Intro to Wood Pellet Grills

Posted by Doug Sanicola on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

Trying to find the right grill for your backyard?

No doubt you have tried out charcoal and gas grills, but this next type of grill is relatively new to the BBQ world. The wood pellet grills innovative design allows for close to perfect temperature control. 

Here is everything you need to know before you check out a wood pellet grill for yourself.

We will breakdown everything from how a wood pellet grill works, to different temperature controllers, and what are the right questions to ask when looking for a pellet grill.

Take a look and see what makes wood pellet grills the fastest growing type of grill in America.

Memphis Pro Wood Pellet Grill

 

How Does A Wood Pellet Grill Work?

Cooking with a wood pellet grill gives you precise temperature control and great smoke flavor. Pellet BBQ's work both as a grill or a smoker. 

Wood pellets are naturally shredded wood compacted into a quarter inch size round pellets giving you the natural wood smoke flavor. The small size and consistency of each pellet makes for predictable BTU outputs that gives you unrivaled temperature control. 

Pellets are loaded into a storage bin attached to the grill called the hopper. A corkscrew mechanisim turned by a motor then feeds the pellets into the hot spot area under the cooking grates creating smoke and heat. 

Air is taken in by a fan and blows air to create the a convection oven effect. 

How Wood Pellet Grills Work

Using a wood pellet grill gives you the best of both rival grill categories. With natural wood pellets, it captures the natural wood smoke flavor like using a charcoal grill, but still retains the convenience and simplicity of a gas grill.

Temperature Controllers

The temperature controller is the most important component of a pellet grill.

The controller displays what temperature the grill is set for or what the current temperature is and dispenses the wood pellets accordingly to raise or lower heat output. Sounds easy right?

The biggest difference between wood pellet grills is the kind of temperature controls that different grill brands use. Don't settle for brands with average looking temperature controls. BBQ enthusiasts will tell you that every degree counts so invest in a quality and accurate temperature controller and you will never look back!

Take a look at the some different kinds of temperature controllers to consider

 

Digital-Custom by Memphis

Memphis Grills builds one of the top temperature controllers on the market.

The Memphis custom made digital control has probes built into the grill that read and measure the actual current temperature. If the temperature is below the set target temperature, the controller dispenses pellets and intakes more air flow to burn hotter.

Memphis Grills designed their own versatile custom controller that is very easy to use and can hold a temp within 5°F which is more accurate than most indoor ovens.

Digital Custom

 

 

Why Do People Love Cooking With Wood Pellet Grills?

Memphis friends gathered around

 

You should consider cooking with a wood pellet grill for five reasons

1. Smoke and Flavor

With no fillers, chemicals or binders  wood pellets inject strong and smoky flavors into the food you are cooking the longer it is on the grill. Wood pellet grills are perfect for long low temperature smoking that makes the meat tender and locks in great smoke flavor. 

2. Set It & Forget It

Regardless if its rain, shine, winter or summer, pellet grills retain and hold the desired set temperature.

Smoke a rack of ribs at a low consistent temperature for hours by simply setting the desired temperature and then kick back till they are done.   

3. Temperature Control

Wood pellet grills have precise temperature control within 5 degrees. That little heat fluctuation rivals many top indoor ovens. This is attributed to the small wood pellets that are dispensed out of the hopper and regulated continuous air flow that burns so consistently.   

4. Easy To Use

Fill the hopper with pellets, set to a desired temperature and throw on the meat! Wood pellet grills make delicious BBQ easy and clean. 

Despite their simplicity, many BBQ pit masters use wood pellet grills to compete and have had great success at various competitions around the country because of the unique natural wood flavor.

5. Clean Up Is Easy

Every 10 pounds of pellets the will produce only a half of a cup of ash. Ash needs to be removed about every 5-10 cooks for best performance. To clean the cooking grates just scrape the top with a metal brush.


Features For Wood Pellet Grills

Many top pellet grills share similar important features. Here are a few to remember when looking for a pellet grill. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel provides superior heat retention and consistent temperatures in all weather conditions. Top wood pellet brands such as Memphis Grills builds all of their grills using stainless steal. 

While other metals start to degrade after being exposed to the elements, stainless steel is durable and easy to clean.  

Convection Fan System

A convection fan is what provides air flow to the burning wood pellets, thus creating its heat. A Convection fan system also helps distribute heat evenly throughout the grill resulting in tender and juicy results. 

Wheels

Unless you mount your wood pellet grill it will come equipped with wheels. This enables you to move it around your backyard or hide the grill when you are not using it.  

High Capacity Wood Pellet Hopper

The hopper is where you insert the wood pellets. If you slow cook meat for multiple hours, a larger pellet bin would better fit your needs. 

 

Useful Accessories To Consider

Wood pellet grill accessories upgrade your grills performance and improve your overall barbecue experience. Here are a few pellet grill accessories to consider.

Pellet Type

Wood pellets have different quality and unique flavors. 

Wood Pellet Brands

Pellet Caddy

Keeping your wood pellets dry and away from moisture is very important. If the wood pellets absorb any water they will not burn as effectively making it more difficult to reach high temperatures. 

Power Generator

A mobile power generator lets you take your pellet grill wherever you go. Plug it in and go tailgating, camping, or to community BBQ events and show everyone what your pellet grill is capable of! 

Cooking Tools

Having the right set of tools makes grilling that much more enjoyable.

With the right tools you create a better end result for your food. Something as simple as flipping the steak cleanly to keep seasoning on or a basting brush to sauce the ribs after you turn them makes all the difference.

Covers & Drawers

To increase the lifespan of your grill always cover it when you are not using it. 

Keeping cooking or cleaning tools close by and protected is an overlooked accessory. Storage drawers keep everything you need conveniently outside, saving you the trips running into the house! 

 

3 Questions to Ask 

1. What is the maximum temperature of a wood pellet grill?

Temperatures range anywhere from 500 degrees to 700 degrees F. Higher quality and larger grills will reach higher temperatures than others. 

It maybe difficult to sear meat with convection temperatures this low, however there are inserts for direct heat searing and 

 

2. Mobile or Mounted?

Many people who buy a wood pellet grill already have a gas or charcoal grill. BBQ enthusiasts who have multiple types grills often mount them on a BBQ island creating their own versitle outdoor kitchens. 

If you prefer to put the grill on the side yard to save room or store it when not cooking on it, wheels or mobile will better suit your style. 

Remember that wood pellet grills use electricity, keep in mind that you will need access to a power outlet nearby.

3. Can you use any brand of wood pellets?

For best results it is better to use a higher quality of wood pellets. Like a aged steak, the quality usually depends on where you buy it. It is best to look for a local BBQ grill dealer or a place that has extensive knowledge and experience cooking on pellet grills.

 

 

What Did You Learn

• Wood pellet grills are made to deliver unique wood smoke flavor 

• There are different temperature controllers but digital temperature control is the current industry leading technology 

• The quality of wood pellets effects the outcome and flavor of the item you cook on the grill

• What features are most important to look for when deciding on a wood pellet grill

• A feature that makes pellet grills unique is the ability to set the temperature and leave it for hours   


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BBQ Grill Guide

Tags: Outdoor Spaces, Outdoor Kitchens, Cooking Outside, Grilling & BBQ