A pellet smoker is a useful outdoor cooking appliance that can make your life a lot easier while serving the best smoky and flavorful taste to your family and friends. But, how do you prepare cooking in a pellet smoker?
Wood pellets are a special form of wood. When it comes to the manufacturing process of wood pellets, it involves moisture and air absorption from the wood, thus making them highly dense pellet little moisture in it. The lack of moisture can burn hotter flames without burning out easily. Wood pellets have an intense smoke as compared to standard wood flavor enhancers, locking natural moisture for extra smoke flavor. Use only 1/3 cup of pellets when cooking.
If you are planning to use other types of wood, you will need up to 10 times the weight of the wood just to achieve the same results as the wood pellets, making wood pellets more economical. If it’s your first time to smoke using wood pallets, you’ll find that smoking vegetable and meat is an innovative method to add great flavors to your favorite food recipes.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use wood pellets for smoking:
1. Choosing Your Meat
You can choose the type of meat you want to smoke such as pork, chicken breasts, salmon, or fish, and all of these can work with pellets, producing a great food taste. Beef takes a lot of time to smoke, requiring a lot of wood pellets to do the job.
2. Choose Your Wood
There are many types of wood you can use to achieve the best smoke flavor you want for your food recipes. Check the cooking tips below.
3. Choose the Right Wood Size
Wood chunks typically burn a lot slower as compared to wood chips. They’re quite large and usually weigh between 2 to 4 ounces. Wood chunks are best for a slow smoke source. It is one of the most desirable methods to smoke food. Start to use wood chunks by putting in just a few prior to smoking your food. Wood chips are coin-sized pellets smaller than wood chunks which burn faster, which means frequently adding more wood pellets. Because they burn faster, they are used for cooking food requiring a shorter cooking time.
4. Type of Smoke
Wet wood pellets take a long time for producing smoke due to the extra moisture. Soaking wood chips in water before use will produce steam before the smoke. If you’re worried that your wood chips easily catch on fire, you can wrap it with foil and poke holes.
5. Amount of Wood
Bear in mind that 3 handfuls of wood chips can already smoke for about an hour. If you’re smoking meat, you need to add on a handful of wood chips every half an hour.
6. Prepare Your Pellet Grill
Preheat your pellet smoker by heating one side. Put the wood pellets on the preheated side. Once there is a smoke, turn down the burner’s temperature. Place the meat on the side which is not preheated. The temperature range for smoking is anywhere between 230 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit by using a digital thermometer.
7. Do not Lift the Lid
When you’re smoking meat, avoid lifting the lid. It’s tempting to take off the cover but this will cause the smoke to escape, thus increasing cooking time to increase.
When cooking chicken, remember that it’s not a meat that you cook “slow and low”. The temperature for smoking chicken is 275°F, with a cooking time of 1 ½ to 2 hours. It is important to cook chicken properly because undercooked chicken can be harmful to the health. The best method to check that your chicken is done is to check the meat’s internal temperature which should reach 165°F before it’s safe to eat. Simply counting the cooking time of the chicken is not reliable enough to measure if the meat is really cooked.
Avoid oversmoking your food because more smoke doesn’t necessarily mean a top-notch flavor, only a little smoke is required to achieve a great food taste. Applewood is best to be used together with pork and poultry. Alder is considered the most versatile wood pellet type because of its mild aroma and flavor. It is perfect for fish, chicken, and baked goods. On the other hand, cherry is one of the most flavorful wood pellets because of its fruity smoke, enhancing the mild flavor of the meat. Hickory wood pellets are usually used for barbecues because of their strong flavor, complementing most types of meat.
Infuse a hearty smoke flavor to your meat with mesquite pellets. Pecan wood is best for baked goods. If you have barbecued for quite some time, you have probably come across hickory wood pellets that have a strong flavor, and it complements the most meat. Mesquite pallets can infuse your meat with a hearty smoke flavor which is great for people that want to search for an extra flavor in their meat. Pecan wood can add much-needed taste to the baked goods.
Always keep the wood pellets dry and don’t use your pellet grill in the rain. Visually inspect the cords for wear and damage before you begin grilling. Do not expose cords to water or any other liquid. Use the pellet smoker in a ventilated area with the chimney open. When your grill has cooled down, unplug it before cleaning or inspecting electronics. All electrical cords should be connected and secured to a ground fault interrupter to avoid tripping or any damage to your pellet smoker. Turn off the control knobs before plugging or unplugging the cord.
After you’re sure that your meat is properly cooked the way you want it to, it is time to enjoy your favorite wood-fired recipes. Smoking is really fun and exciting, most especially when you are preparing food for your family. It’s a great family gathering activity, and choosing the best wood pellets can add an extra flavor factor to your favorite grilled foods.