Smokers and Grills

How Does a Pellet Grill Work?

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Pellet stoves and pellet grills have been making a comeback over the last decade, and if you’re just now participating in the hype, you probably have a few questions about what their benefits are, and how they work.

Using a combustion fan inside the grill, Pellet Grills generate heat through the ignition of pellets. What differentiates these grills from others is the ability to change the exact temperature desired through the use of a dial that adjusts the air intake inside the grill.

How exactly does this process work, and is it preferable to other methods of grilling? We’ll explore these answers.

History of Pellet Grills

The recent popularity and success of Pellet Grills would cause many to assume that they are a fairly recent innovation, but in actuality, this is not the case. The Pellet grill was actually invented roughly three decades ago, and is accredited to a man by the name of Joe Traeger. He was largely knowledgeable in this field because his family owned a heating company, giving him sufficient exposure to make a change in the industry as a whole.

In the year nineteen eighty-two, Joe Traeger began trying out his idea of creating a pellet-burning furnace. He continued his efforts and thoughts for a while, but his true motivation can be stemmed back to a day three years later, during a fourth of July celebration. On this day, Joe Traeger was cooking some chicken on his grill, left it unattended for a while, and was shocked to see everything engulfed in flames. His surprise coupled with frustration from this seemingly needless tragedy prompted and motivated him to build a better grill, one that could be fed wooden pellets and one that was durable.
The Pellet grill became the product of this idea, and Traeger Grills, named after their founder, makes countless of these Pellet grills every year.

How They Operate

Now that we have outlined the history of how these pellet grills were developed, let’s explore how they operate. The process of using a pellet grill begins with filling it up with wooden pellets, which will serve as fuel for the engine of the grill. These pellets will move to the cooking chamber, which will provide the heat next to whatever you happen to be grilling. Once you turn the grill on, these pellets will be ignited, providing the heat necessary for you to grill.

In case you want to adjust the given temperature inside of the grill, there are intake fans that affect the level of oxygen inside the grill, which affects the extent of the combustion and corresponding heat. The normal temperature range for these grills runs from under two hundred degrees all the way up to five hundred or more, giving you a wide variety of heat levels for whatever you desire to cook on your grill. Overall, these grills are easy to use so long as you have sufficient amounts of pellets and know the temperature and duration needed to grill the food you desire.

Benefits of using a Pellet Grill

Now that we have identified the history, uniqueness, and the process of how the pellet grill works, lets examine the benefits of using one. Are they really preferable to standard, and oftentimes cheaper grills? One of the most noticeable benefits of using a pellet grill is the effect that it has on the flavor of the food. Most people who have tried both can attest to the fact that meat smoked with wood pellets tastes noticeably better than meat smoked over briquettes.

An additional benefit of using a pellet grill is the precision in terms of the cooking process. Many other grills require the owner to manually check up on the food that they are cooking in order to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Pellet grills not only allow you to adjust for the specific heat that you desire, but also let you control the extent of the eat based upon the volume of pellets that are entered into the grill.

Thermoworks Thermapen ONE

The result of this is a much more precise and specific grilling experience that mitigates the risk of potentially undercooking or overcooking your food. The process is also a lot less stressful, as you can use a remote thermometer so there is no need to worry about checking up on your food every couple of minutes, you can rest assured in knowing the temperature and stage of your food, without having to worry about it being burned. This makes for a much easier, and more pleasant, cooking experience.

Pellet Grill vs Alternative Options

Now that we have addressed the benefits associated with using a pellet grill, let’s compare them to their two biggest competitors: gas grills and smokers. In terms of price, they are fairly comparable, as one is not significantly more expensive than the other. With this in mind, there are specific perks that pellets grills have that gas grills simply do not. For example, pellet grills tend to be much better insulated than gas grills, which makes them much more durable and less affected by the weather of the day.

Grilling on a cold day can greatly affect the natural process on a gas grill, whereas a pellet grill can effectively weather the storm, especially if a high volume of pellets are added beforehand. Gas grills also tend to be flavorless, and the food cooked on them can often be much blander compared to the much more flavorful taste provided by the wood pellets. Lastly, the temperature adjustment process is much easier on pellet girls, as you can simply type in the desired temperature and peek at your remote thermometer every couple of minutes, rest assured. Gas grills do not have this same degree of accuracy, making the process of keeping the desired temperature much more tedious.

Pellet Grill vs Smoker

Another common option that is used instead of a pellet grill is a smoker. Although traditional smokers are attractive options for cooking delicious food, they come with some key caveats that pellet grills do not. Smokers are only built to smoke, so if you desire an alternative method of cooking your food, you will need to purchase an entirely different thing. Pallet Grills, on the other hand, can not only grill, but roast, and even bake your food.

Another liability with having a traditional smoker is the inability to select a given temperature and have the assurance that it will be consistently cooked for a long span of time, regardless of what the weather is like that day. This is something that can be done in a pellet grill that cannot be done in a traditional smoker, as smokers entail carefully watching to food to ensure that is it being cooked appropriately because they do not have this automatic system.

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