It never ceases to amaze me when I read stuff on the Internet that is counter to what I know to be true.

Most of it is just lack of knowledge and hearsay. If we know of a friend or relative who made shoe leather out of a brisket on a three hundred dollar pellet smoker, then all pellet smokers must be unreliable and worthless.

Unfortunately there are others who put out distorted information concerning pellet smokers for a more nefarious reason. Some companies who create smokers that use fuel other than pellets, have been known to put out a little misinformation from time-to-time.

The truth is that pellet smokers have won many competitions across this country and they will handle your backyard BBQ needs as well.

My favorite misconceptions about pellet smoking
  • You can't get a good smoke ring with pellet smokers - The idea that a pellet smoker cannot produce good smoke and therefore cannot adequately smoke your food is just not true. I have found that my pellet smoker can actually over-smoke the meat. I find myself wrapping with foil more often than not to prevent too much smoke flavor in my food. This myth probably started from folks using cheap department store smokers and/or not understanding smoking temperatures as related to smoke output.
  • Pellets cost too much - Pellets cost between .75 cents to 1 dollar a pound. The average cook will burn about 1 pound per hour. So an 8 hour cook will cost you about 8 dollars. Compare that with a standard 4 burner propane gas grill and you will find that it will go through a 20 gallon tank in about 10 - 12 hours on medium with all burners lit (depending on BTU rating of your grill). So it will cost approximately 2 dollars an hour to run your grill assuming that it cost you 20 dollars to fill it.
  • It’s not real BBQ unless you are using a “stick burner” smoker - That’s kinda like saying, “It’s not real beer unless it is beechwood aged.” Many suburbs around the country have laws against wood burning apparatuses in the backyard. Pellet smokers are considered to be a grill and for the most part do not violate these laws.
  • Don’t ever put a water pan in a pellet smoker - A small pan (about 2 cups) of water, juice or other liquid will not cause any problems on a pellet smoker. In fact this practice will actually keep humidity flowing through the cooking chamber and will assist in moistening the food. A large pan of liquid is not recommended and may prevent consistent cooking temperatures.
  • I never clean my smoker, that’s where all the flavor comes from - While it is important to have a well-seasoned smoker, unsanitary conditions are a disaster waiting to happen. Cleaning the surfaces that will touch your food is necessary. Besides, who wants to eat a brisket that was cooked on the same surface that was previously used to smoke salmon?
  • You can’t use a pellet smoker in the winter - I live in Colorado and I use my smoker year-round. On cold windy days you will burn more pellets per hour than on summer days. It takes more fuel for the smoker to keep up. Purchase a welding blanket from Amazon or a welding supply store and cover the smoker with it. Be sure not to cover any intake or outlet areas of your pellet smoker. Some pellet smoker manufacturers make an insulating blanket specifically for their products. Do not use a standard bed blanket!
  • My smoker takes longer to cook then what the recipe says - Proteins can vary by size, fat content, and density. These differences can determine how long the meat will cook. Over time you will become accustomed to your smoker and the products that you cook which will give you a better idea of how long the cook will take. You should also verify that the temperature inside the cooker is what the controller says it is, make sure nothing is touching the temperature sensor, and open the smoker only when necessary (spritzing, checking meat temps, etc.). Remember the old saying, “If you’re lookin’, it ain’t cookin’”.