I remember when I got my first pellet smoker a couple years back, a friend told me the purchase would “change my life!” At the time, I laughed because I didn’t believe a grill could have such an impact. But truth be told, he wasn’t kidding, especially when it came to cooking wild game.
Even though I have long since passed that first grill to my dad so I could upgrade, it feels as though not a week has gone by that I haven’t used my smoker. And I am not the only one “rolling smoke” more often.
The use of pellet smokers has grown exponentially, as has the number of companies making them (Traeger, Camp Chef, Green Mountain Grill, Pit Boss, recteq, Oklahoma Joe’s, and the list goes on). It is now common to see them in all your big box, hardware and sporting goods stores. In fact, their use is becoming so prevalent, I have seen people toting them to BBQ competitions and winning. 😳
If you haven’t yet joined the pellet smoker revolution and need an excuse to do so, here are just a few reasons to make the life-changing decision.
This is hands down the absolute, most important reason to get a pellet smoker. If you don’t care about how your food tastes or you dislike the taste of food cooked over wood, then don’t even bother reading another line.
But, if you enjoy that added smoky, wood-fired flavor, then a pellet smoker should be in your future. Just know that there is no point to using the smoker to prepare dishes that are covered, as you won’t get any wood-fired flavors in the mix.
The depth of flavor added, even on quickly grilled burgers, has been enough to convince friends they needed a smoker. When you begin cooking things like pulled pork or roasts that take on more smoke due to extended cook times, the flavor profile is intensified by the smokiness. And wild game cooked low and slow with smoke will have you getting in touch with your hunter-gatherer roots. There may be no better way to eat wild game, in my humble opinion.
Even items like cinnamon rolls or freezer pizzas cooked on the smoker have an entirely new and delightful profile thanks to the added flavor from being wood-fired.
Seriously, there is no end to the recipes or dishes you can elevate by cooking on a pellet smoker.
You don’t have to be a Michelin-starred chef to crank out top quality dishes off a pellet smoker. In fact, they are incredibly easy to use once set up and plugged in. Fill the hopper with pellets, power up the smoker, turn the dial (or digital setting) to the desired temperature and you’ll be smoking in no time.
With Wi-Fi enabled models, you can monitor and adjust your smoker’s temps from a phone. Set a probe alert for whatever you are cooking and be notified once you reach that desired temp. This is a supremely beneficial feature when it comes to cooking wild game as these meats quickly dry out if overcooked.
I actually took advantage of this feature on my Camp Chef Woodwind the other day while sitting in my deer stand. I saw the brisket I was cooking was nearing my desired temp of 204 degrees, so I reduced the grill temp to 200 degrees until I got home. (Note: Don’t run smoke while nobody is home just for safety sake!)
Cleanup on some pellet smokers can be easy, as well. Take for instance, the Camp Chef brand smokers. With the pull of a lever, the hopper is cleared of ash and ready for the next smoke.
With precise temperature settings, a pellet smoker can be used for anything you would otherwise cook in an oven.
With low-smoke settings, you can make venison jerky. And, since high-end temps on many models of pellet smokers reach at or above the 450-degree mark, you can say goodbye to that propane-fueled grill currently occupying space on your porch.
In addition to the normal grill fare such as ribs, steaks, burgers and dogs, I have cooked breads, veggies and even prepared a few varieties of desserts. I honestly haven’t found much it can’t do.
Smokers also can be versatile based on grill design. Need to smoke numerous racks of ribs at once? You can find a smoker with a large cooking surface area. Simply want a pellet smoker to tote on weekend camping trips or to the tailgate field? There are models designed for this purpose as well, though you will need a source of power.
So, now knowing these aspects of cooking with a pellet smoker, what are you waiting for? Start googling pellet smoker manufacturers or head to your local store to get a look at brands, and pick one up so you, too, can begin to enjoy wood-fired meals.