Can You Use Pellets In An Electric Smoker

Are you looking for ways to add a smoky flavor to your food without the hassle of traditional smoking methods? Look no further than an electric smoker! But can you use pellets in an electric smoker?

The answer is yes, and in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using wood pellets in your electric smoker. From types of smokers and heat sources to types of wood pellets and how many to use, we’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re a seasoned pit master or just starting your smoking journey, read on to learn how you can use pellets to achieve delicious, smoky flavor in your electric smoker.

Can You Use Pellets In An Electric Smoker

Can You Use Pellets In An Electric Smoker

Yes, it is possible to use pellets in an electric smoker, but it’s more advisable to use a pellet smoker for better results. Electric smokers may not be as efficient in burning wood pellets, but with some adjustments and techniques, you can still use pellets.

How To Use Pellets in an Electric Smoker

Using pellets in an electric smoker is a convenient way to add that smoky flavor to your meat without the hassle of managing the fire like you would in traditional charcoal smokers. Pellet smokers, also known as pellet grills or pit bosses, are becoming increasingly popular because of their ability to produce consistent smoke, temperature control, and reliability as a cooking source.

Here we will guide you on how to use pellets in an electric smoker, the different types of pellets, the advantages, and any cons associated with using pellets.

1. Start with a Shorter Cook

When using an electric smoker and testing out wood pellets, it is best to start with a shorter cook for a smoother experience. This allows you to get a feel for the process and make any necessary adjustments without investing too much time or money into a single cook.

A great option for testing out wood pellets in your electric smoker is to cook smaller and faster cooking foods such as steaks or small roasts. This gives you a chance to experiment with the different types of wood pellets and their flavors to find your favorite.

It is important to keep in mind that some electric smokers may not work well with wood pellets and could malfunction during longer cooks. This is why it is recommended to start with a shorter cook and invest in less expensive meats as you explore the process.

2. Choose the Pellets Carefully

It is crucial to start by using high-quality pellets to achieve the desired smoky flavor in your electric smoker. It is usually not necessary to use pellets from the same manufacturer as your smoker, but in this case, it may produce better results.

You should consider the wood pellet flavors to ensure that they complement the meat you’re cooking. Since the flavor from the pellets is infused into your food, it’s important to choose the right flavor.

When it comes to matching the wood flavor with meat, keep in mind that hickory and mesquite can produce a slightly bitter smoke, while oak is milder but can still be too strong for delicate meats. For light and sweet notes, fruitwoods such as apple, cherry, pecan, and maple are ideal options to use in your electric smoker.

3. Use a Smoker Box

Most electric smokers rely on an electric heating element to cook food, while wood chips placed on a tray provide the smoke. Although wood pellets are an excellent source of flavor, I would advise against placing them on the tray. Instead, use a smoker box placed directly onto the heating element.

By using a smoker box, the pellets don’t come into direct contact with any of the heating components, reducing the risk of anything going wrong. Besides, using a smoker box also offers greater smoke control while cooking, allowing you to adjust the temperature more efficiently and achieve a more consistent smoke.

4. Use a Lower Temperature

When you’re adding wood pellets to your electric smoker, it may be tempting to set the temperature to high and hope for the best. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution and start at a lower temperature to prevent any potential issues. This will allow you to properly monitor the cooking process and prevent any undesirable flavors from forming.

Some may suggest cold smoking as a viable option, but this can actually be dangerous to your health. Cold smoking involves temperatures below 140 degrees F which pose a high risk of food poisoning. We advise against this approach for safety reasons.

Instead, we recommend starting at around 180 to 200 degrees F to ensure that the meat is adequately cooked through. Most electric smokers come with smoke settings that fall within this range and can be used to control the temperature.

By following these guidelines, you can achieve a perfectly smoked dish without compromising on taste or safety. Remember, starting at a lower temperature is always better than risking undercooked food.

5. Keep a Close Watch

When you are experimenting with pellets in your electric smoker, it is crucial to keep a watchful eye throughout the smoking process. Unlike setting the temperature control and walking away, you need to stay close to the smoker. This way, you can ensure that you are getting the right amount of smoke to cook and flavor your meat.

By keeping an eye on the pellets during smoking, you can monitor if they are producing enough smoke. If the pellets are not emitting the desired amount of smoke, you can make necessary adjustments to enhance the smoking process’s effectiveness.

Moreover, keeping a close watch on the smoke process enables you to mitigate any risks that may arise. If anything goes wrong, you can stop the smoking process and prevent further damage by powering down the grill immediately.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Pellets In An Electric Smoker

Using pellets in an electric smoker offers several advantages over traditional wood chips. Pellets are more convenient to use as they can be fed automatically through a hopper.

Moreover, they produce less ash and require less maintenance than wood chips, which makes the cleaning process much more manageable.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Using Pellets In An Electric Smoker

Using pellets in an electric smoker may have the downside of producing less smoke flavor as compared to using wood chips. Nevertheless, this can be resolved by using a mixture of pellets and chips or by using a pellet smoker known for generating more smoke.

How Often Can You Use Pellets in Your Electric Smoker

As an expert in electric smoker usage, the question of using pellets instead of wood chips frequently arises. If you have had a successful smoking experience using pellets, you may be tempted to use them more often in your electric smoker. However, based on the manufacturer’s instructions and expert advice, it is recommended to avoid using pellets frequently in your electric smoker.

Excessive use of pellets can cause damage to the electric smoker, making it difficult to predict the outcome of your subsequent smoking sessions. Therefore, it is best to stick to using wood chips or chunks as recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions.

That being said, if you find yourself in an emergency and out of wood chips, it is acceptable to use pellets for one-time use. But, it is important to understand that repeated usage of pellets comes with a risk of damage to the electric smoker, and therefore should be avoided.

Using wood chips or chunks allows for a consistent and controlled smoking process, resulting in perfectly smoked and flavored meat. Following the recommended guidelines based on wood choice and frequency of usage will not only guarantee a flavorful meal but also preserve the smoker’s longevity.

How Many Pellets Should You Use in an Electric Smoker

Using pellets in an electric smoker may seem like a good idea to achieve that smoky flavor you want, but there are a few things you need to know about their usage. Most electric smoker manufacturers advise against using pellets because they can cause damage to the smoker, resulting in unpredictable smoking sessions.

Masterbuilt, for instance, recommends that you should not add more than 1/2 cup of wood chips (1 filled chip loader) at a time. This means that even if pellets burn more uniformly than wood chips, you should not add a lot of them at once. The goal is to avoid a blowback or “backdraft” that occurs when too much smoke and combustion by-products build up inside the smoker.

Therefore, it is best to use pellets sparingly in an electric smoker. I would recommend 5-10 pellets at most, and even then, you should observe the kind of smoke that nets you. Different pellet brands have different compositions, and this can affect the smoke quality. Remember that your goal in using an electric smoker is to achieve thin blue smoke, not thick white or dirty smoke, even with pellets.


Can I Use Pellets in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?

If you own a Masterbuilt Electric smoker, propane smoker, or cold smoking attachment, the brand advises against using pellets and recommends sticking with wood chunks and chips. However, some consumers have reported successful results using pellets in their Masterbuilt Electric smoker. If you choose to use pellets, limit their usage to a quarter cup every four hours to avoid damage to the smoker.

Can I Use Wood Pellets in a Pit Boss Electric Smoker?

Yes, you can use wood pellets in a Pit Boss electric smoker, although the manufacturer does not recommend it. While using wood chips is a common practice, adding wood pellets has been done successfully by many smokers. Pit Boss even offers their own brand of wood pellets for use in their grills. It’s important to note that using wood pellets may affect the taste and consistency of the smoke, so choose your pellets wisely and be mindful of the amount used.

Are Wood Pellets the Same as Wood Chips?

Wood pellets and wood chips are both common fuel sources for smokers. However, they are not the same. Wood pellets are compressed sawdust, making them denser than wood chips. This density allows for a longer burn time at slower to medium heat. On the other hand, wood chips are less dense and burn faster. Ultimately, the choice between wood pellets and wood chips comes down to personal preference and the type of smoking journey you’re looking to embark on.


In conclusion, using pellets in an electric smoker is a great option for those looking for a reliable cooking source that provides consistent smoke flavor. Pellet smokers, such as those from Pit Boss, offer temperature controls and a variety of wood pellet flavors to choose from.

While there may be some cons to using pellets in an electric smoker, such as the potential for bitter smoke, these can be mitigated by choosing the right type of wood and using a smoke tube to regulate the smoke. Additionally, using pellets in an electric smoker eliminates the need for a wood chip tray and propane tank, making it a more convenient option for many.

Overall, if you’re looking to up your smoking game and explore different wood flavors, using pellets in an electric smoker is definitely worth considering. With the wide variety available, you’re sure to find a type or blend of pellets that suits your taste and takes your smoking journey to the next level. Don’t forget to check out trusted electric smoker manufacturers and brands of wood pellets for the best results.