Smoking Tube For Pellet Grill Cooking – Is It Worth it?

Buying a smoking tube for pellet grill adventures might seem ridiculous to some. After all isn’t a wood pellet grill built for optimum smoke flavour?

When it comes to outdoor cooking, pellet grills have gained significant popularity due to their convenience and ability to produce consistent results. From their invention and patenting by Joe Traeger, these versatile cooking appliances have been imparting a distinct smoky flavour to food. Despite this there are many pitmasters and grill enthusiasts who want to elevate the smoke flavour profile of their food even further again.

This is where a smoke tube for a pellet grill comes into play, offering a simple yet effective solution to take smoky flavours up a notch or two.

Smoking Tube For Pellet Grill
Smoking Tube For Pellet Grill

Smoking Tube For Pellet Grill Cooking – Is It Worth it?

Is a Smoke Tube Worth It for a Pellet Grill?

The question of whether a smoke tube is worth it for a pellet grill often comes down to personal preference and the desired level of smoke flavour. While pellet grills already produce a noticeable smoky taste, some individuals crave a more intense and authentic smoke flavour, perhaps more akin to that achieved through more traditional wood-burning smokers.

A smoke tube can be a valuable tool in achieving this enhanced flavor, making it worth considering if you’re a fan of robust smokiness. It may not be worth it if you prefer a milder smoke flavour.

What Does a Smoke Tube Do for a Pellet Smoker?

A smoke tube is an inexpensive cylindrical accessory typically made of stainless steel, designed to hold wood pellets and produce additional smoke during the cooking process. It can be placed on your smoker grills as an extra way to secure those intense smoky aromas many BBQ enthusiasts crave.

This supplemental smoke helps infuse a more intense and well-rounded smoky taste into your dishes. The smoke tube works by allowing the pellets to smolder slowly, generating a continuous stream of flavourful smoke that can permeate your meats, vegetables, or any other foods on the grill.

This is especially useful for longer cooking sessions, such as when preparing briskets, pork shoulders, or ribs, where an extended exposure to smoke can be beneficial. After all, ribs can take up to 6 hours, pork shoulder 10+ hours to be fork tender, and brisket takes the longest of all – 12+ hours.

Using a smoke tube can be a pretty cool hack, not to mention a cheap one.

It’s also worth mentioning that using a smoke tube in your pellet grill is great for smoking cheese. If you use only the smoke tube in most pellet smokers, you can achieve the low heat levels required for cold smoking.

TOP TIP – Freeze your blocks of cheese first to help provide insurance against the cheese melting. Apple wood chips (or pellets) are absolutely great for cold smoking cheddar cheese in particular.

If you want to cold smoke cheese you want to aim for temperatures between 68-86F (20-30C). At this temperature the cheese will not cook but it will be infused with smoke flavour. It will also develop a skin because the milkfat rises to the surface and this milkfat skin creates a natural preservative for the cheese.

How Do You Make a Pellet Grill Smoke Tube?

Creating a smoke tube for your pellet grill is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Gather Materials: Use a small sieve, turn it upside down and push your finger through it until you make an indent which sits up like a finger-shaped moat. If you have any leftover wire mesh from making a fence you can also roll it into a cylindrical shape. Alternatively, you can find cheap, pre-made smoke tubes at many outdoor cooking stores or online.
  2. Choose Wood Pellets: Opt for high-quality food-grade wood pellets in your preferred flavour. Popular choices include hickory, apple, cherry, mesquite, and pecan. Mesquite is particularly strong for a smoky taste, hickory is a bold smoke taste too. A sweeter, milder smoke taste is achieved through using apple or cherry wood.
  3. Fill the Tube: Fill the stainless steel tube or sieve with the wood pellets of your choice. It’s recommended to avoid over-packing the tube to allow proper airflow. If you opt for the sieve version it’s best to build your pellets around the finger-shaped indent in a circular fashion. See the video below to help.
  4. Light the Pellets: Use a blowtorch or a long lighter to ignite the pellets through the holes on one end of the tube. Let the pellets burn for a few minutes until they produce a steady stream of smoke.
  5. Place the Tube: Once the pellets are producing consistent smoke, place the tube on the grill grates, ideally near the firebox end of the grill. If your pellet grill has a dedicated smoke shelf, that’s a great spot as well.
  6. Monitor and Adjust: Keep an eye on the smoke tube during the cooking process. You can adjust the positioning of the tube to control the intensity of the smoke as needed.

Watch a video on it here:

How Long Will a 12″ Smoke Tube Burn?

The burn time of a 12-inch smoke tube can vary depending on factors such as pellet type, ventilation, and weather conditions. On average, a smoke tube filled with wood pellets can burn for approximately 2-4 hours. However, it’s important to note that burn times might be influenced by ambient temperature, wind, and the specific design of the smoke tube. Monitoring the tube’s burn time during your cook and having extra pellets on hand is a good practice to ensure a consistent supply of smoke.

In conclusion, a smoke tube for a pellet grill can be a valuable addition for those seeking to intensify the smoky flavor in their dishes. While pellet grills already provide a convenient way to achieve a smoky taste, a smoke tube allows for a greater degree of customization and control over the smoke profile. By following simple steps to create and use a smoke tube, you can elevate your outdoor cooking experience and impress your guests with rich, flavourful results.

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