Pellet Grills 101: What is it and How Does it Work?

Pellet Grills 101 What is it and How Does it Work

Pellet Grills are on the rise across the United States. They combine the smoky wood flavor of classic smokers with the convenience of gas grills. 

Pellet grills are one of the most convenient grills on the market. They run on electricity, and you simply need to plug them in. They also have straightforward digital controls that allow you to set the grill temperature and leave it to cook until the food is ready. 

The fuel source is wood pellets, which are efficient and produce very little ash, making it easier to clean the grill. Even though it doesn’t deliver the classic barbecuing experience, there are several reasons for choosing a pellet grill.  


The Difference Between an Offset Smoker and a Pellet Grill

Pellet grills are also called pellet smokers. Calling it a pellet smoker is a little more accurate since it uses a fan and indirect heat to cook food. However, this advanced type of grill is versatile and can be used to grill, smoke, roast, and even bake or braise foods. 

What Is An Offset Smoker?

The main differences between a pellet grill and a traditional smoker are the fuel source and technology. A conventional smoker consists of a cooking barrel with a small firebox attached to the side. Inside the firebox, you can burn natural wood or charcoal to produce heat and smoke. 

In the case of using charcoal, small wood chips are added to create the smoking effect. The heat and smoke pass from the firebox to the main cooking barrel and then leave through a small chimney. Therefore, offset smokers use indirect heat and smoke, allowing you to cook foods at low temperatures for an extended period. 

What Is A Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill or smoker is an upgraded version of the traditional offset smoker. The shape of a pellet grill is very similar to that of an offset smoker. It has a large cooking chamber or barrel and a small box attached to the side containing the wood pellets

Pellet grills have a digital and electric system that takes care of the whole cooking process. You can set the system to a specific temperature and come back when the food is ready. The digital controls are usually on the small pellet box. 

Wood pellets are not the same as regular pieces of wood or wood chips. They are made from compressed hardwood sawdust, and they burn cleanly and efficiently. There are also various flavors available, and they usually don’t contain any additives. 


How Does a Pellet Grill Work

Pellet grills have a small box attached to the side called a hopper. The hopper is a more advanced and complex version of the firebox in traditional offset smokers. It contains three key elements: an auger, a fan, and a storage space for pellets. 

The auger is a small electric motor that feeds the pellets into the cooking chamber. The hopper also contains a small electric fan that disperses heat and smoke inside the grill. When setting the digital controls, you are setting instructions for the auger. 

How Does the Auger Maintain a Steady Temperature?

The auger works with a small thermostat placed inside the cooking chamber. According to the thermostat temperature signaled, the auger increases or decreases the speed at which it’s moving the pellets into the cooking chamber. 

Where Do the Pellets Burn?

The auger moves the pellets into a cylindrical fire pot underneath the grilling grate or at the cooking chamber’s bottom. There, an ignition rod starts the fire. Meanwhile, the fan blows air into the firepot and disperses heat and smoke throughout the cooking chamber. 


The Pros And Cons Of Pellet Grills

The main advantage of pellet grills compared to classic grills or smokers is their convenience. They are easy to use, and you don’t have to check on the temperature as often as traditional grills. When thinking about purchasing a pellet grill, there are a series of pros and cons to consider.

Pellet Grill Pros

  • Ideal for both beginners and pros

Beginners will avoid burning food or messing up the temperature thanks to advanced digital controls. More experienced cooks will enjoy pellet grills’ versatility, which allows you to cook meat and vegetables in many ways. 

  • Wireless connectivity

Many pellet grills can be connected to a phone using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so you can control the temperature remotely.  

  • A fantastic variety of smoky flavors

Wood pellets can come in various flavors, including pecan, hickory, or cherry. It’s also possible to mix flavors to obtain a unique taste. 

  • Easy to clean

Pellets don’t produce a lot of ash, making it reasonably easy to clean the grill after using it. 

  • Easy to use

You can pack a pellet smoker with meat and not worry that food will cook unevenly. The auger and fan are excellent at maintaining a steady temperature inside the cooking chamber. 

Pellet Grill Cons

  • Cost

In general, pellet grills are more expensive to buy than traditional offset smokers. However, the upgrade in technology justifies the higher price for many people. 

  • Portability 

Since pellet grills need electricity to run, they aren’t as portable as small gas grills or even offset smokers. 

  • Delicate technology

There’s a higher chance of damage with a pellet grill when exposed to harsh weather conditions than with an offset smoker because of the digital and electrical system. 


Embrace the Smoky Flavor of Pellet Grills

A pellet grill is an excellent addition to your backyard or barbecuing area. Simply fill the hopper with fresh pellets, turn on the switch, set the temperature, and let it cook. While you are busy doing something else, you can still monitor the temperature using your phone. 

Wood pellets are also easy to carry and use. The bags are light, and as long as you keep them in a dry place, there aren’t many problems you’ll encounter. You can forget about the regular gas leak checks or inspections of propane grills and simply relax while your delicious food cooks. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *