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platter of meat cooked in a pellet smoker. Image used for outdoor living australias ultimate pelle guide

Pellet Smokers: An All You Need To Know Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction to Pellet Smokers

What Are Pellet Smokers?

Have you heard the buzz about pellet smokers? They're not just a piece of cooking equipment, they're the new outdoor cooking revolution sweeping across Australia. Now, imagine combining the rich flavours of traditional and offset smoking with the ease and precision of modern technology. That's what pellet smokers bring to the table.

The Rise of Pellet Smokers in Australia

In the land that's famous for its love for the great outdoors and barbeques, pellet smokers are the new star of the show. Australians are embracing these cutting edge devices, making them a must have in backyards across the nation. Let's explore why they've become such a hit and how they're changing the Aussie cooking scene.

If you are interested in reading about everything you need to know before buying a smoker read here

Pellet Smoker with smoke billowing out

Benefits Of Having a Pellet Smoker

Enhanced Flavour and Texture

Pellet smokers do more than just cook, they improve your whole cooking journey. The unique combination of smoking and grilling they offer takes the taste and texture of meats and vegetables to a whole new level. The ease of having a electronic pellet hopper feeder for cooking on a smoker leaves your meat tender, juicy and fall off the bone without having to monitor the whole cook.

Versatility in Cooking

Pellet smokers are the jack of all trades, Transforming from a slow cooking haven to a baking powerhouse with ease. Imagine the smoky aroma of slow-cooked briskets, their flavours deeply infused after hours of gentle cooking, then moving to a delightful crispiness of a perfectly baked pizza straight from the same device. These modern marvels cater to a vast array of cooking styles and preferences, making them a must-have in any outdoor kitchen. Whether it's low and slow or hot and fast, pellet smokers adapt effortlessly.

 We also have a complete guide on Portable Pellet Smokers 

Portable Pellet Smoker : ASMOKE AS350

Precise temperature control

Pellet BBQ smokers are at the top in temperature regulation, letting you whip up an array of dishes just right. Their digital controllers allow you to nail the perfect temperature and keep it steady without having to worry. This means your food gets cooked evenly every time.

Low and slow cooking

This method makes it a breeze to create succulent, tender meats that literally fall off the bone - think ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, dishes tough to nail with other grills and offset smokers. As the heat slowly works its magic, it transforms and breaks down the collagen in the meat, resulting in an irresistibly smooth texture. 

Healthier cooking

They use indirect heat and burn cleaner that lump wood and charcoal, reducing the chance of flare-ups and charring, and cutting down on harmful carcinogens. Plus, wood pellets are a renewable energy source. They're better for the planet, producing fewer harmful by-products and emissions. This makes pellet smokers a more eco-friendly choice for outdoor cooking.

Easy to use

They come with cool features like automatic pellet feeding, simple digital temperature settings, and even smartphone connectivity. Pellet smokers allow you to relax while cooking and concentrate on making memories with family and friends instead.

Social aspect

Outdoor cooking in general is perfect for turning your backyard into a social hotspot, it draws friends and family together to enjoy a good home cooked meal. The unique scent of wood smoke wafting through the neighbourhood is irresistible, and the dishes you cook up are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

    BBQ Smoker | Thick Rib Fillet cooked reverse seared on BBQ smoker at Outdoor Living Australia

      Tips and Tricks to Using a Pellet Smoker

      Selecting the Ideal Wood Pellets

      The type of wood pellets you choose plays a massive role in the taste of your smoked meals. Experiment with various kinds, there is plenty on the market today, like hickory, apple, mesquite, or cherry, and find the ones that best enhance the flavours of your favourite meats, fish, and veggies. 

        Warming Up Your Pellet Smoker

        Before you start grilling, it's key to preheat your smoker to the right temperature. This step guarantees that your food cooks evenly and helps form a delicious crust on your meats. Make sure to let your smoker hit and maintain your chosen temperature before you place any food on the grill. This simple prep move can make a big difference in the taste and quality of your smoked meals.

          Nailing the Reverse Sear Technique

          The reverse sear technique starts by smoking your meat at low heat very slowly until it's nearly done. For thick cuts like steaks or roasts, it ensures even cooking and tender meat. Once it's 10 - 15 degrees below your desired temperature, ramp up your pellet smoker to max heat to add a flavourful crust. This method is great for a pro like finish.

          If you want a step by step recipe for a reverse seared steak click here

            searing a steak on a pellet smoker on high heat

              Perfect the 3-2-1 Technique For Ribs

              First, smoke the ribs on low heat for 3 hours. Next, wrap them in foil with a bit of liquid (apple juice or beer works great) and continue cooking for 2 hours. Finally, unwrap and cook for one more hour to create a crusty exterior. This technique is a sure-fire way to get tender, fall off the bone ribs every time.

                Keep the Lid Closed 

                Resist the urge to frequently open the lid of your pellet smoker. Each time you open it, you release heat and smoke, which can extend the cooking time and result in unevenly cooked food. Only open the lid when necessary to check the temperature or baste your food.

                  Baste Your Food 

                  Basting your meat with a flavourful liquid, such as a marinade or barbecue sauce, can help to retain moisture and enhance the flavour in your meat. Regularly baste your food during the smoking process, being careful not to overdo it, as this can cause the meat to become too moist or soggy

                  Keep Your Pellet Smoker Clean

                  Regularly clean your pellet smoker to ensure optimal performance and food quality. Remove ash, grease, and residue from the grates, fire pot, and drip tray. This will prevent flare-ups, off-flavours, and potential damage to your smoker.

                    BBQ Smoker | Everything ready for pre cook - Marinades, meat, spices, rubs, pellets and dipping sauces

                      Discover the Magic of Smoking Food on a Pellet Smoker

                      Smoking various foods on a pellet smoker offers a unique grilling experience that sets it apart from traditional grilling methods. When you smoke food, you not only cook it but also infuse it with rich, smoky flavours that are difficult to replicate with a standard barbecue. Let's explore the benefits of smoking different foods on a pellet smoker and how it compares to traditional grilling, we will also give a brief how to on each one.

                      For all your recipe needs check out our recipe page

                      Smoked Beed Brisket cooked and sliced, ready to eat

                      • Beef Brisket: Smoking a beef brisket on a pellet smoker allows the meat to absorb the smoky flavours while slowly breaking down the tough connective tissues and allowing the fat to render through the meat. This low-and-slow process results in an incredibly tender and flavourful meat that just cannot be compared to standard grilling.
                      • Process: The ideal temperature for smoking a beef brisket is between 225°F and 250°F (107°C - 121°C). This low-and-slow process allows the brisket to absorb the smoky flavours from the wood pellets, popular flavours used for brisket are hickory, oak, or mesquite. The extended cooking time, typically 10-16 hours, ensures the connective tissues break down and the fat renders through the meat, resulting in a tender, flavourful brisket that is unmatched by grilling.
                        • Pulled Pork: Pulled pork smoked on a pellet smoker is juicy, tender, and packed with flavour. The smoking process renders the fat and connective tissues, creating succulent, melt-in-your-mouth meat that cannot be achieved through traditional grilling.
                        • Process: Pulled pork smoked on a pellet smoker benefits from a temperature range of 225°F to 250°F (107°C to 121°C). This slow cooking method renders the fat and connective tissues over 8-10 hours, creating juicy, tender meat. The go to choice of wood pellets, such as apple, cherry, or hickory, further enhances the flavours, making it a delicious alternative to traditional grilling.
                          BBQ Smoker | Cook up with pulled pork, karrage chicken, kabana, spring rolls, scallops, prawns and slaw
                            • Chicken: Smoking chicken on a pellet smoker imparts a deep, smoky flavour that penetrates the meat, elevating it beyond what's possible on a regular barbecue. The slower cooking process also helps to keep the chicken moist and tender, making it a delicious alternative to grilling.
                            • Process: For smoking chicken, aim for a temperature range of 225°F to 275°F (107°C to 135°C). This gentle heat allows the smoky flavours from the wood pellets, like apple, cherry, or maple, to penetrate the meat while keeping it moist and tender. Smoking whole chickens can take 3-5 hours, while smaller cuts may require 1-3 hours, depending on their size and thickness.
                            • Fish: Fish smoked on a pellet smoker takes on a whole new dimension of flavour and texture. The gentle heat and smoke infusion create a moist, tender, and flavourful fish that's unmatched by standard grilling methods
                            • Process: Fish smoked on a pellet smoker benefit from a lower temperature range, typically between 175°F and 225°F (79°C to 135°C). Delicate fish like salmon, trout, or halibut are perfect for this process, as the gentle heat and smoke infusion create a moist, tender, and flavourful dish. The choice of wood pellets, such as alder, apple, or cherry, contributes to the unique taste. Smoking time for fish varies between 1-3 hours, depending on the thickness and type of fish.
                            BBQ Smoker | Smoked Seafood Platter Ready to eat
                            • Vegetables: Vegetables smoked on a pellet smoker develop a rich, smoky flavour that enhances their natural taste. The slow cooking process also helps to preserve the nutrients and create a delightful, tender texture, offering a unique and mouth-watering side dish option.
                            • Process: Vegetables smoked on a pellet smoker should be cooked at a temperature range of 225°F to 275°F (107°C to 135°C). This slower cooking process helps to preserve the nutrients and create a delightful, tender texture while enhancing their natural flavours with a smoky touch. Wood pellets such as pecan, apple, or cherry work well with vegetables. Smoking times vary depending on the type and size of the vegetables, typically ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
                            • Cheese: Smoking cheese on a pellet smoker introduces a delectable, smoky flavour that cannot be achieved with traditional grilling. This unique, cold smoking technique adds complexity to the cheese's taste and transforms its texture, making it an exquisite culinary treat.
                            • Process: Cold smoking cheese on a pellet smoker requires a temperature range of 60°F to 90°F (15°C to 32°C), ensuring the cheese does not melt. The low heat introduces a delectable, smoky flavour that adds complexity to the cheese's taste and transforms its texture. Mild to medium-flavoured wood pellets like apple, cherry, or pecan are ideal for smoking cheese. The process can take anywhere from 1-4 hours, depending on the desired intensity of the smoky flavour.

                            Cooked Smoked Meat Platter Ready To Eat

                            If you would like to learn more about smoking meat read our beginners guide to smoking meat on a pellet smoker

                            How to Best Use Your Pellet Smoker - 10 Easy Steps

                            1. Seasoning a New Smoker:

                              • Conduct a dry burn to remove residual oils.
                              • Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to prevent rust.
                              • Follow specific instructions for your grill.
                            2. Cleaning Your Grill:

                              • Ensure the grill is clean before use.
                              • Regularly clean the grill after each use to avoid unwanted flavours.
                              • Remove grates and clean them with a grill brush or dishwasher.
                              • Spray the inside of the smoker with a water and vinegar solution.
                              • Wipe down the interior with a damp cloth.
                              • Vacuum out the firebox and grill.
                            3. Adding Wood Pellets:

                              • Fill the pellet hopper with enough pellets for the entire cook.
                              • Monitor pellet levels and refill as needed during cooking.
                              • Experiment with different wood flavours for varied tastes.
                            4. Preheating Your BBQ Smoker:

                              • Preheating ensures even cooking of your food.
                              • Determine the optimal temperature range for your recipe.
                              • Follow these general steps to preheat your pellet grill:
                                • Plug in your smoker and fill the hopper with pellets.
                                • Set the desired temperature and allow the initial smoke to clear.
                                • Monitor until the grill reaches the desired temperature.
                            5. Adding Your Meat:

                              • Wait for the initial burst of smoke to clear and the grill to reach the desired temperature.
                              • Avoid overcrowding the grill to ensure proper heat and smoke circulation.
                              • Explore our pellet smoker recipes for delicious meal ideas.
                            6. Inserting a Temperature Probe:

                              • Achieve precise temperature control by using a temperature probe.
                              • Place the probe in the thickest part of the meat for accurate readings.
                              • Temperature, not time, determines the doneness of your food.
                            7. Cooking at Lower Temperatures for More Smoke:

                              • Aim to cook your food between 225 and 250°F for enhanced smoky flavour.
                              • Consider starting at 225°F and increasing the temperature after the initial hours for hot and fast cooking.
                            8. Embrace the Reverse Sear Method:

                              • Cook thick cuts of meat slowly at low temperatures for even doneness.
                              • Finish by searing the meat over high heat for a crispy crust.
                              • Pellet Smokers with sear stations or slide and grill systems are ideal for this technique.
                            9. Properly Shutting Down Your Grill:

                              • Prioritise safety by shutting down your grill when you're finished cooking.
                              • Ensure the grill is cool to the touch and disconnect the power supply.
                              • Store the grill in a safe place, away from rain or snow.
                              • Clean the grill and store wood pellets properly for future use.
                            10. Experiment, Practice, and Share with Friends:

                              • Smoking the perfect meat is an art. Start small, with easy steps and simple recipes.
                              • Build up over time, follow more complicated recipes with precise temperature controls and complex instructions.
                              • Share with friends and family! There is simply nothing better than smoked meats, bakes and vegetables!


                            Wrapping it up, think of a pellet smoker as your backyard's new best friend. We've had a blast discovering how these little beauties work, and trust us, they're a notch above your average grill. Think juicy steaks, smoky cheeses, and flavours that'll make your taste buds dance. It's not just cooking; it's about creating those memorable moments with your mates in the outdoors. So, why wait? Grab a pellet smoker, invite the crew over, and get ready to impress with some seriously good eats. After all, nothing beats the joy of a great Aussie BBQ.

                            Author Bio Image

                            Allan Cooper

                            Allan Cooper, a licenced electrician is an avid foodie, with experience in spit roasting, smoking meats, and kegerators. He loves the outdoor living lifestyle and shares it with his young family.

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                            James - July 7, 2023

                            Very well written. Really in depth! Just starting my journey to pellet smoking and this is a great resource for me starting out. Thanks for the content. Made me super keen to fire it up!

                            Mitzi - May 29, 2023

                            Great article, just what I needed, having just purchased a pellet smoker.
                            I’m on a learning curve & keen to apply it to my cooking repertoire. Smoking my homemade cheese included.

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