How do Pellet Grills Work?

What is a Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill is an outdoor cooking device that combines aspects of a smoker, gas grill, and oven. While it does require electricity to operate, the main fuel for this type of grill is hardwood pellets, which offer various advantages for outdoor cooking.  

How Does a Pellet Grill Work?

Pellet grills look very similar to barrel-style gas grills, with a large cooking area and lid to cover the grill, yet there are a few notable differences. This includes a side chamber called a hopper, which is where you add the wood pellets for cooking. 

An electric powered motor called an auger feeds the pellets into a small fire bowel with an ignitor, which then sets the pellets on fire to produce heat for cooking. A fan blows the heat and smoke around the cooking chamber, allowing you to cook using direct infrared heat and convection heating.

Pellet grills also have a digital temperature controller, which lets you set a specific temperature, which the grill then maintains by adding the necessary amount of wood pellets, feeding them into the fire bowl and igniting them as needed. 

This means you can use it for both searing and slow cooking, which are two of the most popular ways to grill. 

What are the Benefits of a Pellet Grill? 

Pellet grills offer many benefits, including producing one of the best flavors of any grill. This is due to the use of wooden pellets, with the smoke from the wood providing an unmistakable flavor in the food. 

Better still, because there are various types of pellets made from different woods, you have a range of flavours that you can add to your food when grilling, with popular options including apple wood, cherry wood, and hickory wood. 

Another big advantage that a pellet grill offers is its ease of use. Because there is a digital controller you can easily set a specific temperature and the grill will automatically feed pellets into the grill and blows the smoke and heat around until the right temperature is reached, maintaining it until you change it. 

This is much easier than other grills, which often require guesswork and a bit of patience to get the desired cooking temperature. A pellet grill is very hands off, just set the temperature and leave it to cook! 

With a wide temperature range possible on most pellet grills, it can be used to cook in several ways including searing, smoking, and baking! This is a positive for people that want to be able to grill and smoke their food – you could even use it to bake a pie!  

What are the Drawbacks of a Pellet Grill? 

There are some drawbacks to a pellet grill, most notably the fact that they don’t quite reach the high temperatures other grills do. For instance, most pellet grills won’t get hotter than 500F, whereas a charcoal grill can easily reach around 800F, making the latter much better for searing.  However, in my experience, getting the grill to 500F will get you a decent sear.

Another drawback is the cost. Pellet grills are generally more expensive than other types, although considering that you get a versatile outdoor cooking device, they can certainly offer value for money for people serious about grilling and smoking. 

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