Benefits of Pellet Grills & Smokers
What is a Pellet Grill?
Quick Answer: The easiest way to get great smoked BBQ flavor
If you love the taste of slow-cooked smoked meats but hate to babysit a charcoal smoker for hours on end, then a pellet grill might be perfect for you. Pellet grills and smokers are the newest edition to the world of BBQ and use a special fuel called wood pellets. BBQ pellets are made from compressed hardwood sawdust and are available in a wide range of wood flavors. The pellets are fed into the grill's fire pot via an electric auger, which supplies only the amount of pellets necessary to heat the grill to your desired temperature. No more babysitting, adding fuel, or adjusting air vents to keep your temperature stable. Simply set your temperature, press start, and let your pellet smoker do the work for you.
Benefits of Pellet Grills
Simply prime the fire pot and ignite the grill with the touch of a button! The controller will take care of the rest.
Mostly Even Heat
Pellet grills act as an oven or smoke chamber, providing generally even heat through every inch of the grill.
Many pellet grills connect to a phone app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, letting you control the grill from your smart phone.
Amazing Smoke Flavor
BBQ pellets come in a wide variety of flavors like pecan, hickory or cherry. Mix different pellets for even more unique flavor combinations.
Easy to Use
Pellet grills are the easiest grills to use, by far. Some pellet smokers can be pre-programmed with entire smoking cycles.
Because most pellet smokers have a full-coverage heat baffle separating your food from the fire pot below, flare-ups are almost non-existent.
Pellet grills constantly monitor temperature, automatically adding pellets as needed to keep the heat exactly where it should be.
Wide Temperature Range
While all pellet grills are great at low-and-slow smoking, newer models are also capable of high-heat grilling, and some can even sear.
What Can You Cook on a Pellet Grill?
When Traeger patented the first wood pellet smoker back in 1986, low-and-slow smoking was the name of the game. Today’s pellet grills, however, are capable of just about any type of cooking you can imagine. With temperatures ranging from below 200°F to just over 700°F, pellet cookers can grill, smoke, BBQ, bake, and broil, and a select few can even sear. Not every pellet cooker is able to produce such high heat, but some models function as truly all-in-one cooking machines.
Baking on Pellet Grills
At their core, pellet grills operate much like your indoor kitchen oven. Both machines use dry, indirect heat circulated by fan-driven convection and can hold steady temperatures within 5°F of your target throughout the 350°F–425°F range. As a result, pellet smokers like those from Traeger can bake breads, pastries, biscuits, and desserts. Don’t worry about your baked treats tasting overly smoky — wood pellets tend to fully combust, leading to a small amount of smoke that imparts subtle flavors. Full combustion occurs because wood pellets contain no additives and very little moisture, and are exposed to strong, fan-forced air.
Smoking on Pellet Grills
This is what pellet cookers are really built for. They’re constructed so that those new to BBQ smoking can adopt a new cooking style with ease, whereas a large offset or cabinet smoker usually requires a good deal of know-how to operate. Even better, pellet grills generate thin smoke that’s free of creosote, a byproduct of incomplete combustion common to improperly operated charcoal or wood-burning offset smokers. Vertical wood pellet smokers in particular infuse smoked foods like ribs and pork butts with a cleaner flavor than that of electric or charcoal grills, which rely on smoldering wood chips that may not completely combust.
Grilling on Pellet Grills
Considering the their low-and-slow nature, can pellet grills truly be called “grills”? We sure think so. Some of today’s models can reach temperatures hotter than what many gas grills can achieve, and several brands allow you to sear with designs that expose food directly to the flames of the fire pot below. Memphis pellet grills, for instance, can cook a steak and veggies in just minutes while still giving them a mild and clean smoky flavor. Additionally, Camp Chef Woodwind Wi-Fi pellet smokers are among the handful of models that come with a side-mounted gas power burner that provides the versatility of an intense sear when you need it.
Top Pellet Grill Brands
Pellet Grill Innovations: Wi-Fi, Direct Sear, & Gas Features
In the past few years, many advances have been made in the pellet grill industry. One of the most convenient changes has been the addition of Wi-Fi connectivity in the latest generation of pellet grills. Several brands have created companion smartphone apps to go along with their grills, providing temperature monitoring and control in the palm of your hand! Another major breakthrough is the inclusion of a sear zone — a cooking grate located directly over the fire pot of the grill for searing steaks or getting a flame-broiled char on burgers. Some of the newest pellet grill models even have features traditionally found in gas grills, most notably propane gas-powered burner attachments.
Wi-Fi Enabled Pellet Grills
These grills connect directly to your home's Wi-Fi network, allowing you to monitor and adjust the temperature of your pellet grill from your smartphone. As long as you have internet access, you can control your grill’s temperature settings.
Pellet Grills with a Sear Station
Grills like the Memphis Pro pictured above have special attachments or accessories that allow you to grill directly over the fire pot of your pellet grill. Some brands like Camp Chef even offer full sear-zone side burners on their pellet smokers.
Pellet Grills with Gas Features
The Camp Chef Woodwind Wi-Fi series leads the way here with a Sidekick propane power burner that can act as a griddle, sear box, or pizza oven. You can’t beat the convenience of smoking a brisket while grilling burgers or warming sides on the power burner.
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