What is a Pellet Smoker?

If you’re not keen on the dedication that an offset smoker demands, but like the traditional wood-smoked taste, a pellet smoker is the answer to your prayers!

Using one of these innovative machines is a true set and forget smoking experience. And, although the results aren’t exactly the same as you’d get on a stick burner, pellet smokers are being used more and more often on the competitive circuit simply because they’re top-notch.

Although a pellet smoker looks very similar to an offset smoker, they work quite differently. While both have two separate chambers, the smaller of the two on a pellet smoker is actually the pellet hopper. This holds compressed hardwood sawdust that is fed into the bottom of the cooking chamber by an auger. The pellets are then lit by a hot rod and a fan helps to keep the fire going while also distributing heat and smoke evenly around the cooking chamber, much like a regular oven works.

There’s a drip tray that sits over the pellet fire to diffuse direct heat and prevent flare-ups that naturally tarnish the flavour of your ‘cue.

All of this is automated by an electronic temperature monitoring system so you can watch the game, chat with the boys, or, even clean up the yard if you really must.

Some people criticize pellet smokers because they’re too darn easy. But we love em’! What’s wrong with using a bit of technology to make smoking easier and your results better?!?

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Grilling on a Pellet Smoker

Because pellet smokers are usually set up with a heat diffusing plate and a convection fan to circulate even heat, they’re usually not suitable for grilling on.

But there are some pellet smokers that have grilling features built into them. 

Pros of using a Pellet Smoker

  • True set and forget smoker

  • Easy to use

  • Consistently great results

  • True wood smoked flavour

  • Uses a natural fuel

  • Fuel efficient as exactly the right amount of pellets are automatically fed into the fire to maintain your required temperature

  • Large cooking capacity

  • Some models can be used for grilling as well

  • Many models have integrated internal meat temperature monitoring with smartphone Wi-Fi apps that give you precise control over your cook

Cons of using a Pellet


  • The flavour of your meat is directly tied to the type of pellets you use – you can’t just throw some different wood chips in with your charcoal

  • Some people find the taste too smoky while others find it not smoky enough for their liking

  • It’s not a traditional smoking experience

  • Most models can’t be used for grilling as well – they’re dedicated low and slow smokers

  • You need to have access to power to run the temperature control centre, auger and fan

Who Should Buy a Pellet Smoker?

Pellet smokers are perfect for anyone who wants competition-worthy barbecue in their backyard without having to spend hours slaving over it. Check out the Oklahoma Joe's Rider Deluxe Pellet Grill & Smoker or Broil King Regal 500 Pellet Smoker & Grill