10 Questions About Pellet Grills Answered

People who are new to the pellet grill experience often have a number of questions and the topics run the gamut from how they work to should I really buy.

We put together our own list of 10 most common question that asked about pellet grills.

Question 1:  Can I use the same wood pellets in my pellet grill as I use a pellet heater?

Food-Grade Pellets used for grills

Answer: No, wood pellets for the pellet grill are made from food grade materials and the material used for heaters often contain softer wood and other impurities that can limit the effectiveness of the grill and affect the taste of your food.

Question 2: Do I have to store the wood pellets in a certain way?

Answer: To ensure the best results you should always store the unused wood pellets in a cool, dry place. Don’t allow unused pellets to sit inside the grill hopper for more than a couple days.

If you are going to take a break from grilling you should empty the hopper and feeder system.

Question 3: Are Pellet healthy and clean?

Answer: Since wood pellets made for pellet grills are made from only hardwood products they burn much cleaner and produces a much more flavorful type of smoke and heat.

Wood chips and chunks produce a lot of heavier smoke and unless you prefer it, you should avoid it.

Question 4:  Do I have to plug in a pellet grill into an electrical outlet?

Answer: Yes, the electronic digital controller, pellet feeder (auger) and fan need the 120vAC power in order to function, so you will need to be sure that there is an outlet to plug it into.

Power Cord Pellet Grills

Question 5:  What kinds of cooking can I cook on a pellet grill?

Answer: The pellet grill is a very versatile outdoor cooker, it makes it possible to grill, bake, braise, roast, BBQ and smoke all with the same unit.

There are even some pellet grills that have an optional sear attachment.

Question 6: What are the pellets made from?

Answer:  The food grade wood pellets used for pellet grills are made 100% hardwood sawdust. They use select sawmills to get the materials and don’t add any fillers that could compromise the food safety.  

There are many different types of pellets you can use, depending on the flavor you’re looking for.  Just be on the lookout for fillers.

Question 7: How does the pellet grill work exactly?

How a pellet grill works

Answer:  There are entire websites dedicated to this topic, as different manufacturers have subtle differences, but all pellet grills have a basic set of similarities.  

A pellet grill uses a specially made wood pellet combined with a digital control unit that calculates a number of pellets that are needed to generate the heat to reach and maintain the desired temperature you select on the control unit.

The auger feeds the pellets as needed from the storage hopper that holds all of the pellets.  As the auger feeds more pellets into the burner, the temperature rises.

Question 8: Do stainless steel pellet grills hold up better than painted steel ones?

Answer: When it comes materials that are used to construct a pellet grill, one that is made using only stainless steel does seem to hold up much better against corrosion and rust.  

This, of course, is a generalization, as there are variations in manufacturers, but a rule of thumb is that stainless will last longer

Question 9: Does cold temperature affect the heating effectiveness of a pellet grill?

Answer:  As with any type of heater, the outside ambient temperature and amount of wind can easily affect the ability of the pellet grill to maintain the internal temperature effectively.  

However, the control unit on your pellet grill will compensate for this by adding more pellets to raise the temperature to the level at which you have it set.  

Bottom line is that you will burn pellets faster when its colder outside.

Question 10: Does a pellet grill need to be pre-seasoned before using it?

Pellet Grill Seasonings

Answer: The short answer is that you do have work to do before using your new grill for the first time.   It’s not seasoning like you would typically do with a cast iron skillet.  

But, there is typically a burn-in procedure that is recommended by the manufacturer prior to using your new grill for cooking the first time.  

Normally, it means loading up your hopper with pellets, setting the temperature between 300 and 400 degrees and letting it run for 30-60 minutes.  

Check with your manufacturer for specific instructions.

2 thoughts on “10 Questions About Pellet Grills Answered”

    1. Javier, if you’re tailgating or grilling at the beach, a pellet grill probably isn’t the best choice, because they do require a power outlet. However, if you go all out at your tailgate, you might have a generator, in which case, game on!

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