Weve Told You Why You Should Buy A Grilla Grill But Why Should You Even Be Pellet Smoking In The First Place We Break It Down
Maybe your neighbor has a pellet grill and youve smelled the delicious foods that come off the grates. Or perhaps youve sampled dishes like low-and-slow BBQ during a picnic. Whatever the reason, youre convinced that grilling on a pellet grill produces amazing results.
But is pellet smoking really for you?
We get asked by customers: Why should I buy a pellet grill in the first place? There are a lot of misconceptions about cooking with pellets and many people assume its too complicated, but these people dont truly understand what pellet grills are. Yes, there are electronics involved, which may seem odd at first. There are also new terms with pellet grilling, things like auger, hopper and fire pot. But dont let that intimidate you. Though pellet grills might seem more complicated than other types of grills, theyre fairly straightforward to operate. Plus, they give meats and veggies a distinct wood-smoked flavor that you cant imitate on a regular grill or stove.
To help you decide whether pellet smoking is for you, check out the following facts.
What Is So Special About A Traeger Grill
The digital temperature control system integrated with thermometers is an excellent feature of Traeger grills that distributes the temperature evenly. Food tastes great when cooked on a Traeger grill, and this is partly because the food tastes fantastic when it is grilled with smoky flavorfrom wood pellets. Traeger grills are easy to operate and make BBQ much easier than other traditional methods.
How Many Amps Does A Traeger Grill Use
If youre planning to cook in a Traeger Grill, you need to understand how much power is being used by your Traeger grill. Your Traeger grill will need very little power to operate, but it will need more power in the beginning. It will need 4 Amps for the first 5-10 minutes of operation. Afterward, it will need only 1.5 Amps to keep the system running at a normal pace.
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Traeger Pro Series 34
by TraegerID # 2929855Model # TFB88PZB
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But Dammit The Food Is So Good
Even after listing all the Traeger Timberline 850’s issues, I still struggle with one thing. The barbecue I cooked in it was absolutely fabulous. I’m no pitmaster , but I felt like one when I used the Traeger. The people who came back for seconds helped me believe it, too. And sure, a lot of that was due to a few killer brisket and pork rib recipes. To the folks at amazingribs.com, I am in your debt.
I still dream of this Traeger-smoked Juicy Lucy burger.
So where do I go from here? I’m certainly not about to shell out $1,700 for this high-end Traeger pellet grill, no matter how sublime my experience. Nor do I find the thought of spending big bucks on a $700 Vision Kamado or Big Green Egg appealing.
Settling for close-ish cooking performance for a whole lot less with the $379 Charbroil Kamander or the $329 Weber Smokey Mountain sounds more reasonable to me. And hey, maybe with practice, I’ll get better at grilling up delicious feasts without thousands of dollars of hardware at my disposal. That’s probably a charcoal pipe dream, but I admit, a pleasant one.
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Drawbacks Of Pellet Grills
- Pellet grills are dependent on electricity, limiting their portability unless you have access to a generator or inverter.
- Though they are marketed as grills, you wont get grill marks or a dark sear, as the units run on fan-driven indirect heat. In my opinion, these are smokersnot grills. You can increase the amount of caramelization you get on the outside of food by preheating a cast iron grill grate, skillet, griddle, or plancha directly on the grill grate for 20 minutes before cooking.
- Pellet grills are relatively expensive, retailing from a few hundred dollars to more than $4000.
- The higher the cooking temperature, the less smoke the unit generates. Youll get the most smoke flavor at temperatures below 250 degrees.
- Any grills with moving parts and electrical components can break down . If exposed to moisture, pellet fuels will disintegrate. People who live in humid climates must keep their pellets dry, preferably indoors in airtight lidded containers.
The bottom line? We now have several pellet grills at Barbecue University and some students love them. Of course, there are still a lot of purists out there who insist on burning charcoal or wood.
How Is A Pellet Grill Powered
Unlike traditional grills, Traegers need to be plugged into an outlet. Power usage is minimal. But it does need power to operate the thermostat, fan, igniter rod, and auger.
Make sure it is in the off position when you plug it into an outlet.
Fortunately, pellet grills run on a standard household electrical current. This may limit portability a bit, but so long as you access to a generator or inverter, youre good to go.
The electricity from plugging it in turns the auger. That in turn, feeds the wood pellets from the hopper into the firepot.
Then the electricity also gets used to light the wood pellets on fire. Lastly, an electric fan is used to help circulate both the smoke and the heat. In that sense, its not unlike a convection oven.
If this is the first time youre using your Traeger, youll need to season it first before putting any food in. It takes about 50 minutes, but its not complicated and you only need to do it once.
To read about how to season your Traeger, just read this recent article. Not only do I talk about how to season your Traeger, but I tell you all about how to use it its the ultimate beginners guide!
Just click the link to read it on my site.
We listened. We know the best GFCIs are quick to install, have no faulty parts and work well past its warranty period. Check out GFCI products at
Skyler International Inc.
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Advantages Of Traeger Pellet Grills
Open Traeger wood Pellet Grill Smoking Meat and Vegetables
The advantages of pellets versus gas grills are flavor, smell, and health.
But the main advantage is taste. The pellet grill lovers will invariably ask, “What does gas taste like?”
All of the Traeger pellets are all-natural wood. The wood also makes it taste better than gas or charcoal.
Electric Vs Pellet: Price
Generally, pellet smokers, especially the Traeger, are more expensive than many of the best electric smokers. These pellet smokers can cost between a minimum of $400 to $2000.
Electric smokers are cheaper. Small ones cost about $200, and commercial ones can set you back $4000. It all depends on your needs and your budget.
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How Are Traeger Grills Powered
When you plug the Traeger grill, a rotating auger delivers pellets from the hopper to the firebox, where they ignite with the hot rod and are burned to generate heat for cooking. The auger which operates on electricity automatically feeds pellets to the central burn chamber. Traeger grills have a hopper capacity of about 40 pounds, so you wont need to feel the hopper now and then.
Portable Battery Power For The Ranger
- Ironwood 885, Century 22, BGEx2, GMG Davey Crockett
GrillMeister said:When I bought the PTG at Costco a ways back, it came with an inverter to use by plugging it into a lighter socket in a car.You can get a decent Deep Cycle trolling battery and inverter for under $150 and it will keep your Ranger going for days in the wild.
RemE said:Regardless of a car, you need a 120V AC source to power the grill. You can get a cheap 12V to 120V “inverter” and 12V battery, or one of the newer combined battery/inverter units like Goal Zero etc. with an outlet on them.
- Timberline 850
- Timberline 850
RemE said:I’d be surprised if the measured draw was that high at startup. Grab a cheap watt meter and see. It’s the hot rod ignitor that pulls the most power for the first 10 min, then it’s the controller, fan, and auger which draw little.
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Pellet Grill Power Requirements
First, lets talk about the power needs of a pellet grill. I spoke with an electrical engineer, pored over specs for various grills and came up with the following:
The typical pellet smoker requires about 30 watts of electrical power when running, and anywhere from 300-500 watts for the 5-10 minutes during startup when the ignitor is running to light the pellets and the fan is running to build the fire in the fire pot. This is very different from an electric grill or smoker which have between 500-1500W continuous power requirements.
Youre going to need a power supply that can handle a short-term 500W startup need, and can then run a 30W device for at least 12 hours, more if possible. And youll need a way to invert the DC power from a battery to the 110V AC power the grill uses.
It’s A Serious Pain To Clean
Cleaning a propane grill isn’t what I’d call fun, but I’d much rather clean one of those than a wood smoker like the Timberline. With pellet grills, dealing with food grease is just the start. All that wood smoke circulating within its main cavity creates a sticky residue. Called creosote, it’s a combination of wood tars and other organic compounds that lend smoked food its distinctive flavor. Ridding smokers of creosote makes for a very messy job.
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Product packaging, owners manuals, installation instructions, and/or operating instructions may include more information than what is shown on our website. The content on our site is intended to be used for reference purposes only. Please fully read all included manuals and documentation before installing or using this product. WARNING for California residents: this product may contain chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects, cancer, or other reproductive harm.
How To Use Pellet Grills
Pellet grills are as simple to use as cooking on a regular propane grill. Unlike charcoal or wood fire smokers, close maintenance is not needed to keep the fire and smoke going.
Heres how to use a Traeger pellet grill:
Traeger pellet grills make smoking as easy as cooking something on a propane grill. The only difference is that smoking takes a few hours instead of a few minutes.
However, smoking can transform a thick cut of meat into a juicy, fall of the bone cut that has a crispy bark on the outside. It really does take all of the hard work out of smoking.
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It seems that every appliance review has nothing but glowing comments about almost every product, yet you read customer reviews and they are almost universally bad.
We are here to fill in the disconnect. We’ll give you the best features, and the drawbacks as well, including reliability based on over 37,000 calls performed by our service team just last year. Our goal is to give you ALL the information so you know what’s right for you.
Please consider subscribing or adding to the conversation in the comments below. We appreciate you stopping by.
Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.
A Note About Pricing
Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.
Do Pellet Grills Need Electricity
Pellet grills, such as Traegers, are a low maintenance way to cook and smoke food.
The simplicity of pellet grills makes smoking easy for everyone since you just need to fill the hopper with pellets, set the temperature, and wait until the food is done. It really doesnt get any easier than that.
But for those of us who like to take our grilling outdoors or to a tailgate party can we still use pellet grills at these events further away from an electrical socket?
So do pellet grills require electricity?
Pellet grills need electricity in order to work. Pellet grills are powered with electricity so that the auger can feed pellets into the fire which is started by an electric hot rod. Portable power sources such as a generator or electrical outlet in a car can power a pellet grill in remote locations.
Lets cover how a pellet grill works so we can understand why they need electricity and why you cannot use propane or gas to power these grills. However, you can use a gas or propane generator to power these grills since they need electricity in order to work.
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How Long Do You Leave A Traeger On A Shutdown Cycle
About 25 minutes is the short answer but basically until its done.
When youve finished grilling a delicious dinner or smoking an epic feast, you might be tempted to just turn the grill off. That would be a huge mistake!
Traegers have to go through whats called a shutdown cycle. This allows the remaining pellets in the firepot to get burned up. Then the fan cools everything down.
Once youve removed the food from the grill, turn the dial to Shut Down Cycle if you have an older model.
On newer models, youll simply press and hold the silver power button on the front panel . That initiates the Shut Down Cycle.
Close the grill lid and let the shutdown cycle go through until complete. On my Ironwood, this is about 25 minutes. But on older models, I believe it can be closer to 10 minutes.
The fan will automatically shut off. Once the fan has turned off, flip the power switch to Off. Thats it!
Portable Power Stations For Pellet Grills
If a car, truck, RV or boat battery isnt an option, or just too far away from your grill, how about a portable power station? Portable power has come a long way. Were no longer limited to loud gas generators turning a tranquil campout into a noisy excursion with trees.
Todays portable options allow you to use, collect and store power for later and do it quietly.
Heavy duty power stations with solar recharging capability offer amazing flexibility and unlimited backup power. Todays portable power stations can power almost anything from a phone or laptop to a fridge or yes, even a pellet grill.
Goal Zero, one of the leaders in portable power stations, moved away from using heavy lead-acid batteries in 2017 to lighter lithium power cells. This means longer lasting power at about half the weight. Check out the latest prices and availability here.
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How Does A Pellet Smoker Work
The storage container is filled with small hardwood pellets, which are the heat source. Then, an auger motor feeds the small pellets into the cooking chamber, where they burn to cook the food and create smoke.
This process is called combustion and what happens is that the pellets burn at the bottom of the cooking chamber as theyre ignited by air. Special intake fans bring the air inside to aid the pellet-burning process.
The heat and smoke are then evenly dispersed, and meat is cooked perfectly!
When you want to start smoking or grilling, you set the temperature on the digital panel.
The motor then adjusts how much air goes in to control the temperature inside the cooking chamber. Thats done by controlling the number of pellets going in and how fast or slow they burn.
In The Market For A New Traeger Pellet Grill
I love my Ironwood 650. It has a ton of space for grilling on the 2 racks and its incredibly easy to operate. I have mine on my back deck while my older grill sits on our stone patio in the other direction.
The cool thing about Trager grills is you dont have to waste time hunting for the best price. They require all dealers to sell at the exact same price. So whether you check Amazon, Home Depot, or Traegers website, youll always find the exact same price.
So dont waste time surfing around!
to see all the pellet grill options on the Traeger site.
Were all fired up about our big selection of Traeger wood-pellet grills! What is your favorite thing to grill? #MyLocalAce
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