Everyone has a different preference for the level of smokiness in the flavor of their smoked meat – some people love the flavor that comes straight off the grill, while others are always striving for more. If you’re striving to get an even better flavor from your pellet grill, we’re here for you! The 8 tips below will help you to up your game and serve food that ticks all the boxes!
Table of Contents
1. Don’t Rush the Process
You can rush a stir fry, burger, or hot dog, but you can’t rush smoking! The key to getting a perfectly smoked meal is patience. You don’t want to raise the heat to get it done faster, you don’t want to keep opening the lid to see if it’s done yet – you just need to be patient. The longer you cook your meat, the longer the smoke flavor has to develop. Of course, you don’t want to overcook your meat (unless you like it that way!), but remember that the biggest rewards will come from giving the flavor sufficient time to develop.
2. Choose Goldilocks Cuts of Meat
When you’re choosing your cut of meat, you need to act like Goldilocks – avoid meat that’s too lean, avoid meat that’s too fatty, you need a cut where the fat-to-meat ratio is just right. When you’re cooking a large cut of meat, avoid cuts with a thick layer of fat on the outside. Anything with a layer of fat about ¼ of an inch thick or more will lack the smoky flavor you’re looking for because that fat insulates the meat and “protects” it from the smoky flavor you’re looking for.
3. Try Different Pellets
If you’re not getting the taste you want with standard wood pellets, try a different flavor. We currently offer 5 flavors – Fruitwood, Hickory, Apple, Cherry, and Competition Blend, so if you aren’t getting the kind of flavor you want from standard wood pellets, try a different type. You may find that Hickory pellets give you that rich flavor you’re looking for. We do a bundle with one of each flavor, so that’s a good place to start if you haven’t tried other types of pellets before – find that here.
4. Try Cooking From Cold
If you usually leave your meat out while it marinates before you put it on the grill, try putting it back in the refrigerator for an hour before you put it on the grill. Why? The theory is that because the meat is then cold, it will take longer for the meat to heat up and give it more time to absorb the smoke flavor without overcooking.
5. Use a Hexagon Tube Smoker
You may love the flavor you’re getting from your pellets, but just want more of it. If so, you need our Hexagon Tube Smoker in your life. You simply fill the tube with your preferred pellets, light it, add it to your pellet grill (or any other type of grill/smoker), and it will provide your smoker with additional flavor. You can find tube smokers in a cylinder or square shape, but one moves around and the other can trap the flavor, so a hexagon shape is best. If you’re doing everything else right and still not getting the richness of flavor you’re looking for, our tube smoker should be the next thing you try – find the Tube Smoker here.
Related Reading: How to Use a Smoke Tube in a Pellet Grill
6. Manage Your Smoke and Your Temp
This goes back to our first tip but takes things a little deeper. Generally, you want to keep your pellet grill temperature below 225F, as this is where you’ll get the best results. When you stick to these temperatures, you should be seeing thin, blue-gray smoke coming out the chimney. Unless you’re doing a special recipe, you shouldn’t be ramping up the temperature to over 250F and you shouldn’t see thick, white smoke, as that will give you that bitter, burnt taste nobody wants! Don’t be afraid to let your food smoke for longer – if you’re worried about it getting dry, you can add a pan of water in the smoker with your meat and that will keep your food moist as it smokes.
Related Reading: Smoking Meat Times and Temperatures Chart
7. Keep Your Food Away From Direct Heat
When you’re smoking meat (or any other type of food), your food shouldn’t ever touch the flames. If you have a Z Grills pellet grill, this won’t be a problem for you, but if you have another type of grill make sure your meat is a good distance away from the flame. If you have a Z Grills pellet grill or another grill with multiple shelves and you’ve only ever used the bottom shelf, consider trying the top shelf to see if you can achieve a smokier flavor by cooking your meat a little further away from the flames.
8. Wait to Eat
Yep, after you’ve waited all those hours prepping and cooking your food, you should actually wait another hour (or more!) if you want the best flavor. When you let your meat rest, the smoky juices in your meat have a chance to settle, rather than running out of the meat when you cut it. If you struggle to wait to eat and have a pellet grill that manages the temperature for you, such as our Z Grills, then consider smoking your meat overnight (provided it’s the right cut!) and letting it sit for the day, so you can come back and eat it for dinner. These 8 tips will help your food go from just “good” to can’t-stop-eating-it incredible. If you have the right pellet grill, it usually takes just a few tweaks of how you’re smoking your food to get the delicious results you’re looking for – don’t forget to try a few different recipes, too, so you can try new flavors and meals. If you need some inspiration, you can find all our recipes here.