- A smoke tube can add extra smoky flavor to your pellet grill.
- Smoke tubes work by filling them with pellets, lighting them, and placing them on your smoker during your cook.
- Smoke tubes can usually be found for less than $20.
If I have one complaint about my Traeger smoker, it's that it doesn't actually emit a lot of smoke. That's one of the knocks against all pellet grills—yes, they're convenient. But they don't produce as much smoke as wood or charcoal.
Enter: the smoke tube.
In this guide, you'll learn how to use a smoke tube to impart extra smoky goodness in your pellet smoker, for less than $20.
What Is A Smoke Tube?
A smoke tube is a perforated metal cylinder that imparts more smoky flavor for your pellet grill.
The cylinder holds pellets that you light on fire. And you place the smoke tube on your pellet grill, as you're using your smoker.
The smoke tube adds hours of extra smoke output without having to refill it.
How To Use A Smoke Tube With A Pellet Grill
Using a smoke tube couldn't be easier. You can have it up and producing smoke in a matter of minutes.
1. Make sure both your smoke tube and pellet grill are dry.
2. Preheat your pellet grill. It's best to add the smoke tube while the grill is already on so you can start cooking as soon as the smoke tube is ready.
3. Fill the smoke tube with the pellets of your choice.
4. Place the smoke tube on your grill grates or grill tray. Hold one end of the tube with one hand, preferably with a heat-resistant BBQ glove. Then use a sear gun or large kitchen lighter to light the tube.
5. Let the pellets burn for about 10 minutes. This is to make sure the pellets will stay lit.
6. Blow out the flame so it doesn't stay lit inside your smoker. Smoke should start to come out of the smoke tube.
7. Put your food on your grill with the smoke tube, and enjoy.
Additional Tips For Starting A Smoke Tube
- Choose high-quality pellets during your cook.
- A regular lighter probably won't sufficiently light the pellets in your smoke tube. I actually use a sear gun, which works really well.
- It may take up to a minute for the pellets to eventually catch fire—be patient.
- Try placing the smoke tube near the air gaps in your smoker. This should help with keeping it lit.
- My smoke tube usually lasts for around two to three hours. If you're doing a longer cook, you may need to refill the tube.
How Does A Smoke Tube Work?
Smoke tubes work by filling them with pellets, lighting those pellets on fire, blowing out the flame, and allowing the pellets to smolder inside your smoker.
Smoke tubes will produce a good amount of smoke, much more smoke than I normally get with my Traeger 780. This smoke will enhance your food with a deeper smoked flavor.
My smoke tube usually produces smoke for 2-3 hours before I have to refill it, if I'm doing a longer smoke.
Why Should You Use A Smoke Tube With Your Pellet Grill?
As I mentioned, pellet grills are amazingly convenient, but they don't really produce a ton of smoke.
If you're looking for more smoky flavor—and just more of the visual aspect of seeing smoke come out of your pellet grill—then using a smoke tube is a great option.
More smoke equals more flavor, and a smoke tube gets the job done really well.
Smoke tubes are also really versatile. While I use mine mainly for low-and-slow BBQ, you can also use them to add smoky flavor for foods cooked during quicker grilling sessions, like with grilled steak. You can also use them for cold smoking cheeses and salmon.
Safety & Maintenance Tips
When your smoke tube is lit, it will be very hot to the touch! Use caution when handling it. That's why I only pick mine up with my heat-resistant BBQ gloves.
- Always clean out your smoke tube before every use.
- Light the pellets at one end of the tube. Don't use flammable liquids or accelerants.
- Use heat-resistant gloves or tongs to handle the smoke tube. You've been warned: this thing gets hot!
You'll also want to clean and maintain your smoke tube to keep it in good condition.
- Allow the smoke tube to completely cool down after each cook before picking it up.
- Use a grill brush to remove any remaining ashes or pellet residue.
- Rinse the smoke tube with warm water and a mild detergent.
- Dry the smoke tube thoroughly before you store it or use it next.
Which Smoke Tube Should I Buy?
There are lots of smoke tube options out there, and most of them should be under $20. I personally use the smoke tube from Mountain Grillers, and have been very happy with it.