Can You Use Pellets in An Electric Smoker: The Definitive Answer

Can You Use Pellets in An Electric Smoker

If you’re learning about smoking meat and the proper ways to do it, then you’re probably on the hunt for different tools that you can use to do the job. And for many people, one of these tools is wood pellets specifically designed for smoking meat.

These are small pellets around the thickness of a pencil designed to produce a lot of smoke and add flavor to your meat.

But can you use pellets in an electric smoker?

While they are convenient, there are some intricacies of electric smokers that leave some chefs confused about how to use them. And we’re here to help clear the air and give a definitive answer to that question.

We also dive into a couple of tips that you can use when using an electric smoker.

Read on to learn more.

Can You Use Pellets in an Electric Smoker?

While it might not seem like it, you can use pellets in an electric smoker. In fact, many chefs highly recommend using pellets in an electric smoker because of the intense flavor they can impart to the meat. And if you’re a newbie smoker, this could be the secret ingredient you need to give your food that extra kick that takes it to the next level.

Using pellets in an electric smoker will have varying effects depending on the type of smoker you have. This is because pellets are much denser, which means that they need to reach higher temperatures before they start smoking.

So, we recommend putting the wood pellets as close to the electric heating plate as possible for the best results. Additionally, it might be best to use a combination of wood chips and pellets in an electric smoker to ensure that the smoker reaches the ideal temperature.

If your electric smoker has difficulty heating wood chips up, it will have an even harder time with pellets. Before trying pellets to smoke your meat, you might want to do a couple of test runs with your electric smoker to ensure that it can heat adequately heat the pellets.

How To Use Pellets in an Electric Smoker

If you’re looking to use wood pellets in an electric smoker, there are a few things you have to consider. To start, you need to take a look at your electric smoker. While electric smokers started much weaker than their charcoal counterparts, there are now many electric smokers that pack a punch.

You can easily heat pellets and get them hot enough to smoke your meat if you have a powerful electric smoker. However, if you have a lower-end smoker who struggles to heat up even after a long time, then pellets will be pretty tough to handle.

The best way to get pellets hot in an electric smoker is to start slow. When you load the pellets into the smoker, start by loading a handful at a time. Whenever you feel like the pellets are starting to get hot, slowly add another handful until you have enough to smoke your meat.

For the best results, we recommend mixing pellets with wood chips. Since wood chips burn easier, it will allow the pellets to heat up much faster. Even if you have a powerful smoker, mixing in wood chips will make it easier to prep the smoker and get it hot enough to smoke meat.

Additionally, you want to spread the pellets out as thin as possible. Pellets are very dense, so you need to spread them out on the heating tray to make sure the heat is evenly distributed. If you fail to do this, the pellets will take very long to get hot enough to smoke your meat.

Pellets vs. Wood Chips

Wood Chips

What are pellets in the first place?

While wood chips are pretty self-explanatory, pellets for the smoker are fairly complicated. These are pieces of hardwood that have been ground down to incredibly fine sawdust. The sawdust is compressed into these dense pellets that can produce a lot of smoke.

Wood chips are also made out of hardwood. However, these pieces aren’t ground down to sawdust or compressed. These are more natural options that may not produce as much smoke as pellets. However, the advantage of wood chips is that they are much easier to heat up and use in electric smokers.

The advantage of pellets is that you can choose specific pellets designed to impart certain flavors onto your meat. Additionally, these are specifically designed for smoking meat and will produce a lot of flavors.

But if you plan to use them with an electric smoker, you might run into trouble. For the best results, we recommend putting in a few pellets at a time while also mixing in some actual wood chips. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

Why Use An Electric Smoker?

Since electric smokers have a harder time heating pellets and wood chips, you may be wondering why you want to use one in the first place?

Well, electric smokers are more versatile. Since you can control the temperature to a more exact degree, electric smokers allow you to cold smoke and hot smoke different ingredients. Additionally, they can be much easier to use if you have difficulty manually igniting wood and charcoal.

Granted, getting things started with an electric smoker is a bit complicated. And to be honest, there is a bit of a learning curve when using it for the first time. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to keep using your electric smoker for the years to come.


If you have a new electronic smoker that you want to try out, you may want to throw a couple of wood pellets in there. You can add a lot of flavor to your meat that you won’t get with traditional wood chips. However, keep in mind that it takes more heat to get pellets smoking. So, for the best results make sure to spread out your pellets as thinly as possible while also mixing in some woodchips on the electric heating tray to allow things to heat up faster.


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