BBQ Dictionary - A Glossary of BBQ Terms

Pellet Smoker

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A Pellet Smoker uses hardwood pellets for the fuel source instead of wood, charcoal, gas or electric.  Is a pellet smoker the same as a pellet grill?  Not necessarily, a pellet smoker can smoke but not always grill but a pellet grill can both smoke and grill.  Well, some will say that not all pellet grills can get hot enough to grill but you can read more about pellet grills here.

Pellet grills and pellet smokers operate on the same principle: a digital controller regulates pellet delivery through an auger feed and forced air via fan to the fire pot which produces both heat and smoke at the temperature you have selected.  Electricity is required to run these units but it is very minimal; about 50 amps or so for the igniter to start the pellets on fire which only takes a few minutes and then 3-5 amps to run the fan and auger motor for the remainder of the cook.  It couldn’t get any easier than that.

Currently the Cookshack Fast Eddy’s FEC100 is the most popular pure pellet smoker; it does NOT grill.  The FEC100 has been very successful in restaurants and on the BBQ competition circuit.

FEC 100 Pellet Smoker

Some popular pellet grills that both smoke and grill are MAK Grills pellet smoker grills, Hearthland’s Memphis Grills, Green Mountain Grills, Danson’s Louisiana Grills and Country Smokers, and Traeger Grills.  Again, read more about the pellet grill.

Note:  Only BBQ grade pellets should be used when cooking food.  NO heating pellets should be used at any time for smoking or grilling food. Why? Although there is no official “BBQ Grade” or “Food Grade” certification wood pellet manufacturers will mark their packaging as such – please research your pellet source before cooking with it.  BBQ pellets are made from raw hardwood materials that have never been used in any product previously, have no fillers or binders in them and if a lubricant is used in the manufacturing process it is a food grade oil such as vegetable oil.  Heating pellets are manufactured from any mix of  raw and waste material and can have any number of harmful ingredients included such as chemical binders and petroleum lubricants.  You wouldn’t throw an old piece of your pressure treated deck or particle board furniture in your smoker would you? So don’t cook with heating pellets!

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