Pellet Grills Come In Different Sizes And Styles
Youre never locked into buying one type of pellet grill. In fact, pellet grills like those in the Grilla Grills lineup come in all shapes and sizes.
You can find a great pellet grill for your backyard or balcony area, for example. Even pitmasters who live in apartments can usually find a smoker to fit their lifestyles and available grilling space.
How Do Wood Pellet Grills Work
Pellet grills are a bit more complex than gas or charcoal grills. First, hardwood pellets are added to a chamber on the side of your pellet grill. This is the hopper.
An electric-powered auger automatically feeds the pellets into the grill as needed. Once the wood ignites, the chamber begins to heat, and intake fans circulate air inside the grill.
Then, heat fills the closed cooking chamber, just like an oven. However, unlike an oven, the smoke from the wood pellets also crowds the chamber.
Pellet grill smokers also provide precise temperature controls. The temperature range is generally between 180 °F and 450 °F, so you can sear meats or slow cook them.
What Should I Look For When Buying A Pellet Grill
Choose Your Pellet Smoker Class
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Pellet Smoker Buying Guide
Now that you know about the common features of a pellet grill, how will you choose the right pellet smoker for your needs? Read on to clear all your confusions.
This one is entirely dependent on your needs. If you have a small family or you cook for small gatherings only, it makes sense to invest in a cheaper grill with lower cooking capacity.
On the other hand, if you hold large BBQ gatherings regularly, a larger grill with increased cooking capacity can be a life-saving decision. Not only will you save time, but you can cook various dishes at the same time.
Cleaning your grill after cooking can be quite frustrating when it does not have the right features. To make your life easier, look for a grill with a proper grease management system, or removable grease trays. Besides this, many grills have an ash removal design and dishwasher-safe adjustable grates for your convenience too.
Along with this, look for hoppers that allow you to clean and replace your wood pellets with ease.
There are many grills in the markets with amazing features. However, they are cumbersome, making it challenging to move them from one place to another. Look for grills that offer sturdy wheels, locking caster, foldable legs, and carrying handles for easy transportation.
In the case where you want a grill suitable for travel, look for a grill that offers features like the Country Smokers Pellet Grill. They should be compact, lightweight, and easy to move.
Runner Up Traeger Grills Pro Series 34
Why youll love this:
Professional quality domestic price.
Traeger grills are well known for two things: their performance, and their cost. This huge grill provides all of the former, but skips out on the latter, ensuring you get a maximum quality grill without needing to break the bank.
Including all the features Traeger grills are known for , this grill could easily take pride of place among your cooking appliances. Just make sure you have enough space to park it.
What We Liked
- Versatility: The Pro Series 34 is an all in one grilling machine, able to smoke, bake, roast, braise, barbecue, and grill to perfection. If you wanted you could use the Pro Series 34 as your only means of cooking and do just fine, which is what we like to see in a product.
- Electronic Ignition: The Pro Series 34 ignites pellets with a hot rod deep inside its mechanism, making the usually tedious task of lighting pellets as easy as flipping a switch.
- Huge Capacity: Both the grilling space and pound hopper are huge, and make large batch grilling a breeze.
What We Didnt Like
Traeger Grills came up with the first models in the mid-1980s and the same innovation that led to the first products, has kept Traeger at the top of the game.
Camp Chef vs Traeger Pellet: The Comparisons
You wont go wrong with a Camp Chef or a Traeger grill, both of which offer options for quality, size, price point, and portability.
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Cookshack Pg1000 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill
According to Lampe, this stainless steel grill is a cooking machine with double walled construction and insulation for heat retention as well as a quality searing burner and smoking performance. It also has the ability to cook over direct or indirect heat at up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit and a two-year limited warranty. Theres even a warming drawer to hold a pan of food while you keep cooking, he said. Fast Eddy is a long-time championship barbecue cook and pit builder so its no surprise that his grills are at the top of their class.
Buy The Traeger Grill Thats Right For You
Buying a Traeger grill really boils down to what youre looking for, how much you want to spend and how many mouths you want to feed. Are you a weekend warrior who wants to smoke a rack of ribs a couple times a year? Or do you plan on cranking out brisket, pork butts, legs of lamb, loads of burgers, steaks and veggies any day ending in the letter y?
Either way, no matter which Traeger grill you buy, I think youre getting an amazing product and are going to be cooking some of the best tasting food youve ever enjoyed.
Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links provided. This is one of the ways I am able to support my blog and provide free articles and recipes for readers.
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Jack Of All Trades Or Master Of None
Ever since their inception in 1985 by Mr. Traeger himself, pellet grills have started growing in popularity and rightfully so as they provide great options for grill enthusiasts. They come with great features that allow you to set the temperature and walk away from it without worrying if it will maintain it or not, allow control and monitoring from anywhere in your house, and provide you with that great smoke flavor that everyone loves.
But, with all of these features comes the drawbacks of requiring an outlet to operate, more complex components that will cost A LOT more to fix if broken, a lack of access to a flame for direct cooking, and you will have to be prepared to spend more than you would on a traditional smoker.
If you had no grill at all and were looking at getting both a grill AND a smoker separately then this price may not be that off putting to you as the price of both would probably be more than a pellet grill however, if I was looking at getting a smoker then I would opt to pay A LOT less for a good smoker over buying a pellet grill. Thats not to say that I dont like pellet grills because I have no problem with them and know quite a few people that love theirs.
But, no matter what you may decide, just make sure you get something that you will enjoy cooking on and keep making memories!
How Long Can You Store Pellets
The longevity of wood pellets depends on the humidity of their storage area. In a place with low humidity, pellets can be stored for up to 6 months. Areas with high humidity, however, can be used to store pellets for up to 3 months. To keep your pellets in good shape, store them in an airtight, gasketed container in a dry area. Remember: Moisture is the enemy when it comes to wood pellets.
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What Size Pellet Smoker Do I Need
When it comes to choosing a size pellet smoker, here are some of the factors that need your attention:
- How much food do you plan to cook for every meal?
- Are you using your grill for entertaining guests?
- Do you plan on traveling with your grill?
Pellet or grillers are available in different sizes and requirements. Everything from the portable models meant tailgating to super large commercial units and built-in pellet grillers for outdoor kitchens. For considering the grilling size, you need to pay attention to the cooking area, along with the physical dimensions for picking one that best fits your kitchen space and lifestyle.
Like other smokers, pellet grillers also list the cooking area in two different ways, i.e., the primary cooking area and total cooking area. The immediate cooking area consists of the main cooking grate. The total cooking area refers to the direct cooking grate, along with any of the secondary racks. But since pellet grillers are mainly indirect cookers, there aren’t many differences between cooking on the primary rack or the top rack.
The temperature level should be the same on both racks. So, you should go for a smaller pellet griller that features a primary grid of about 450 square inches. Also, choose an upper rack that measures over 125 square inches. This dimension is a smarter choice than the larger grill with a primary grid of 500 square inches. Bigger isn’t a better choice, especially if you’re paying for a space that you’ll never use.
Natural Flavor In A Pellet
Wood is chipped, dried to specific moisture, milled to a smaller size, and then compressed into pellets. Generally the heat of the compression process pulls natural glue from the wood to keep their shape. Smoking pellets are pure wood, but the pellet smoker is efficient, so it does not put out quite as much smoke during the burn. This creates less intense flavors versus charcoal or split wood. The smoke is clean and easy to control, and it still imparts great flavors if somewhat milder than other techniques.
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Can You Sear On A Pellet Grill
Quite simply, no, you cannot sear on a pellet grill. Most models do not have a spot on the grill for access to direct heat. And, no matter how hot the ambient temperature gets, you need that direct heat to sear.
A few models now offer a searing zone over the fire pot or even a propane side burner.
If you plan to do it all in one place, you might want to investigate these options. Alternatively, you can try heating a cast-iron griddle or skillet on the grill grate and then sear on that.
What Is The Right Internal Temperature For Pork Loin
Pork loin is ready to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145F.
Trust your meat probe here, dont do it by looks or guesswork. A lower temperature will mean the meat is not correctly cooked and if the temperature rises much above 150F you risk having a tough, dried-out pork loin on your hands.
It can be tempting to do it by color, but youll find that when pork looks done, its overdone. Usually when it reaches an internal temp of 145F, there will still be a slight blush to the meat.
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Who Pellet Smokers Are Best Suited For
Even an entry-level pellet smoker will set you back more than a charcoal grill or gas grill. But for a little bit extra upfront, youll enjoy the simplicity and versatility that is causing pellet smokers to take over patios around the country.
It doesnt seem that long ago that only two companies were making pellet grills. Back in 2008 if you wanted to buy a pellet smoker you could choose between Traeger and MAK.
Its a testament to the popularity of this type of smoker that there are now so many new brands available to choose from.
Prices for decent pellet grills start at around $400 and can run well over $1000. When you can get an excellent charcoal smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain for under $300 you may be asking yourself why would you want to buy a pellet grill?
It only takes two words to sum up the benefits of cooking with a pellet smoker. Convenience and versatility.
If the price isnt a deal breaker for you though, the convenience is really amazing. Get used to throwing a brisket on, setting the temperature and then just get about your day without a worry.
Because pellet smokers run off electricity they can also be a great choice if you live in a condo or are unlucky enough to have restrictions on burning charcoal or wood.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Freelance food writer and cookbook author Donna Currie is an expert on all things food, from cookbooks to cooking gadgets. She’s also a product tester for The Spruce Eats and has cooked with every type of grill out there, including pellet grills.
This article was updated by Camryn Rabideau, a grilling expert and product tester for The Spruce. She’s tested several pellet grills, including the Z Grills ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill and Traeger Ironwood 885, and she interviewed Jess Pryles, a grilling expert and author of “Hardcore Carnivore,” while researching grills for this article.
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What Are The Advantages Of Pellet Grills
There are a number of reasons some people prefer pellet grills over traditional charcoal or gas models. One of the main benefits is that they provide precise temperature control with minimal oversight, which is useful if, for instance, you plan to smoke food for long periods of time. Pellet grills also give food a wonderful smoky flavor, and you can use different types of pellets to control the flavor profile of your meals. Further, because pellet grills cook using indirect heat, they prevent flare-ups and result in more even cooking.
Final View: Are Pellet Grills Worth It Should You Buy One
Not to sound like a philosophy professor or some kind of self-help guru, but the answers to these questions lie in you. There are no definitive answers there are only the answers that are right for you.
After reading this article detailing the pros and cons of pellet grills, you should have the answers you were looking for.
To sum up, though, pellet grills or pellet smokers offer an enticing combination of user-friendly features and cooking versatility. You barely have to touch them after loading the pellet hopper, setting the temperature, and placing your food.
They can cook almost anything, and theyll infuse meat cooked low n slow with real smoke flavor. For some, its the one-stop-grill for all backyard cooking.
For others, though, it isnt good enough at either smoking or grilling to make it worth the investment. If youre one of those people, your money may be better spent on separate, dedicated units to each task.
So, what did you decide?
If you think a pellet grill is for you, dont leave without reading some of our other articles on pellet grills, including reviews of the best units on the market. And, if you voted no, weve got reams of reading on smokers and grills of every kind.
If you have any questions, please fill out the form below, and answers will come your way ASAP. In the meantime, go get your grill on!
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Traeger Pro Series 575 & 780
The New Grills are Larger
The new Pro Series is a bigger grill than its predecessor, its two inches higher for a more comfortable grilling height and has a larger barrel which increases the cooking space.
One of the biggest differences is WIFIRE, the built-in Wi-Fi digital controller that allows you to monitor and adjust the temperature from your mobile device. The controller allows you to adjust the temperature in 5 degree increments.
Traeger App and Cloud
The digital controller operates through the Traeger App. The Traeger App contains hundreds of recipes through GRILLGUIDE which gives you the ability to download recipes directly to the WIFIRE grill controller so your grill can walk you through the entire cook with step-by-step guides.
The old and the new Pro Series have the same temperature range, however, the new Pro Series is more powerful and able to reach the maximum temperature faster than the old model.
The 1st Gen Pro Series comes with two temperature probes that allow you to monitor the grill temperature and the meat internal temperature. The new Pro Series comes with a single probe for measuring meat, while you can monitor the grill temperature through the Traeger App.
Wood Pellet Hopper Capacity
Expect to pay $200- $300 more for the new 575 and 780 models. Check the latest price on the Traeger website.
Price: The Difference Between Affordable And Cheap Pellet Grills
Everyone has their price range, but dont confuse cheap for affordable. As with other types of grills, there are plenty of inexpensive pellet grills that seem attractive at first glance, especially if youre looking to save a little money. However, while a cheap pellet grill might save you a little money up front, its going to cost you more in the long run. Parts will rust, components will break down, and you will likely find yourself replacing some or all of that affordable grill within five years. Ultimately, youre better off investing a little more money up front and get a quality grill that will keep years to come.
A quality pellet grill is built to last and will provide years of reliable performance. Bargain pellet grills not only lack the capabilities of better grills, theyre more likely to break down. No matter your price range, look for a pellet grill thats built well and offers consistent performance. Fortunately, if price is a major consideration, there are quality pellet grills for under $500, as well as high-end pellet grills for under $1,000.
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