When speaking to a barbecue enthusiast, it doesn’t take long to find out where their allegiances lie. Some grillers are loyal to the charcoal grill, insisting that nothing can replicate the charcoal taste. Others prefer the convenience and time-efficiency of a gas grill. There are many different grills on the market today, but one, in particular, is emerging as a new fan favorite–the pellet grill. What is a pellet grill? What makes these new models so popular in the grilling community? We will answer all of your burning questions today.
What is a pellet grill?
Pellet grills, also known as pellet smokers, combine elements from all grill types. These outdoor grills utilize food-grade wood pellets as a heat source. You can think of a pellet grill as an outdoor convection oven. Fans help move the heat where it is needed to smoke, roast, bake, sear, and braise. With the flavor of a charcoal grill, the efficiency of a gas grill, and the ability to regulate the temperature without human intervention, pellet grills are incredibly versatile, making them popular for experienced and new grillers alike.
How does a pellet grill work?
To better understand how a pellet grill works, we will examine the steps needed to cook your favorite barbecue recipe. First, you will need to add wood pellets into a reserve called the hopper. The grill will use these pellets to heat and flavor your food–as you can imagine, there are many types of pellets to choose from. Gravity will help these pellets move from the hopper to the auger. Next, an electric motor turns, allowing the auger to move the pellets into the fire pot. The fire pot is where the magic happens; a hot rod begins the combustion process, and flavorful smoke is released. Then, an electric fan pulls in air to increase the heat and disperse the smoke throughout the grill. Like a convection oven, you can control the temperature to a precise degree digitally or with a dial. The electronic components, there only to maintain the temperature and control the fire, make cooking your favorite meal on the grill an easy endeavor while utilizing the smokiness of natural wood.
How do I choose which wood pellets?
Pellet grills are incredibly versatile–they can make any meal efficiently and deliciously. The pellets you choose are a massive contributor to that versatility. Pellets are made from hardwood, dried out, and ground into sawdust. That sawdust is then pressurized and compressed into small pellets, which stick together using the hardwood’s natural lignin (no additives here!). When they burn, they release a smoky flavor (depending on which pellet types you use) that makes each recipe unforgettable. Many different wood pellet brands and types exist to suit any grill enthusiast’s needs. Traeger’s Apple BBQ Wood Pellets are an excellent choice for chicken, pork, and vegetables. The Smoke Master’s Blend from Broil King contains maple, hickory, and cherry wood, which adds a delicious flavor to beef, venison, or chicken. Those are just two examples–there are many more pellets out there, even specialty blends!
What should I cook on my pellet grill?
As we have discussed, pellet grills are incredibly versatile. These grills can cook meats low and slow, smoker style. Cooking a fall-apart, fork-tender brisket or pork shoulder doesn’t require babysitting anymore. You can allow the grill to do the hard work of maintaining the heat and circulation for you! On the other end of the spectrum, pellet grills can get hot enough (over 550˚F) to sear food–like a delicious cut of steak. Unlike gas grills, pellet grills can sear food at high temperatures without flare-ups from a flame. Pellet grills are capable of anything–you can even utilize higher temperatures to grill a stuffed-crust pizza!
How should I care for my pellet grill?
Pellet grills require very little to start cooking and during the cooking process, but what about maintenance? Most pellet grill companies like Traeger and Weber recommend that you clean the grate after each use. Cleaning the grate is simple enough–preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes with the lid closed, then brush the grates clear using a grill brush. Most importantly, you must clean the ash from your pellet grill for it to function correctly. Many companies report that it is best to do this after every grill use. If you envision the hearty ash cleanup after a cookout with a charcoal grill–never fear! The good news is that wood pellets produce far less ash than charcoal. One 40-lb bag of pellets makes less than ½ cup of ash.
Which pellet grills are the best?
With so many pellet grills on the market today, it can be tough to decide which one is right for your needs. At AllSouth Appliance, we are committed to helping you learn all you can about our Traeger and Broil King pellet grill models and helping you make that choice. You can view our grills online today and give us a call. Better yet, drop in and visit our Birmingham, Alabama, showroom and see them in person! We look forward to helping you make your next barbecue the best–and easiest–one yet.