I’ve heard all the arguments. All the jokes. All the jabs. When some owner of a stick burner or a kamado grill hears about me cooking on my pellet grill, they say, “Why not just wheel the stove out on the deck and cook in that?” I’m willing to admit that at one point in my life I made that joke more than once mocking those with pellet grills. Then I had kids. My life as a charcoal snob was over. I even used a gas grill from time to time! #Shudder. I also realized that pellet grills make amazing barbecue. Those people that think great barbecue only comes from stick burners or ceramic grills have no explanation as to why the top 10 at the American Royal or Memphis in May (the two largest barbecue contests in the world), aren’t completely dominated by stick burners or kamados. Low and behold, every year, there are pellet grills in the upper echelon of winners of those two comps. Stick burners need lots of TLC and maintenance during a long smoke sesh. If cooking a brisket on a stick burner, you have to get up at least once in the middle of the night to add fuel. Not with the pellet cooker. And never in my life has anyone asked me while they sampled my barbecue, “Hey, how much sleep did you lose last night fiddling with the grill in the wee hours of the morning?” So to all you stick burner guys, if you want to go all in on your grill is the best grill, go for it. In the mean time, I’ll sleep through the night and enjoy the party and still produce amazing smoked meats.
Now let’s talk about Kingsford Pellets. I’ve been using Kingsford charcoal for about three decades. And now Kingsford is making hardwood pellets and I have a pellet cooker. That’s a match made in heaven. Time to run these pellets through their paces. I filled the hopper with a bag of Kingsford Maple Pellets and fired my cooker up.
One of the knocks on pellet cookers is they don’t put off enough smoke. That may have been the case a few decades ago, but not today. Check it out:
I started off with a pork shoulder (or pork butt – they are the same thing) that I rubbed down with some mustard, which acts as a binder, and then coated with salt and a BBQ rub:
Pork shoulder has a ton of fat and collagen which makes it ideal for the trial run of these pellets. It takes quite a while for the shoulder to cook low and slow and break down the connective tissues and all that collagen, meanwhile the fat keeps the meat juicy and delicious. All the while that shoulder is taking in the smoke and the bark builds on the outside. For those that don’t know, that black stuff on the outside of the shoulder in the pics below are the tastiest part of the meat. See, bark forms between the interaction of the smoke from the grill, the fat oozing out of the meat and the rub coating the outside. Bark is the best!
After many hours on the smoke from those Kingsford Maple Pellets, the shoulder is coming out of the stall at 181 degrees and getting close to the target of 203F:
Here she is ready to come off the cooker:
Once the shoulder hit 203F I wrapped it in foil and then a towel and put it in a powered off microwave for an hour:
After an hour of resting in the foil and a towel, the shoulder was ready to pull:
First off, how did it taste? My family of six WRECKED that shoulder. I served dinner late that night and more than one person said they were only going to have one pulled pork slider. Every single person had at least three! The smoke flavor was perfect. And I know people focus on the smoke ring too much as it is purely cosmetic and has nothing to do with flavor, but check the smoke ring!
Next up I filled the hopper with Kingsford Cherrywood Pellets and threw on a couple slabs of ribs and a fresh water pan:
I simply skinned the ribs and slathered them with an island themed BBQ rub.
I cooked these at 300F so they only took a couple hours to be ready:
And here they are ready to feed the fam:
Wanna check the smoke ring again? I know, I know. The smoke ring is all cosmetic, but I can’t help myself:
And then I moved onto some beef. After filling the hopper with some of the Kingsford Signature Pellets which are comprised of hickory, maple and cherry wood, I threw on some jalapeno burgs that I simply smoked, no sear:
And then I topped them with a couple slices of good ole’ American cheese:
Here we are with one of those jalapeno burgers plated (or I should say cutting boarded):
I smoked these till 140F and then put the cheese on to melt which took them up to 145F. Here is a cross section of that burger:
Some are wondering why I didn’t sear those burgers after I smoked them? Because burgers don’t take long to be done. If I had seared them they would’ve gone from medium rare straight to medium well. I decided to wait on that reverse sear (smoke then sear) for something a little more robust. I think this behemoth should fit the bill:
This cowboy rib eye is a full TWO INCHES thick!
I filled the hopper with Kingsford Hickory Pellets and seasoned the steak with salt and a simple steak rub:
When the steak hit 110F internal temperature, I pulled the steak off the grill and cranked up the heat in the pellet grill to 550F:
After the steak got seared all the way around, it was plated:
Wait till you see this!
I couldn’t settle on just one of those pics, so I had to go with a close up:
I was lucky enough to eat most of that steak right after these pics were taken and the rest with steak and eggs. Oh, OK, here’s one more pic:
I had a blast cooking with the Kingsford Pellets on a variety of proteins. The best part was the flavor. Everything I cooked with the Kingsford Pellets turned out fantastic and was a hit with my very picky family of six. I stocked up big time on Kingsford Pellets over and beyond what I needed for this review because they were that good. If you think I’m kidding, check my wife’s Facebook page to see one of the three deliveries of pellets we received. #TrueStory
I partnered with Kingsford on this review, but as with anything I do, I don’t work with any products I don’t absolutely believe in.