Do You Need a Pellet Smoker Tube?

Hey Smokers, and welcome to my post where we will run through the in’s and outs of using a pellet smoker tube and check out whether it is actually worth it in the first place. As you may or may not know, this site is all about cooking on my new Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Smoker and seeing where we can take things.

Do You Need a Pellet Smoker Tube - Header

I have had my pellet smoker for a few months now and one thing I have read in many a forum is that pellet smokers do not give as intense smoke flavor as a traditional smoker. And whilst this may or may not be true (and something I will experiment with myself in the near future), I have also read that a pellet smoker tube can go a long way to resolving this problem.

So I bought myself a tube, a piece of pork shoulder and tried it all out…

Pellet smoker tube - me holding tube

What is a Pellet Smoker Tube?

Also known as a smoke tube or pellet tube, a pellet smoker tube is a perforated metal cylinder (or in my case, more of a block) that is filled with wood pellets – or even chips – lit, and then added to the cooking chamber to add smoke to the cook.

Originally designed to turn a standard grill into a smoker, they are also often used to enhance the flavor in pellet smokers as outlined above as well. This is due to the fact that, as any of you with a pellet smoker will know, these devices do not always emit constant smoke from the pellets, rather releasing it in bursts as new pellets hit the hopper – well that is what mine does any way.

Hence, the idea behind a pellet smoker tube is to produce consistent smoke over an extended period in order to:

  1. Enhance Smoke Flavor: Outputs should expose a richer and more intense smoky flavor.
  2. Extend Smoking Time: Smoker tubes can provide smoke for several hours, which is particularly useful for longer smoking sessions.

How to Use a Pellet Smoker Tube in a Pellet Smoker

  1. Fill the Smoker Tube: Fill the smoker tube with the your chosen wood pellets or chips.
  2. Light the Smoker Tube: Using a butane torch or lighter (if you have a lot of time), ignite one end of the smoker tube.
  3. Extinguish the Flame: Once the pellets are ignited and burning well, blow out the flame (this is critical). The pellets will continue to smolder and produce smoke.
  4. Place the Smoker Tube in Your Pellet Smoker: Position the smoker tube on the grate of your pellet smoker. Ensure it’s placed in a way that allows smoke to circulate around the food.
  5. Start Smoking: Close the lid of your pellet smoker and start cooking as usual. The additional smoke from the smoker tube will enhance the flavor of your food.
Pellet smoker tube - lighting a smoker tube

What Am I Looking For?

Quite simply, as above, I want to see if using a smoking tube will indeed increase the smoke flavor of the meat that I cook – which in this case, a pork shoulder. Secondly, I am also interested to see how the introduction of a pellet tube will affect the internal heat as well as pellet consumption of the smoker.

My theory here being that the pellet tube should be design add extra heat to the chamber – I mean, they are alight after all.

How Will I Test This?

Luckily, only two days ago I did another pork shoulder for dinner with the neighbors and had some leftovers. This will give me a good starting point from which to test.

I will use the same pellets (Cherry pellets in this case) and cook the same cut using the same method. As I wrap my pork shoulder as it starts to exit the stall, I will remove the smoke tube at this point as well.

So effectively, once all is cooked, all I need to do is see if today’s cook has a higher smoke taste than the first one. Additionally, I would also need to see if any increased smoke taste is worth it as well.

Pellet smoker tube - tube in smoker

What were the results?

To keep this simple, here are the highlights:

  • Ease of use – Look, once you light it (you really do need a blow torch here) and blow out the flame, as long as it is lit properly, you don’t have to do anything else with it. It just sits in the cooking chamber and smokes away.
  • Smoke during cook – That thing was smoking like I have never seen. There was never a time when there wasn’t smoke billowing from the chimney – or any other gap in the lid etc. as well to be honest.
  • Smoking length – As above, I removed the tube as I was wrapping the pork which was around 3 hours in. At this time, the tube was probably around 3/4 spent, meaning that I would expect to have to refill it at around the 5 hour mark or so if I was doing a longer cook such as brisket etc.
  • Heat output/pellet usage – I did watch the temp and didn’t notice any real spikes. And whilst I didn’t measure this scientifically, from experience with previous cooks like this, I would have to say that not as many pellets were used from the hopper either.

How did it taste?

In a word – smokey – and in a good way. There was definitely a longer smoke ring between the two options and a smokier taste.

I mean I pretty much expected this but again, i was worried about it being overpowering – albeit I did use cherry pellets which are not the strongest taste in the arsenal.

So based in this extremely unscientific experiment, if you are finding your cooks are a little under-whelming in the smokiness arena, then a pellet smoker tube may just be the ticket!

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07/22/2024 03:15 pm GMT

FAQs

How Do You Light a Pellet Smoker Tube?

To light a pellet smoker tube, start by filling it with your choice of wood pellets then hold the tube upright and use a propane torch or a lighter to ignite the pellets at the open end. Run the torch for about 45 seconds until the pellets catch fire, then, after about 5 minutes, carefully blow out the flame and the pellets will continue to smolder, producing smoke.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, my look into the ins and outs of using a pellet smoker tube. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.

And of course I would also love to hear below about your experiences with smoker tubes as well.

Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Until next time

Have fun and get smoking!

Paul

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