With this article, I’m going to discuss something very unique and potentially a ‘game changer’, the Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker. Yes, you read that right, a pellet smoker you can use indoors. Before the Arden, if you had asked me can you use a pellet smoker/grill in your garage for instance I’d say definitely not due to the associated risks (fire/carbon monoxide etc). Yet here we are, there is now a small/compact indoor pellet smoker for your kitchen counter. How does it work? Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss…
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Introduction To The Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker
So before we get into how I think the Arden works and its proprietary ‘smoke eliminator’ we first need to discuss the company behind the Arden and its development. You see, I’ve been aware of Arden for several years and I’ve been watching its development.
I’ve only now just decided to write an article about Arden as I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to hit the market and be something you can actually own. However, after a very successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, the first Arden Indoor Pellet Smokers will soon be on their way to customers.
Who Is First Build?
First Build is in their words a ‘co-creation community’ and they have a commercial relationship with GE Appliances. Basically, First Build is a group of designers and engineers who come up with new product ideas to see if the concept would work as a mass-produced product.
The Development Of The Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker
As I stated above, I’ve been watching the development of the Arden for several years now. To be honest, the concept of being able to safely smoke food indoors baffled me and I’m sure many others. However, First Build is obviously pretty confident that they have cracked it.
The video below from First Build shows their development journey between 2020 and 2022 with a bit of humour thrown in. What they also discuss is how the Indoor smoker actually started off as a modified old fridge.
So a couple of things to note from the video above. First, you probably noticed the Arden in the video does not look like the image I’ve featured above. That’s because the final design was not completed at the point of filming the video above.
Second, while First Build state they are using the smoke elimination technology from their previously developed Monogram Smart Hearth Pizza Oven, they don’t state how it works, its ‘Top Secret’. However, one of their later videos I’ve included below I think gives us a clue about how Arden works.
Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker: Features & Cost
To give you an idea of the amount of food you can smoke inside the Arden, First Build states around 3 racks of ribs or a single brisket. There are 3 removable racks and the weight appears to be around 40 lbs.
In terms of temperature range, the Arden can be controlled within the range of 185 to 300 degrees Farenheight. As the heat is not through the combustion of pellets (its an electric element) the temperature can be controlled very precisely.
With regards to cost, the first Arden units as part of the Indiegogo campaign started at $599 and the remaining unit are currently priced at $799. Remember, this is before the mass production of these units, and as yet we don’t know what the final price point will be.
In the first FAQ video that First Build produced on the Arden above they confirm that the unit is using BBQ wood pellets to produce real smoke. Furthermore, only warm air containing water vapour and CO2 is vented out of the unit and there is no external vent required.
First Build also confirmed that there are no removal/interchangable filters within the Arden Indoor Smoker that need to be cleaned/changed. Therefore, the obvious question is ‘how the heck does it work!?‘
How Does Arden Work? – Smoke Production
Before we get into how I think the Arden’s ‘Smoke Eliminator’ works let’s discuss how it produces smoke in the first place and how it cooks the food. While the Arden does use pellets to produce the smoke, unlike an outdoor pellet smoker, its not using the pellets as the source of heat.
The Arden has a resistive electrical element (the same as in a kettle) which is providing the heat to cook the food. Therefore, only a small amount of pellets are required to produce the smoke. This approach has a couple of benefits.
First off, as an electrical element is used to produce the heat, the desired temperature can be dialed in exactly, even more precisely than the best PID pellet grills. The second benefit is a small amount of pellets is going to go along way when purely used for producing smoke.
The final benefit is also significant. As the pellets are only needed for smoke and not heat, the amount of smoke production can be separated from the amount of heat required to actually cook the food. We’ll look at this more below on the first impressions of the Arden by Jeremy Joder of Mad Scientist BBQ.
What should also be noted, is the Arden is fitted with a water tray. I discuss why a water tray is required in my electric vs pellet smoker article, as electric heat is dry heat. However, as I’ll discuss below, I also think the water tray maybe necessary for the smoke elimination process.
How Does Arden Work? – Smoke Elimination
Right, now let’s discuss the really juicy part of this article, how does the Arden work to eliminate the smoke? Now, as First Build don’t disclose how they are doing it, my comments below are purely my own educated guestimate.
What am I basing my best guestimate on? Well, in the most recent video from First Build before they launched their Indiegogo campaign we get a few more hints on how the smoke elimination process works. Watch the video below and see if you can pick up on it.
Did you spot the key word? Well, its catalyst, to quote from the video above its stated:
“We have tuned this catalyst to be specific for wood smoke”
So what could that possibly mean? What technology could First Build be using to remove the smoke and make Arden safe as an indoor pellet smoker? Well, the my first thoughts on the talk of catalysts made me think of the catalytic converters fitted to the exhaust on modern cars/trucks.
After all, wood smoke contains carbon monoxide, a possionous gas which is created from inefficient combustion, hence when a fuel smokes when its burning. Well, catalytic converters have to deal with carbon monoxide from engines, so perhaps that same technology is being used in Arden?
However, stopping carbon monoxide from entering your home is only one part of the problem. Wood smoke also contains particulates, hence then reason you can actually see smoke. Well these small particles have also got to be cleaned up, so how is that problem being addressed?
Well, we know the Arden features a water pan. Now the core purpose of the water pan is to create humidity while the Arden is on so not to dry out the food as it cooks. But could the smoky air be passing through this water pan, using the water to clean out the smoke particles?
Maybe, but I’m not sure that’s actually the case. Why? Well, imagine if the water in the water pan was all gone but the pellets are still smoldering and producing smoke. The result would be smoke particles leaving out of the back of Arden, so I don’t think the water pan is being used in that way.
So what alternative could First Build be using? What other way is there to remove smoke particles without the use of filters? Well, I suspect First Build may be using a filtration technology called PECO.
What Is PECO Filtration Technlogy?
PECO stands for Photo Electrochemical Oxidation. Great, what the heck does that mean? In the simplest terms, a filter is coated with a special catalyst that reacts when exposed to UVA light. The catalyst creates what’s called radicals, and its these radicals which break down and destroy polutents.
Still with me? I know, I’m getting a bit sciency with this, so let me show you. There is a fancy air filter now on the market made by MoleKule which uses this PECO technology. The video below is a video produced by Molekule to show how their PECO technology works.
Again, I don’t actually know if First Build are using PECO technology in the Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker as they won’t say how their smoke elimator works (I have asked them).
It’s just to me, the PECO technology which uses a catalyst and can destroy smoke particles without the use of removal filters sounds like the most likely solution.
Is The Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker Actually A Good Smoker?
The fact that First Build has been able to make a safe indoor pellet smoker is obviously pretty impressive, but an important question remains, can it actually produce good tasting BBQ? Well, as I’ve said above, the Arden is not yet in the hand of customers.
Furthermore, at this point we’re still a way off the Arden being mass produced and in the hands of lots of customers to see any real-world feedback. However, First Build have been getting feedback from Jeremy Yoder who you may have come across on YouTube as Mad Scientist BBQ.
As you can probably tell from what I’ve written above even if you have not read any of my previous articles, I’m all into technology/science and how things work. Well, that’s why the way that Jeremy teaches the process of barbeque appeals to me.
As you can see from watching the video above, Jerry was very impressed that the Arden was able to get a great bark on the ribs while not drying them out and rendering the fat properly. While we are still awaiting feedback from customers, it definitely appears that First Build with the Arden could be onto a winner.
My Thoughts On The Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker…
While I would love to know more about how the smoke eliminator works in the Arden, I get it, proprietary technology etc. Though I do hope that First Build get the Arden tested by an independent authority to prove it really doesn’t let any smoke particles/carbon monoxide leave the unit and into customers kitchens.
Price wise, it looks likely that the Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker is going to retail once its completed at around $1,000. Now, for the cooking area provided, that’s going to seem expensive. However, you need to consider a couple of things.
First, there are those that live in an apartment for example who cannot own a traditional pellet grill/smoker. The Arden opens up the world of BBQ to many people who previously didn’t have an option to cook great barbeque at home.
Second, an indoor smoker of this size that makes smoking with pellets even more convenient than with an outdoor pellet smoker/grill has value. Granted, the Arden is not going to produce a lot of BBQ in one go, but it does appear its going to be able to produce small quantities of high quality BBQ consistently with little effort.
That’s it! I look forwards to updating this article over time as the Arden Indoor Pellet Smoker becomes more available and in the hands of real-world customers. Until then, feel free to check out some of my other articles in my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.