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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked, has written widely about the world of barbecue and grilling.
Pellet grills use wood pellets that move from one area to the next. The wood produces both heat and smoke to cook foods long and slow. If you want to see what flavors work best together and experiment with different types of wood, a pellet grill is a good option.
We want you to know all about these grills and what makes them worthwhile. That is why you can learn about these grills, how they work, how they compare to other models and some of the reasons that a pellet grill is worth your money.
1. What is a Pellet Grill?
A pellet grill is a type of grill designed to work with wood pellets. It has both a firebox and a hopper, which is the container that holds the wood pellets. As the grill cools down, it sends a signal that drops the pellets into the firebox and burns them to create heat and smoke.
With a pellet grill, you can set the temperature, close the lid and walk away. The lid will keep the heat from escaping and trap the smoke inside. Not only does the heat cook the outside of the food, but the smoke will penetrate the food and leave a smoke ring around the inside. Most of these grills also have an ash box or pail that collects the ash as it leaves the grill.
2. Are Pellet Grills Better Than Gas?
Though gas grills and pellet grills are similar in terms of what they can do, you will likely find that one is better for your home and cooking needs. Gas grills are best for those who prefer the natural and full flavor of foods and those who want to use a limited amount of smoke. We also recommend gas grills for home chefs who want to cook quickly.
Pellet grills are better for those who want to save money because they don’t require as much fuel as gas grills do. You can also get different bags of wood pellets and experiment with flavor combinations for less than it would cost to buy a single propane tank. We think that pellet grills are better for those who want an intense smoke flavor and those who like slowly roasting and smoking foods.
3. Are Wood Pellet Grills Healthy?
Some people claim that wood pellet grills are healthier than other types of grills and point to carcinogens as the reason. Carcinogens are the chemicals that come off food as you cook them at high temperatures. This can also apply to the charred or burnt marks on your food.
The idea is that the ash that sticks to your foods and the burnt areas are full of harmful chemicals that can cause serious damage to those who eat it. Some even claim that those carcinogens can cause cancer. While there isn’t any research to back up these claims, many people believe that wood pellet grills are healthier because they don’t produce carcinogens.
For more details, read here if pellet grills are safe for use.
4. Are Pellet Grills Expensive to Operate?
Pellet grills are not expensive to operate, especially if you buy pellets online. You can get a five-pound bag of pellets or an even larger bag for up to half what a propane grill tank costs.
The only other thing you need to operate the grill is some water from your kitchen.
5. Are Pellet Grills Easy to Use?
One reason we recommend pellet grills is that they are easy to use. As long as you can empty the bag of pellets into the hopper and touch a few buttons, you can use one of these grills. You'll need to add water to the drip pan, empty the ash pail, add some pellets and select the smoke level, temperature and timer. These models can both grill and smoke foods. A good example of a combo grill that we recommend is the Pit Boss Lockhart Model.
6. What Makes Pellet Grills Worthwhile?
For Baking and More
Pellet grills are worth the price for those who want to bake and use other cooking methods beyond grilling. Grilling is fine when you want to cook a few steaks or burgers, but if you want to get the most out of a grill, consider a pellet model. You can reach a high temperature that is perfect for baking cakes and other desserts or broiling corn and other vegetables for side dishes. These grills can also handle barbecue and other cooking methods too.
Not only do pellet grills cost less upfront, but they also cost less over the long term. You can get a good wood pellet grill for half of what it would cost to buy a gas grill of the same size and with the same features. With gas grills, you need to keep an eye on your propane tank too. It can cost $20 to $30 or more just to get a new tank.
With pellet grills, you can get a bag of wood pellets for around the same amount as a new tank costs. That bag will last longer though, which helps you save money. Pellet grills are more affordable than charcoal models too because a bag of wood pellets costs so much less than a bag of charcoal briquettes.
Other Reasons to Buy a Pellet Grill
Some of the other reasons why we think a pellet grill is worth the price include:
- You can better regulate and control the temperature of the grill
- Pellet grills give you the freedom to let your food cook as you do other tasks
- You don't need to deal with bulky and heavy propane tanks
- Most have a temperature setting that you can select, which will then maintain that temperature
- Pellet grills come in a range of prices for all budgets
- Many of the top pellet grills can last for a decade or longer
- You can easily experiment with different cooking methods and foods
- The grills are easy to clean after you finish cooking
After comparing and contrasting pellet grills with gas and charcoal grills, it's easy to see why pellet models win the competition. These are great for those who love spending time with their families because they can set the grills, fill them with food and then hang out with their loved ones as the food cooks without constantly standing on top of the grill. You can avoid all the hassles and frustrations of propane and charcoal grills that require bulky gas tanks and bags of briquettes.
If you want a grill that lets you grill, barbecue, bake and use other popular cooking methods, a pellet grill is your best bet. We think that these grills are worth the price because they are easy to use and inexpensive to operate.