It is a while now that pellet grills are available at more affordable prices.
There is also a lot of writing that makes it sound as if all you have to do is turn it on, slap some meat on it, go along with your day, and be ready to eat some fantastic tasting meat.
Although this is partially true, there are a few things we have to think about.
Cooking on the pellet grills that I reviewed here, is nothing different than any other type of grill.
The main advantage is that we do not have to mess with charcoal or propane gas.
Compared to a charcoal grill there is also the advantage that you do not have to adjust the vents on the charcoal grill, as I described in that article.
We still have to:
- Preheat the grill
- Monitor internal meat temperature
- Keep our eyes on it
- Clean it
So, why is everybody so obsessed with pellet grills?
The main reason, in my opinion, is that the overall use is a lot easier and less time demanding.
Also, the fact that you do not have to worry too much about running out of fuel and even can take a nap during longer cooks, can be called a big plus.
- It is impossible to write how to cook on all pellet grills.
- Each and every brand or model has its own pros and cons.
Basically, I would think about the following.
- Wrap parts in aluminum foil
Just like you would do on any other grill. Things like drip pans, the bottom of the grill, and more.
- Set your temperature
This is easy. This is set and forget on a good pellet grill.
- Use a probe thermometer for your meat
I had a good look at some of the best digital probe thermometers here.
- Don’t leave your grill unattended too long
Grilling on a pellet grill
This is one of the problems with a pellet grill compared to a regular grill.
Many pellet grills do not get hot enough to be used for searing. That is why most of them should be named pellet smoker instead.
Some brands offer higher temperatures or even an additional searing set to add straight to the firepot.
Things happen. Power outage, controller failure, auger get blocked.
Don’t expect any pellet grill to be without problems. Although the higher-priced brands like Rec Tec might have lesser problems because of the higher quality components.
If you compare a pellet grill to a UDS (ugly drum smoker) like the Hunsaker smoker I wrote about, I think it is hard to say that a pellet grill is better.
Especially when I read that these smokers can have 12 hours sessions without adding any charcoal.
Although I believe that pellet grills will become better and better in the future I don’t believe that they will ever become a true set and forget cooking method.
The combination of wood pellet and electronic and outdoors makes me believe that.
My personal experience is that most pellet smokers do not give the meat that smoke taste I like so much in my meats. I read that some people add a smoke tube to it and fill it with pellets to generate more smoke.
If you have an opinion on how to use a pellet smoker feel free to add it here.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has run his own full-service restaurant for many years. Before that, he worked as a grill and buffet cook in some of the mainstream restaurants. With his experience using professional kitchen equipment, he is able to write expert reviews. You can read more about Eddie van Aken here.