If you’re feeling like the family or neighborhood ‘Grill Master’ and want to rachet up your culinary skills a notch or two, here’s a great idea for you! It’s time to get serious about grillin’ and that means adding a pellet grill to your outdoor living area.
If you only grill occasionally, you may have never heard of a pellet grill. Pellet grills used to be something of a specialty item. Grilling with wood pellets may have been a bit trendy over the past few years. But now, beginners and professional chefs alike have found that anything cooked on a pellet grill will have an unbelievable taste that is second to none. That’s why their popularity is rapidly increasing in back yards everywhere.
This technology is really nothing new. It’s been around since the mid ‘80’s and there are about 30 manufacturers of pellet grills on the market today. But what is new is how reliable, how versatile and how easy this equipment is to operate.
How Does a Pellet Grill Work?
Compressed, pelletized wood pellets are about the diameter of a pencil and about an ¾” long. They come in a variety of different ‘flavors’. Mesquite, cherry, apple, hickory, pecan and lots of other combinations will add a flavor to food that you haven’t tasted before. Simply fill the bin with your choice of pellets, set the controls and get ready to enjoy the accolades from your family and friends.
A pellet ‘grill’ might be a misnomer because it does so much more than just ‘grilling’ your food. Today’s pellet grills will bake, sear, roast, grill, dehydrate or smoke your food through convective cooking.
The control center on the appliance is the key to its versatility. Pellet grills use an auger to move pellets from the storage bin to a burn pot beneath the grill. The burning wood pellets and the food are separated by a metal plate so there are no flare ups and no grease falling into the fire pit! What does that mean to you? Easy and quick clean-up!
A fan helps the fire to evenly cook your food. Based on your settings, the appliance will burn pellets to maintain precise temperatures, within 5° - 10°F on many models.
What Else Will I Need?
There are dozens of options, sizes and accessories available for pellet grills that will enhance your outdoor cooking experience. Obviously, the first thing you will need is a bag or two of pellets. Make sure you use only food grade pellets when grilling. Heating pellets that are used in fireplace inserts and free-standing stoves can use adhesives to bind pellets together and can make your food taste dreadful. Remember it’s always best to stick with a food grade pellet. And you can have fun experimenting with different flavors of pellets.
Speaking of the fuel, food grade pellets come packaged in easy to handle 20 pound bags. Depending on the temperature you are cooking at, most pellet grills will use about 1 to 3 pounds of pellets for each hour of cooking. This would translate to a 20 pound bag lasting approximately 20 hours on low (for most cooking) or about 6 - 10 hours per bag for cooking at slightly high temperatures.
Your dealer will have other accessories that you may want to consider, including:
- Grill covers
- Special racks, grills, plates, baskets & tool sets
- Aluminum grease pans
- Pellet filter kits
- Some models even offer a power inverter that allows you to take your pellet grill to the camp site, lake, tailgating with friends or to the family reunion in the park.
Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
As with most things in life, there are usually positives and negatives. And, this is true when it comes to cooking with pellets. However, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Just consider:
- The flavor of your food . . . . . it really is astounding.
- The safe and easy operation. Just fill with the bin with pellets, set the controls, note the time & soon you will be enjoying snacks or a meal with family and friends more than ever!
- The efficient use of pellet fuel . . . . . approximately one pound of fuel/hour for most cooking.
- The reliable and dependable temperature control.
- The versatility of these appliances is unlike any other. Bake it, sear it, grill it, smoke it, dehydrate it, toast it or roast it and then enjoy it!
- No more messing around with LP tanks.
- Pellet grills are extremely convenient for those with a busy life style.
So, what’s the down side to a pellet grill?
- Electricity is necessary for the appliance to operate.
- Pellet grills are not recommended for use in extremely damp or wet weather conditions.
- Moving parts and components that could fail. This is precisely why you want to buy your pellet grill from a reputable dealer who cares, is responsive to your needs and supports the manufacturer’s warranty.
Are you ready to ignite your outdoor cooking experience? Find an expert near you by clicking the button below. You can start enjoying your new pellet grill tonight and your title in the neighborhood will probably be enhanced to the ’Legendary Grill Master’ with family and friends! Bon appétit!