The Rising Popularity of Pellet Grills
Posted: Mar 17, 2021
For what seems like eons, the grilling world has been split into two camps:
Propane and charcoal.
Propane is efficient and easy to use for a quick meal on a weeknight. Charcoal is traditional, great tasting, but requires a little more time and energy to get going.
Then, maybe you have a smoker off to the side of the patio as well for those longer weekend BBQ marathons.
Well, nowadays, you have pellet grills taking over the scene, growing in popularity, and trying to take over the task of ALL three of the previously mentioned outdoor cooking machines.
What is a Pellet Grill?
If you haven’t yet heard about what they are, or how pellet grills work, then you’ve come to right place because they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!
Pellet grills try to bridge the gap between the convenience of a grill, and the great wood smoked taste of a smoker, by offering BOTH in one easy to use, automatic, temperature-controlled grill.
Rather than running on propane gas or charcoal, pellet grills actually burn tiny wooden pellets, made of compressed sawdust, to create both smoke AND heat to cook your food.
You simply load the side hopper with your favorite flavor of pellets, such as hickory or cherry wood, set the temperature on the controller, and wait for the gill to come up to temperature and start producing smoke!
The pellet grill actively maintains a consistent temperature during the entire cook, whether you are quickly grilling some steaks, or slow roasting a large pork shoulder.
Most higher end pellet grills, like the ones produced by Traeger, are incredibly accurate at controlling their cooking temperature, give you the option for both direct and indirect cooking, and come with internal temperature probes for your meat, letting you track everything from your smartphone via Bluetooth technology.
Pellet grills truly take smoking and grilling into the 21st century with their ease of use and convenience.
Drawbacks to Pellet Grills
Now, they do come with some downsides you should be aware of before you run out and purchase one.
No matter the brand, they will never get that ultra-searing high heat you can get from a high-powered propane gas or infrared grill. Some higher end pellet grill models can get to a temperature range of 425-450°F, but that’s going to be about as high as you’ll get.
However, if you are looking for a good, consistent temperature for every day smoking and cooking, they probably offer the temperature range you need.
Also, pellet grills run on pellets, and ONLY pellets.
Depending how often you cook, the pellets can be more expensive to purchase and use when compared to charcoal or propane gas.
But remember, you are getting wood flavor out of them too, so no need to buy smoking wood chunks or chips as well.
You can do a little better buying off brand pellets rather than the branded ones that come with your pellet grill initially.
Most will work just as well, and you won’t notice a difference in flavor or performance.
Like most grills, you can certainly spend quite a bit of money if you want to on a pellet grill, especially if you go with a higher end Traeger model.
But thankfully, there are many budget friendly pellet grills on the market today like those put out by Green Mountain, Z Grills, Camp Chef, and Pit Boss to name a few.
So, before you go out and replace that old gas or charcoal grill or smoker with another one just like it, take a minute to check out some pellet grills, and see if maybe one will work for you to replace all three!
Hi- My name is Robert Martigan but everybody calls me "Mads"! I love to write about outdoor living, swimming pools, patio and landscaping design, outdoor kitchens, as well as my favorite BBQ and grilling recipes.