How Wood Pellet Grills Work

Reasons Why Pellet Grills & Pellet Smokers Are Good Options

How Does a Wood Pellet Smoker/BBQ work?

1. Easy to set up

The grill does almost everything itself. After you determine the desired grilling temp first and add the pellets in the hopper, the grill doses them itself and maintains the heat. That is why it is often said that you will set it and forget it because setting up a barbecue is as easy as turning on your oven.

Pellet grills are thermostatically controlled, as is the oven, making them easy to adjust and use.

2. Better Taste

Wood pellets don’t just fuel the fire, but it creates a smoke flavor to the food you are cooking on this grill. That is why pellet grills make great devices – you can control your foods flavor and taste by simply changing the wood pellets used.

While wood pellets give the food a delicious smoked aroma, different wood pellets give the meat a different taste. For example, if you use apple pellets, the food will have a sweet smoky taste. Make sure to get the right one when you cook your food.

3. No smoke and ash residue

The pellet grill smokes less than some other grills, so no flare-ups. It allows easy grilling, smoking, and maintenance, all free of smoke and ash.

4. Versatile cooking

Since you can quickly determine the heat, you can cook a variety of foods on this grill. You may cook quality meals like classic BBQ or chicken, even pizza, without fear of temp fluctuations. You can prepare smoked, stewed, dried, or roasted meats in addition to the classic grilling.

5. Healthy grilling

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How Does A Pellet Grill Work

Back in the days, many people especially those hardcore BBQers thought that pellet grills were a fad. But now, wood pellet grills are one of the hottest trends in the industry, offering users the primal flavor of wood smoke coupled with the turn-of-a-knob convenience of gas. But how? And what else they can offer? In this article we will walk you through the basics of a pellet grill. So if you are new to pellet grilling or smoking and want to learn how a pellet grill works , here we can help.

What To Cook On A Pellet Grill

Of course, any kind of meat is a given. If youre cooking low and slow, you can use cheaper cutssuch as shanks and brisketsthat typically dont turn out as well on a gas grill, says Chef Anthony Bucco, who runs Felina restaurant in Ridgewood, N.J. But to only cook meat on a pellet grill would be to miss out on the potential of this versatile machine.

Kolman says he loves doing deep-dish Chicago pizza on his pellet grillhe orders one half baked and then finishes the cooking at home. Traeger Grills has recipes for everything from sourdough bread to cheesecake and bread pudding.

Caitlin Bensel Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer Prop Styling: Claire Spollen

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Bucco says any hearty vegetable holds up well on a pellet grillthink kombucha squash, root vegetables and potatoes. Another surprising thing he does on his pellet grill? Smoked nuts. You roast them the same way youd do in an oven, but on a perforated pan with a nice low smoke for about 20 minutes, he says. Hes tried this with everything from raw cashews to walnuts and pecans, then spun them into smoked butters. Try adding some smoked nut butter into your yogurt for breakfast, he says. Its magical.

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How Do Pellet Grills Work

The wood pellets are poured into a container called a hopper. The pellets are moved by a rotating auger into a fire pot that is powered by electricity. In the fire pot, a hot rod ignites the pellets, causing them to burn and produce heat and smoke. Next, the induction fan brings in air to aid in combustion. Above the fire pot, a heat baffle rests to disperse any direct heat evenly throughout the grill rather than allowing it to burn your food. A grease drip tray sits above that to catch any grease drippings and further disperse the heat. Finally, the induction fan circulates the smoke and heat from the fire pot throughout the grill chamber, cooking your food via convection-style cooking.

How Can I Read The Temperature Of Whatever Of Im Cooking

What is a Pellet Grill and How do They Work? A Quick Overview

Every Memphis grill comes standard with a digital food probe that displays the internal temperature of whatever youre cooking. Further, you can set the ITC to a desired food temperature and it when it hits that temp, it automatically reduces the grill temperature to the lowest set point to keep your food ready to serve.

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How Pellet Smokers Work

If you live in an area where wood furnaces are used , you may also be familiar with pellet furnaces. In short, pellets compressed from sawdust and wood shavings fill a hopper and are then fed into a burn pot using an electric auger system. The auger, which is basically a long screw, delivers pellets to the burn pot based on the speed dictated by the units thermostat. As the burn pot ignites, the pellets burn. Heat then carries through the home via convection means, thus allowing air flow and a blend of warm and cool air to maintain steady, even burn temperatures. A heat exchanger separates the smoke fumes from the warm air, thereby warming the room without smoking everyone out.

Pellet smokers work in much the same way, albeit with the heat exchanger removed so that the smoke produced by the burning wood pellets bathes your food in its goodness and helps render the barbecue product youre after.

As you can see from the image of a Traeger Pellet Grill above, pellets move from a hopper via an auger to a burn pot . The rate at which the pellets are fed into the hopper is dictated by your Pellet grills thermostat. Extra fuel in the form of oxygen is blown over the burn pot to increase the burn rate and help regulate a nice, steady, and efficient burn. The lower your temp, the more smoke is created.

What Exactly Is A Pellet Grill

Pellet grills, also known as pellet smokers, are outdoor cooking devices that combine aspects of charcoal smokers, gas grills, and home ovens.

They are driven by electricity and fuelled by hardwood pellets, and they smoke foods at consistent temperatures using a fire supplied by wood pellets, the temperature of which is regulated by the amount of pellets burnt. Their fuel is made entirely of natural hardwood pellets, allowing them to deliver direct or indirect heat. Even if youre not a Pro griller or an expert, a pellet grill smoker with a broad temperature range may help you prepare the best ribs, briskets, or dishes that begin with other letters utilizing different cooking methods.

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Pellet Grill Vs Gas Grill

The biggest difference between a pellet grill and a gas grill: the flavor! Pellet grills are powered by hardwood pellets and thus impart a naturally sweet, spicy, smoky flavor to everything you cook a flavor that is unmatched by cooking on gas or charcoal grills. The team at Traeger says: “The smoke acts as a wholly separate seasoning, adding a deeper and more robust flavor to whatever you decide to cook.”

Ginevra agrees, and says that the flavor of cooking with wood pellets doesnt even compare to the flavor of cooking on a gas grill. Sure, you can argue that cooking over an open flame like you would on a gas grill gives off flavor, but what if you could get that meaty, smoky flavor without the inevitable ashy, burnt and blackened taste? Thats where your pellet grill comes in. Heat is generated through combustion, by igniting wood pellets and circulating heat through a fan system. Much like a convection oven, this allows us to set and maintain a specific temperature without worrying about the unpredictability of open fire flare-ups.

Are Pellet Grills Worth The Money

How a Traeger Wood Pellet Grill Works

Yes, if you love grilling outdoors, youll love a pellet grill. Depending on the brand and temperature of the grill, the indirect heat allows you to cook, smoke, braise, roast, grill, and seer foods without a lot of interaction from you.

To better understand what a pellet smoker is, you first need to know what they are and how they work.

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Whats My Current Go To Pellet Brand

At present, I am sponsored by and continually usepellets produced by There are two versions of pellets the Perfect Mix and 100 Percent Hickory.

In each of these versions, CookinPellets uses all wood, no bark, no filler woods like oak or alder and no flavor oils. Just 100% of what is on the bag. I get consistently great flavor using these two varieties of pellet smoker pellets from, and I think youll enjoy them very much as well.

Chris at is good people. You can read more about their operation here. I encourage you to give em a look see.

Pellet Grill Vs Propane Grills

Both gas grills and pellet grills offer convenience to the consumer. And when Pit Boss® bursted onto the scene a few years ago, they both offered affordability as well. However, there are some major differences between the two types of grills.

Gas grills are great for cooking at mid to high to high temperatures. However, due to poor insulation, gas grills typically dont perform well at low temperatures. Gas grills need proper ventilation and because of this they dont typically perform well as smokers.

Pellet grills also offer more flavor options due to gas itself being flavorless. The wood pellets, on the other hand, can come in a variety of natural flavors that help enhance the food.

It is also a little easier to control temperature on a pellet grill. Each gas grill has a dialing in process with the user but a pellet grill can be set to the temperature you desire within a 15°F variance.

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Wood Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker

Both smokers use electricity why is wood pellet better?

The reason behind a pellet smoker is not the use of power, but results.

An electric smoker operates more like your kitchen stove with a pan full of smoking wood chips.

As the wood chips slowly burn away, they produce smoke that flavors your food.

When the wood chips in the pan are burned, and the smoke stops, you have to reload the pan with new wood chips.

In many electric smokers, you will need to remove the pan and empty the ashes for the best results.

Removing the chip pan can cause a drop in temperature and slow cooking. Also, it is a headache.

A pellet smoker can be a bit milder smoke, but it is very consistent.

In most cases, you will load the required amount of pellets at the beginning of your cook.

Then running your smoker can be as simple as set it and forget it as the machine controls the smoke and the temperature.

That said, there is a way to smoke ribs using the electric smoker.

On the opposite side, if you like an intense smoky flavor, an electric smoker might be better for you.

Summing it up, Pellet smokers are far more automatic to cook with, producing consistent results.

Not All Pellet Grills Achieve The Same Maximum Temperatures

Z Grills

As Ive referenced above previously, typically pellet grills with time-based control panels will not achieve the same maximum temperature as PID control panels. As a PID controller achieves more efficient combustion temperatures will exceed 500 degrees .

Whereas time-based pellet grill controllers will typically only be able to achieve a maximum temperature of 450 degrees if that. I have a separate post on which pellet grills get the hottest. However, its not purely down to the control panel. Some pellet grills will achieve higher cooking temps, particularly for grilling/searing due to direct flame access.

Direct flame access is not universal across all pellet grills, with only certain brands choosing to offer it: Image

Pit Boss have established a strong reputation in the pellet grill community for their grilling/searing performance due to the fact that direct-flame access is pretty universal across their entire pellet grill range. However, its not only Pit Boss who offer direct flame access. Camp Chef, Green Mountain Grills, ZGrills , Oklahoma Joes and all of the luxury pellet grill brands offer direct-flame access.

Camp Chef also offers direct flame access on many of their pellet grills: Image

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Pellet Smokers And Indirect Heat Delivery

With almost all Pellet smokers, the heat is indirect, allowing you to cook larger cuts of meat or larger quantities of meat for long cook times at lower temperatures.

Pellet smokers normally have a drip plate under the main cooking surface that allows fat drippings to flow into a catch vessel normally a pail of some sort. Because the heat and air flow is so well-regulated in Pellet smokers, you can pack it with meat and literally walk away being assured of steady temps and very predictable outcomes.

Backyard at home BBQ smokers appreciate this feature when cooking things like chicken, which normally isnt trimmed down as much as competition cooks might leave it.

Speaking of competition cooks, youll find that many competition BBQ pitmasters who use Pellet grills as their primary means of cooking are among the more well rested come Saturday. The next step well cover in this selection of Pellet Grill Reviews is getting your pellet grill / smoker up and running. Again, what you may not see in may Pellet Grill Reviews is repeated mention that youre not going to get that deep smoke flavor profile using a pellet smoker. Though, this can be achieved by using something like the Amazen Pellet Tube Smoker 12.

Tip : Use Hardwood Pellets Instead Of Fruitwood Pellets

Generally, hardwoods will burn longer and produce more smoke than fruit woods. Similarly, in wood pellets, hardwood pellets will produce more smoke than fruitwood pellets.

Examples of hardwoods pellets that produce more smoke are mesquite, oak, and walnut. Fruitwoods, such as apple, cherry, or maple will leave a sweeter and lighter smoke flavor compared to hardwoods.

Checkout the best wood for smoking guide to determine the best wood type for the food being cooked.

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How Does A Pellet Grill/smoker Work

Its about time I wrote this article, Ive been writing about pellet grills for over a decade and never got around it to. So what I want to do with this article is to explain to you in the simplest terms how pellet grills/smokers work, but then go into much more detail. You see, not every pellet grill/smoker works in the sameway, and if you are in the market to purchase one there are certain features you want to look out for if your budget will allow. This includes features such as a PID temperature controller, pellet hopper emptying chutes, direct flame access and stainless steel construction. So lets get into this.

How does a pellet grill/smoker work? Well, in the simplest terms pellets go in the hopper , the control panel tells the auger when to feed pellets into the firepot to achieve and maintain a set temperature: Image

Disclaimer: Hey! By the way any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

How To Do The Proper Research

Treager wood pellet grills. How it works

So, generally, the key questions are the smoke flavor and fuel consumption.

These two are inevitably tied together, as a stronger smoke flavor will require more expensive fruit wood pellets.

Example: 100 % cherry wood pellets will definitely be more expensive, even with the low rate of consumption, and will cost you noticeably more on average.

The smoke flavor will be better, but fruit wood pellets burn faster than hardwood.

Hardwood pellets will provide longer burn times and will last longer, so you will have to weigh the benefits of both and compare the pricing.

You may also want to consider mixing the two, filling your hopper with hardwood and fruitwood pellets, in a 50-50 ratio.

This might do the trick of providing the smoke flavor close to the maximum while prolonging burn times and cutting down your costs.

It is only after youve factored this dilemma, that you can begin on deciding which cooker to purchase.

There are a lot of affordable options now, and if you only care about the outcome of the grilling or the taste of the food, you may only need to consider the fuel.

More expensive pellet grills mostly offer a more convenient ways of cooking, like a more advanced thermostat system, the Wi-Fi control as mentioned, and similar stuff.

You should also factor in your plans for your pellet grill.

Will you be moving it around often or will you be keeping it in one place most of the time?

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How Wood Pellet Grills Work

Breakaway is proud to carry a variety of products from Green Mountain Grills. These grills use renewable wood pellets to create an open flame without the hassle of fuel fumes. Wood pellet grills include features like:

  • Digital controller controls flame temperature by managing pellet flow
  • A motor feeds pellets into the firebox
  • A hot rod in the firebox ignites pellets, while a combustion fan keeps them burning
  • Fan inside the pellet hopper prevents burn-back
  • When these two air flows meet, they create the ultimate wood-burning fire to circulate smoke throughout the grill.
  • The result? Delicious wood-fired food that is easy to cook with easy cleanup!

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