How to Get More Smoke Flavor From Your Pellet Grill (7 Methods)

Do you love smoke flavor but can’t seem to get enough from your pellet grill? Don’t panic, we know some methods that may help! 

In this article, you will discover:

  • How to get more smoke flavor from your pellet grill
  • Tips for smoking on your pellet grill
  • And much more!

What You Need to Know About Getting More Smoke Flavor For Your Pellet Grill

A pellet grill is an amazing invention. Not only can you use it as you would a normal grill, but you can also use it as a smoker to instill that delicious smoky flavor into your foods. 

But maybe you’ve already tried smoking something, and it didn’t come out quite the way you wanted it to. Not to worry, as there are many things you can do to get more of a smoke flavor out of your pellet grill. 

You can do things like try different wood pellets, add a smoker box, or even cook for a longer time. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your options for getting more of a smoke flavor out of your pellet grill. 

Read on to learn all the methods for getting a smokier flavor from your pellet grill.

Why Pellet Grills Aren’t As Smoky

In general, no matter what you do, a pellet grill won’t be as smoky as a traditional smoker or a charcoal grill. This is because pellet grills are built to be electric and as efficient as possible.

Charcoal grills have no electric control, and therefore, they produce smoke as long as the charcoals are lit. With a pellet grill, the augur will only turn to push pellets into the burn box when the temperature drops below what the grill is set at. As a result, the smoke isn’t as continuous as on a charcoal grill.

Related >> How Do Pellet Grills Work?

Smokers are meant to cook food with just smoke, and thus they produce smoke much more quickly than pellet grills. They also tend to produce it more continuously and be better insulated to keep the smoke inside. 

But don’t panic, as you can bring your pellet grill up to charcoal grill/smoker levels, you may just need to adjust how you use it a bit.

What You Need to Get More Smoke From Your Pellet Grill

While there are a few methods you can use to get more smoke from your pellet grill without purchasing anything extra, many of the methods do require some supplies. 

We recommend taking a look at the list below and consider purchasing any of the items you don’t have on hand if you truly want to get more smoke flavor from your grill.

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  • Smoker tube
  • Pellet grill blanket (the correct brand for your pellet grill)
  • A variety of wood chips
  • A temperature probe

If you aren’t sure which method you would like to try, read on to learn a little more about each one! 

How to Get More Smoke Flavor From Your Pellet Grill (7 Methods)

Ready to get more smoke from your pellet grill? Below we’ve got seven easy methods to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to try more than one, as they all yield different results. You can also combine methods to get meat with that ultimate smoky flavor. 

Method #1: Change Your Cooking Temp/Time

Surprisingly, pellet grills actually create more smoke when you cook at lower temperatures. Meaning if you change your cooking times and temps, this could be an easy way to get a more smoky flavor into your meats. 

For best results, you’ll want to cook your meat right around 250°F as this is where pellet grills produce the most smoke. If you have a recipe that calls for a higher cooking temperature, just ignore the cooking times and put your meat in at 250°F to start. 

You’ll want to cook low and slow for at least a couple of hours, then crank your pellet grill up to the recommended temperature. When you do this method, it is imperative that you use a temperature probe to check the doneness of the meat. Do not remove the meat from the pellet grill until it reaches the temperature outlined in the recipe. 

Method 2: Change Wood Pellets

Different types of wood pellets produce different amounts of smoke. Additionally, smoke from lighter woods (like lemon or apple) is lighter and won’t give you as much smoky flavor. 

If you switch your wood selection to something like oak or mesquite wood, this may be all you need to do to get that smoky flavor you’ve been craving. We recommend experimenting with several kinds of wood and perhaps combining this method with method 1 for the best results. 

Related >> Best Wood Pellets for Smoking

Method 3: Add a Smoker Tube

A smoker tube is a small metal tube that can be loaded with wood chips and placed on your grill to produce extra smoke. While they are typically recommended for people with gas grills, there is no reason you can’t add one to your pellet grill! 

Related >> Can You Use a Smoker Box on a Pellet Grill?

One thing a smoker tube will allow you to do that you can’t do with your pellet grill is to move the smoke around. This means you can give more direct smoke to your meat depending on where you place it. 

This method can be combined with method 2, and we recommend you pick a heavier wood to really get that smoke flavor going. Then, if you can, place the smoke tube directly beneath your meats so that it will go directly into them as they cook!

Related >> How To Use a Smoke Tube on a Pellet Grill

Method 4: Skip Wrapping Your Food

Many people choose to wrap their food or cook it in a metal pan for easy clean-up. While this is great for cleanup, it does keep the smoke from getting into your food. 

For more smokiness, you will want to cook your meats directly on your grill. If you are grilling something that will fall through the grates (or is simply too messy), you can also poke holes in your aluminum foil to let the smoke reach the meat. 

Method 5: Get a Pellet Grill Blanket

Pellet grill blankets are designed to help the heat stay in your pellet grill, and oftentimes, they can also help the smoke to stay in as well. We recommend purchasing the one that goes with your pellet grill to see if this helps you get a smokier flavor. 

Of course, you can also try to plug the holes where the smoke comes out yourself, but this can be dangerous unless you know what you are doing. If you do have some high-temperature silicone, however, you can use it to plug up the holes and give it a shot. Just know that this is a bit of a permanent fix, and you may void the warranty on your pellet grill.

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Method 6: Use the Smoke Setting

Many higher-end pellet grill makers know that people are frequently disappointed with the lack of smoke from a pellet grill. This is why they introduced a setting known as the “smoke” setting. 

If your pellet grill comes with a smoke setting, you should definitely use it, as it will naturally add a bit more smoke as you cook. But this setting typically only works for lower temperatures, meaning you’ll need to go low and slow to get that smoky flavor. 

Method 7: Keep the Lid Closed

This one isn’t so much a method as it is a tip, but one of the number one ways smoke flavor leaves your pellet grill is when you open the lid! Try to keep the lid closed as much as possible, only opening it when your food should be almost ready. This is easier to do if you know the approximate cooking time of your food.

If you are following a recipe, don’t check on the meat until the recipe tells you to. If you are experimenting without a recipe, then take a moment to look up how long your meat should cook at that temperature in theory, then check back close to the end of that estimate. This method works extremely well when combined with any of the above methods, and we highly recommend using it!

Related >> Are Pellet Grills Good for Burgers? Tips and Tricks

Why is My Pellet Grill Not Smoking?

Have you turned on your pellet grill only to find that there is no smoke coming out? This could be for several reasons, some of which you should be concerned about and others of which are just part of the grill.

1. You Are Cooking at High Temperatures

Unfortunately, when you use a pellet grill at high temperatures, it doesn’t produce as much smoke, and that is just the way these grills go. So if you’ve got it set to 400°F and there’s no smoke coming out, try turning it down a bit. 

2. The Grill is Jammed

If you let your wood pellets get wet or use the wrong size of wood pellets, your pellet grill could jam. If this is the case, you will likely notice a lack of heat as well. You’ll need to clean your pellet grill before you try again.

3. Your Grill is Dirty

Dirty grills don’t work as they should, and this includes pellet grills. If the firepot has too many ashes or debris, the pellets won’t burn, and you won’t have any smoke. Like with a possible jam, you will likely notice a lack of heat in this instance, and you’ll need to clean the grill before it works properly. 

We’ve got an entire guide on cleaning your pellet grill.

4. The Grill is Faulty

The last reason you may not have any smoke is because your grill is faulty. The fan could be broken, or the ignitor, but either way, you will want to contact the company you got it from in order to see about the product’s warranty and the possibility of a replacement. This is typically only the case if you have tried cleaning the grill and turning it down, and the grill still won’t produce heat or smoke. 

Related >> How Long Does It Take a Pellet Grill to Heat Up?

Tips For Smoking on a Pellet Grill

Want to smoke meats on your pellet grill? Here are some tips to get you started! 

1. Cook as Low as Possible

Many recipes for smoked meats give you a range of temperatures and cook times. You’ll want to cook as low and slow as possible to get the most smoke flavor into your meats.

2. Always Keep Your Pellet Grill Clean

As the burn pot collects ashes, your grill will be less able to produce smoke. We recommend dumping the ashes out of the burn pot after each use so that you can get maximum smoke.

3. Don’t Constantly Mess with the Temperature

Pellet grills fluctuate a bit in temperature as they cook–this is just how they are built. Don’t panic when you see the grill going up or down a few degrees. As long as it is within 10°F, this is fine, leave the temperature gauge alone. 

4. Always Temp Check Your Food

Pellet grills are all different from one another, and they certainly aren’t smokers. No matter what recipe you are following, only use temperature to know when your food is done. This is the only way to safely smoke on your pellet grill. 

5. Plan Your Pellets

A pellet grill needs pellets to run, and if it runs out mid-smoke, it will ruin the results. Plan for 1 lb of pellets per burn hour, then add in a bit extra. This will ensure you don’t run into any problems and keep your pellet grill smoking!

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Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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