How To Get More Smoke Flavor From Pellet Grills: Tips and Hacks

how to get more smoke flavor from pellet grill

As someone who does not have a lot of grilling experience, you usually find the lack of smoke flavor in your cooked cuts of meat.

Even with one of the best pellet grills, unsuccessfully infusing that smoky flavor may be the reason why people don’t come back for your barbecues.

Today, we will help you understand how to get more smoke flavor from pellet grills, as proven by so many pellet grill users.

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How To Get More Smoke Flavor From Pellet Grills

The following is a list of tips and hacks you can use to get the best smoky flavor into your favorite meats.

Tip 1: Use the Right Kind of Meat

Adding flavors of wood pellets becomes much easier if you choose only good cuts of meat.

It is always better to get cuts of meat from locally grown, organic, grass-fed livestock.

However, it would be best if you could avoid getting a piece of meat that is too lean or too fat.

Choose meat cuts that have a fat-to-meat ratio that is just right, and look for fat marbling instead of a thick layer of fat on the outside.

Too much fat on the surface will stop the entry of nitrogen and carbon dioxide into the meat during the smoking process.

In simpler terms, that thick layer of fat will insulate the meat and prevent any smoky flavor from penetrating the rest of the cut.

Tip 2: Only Use High-Quality Pellets

Aside from choosing the right kind of meat, your choice of wood pellets is also critical.

While pellet grills can burn almost any type of wood pellets, you will want to choose food grade pellets.

Doing so ensures that no contaminants latch onto your food.

Bad wood pellets are those typically used for heating – they may contain dangerous substances, such as those found in paint and wood treatment chemicals.

The best pellets for smoking food are hardwood pellets.

Compared to fruit wood pellets, hardwood pellets burn much longer, producing more smoke.

Also, you can experiment with different quality pellets until you find a preferred pellet type.

Some smoker manufacturers will recommend only using their premium pellet products, but you can use products recommended by other pellet grill owners.

As long as they are BBQ wood pellets, you can check if they can produce the best smoke output.

Tip 3: Start With Cold Meat

When we say start with cold meat, we mean keeping the meat in the fridge while waiting to get a smoke-filled grill.

As you put your cold meat into the smoker, it takes longer to cook and allows more time to absorb more smoke flavor.

Do not mistake this technique for cold smoking, a preservation method that refers to exposing foods to smoke over extended durations at low temperatures.

When you cold smoke food, you do not expose it to direct heat sources.

how to get more smoke flavor from pellet grill

Tip 4: Use the Correct Pellet Smoker Settings

Pellet cookers will have varying settings for producing the best results for smoking foods.

If you read your smoker’s instructions and follow them to the letter, you won’t have problems generating enough smoke.

However, if your smoker doesn’t seem to produce enough smoke, try using a pellet tube or pellet tray to provide additional smoke.

This way, you can get the perfect amount of smoke you desire.

Tip 5: Look for the Right Kind of Smoke

Depending on the internal temperature of your grill, the smoke released will have a slight color variation.

As the pellets start smoldering, you will get lots of smoke that is usually thick and white.

Wait until the white smoke turns to a hazy blue smoke, which indicates that your cooking chamber has reached the proper internal temperature.

White smoke will leave a bitter aftertaste in your food, so avoid putting your meats in this kind of smoke.

Tip 6: Don’t Rush the Cooking Process

Smoking revolves around the technique of cooking low and slow, and the nature of pellet grills is to cook food through low heat produced by burning wood pellets.

Because of the low heat, it requires longer exposure to pellet smoke adding more flavor while evenly cooking slabs of meat.

As your meat cooks through smoking, smoke rings start growing beneath the surface.

The smoke ring will continue to grow until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, If you desire a prominent smoke ring, do not rush the cooking process. Take it low and slow.

Tip 7: Use Indirect Heat

If you want more smoke flavor on your food, avoid using direct heat for cooking.

Direct heat refers to cooking grate temperatures of 450 degrees or higher.

With this amount of heat, the outer layers of food will cook quicker, reducing the time for the smoky flavor to penetrate the inner layers.

Pellet smokers are very well suited for this cooking method as most models have one or two baffles separating the burning pot from the grill grates.

However, some pellet smokers have cooler zones on the grill grate that might be better suited for slow-smoking large cuts of meat, like beef brisket.

This way, your food will cook slower and receive more smoke from the burning pellets.

Tip 8: Monitor the Pellet Grill Temperature

As a general rule, keep the temperature range between 225 and 235 degrees Fahrenheit when slow cooking large cuts of meat.

It is quite common for pellet cookers to change temperatures during the cooking session, even when using a single smoke setting.

Temperature fluctuations happen because as the thermometer senses a drop in temperature, the controller will add more pellets, and then the temperature will pass the setting you have chosen.

The up and down temperature will repeat this cycle many times during a long cook.

Hardwood pellets, fruit wood pellets, or any BBQ pellets can also be a source of temperature fluctuation but in the big picture, their effect is small.

To monitor your pellet grill temperature we recommend adding a thermometer to the lid or using a meat probe to monitor the temperature of the grill grate.

Tip 9: Avoid Opening the Lid

Every time you smoke meats on a pellet smoker, it is important to keep the lid shut.

While it is normal to sneak a peek at how your food is cooking, intermittently opening the lid causes temperatures to fluctuate.

Furthermore, it allows smoke to escape, affecting the smoking process.

It would be best to invest in meat probes to keep track of your food’s internal temperature without having to open the lid.

Tip 10: Take Advantage of Smoker Tubes

Another interesting way to generate more smoke from your smoker is to add a tube smoker into the cooking chamber.

Smoker tubes are hollow and perforated metal cylinders that hold food grade pellets for hot and cold smoking.

To use the pellet smoker tube fill it with the same pellets you put in your pellet grill, light the end of the tube with a small torch, and after it is burning well place it on the grill grate opposite the chimney.

You can use this device on any type of grill, including electric grills, gas grills, and charcoal grills.

Smoker tubes are inexpensive accessories that add significant amounts of smoke to any grill.

Why Can’t My Pellet Grill Produce Enough Smoke?

If you follow these tips on how to get more smoke flavor from pellet grills, you will find the reason you are not getting enough smoke.

The most common culprit is too much heat.

If you want your smoker to produce the right amount of smoke, your best approach is to keep the temperature at a low setting.

Ideally, efficient smoking comes from temperatures not higher than 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even if this means you will need a longer cooking time, it ensures that your food gets the smoky flavors you deserve.