meat, giving it more smoke flavor. Smoked salt can also be used to add smoke flavor when roasting meats.

With a few tweaks and the right techniques, your pellet grill can produce incredibly smoky barbecue. Give some of these tips a try for your next backyard cookout with some of our amazing smoker recipes like Smoked Pork Ribs and Smoked Pork Butt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.