Since it has been a while, you might want to catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before starting with this one. This is my final piece of advice for someone looking to buy their perfect summer BBQ; and that advice is not to buy pellet and electric smokers, they are not real smokers.
The Pellet Smoker
This piece of [worthless] equipment does all the work for you….sounds like a BBQers dream come true, just set it and forget it. Of course not everything that is easy is better. Case and point fast food. Enough said. Many pellet smokers have built-in temperature control, keeping the smoker between 225 and 250 which is really a problem if you want to cook anything besides pork. We like to smoke our famous briskets around 300 to break down the connective tissue and trust me we have tried cooking brisket low and slow…it ended up like shoe leather. Smoked salmon or jerky on the other hand needs to be around 175 so having the ability to control the temperature yourself is imperative.
Also, check out any BBQ message board and you’ll see that people tend to complain about the lack of smoke flavor from these compressed processed pellets. In fact, even if you have a pellet smoker that you can crank the heat up with, the higher the temps cooking with these pellets, the less smoke flavor you get because they burn very cleanly.
And don’t forget, since pellet smokers are automatic, they have parts that can break, like a motor and electronics systems.
Even the man himself, Myron Mixon said at a pitmaster competition, “Man I know I got this thing won when I see the other team fire up a pellet smoker.”
The Electric Smoker
Is that a mini-fridge? Nope, that is the saddest excuse for a smoker that you can possible waste your money on. Sure, they do have a place in resturaunts, since the people cooking can’t maintain the temps on dozens of racks of ribs at a time…unless of course you are in the south, we still cook over open flame pits down here. However, these have no place in your backyard. In fact, if you own one of these get off my blog, close out this window immediately, you are not allowed to use any of my recipes.
The flavor on these is inferior to even the pellet smoker, and don’t ever expect to get that beautiful bark or crispy chicken skin on one of these machines. Hell, most competitions wont even allow electric smokers. Enough said…just dont do it.
July 23, 2013 at 12:18 am
Your wrong about the pellet smoker/grill. It can cook low and slow and at higher temps. I have made some of the best brisket at 225. We cook chicken at 350 and its absolutely tender and juicy. The smoke flavor should be a flavor contributor not the main feature. A good quality cooking pellet is hardwood saw dust that is compressed into pellets. It is hard to beat for excellent flavor and the set and forget until your food is done.
July 24, 2013 at 9:10 am
Perhaps there have been some advancements in pellet smokers recently, people I have spoken with about their experiences using a pellet smoker have not always had such enthusiastic things to say about using pellets over hardwood
I am glad that it works well for you, we still prefer slightly more traditional methods since they allow you to really control the flavor of your food.
August 4, 2013 at 4:27 am
Electrical smokers are indeed inferior, and you won’t be able to get the same flavor and aroma like using a traditional smoking process, but honestly i do not think they are that bad. The meat still cooks decently. I have no idea about the pellets smokers, as i have never tried one.