As a result, your pellet grill will not smoke as heavily as you might expect. Find out what could happen.
Updated March 2022
You have bought the best pellet smoker you can find on the market. Furious! You are about to prepare delicious and maybe even award-winning barbecue recipes.
But if you're new to using a pellet grill, you might have a few questions. One we hear a lot is how to tell if you're smoking enough during each session. After all, you can expect a wood grill to put out a lot of smoke, so it can be a little confusing if you don't see a lot of visible smoke.
Of course, the amount of smoke is important, especially if you cook in your smoker for hours at lower temperatures. The perfect amount of smoke gives meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables and other ingredients an enormously rich smoky flavor. Also, you can get a great smoke ring on certain cuts like brisket. Smoke is (almost) everything - that's why you grill on a wood pellet grill and not on a gas grill in the first place!
So how do you know if your smoker is smoking properly? Don't worry, your pellet smoker most likely has no problems even if it doesn't seem to be smoking much! If there's a mechanical problem behind the lack of smoke, there are some telltale signs to look out for. Read on and we'll tell you how to tell if your pellet grill is putting out enough smoke.
differences in smoke
First off, pellet grills tend to produce LOTS of initial smoke. The fire stick heats up and starts burning the pellets until there are enough sparks for the fans to turn them into a flame. While most pitmasters have learned to take advantage of that "initial smoke," you really don't want that kind of smoke during cooking. It's too thick, white, and bitter, and doesn't give you the rich, savory smoky flavor you're looking for.
For best results, wait for the heavy smoke from this initial phase to clear before throwing your food on the grill.
thin blue smoke vs. white smoke
The ideal smoke for a pellet smoker is thin, fine blue smoke. Sometimes it can even be difficult to see. This smoke gives a real flavor without the bitterness of thick white smoke. This fine smoke is created when your pellet grill has finished the ignition phase and has approached the desired temperature.
That doesn't mean you won't see smoke. You may see thicker smoke as the auger drops more pellets into the fire bowl, the part inside the grill that ignites the fired wood pellets and is the source of all flames. You'll see less of that "house fire" smoke as your grill hovers around the desired temperature.
What you definitely don't want is the presence ofold smoke🇧🇷 If the ventilation inside the grill is poor, the smoke cannot flow as well as it should. Fans can get dirty over time and have trouble moving air. Over time, the smoke that cannot escape turns your food black and crunchy. That's the effect of bitter creosote, which builds up to the point where it ruins the flavor of smoked meats.
You don't want to be embarrassed about serving your guests a pork loin covered in a layer of soot, so be careful not to char the meat while cooking. If you feel like your pellet grill isn't getting enough smoke, it might be time for a thorough cleaning.
Make a habit of following the instructions for cleaning your grill to get proper airflow and smoke distribution on every grill. Also, check before you light the fire so you don't accidentally waste food. I clean and vacuum my Silverbac and Grilla every 20-30 hours of use.
Traditional smoke setup vs. PID
All new Grilla Grills pellet grills, like the Silverbac and Grilla, offer two different heat mode settings: our traditional Pro mode smoke setting and a PID mode. PID is a popular technology in pellet grills that allows cooking with extremely precise temperature control that minimizes temperature fluctuations.
Pro mode was Grilla's original smoking method. They intentionally provide a slight change in temperature to increase the amount of smoke your grill produces! PID mode came later and eliminates this temperature variation in favor of the most accurate temperature possible! In general, Pro mode is usually a better option for slow, smoky grilling. If you are operating at higher temperatures or grilling in your pellet smoker, try the PID adjustment on your Grilla grill.Alpha Smoke Control Panelº.
types of pellets
Now let's look at a few things that play a role in how much smoke to produce. The pellets play the most important role. Using high quality pellets with no wood fillers is the best thing you can do to ensure maximum smoke and flavor potential.
High quality pellet material.
The material the pellet is made of is also important. Some blends just don't produce as much smoke. This has a lot to do with the density of the wood. For example, I've found that the apple doesn't smoke as much as the walnut. I'm not against apple pellets, but if you're concerned about producing visible smoke, try mixing them with a bag of walnut or oak.
Whatever pellet wood you prefer, Grilla Grills high-quality hardwood pellets will ensure your pellet grill is ready to go. Our pellet grills work with all quality pellets, but Grilla pellets are made from all-natural wood, with no fillers or additives. If you're looking for the true taste of BBQ smoke, our pellets are for you.
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A clean fire bowl
The next thing to consider is cleaning the fire bowl. If your fire pit is full of ash, you will have a harder time lighting pellets and creating smoke efficiently. While a pellet grill produces less ash than a charcoal smoker, burning wood still produces ash that needs to be removed regularly.
A clean Dutch Oven also reduces the chances of you experiencing a fire. Then the grill goes off in the middle of cooking. When a pellet pit fails in the middle of a cook, it is often likely that the controls have fed too many pellets onto a dying fire, causing the fans to not keep the pellets fed properly. You'll know this was the case when you remove the heat shield and find a bunch of pellets on about 2 inches of ash in the fire bowl.
Always let the taste of the food guide what you see visually. Most of the time, there is a lot of smoke that gives your food a rich flavor. If not, look at what pellets you're burning. Maybe it's time to clean up the moat.
Important reminders for smoking on a pellet grill
At this point, you're pretty much ready to earn your Pitmaster stripes. Still, it never hurts to have a few memories when it comes to understanding smoke and how it works.
1. Your startup smoke looks different than baking smoke
When lit, smokers produce a dense, bitter white smoke. Some pit masters use this type of starter smoke to maintain their smoke rings. However, you don't want any initial smoking during the rest of the cooking process.
Instead, as mentioned above, you want a fine blue smoke that might even be difficult to see coming out of the smoker's vents. Blue Smoke has no bitterness and delivers a steady smoky flavor that's infused with the type of wood you've chosen for your pellets.
In other words, if you don't see much smoke, don't worry, especially after first light.
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2. Your cigar should not smell musty
A good smoke doesn't have to be productive to be perfect. However, it should not smell musty. If your smoke takes on a stale or unpleasant aroma, you should cool down the smoker and look for the problem.
Common causes of stale smoke are poor ventilation and dirty fans. You can easily fix these problems and keep your food tasty instead of sooty. In the future, make sure to keep your grill clean according to the manufacturer's instructions. Don't forget to clean the Dutch Oven too!
3. The wood pellets you choose will affect your smoke
Premium wood pellets ignite efficiently and emit consistent smoke. Also, different types of wood pellets tend to produce denser amounts of smoke.apple wood pelletsit doesn't smoke as much as its pecan counterparts, for example.
What if you want to increase the amount of blue smoke in your pellet smoker? Play around with the grill openings and temperature. Over time you will gain the confidence to control your smoker.
Now that you know how to smoke like a pro, check out oursrecipe collectionto impress your family, friends and neighbors this weekend! Learn how to cook brisket, pork loin, succulent vegetables and all sorts of other tantalizing recipes on the pellet grill.