Noel and I didn't surprise each other this Christmas, at least not in the big gifts we gave to each other. I put the sewing machine I wanted on my Amazon wishlist and let him know it was my heart's desire. And when I saw this smoker reviewed on the indispensable Cool Tools blog, I sent it to Noel and asked if he'd like it. He said yes; I hit the buy button.
I didn't know much about wood pellet electric smokers until reading that review. Turns out they have a lot of advantages. I bought a little propane grill soon after we moved here (when there were just two of us in the house), but I was always terrified of the thing. Turning a knob that starts flammable gas spewing out a tap, then hoping that the electric ignition catches before so much gas builds up that there's going to be a conflagration when it does, and worrying about leaky gas canisters ... it was too much for me. (I have the same issue when I light our gas fireplace, which is why it happens so seldom.)
These smokers are electric; they plug into a three-pronged outlet. You fill the hopper with food-grade wood pellets which are ignited by a heating element and burn inside a small firebox. You can use as a grill, but with smoke doing the cooking instead of direct flame; or you can set the dial to the lowest setting which burns low and slow like a barbecue pit.
We had chicken drums and thighs cooked in the smoker on its higher grill settings tonight, and oh man. The meat had the deep rose tint you get at real pit barbecue joints, it was ridiculously juicy, tender and flavorful, and the skin was crispy and dark. So good. I can't wait for Noel to experiment with ribs, fish, sausage, and any other cut of meat he desires. Highly recommended!