How To Buy A Pellet Grill
When Joe Traeger began experimenting with using wood pellets as cooking fuel in the early 1980s, he probably couldn’t have imagined just how wildly popular his invention would become. The namesake of the first-ever wood pellet grill launched an entirely new method of cooking, which boomed even further when his company’s patent expired in 2006. Since then, Traeger and other grill manufacturers that hopped on the trend have continued innovating pellet smokers in terms of cooking styles, temperature control technology, and so much more.
The use of pellets as grilling fuel was innovative in its own right, but its what they do that really makes wood pellet smokers so incredible. By pairing this fully combustible fuel type with precise temperature controllers, pellet cookers can smoke, grill, bake, BBQ, and even sear in some cases. Their consistency is just as unmatched as their versatility, with many models carrying pre-programmed cooking cycles for different types of meats. To top it all off, these grills are among the easiest backyard cooking appliances to use just plug them in, set your temperature, and let them do all the hard work for you.
Its plain to see why pellet cookers have become so popular in recent years. But how do you sort through the many options out there to find the right one for you? Just follow our helpful guide that walks you through everything you need to consider, and your backyard will be blessed with your dream smoker in no time!
Which Is Best For Me
There are multiple reasons why you would choose a pellet smoker or a gas grill. In general, pellet smokers are best for people who:
- Want to spend lesser money on fuel.
- Dont want to pay $20 just for a refill.
- Like diversity, versatility, and creativity.
- Want flavored smoke.
A gas grill is for you if you:
- Want a faster and more flavored roast.
- Do not want to have to refill too often.
- Dont like a lot of smoke.
- Want a traditional stove-like taste.
Make sure not to burn yourself an also monitor your children when they are nearby. Dont try and fix a broken infrared grill or microwave on your own. Some of the internal parts can cause electric shock even if you have unplugged the appliance.
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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Pit Boss Vs Traeger: Which Pellet Grill Should You Buy
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So youve decided to invest in a wood pellet grill but still havent decided which brand to buy.
Traeger and make some of the most popular pellet grills on the market today.
If you ask around youll get plenty of opinions about which is better.
The problem is, people always end up defending the grill they bought and slamming the competition so its hard to get an objective opinion.
In this guide, we break down the differences between Traeger and Pit Boss and look at some of the top grills from each company to help you decide which pellet grill is right for you.
- Great size for the price
- Porcelain-coated cast iron grates perform well
- Includes front and side shelves
- Accurate PID controller for stable temperatures
- Excellent App and WiFi connectivity
Not sold on Pit Boss or Traeger? Z Grills are a popular new brand that sells grills like the popular 700D4E which are of similar quality but at a lower price point. Check out our full Z Grills review.
Are Camp Chef Pellets Any Good
Camp Chef Woodwind is one of the best pellet smokers in the market. Many grilling enthusiasts highly recommend the 36-inch Woodwind pellet smokers for a smooth barbeque experience. Moreover, the Camp Chef has almost all the features or even better features than its competitors.
Camp chef continues to improve its products with innovation and smart technologies. For instance, the Woodwind 36 Wi-Fi with a sear box is fully packed with unique features and intelligent technologies. As a result of its innovation and versatility, the Woodwind range is the bestseller pellet smokers on the market.
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Why Are They Called Both Pellet Grills Or Pellet Smokers Which Is It
Youll see the two names used interchangeably across the Internet. But, are they two different things, or is this a true all-in-one solution for all your backyard cooking needs?
Well, they look like offset smokers. And they look like standard grills, too. The truth is, while they perform many of the functions of both types, they arent really either. Confused?
Steven Raichlen of Barbecue Bible hit the nail most squarely on the head when he wrote:
they have more in common with convection ovens than the offset wood-burning smokers they resemble.
While many units are capable of temperatures over 500F, its ambient heat. They cook evenly, but it wont sear like a grill. Searing requires intense, direct heat applied to the meat.
You can, of course, smoke in a pellet smoker. And, you can roast large cuts, just as you would on a standard grill set up for indirect cooking.
For that matter, you can cook a steak you just wont get quite as good a gorgeous sear and the resulting flavor boost.
How Does A Pellet Grill Work
Pellet grills operate a little bit differently than a gas- or charcoal-powered grill. These grills have a “hopper” that you fill up with hardwood pellets, and when you turn the grill on, the pellets are automatically fed into a cooking chamber by an auger. The pellets are burned in the cooking chamber, and heat and smoke are dispersed throughout the grill, cooking food with indirect heat instead of open flames. One of the main differences between pellet grills and other fuel types is that they maintain their own temperature. Similar to an oven, you set the temperature you want to cook at using the grill’s control panel, and the unit holds the temperature on its own, adding more pellets when needed. This saves you from having to monitor the grill constantly.
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Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill
For a smaller size, you can do the above Pro Series 22-inch grill. The redefined Pro grill has a linebacker-like sawhorse chassis for stability.
The brawny new side-lift bar provides even weight distribution and has solid all-terrain wheels.
- Pro D2® Controller – As easy as using an oven. Just turn the dial to the desired temp, hit ignite, and you’re Traegering.
- Wi-FiRE® Technology – Allows you to monitor and adjust your grill anywhere.
- Pro D2® Direct Drive – Improves searing, and lets you cook low and slow or hot and fast.
- TurboTemp® – Lightning-fast start-up times and quicker recovery.
- GrillGuide® – Step-by-step cooking instructions and alerts for over 1,500 recipes in the Traeger app.
- Main Rack easily holds 16 burgers | four chickens | 24 hot dogs | five-rib racks
- Larger TFB78GLE 780 sq in the cooking area
Pit Boss Grills 72440 Wood Pellet Grill
This griller has a cooking space of 440 in² which is more than enough for a large family. Additionally, owing to the wheels, it is highly portable. It also consists of a side shelf which allows you to store the accessories or prepare the ingredients before you put them on the grill.
There is also a tray below where you can place the utensils and other condiments without any problem. There is a bottle opener as well which allows you to open your drinks and enjoy the party while youre at the grill. As a result, using it for get-togethers is not much of a problem.
The outer body of the grill consists of 16 gauge steel. The thick steel ensures that you can use it outdoors without any problem. With the porcelain coated grid, there is no problem at all in getting even temperature across the entire grilling area. The best feature of this grill is that you can start it with the help of a button.
This pit boss pellet grill also offers a dial to control the temperature. There is no need to go through an elaborate procedure to start cooking. The copper embossed lid can be locked in place to trap the smoke inside. Black and copper finish of the grill helps it stand out as compared to some of the other pit boss grills.
- Supports a wide variety of cooking techniques
- Digital LED temperature readout
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Convenience And Ease Of Use
When you grill with charcoal, it can be a pain to start. Once started, it requires your constant attention because you dont want your food to burn or the charcoal to flare up too much. When you use a wood pellet grill, you push a button to start, then set the temperature where you know it will give you the flavor that you want and the tenderness that you desire.
After a short heat-up process, youre ready to grill. These grills are also much easier to clean since the pellets burn neatly and have low ash contents.
Wood pellets have the benefit of allowing you to leave the grill and do other activities like preparing other food that you may be serving at your barbecue. A wood pellet grill burns with consistent heat, so you never have to worry about the grill getting too hot or the wood pellets flaring up, burning your meat or fish and making it tough and unpleasant.
The Best Size Of Pellet Smoker Grill
I recommend thinking about how youll use your pellet grill. Is it mainly for one or two people or frequent crowds? If you envision BBQs for three or less, then you wont need a big pellet grill. Youll be heating up a lot of empty space when a smaller unit will be more efficient.
But if you can see yourself at the helm of big family gatherings, holiday parties, and Thank God We Live In America Freedom Fests with eighteen of your closest carnivore friends, then bigger will be better and you might need a grill with multiple shelves. You might also consider doing what Ive done: I have a smoker grill and a vertical smoker. Its the best of both worlds especially if you want different meats that are smoked and grilled all done at the same time.
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What Kind Of Maintenance Do Pellet Grills Require
Some pellet grills, such as Traeger, recommend covering the heat diffuser plate with heavy-duty aluminum foil before cooking to minimize clean-up. Many come with a grease bucket, which we also line with foil.
Though pellets burn cleanly, ash will eventually accumulate in the bottom of the fire box and affect performance. Periodically vacuum the inside of the fire box with a shop-type vac, but make certain the grill is completely cool. Wait at least 24 hours after a cook.
Also, gently wipe down the temperature probe so communication between your controller and the firebox isnt interrupted. Keep the grill grate clean using a good grill brush. Wipe the outside with a damp cloth. Or if your grill is constructed of stainless steel, use a special cleaner.
Pellet Grill Vs Gas Grill
In terms of initial cost, gas grills currently have a significant advantage over pellet grills. Gas grills are less expensive than pellet grills, and the range of gas grills ensure that just about any budget can find a gas grill that will fit. However, as pellet grills become more common in the market, prices can be expected to drop.
Pellet smokers take slightly longer to reach their set temperature than a gas grill however, pellet grills have the distinct advantage of being able to maintain temperature more easily, and therefore will produce more consistent results.
Gas grills perform best when cooking at high temperatures, making them a champ at searing steaks or other cuts of beef. Pellet grills, on the other hand, produce great results across a range of temperatures, which is what supports this grills versatility at cooking many different dishes. In addition, pellet grills are normally insulated very well, which adds to their usefulness in cooking items which need low temperatures and longer cook times.
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Can Pellet Grills Be Used In Barbecue Competitions
Yes, pellet grills are sanctioned in contests sponsored by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and have been winning big in recent years. They are also popular among competition cooks as ideal places to hold smoked meats until turn-in time. If entering a contest, be sure to review local rules and find out if electricity is provided or if youll need to supply your own power.
Should I Buy A Pellet Smoker 6 Shocking Pros And Cons
This article compares the advantages and disadvantages of pellet
smoker to other types of smokers so you can decide if theyre perfect for you.
We examine and evaluate their simplicity of use, the quality of the food they
produce, the amount of cleaning and upkeep necessary, and other factors.
So, youre looking to buy a new grill? Perhaps its time to replace an old unit
or perhaps youre expanding your cooker collection and need something new?
In any case, a pellet smoker has piqued your interest, and you want to learn more.
Is it time to invest in a new pellet smoker?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of pellet smoker?
Lets have a conversation about it.
Pellet grilling isnt as well-known as charcoal grilling
or even gas grilling in the barbecue world.
To get you started, well go over what a pellet smoker is and how it works
as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks compared to other types of grills.
Youll have an answer to the burning question
Should I Buy a Pellet Grill? at the end of this article.
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History Of The Pellet Grill
Similar to infrared grills, these types of grills have actually been around for some time and only recently began popping up as the technology became readily available to all manufacturers due to an expired patent. These devices had their humble beginnings all the way back in 1973 during the oil crisis as people began looking for affordable ways to heat their homes with wood pellets becoming one of them.
These pellets were first invented during this time in the United States as compressed sawdust formed into the shape of a pellet. By the early 1980s, Joe Traeger began to experiment with these pellets with pellet-burning stoves. These first stoves were unique as they used a motor driven auger system to deliver the wood pellets from the hopper into the fire pot where a fan would blow air over the pellets to maintain the fire.
This experimentation would later lead to Traeger developing the first pellet grill in 1985 which he would patent a year later in 1986. His first iterations would utilize a three position controller that had a setting for low, medium, or high heat. This patent is why so many grill manufacturers did not begin producing their own pellet grills as Traeger would hold the patent for 20 years until 2006.
Traeger Pro Series 34
Notice we did not say the least expensive Traeger, this is not. But it delivers some characteristics that make it a great contender. For over a decade the manufacturing has been in China, and frankly that is the way it is in the pellet smoker world until you get to the ultra-premium high end units. It seems that Traeger, and many others, have gotten a better build quality from their manufacturing partners recently, although there are consumers who disagree. Combine that with a lagging reputation for customer service, and it explains why the market has allowed so much competition.
Their build is certainly sturdy, coming in at 136 pounds, these contain a lot of metal. The rack space at 884 square inches over two levels is impressive. The other components get interesting results. Our experience, echoed by others, is that they are very fickle when it comes to holding temperature. This unit still uses a dial with 25 degree increments, and their own spec says it will hold to within +/-15 degrees. It also can take a significant amount of time to get to temperature, especially the listed top end of 450 degrees. It does offer two temperature probe inputs, so you could monitor the ambient temp of the chamber, although we have our recommendations for a Bluetooth set up to accomplish that and more .
Specs to know
- Weak customer service
- Expensive for the category
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Z Grills Pellet Grill & Smoker
First on our list is a pellet smoker from the house of Z Grills. The Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2021 is an upgraded wood pellet grill and a smoker that comes in an 8 in one functionality. This rotisserie has a total of 8 features embedded into a single device.
Warranty: Comes with a 3 years manufacturers warranty and also a 30 days return window as well