As versatile as consistent, pellet grills have become a staple outdoor cooking unit since their introduction in the 1980s. They are extremely convenient and easy to use; all you have to do is plug them in, set the temperature, and let the grill do the rest of the work. It’s no wonder these trusty grills have maintained their popularity for over 30 years.
But when it comes to buying your pellet grill, how do you know which one is right for you, and what should you consider? There are a few factors to consider before investing in your dream grill.
What Can You Cook on a Pellet Grill?
Pellet grills are popular because they are incredibly versatile. This is a significant advantage for those who love grilling a variety of different dishes. When using a pellet grill, you’re not limited to traditional BBQ foods like burgers and hotdogs. You can also bake and smoke foods for a more refined meal.
If you’re one for experimenting with grilling, pellet grills are a great option. There are countless possibilities, allowing you to grill steaks, smoke eggs and salmon, BBQ pork shoulders, make smoked beef jerky, and even bake pizza.
How Much Maintenance Do They Require?
Just like any other outdoor cooking appliance, pellet grills require regular maintenance to ensure their continued functionality. Ensure the grill grates are clean before use. Using a sturdy grill brush will do the trick. As well as maintaining the interior of your pellet grill, you should also keep it clean externally. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or grease.
Pellet grills benefit from covering the heat diffuser plate with aluminum foil before cooking to reduce the length of the clean-up process. Many grills also come fitted with a grease bucket, which you can line with foil as well. Not only does this coverage minimize clean-up times, but it reduces the amount of grease and dirt that can build up on the grates and cooking chamber. This leads to better tasting foods, as well as improved hygiene levels.
You should clean the inside of the firebox regularly to maintain its performance. This is a prime spot for ash to accumulate, so vacuuming regularly is essential. Wait at least 24 hours after a grilling session to clean the firebox, as you need to make sure the grill is entirely cooled down.
A detail some grillers will forget is to wipe the temperature probe after each use. This ensures the communication between the controller and the firebox isn’t compromised. For your pellet grill to maintain its functionality, you should be prepared to take on these regular maintenance methods.
Will You Have to Assemble it?
With most smokers and grills, the answer is yes, the grill will require some sort of assembly. However, don’t let this put you off purchasing because you can put most grills together in around 2 hours. Grab an extra pair of hands and follow the straightforward instructions, and you’ll be cooking on your new pellet grill in no time.
If you’re really uncomfortable assembling a grill yourself, you can contact the store you’re purchasing from and see if they offer assembly services.
Should You Purchase a Pellet Grill Or Pellet Smoker Grill Combo?
There is more than one type of pellet smoker, and you may prefer one model over another. Two popular units you can choose from are a standard pellet grill or a combination unit of a grill and smoker.
Lots of people love these standard grills because they are versatile. Their set-and-forget functionality is what makes them so easy to use. They’re also often referred to as an outdoor oven due to the variety of foods that you can cook on them.
Pellet grills are great for cooking and smoking meats because the wood automatically feeds the fire, and the temperature is straightforward to control.
Pellet Smoker Grill Combo
These units are the best way to combine a grill and a smoker’s benefits in a single model. However, they are usually much bigger than pellet grills, so consider how much outdoor space you have available.
Most pellet and smoker grill combo units heat indirectly. However, some models come with a slider plate that allows direct flame heating alongside searing meats. With these units, you can grill and smoke foods simultaneously with searing and roasting. These fancy functions are what make pellet smoker and grill combos more expensive than regular pellet grills.
How Much Do Pellet Grills Cost?
Pellet grills are usually more expensive than other grill types. They have specific components that other grills, such as gas and charcoal, don’t have. These components include:
- Induction fans
- Hot rod ignition
- Motorized feed auger
- Electronic control panel
Depending on which of these features are included, there is a vast price range for pellet grills. The already hefty price jumps higher when premium functions and extended warranties are part of the deal.
In terms of operational costs, pellets for the grill retail at a price per pound. With pellet consumption depending on how long you grill and what you cook, a general guideline suggests you use around 1.5 lbs. of pellets every hour. This amount of pellets also accounts for low and slow cooking methods and food cooked at higher temperatures.
While investing in a pellet grill can be more costly than buying other units, don’t let this slight price difference put you off. The benefits and versatility of these grills outweigh any concerns about cost.
Invest in a Pellet Grill for an Epic Grilling Season
After carefully considering the various aspects of pellet grill maintenance, cost, and ownership, it’s time to make a decision. With these grills providing a diverse outdoor cooking experience for even the most extravagant BBQ menus, you definitely won’t regret investing in a pellet grill for your backyard.
Broaden your grilling horizons by picking up a pellet grill and experimenting with fun new recipes. You’ll be hosting memorable alfresco dining sessions for friends and family for years to come.