The Pellet grill controller is specially designed to control the temperature in the cooking chamber of a pellet grill.
Many pellet grill manufacturers are now using PID controllers to regulate the temperature of their pellet smokers. This is an excellent choice for those that want consistent and accurate temperatures on all parts, as well as improved cooking capabilities like multiple fan speeds or automatically adjusting smoke box capacity depending upon what you’re making at any given time.
A few years ago this would have been unheard of but nowadays it is common to see them in pellet smokers.
Doing this keeps the heat in the smoke area of the grill at the desired temperature – this smoke area is known as the smoke chamber.
If you are not sure what a pellet grill is you can read my explanation here in the what is a pellet grill article.
There are different controllers out there, and you can find them in either manual or digital types. Your pellet grill manual should tell you more about what type of controller you have.
Some history about pellet grill controllers.
The first-generation pellet grill controllers used a fixed setting. Meaning that the setting on the controller just kept the auger at a certain speed to feed the pellets into the burn pot.
This resulted in pretty steady temperatures as long as the circumstances did not change. However, a change in outside temperature or when the meat you cooked was getting warmer the temperature would change and you had to adjust the setting. Not ideal!
The second-generation pellet grill controllers were already a lot better. This one adjusted the speed of the auger from a kind of on/off speed. This caused the speed to be so low that there were not enough pellets to keep the fire going.
Nowadays we have PID controllers and they perform soo much better. They are so smart that they look ahead and start slowing down or speeding up the auger way before the set point of your temperature is set.
Example: You set your temperature at 225 and the actual temperature is 210. The auger speed will go up to feed more pellets in the burn pot to get to 225 degrees. However, at 115 degrees the controller will start to slow down to avoid the temperature overshoot and will get too high.
PID controllers offer a more steady temper compared to any other controller and are used in many industrial environments.
As for the PID controllers, they are control channels that give information about how the heat temperature in the pellet grill is doing. It is the main part of any modern pellet grill. This is why most of the pellet grills with one are very costly, but at the same time, you will find it difficult to get a modern pellet grill without a PID controller.
Quality of Digital Controllers.
Just as with any other electronic device there are differences in the quality of the used components.
I will not go as far as saying that being more expensive is always better. But in general, you get what you pay for.
That is why it is very important to find the right brand of pellet grill. Start at my home page for this.
Can you replace your controller?
For many pellet grill models, you can easily replace your controller with an upgraded type. There are companies out there that specialize in these types of controllers and make sure they will fit your pellet grill.
New features in digital PID controllers
Not only are the PID controllers better at keeping the temperature very steady without big fluctuations. Some controllers have many new features. Here are a few of them.
- Temperature probes for in the meat
- WiFi option to check your grill on your mobile devices
- Change the settings of your grill on your mobile devices
- Receive alarms when there is a problem
The Many Transformations of Pellet Grill
The pellets grill has seen many changes over time and has been with us since 1986. It is believed that pellet grills are the same as the Traeger Grills of 1985, which were re-invented with modern features. There is also this one called the pellet stove which has been there even before the Traeger Grills was introduced to the public. The 1985-1986 pellets grill used what is called an LMH controller, which comes with a feature that tells you when the heat is high, medium, or low.
Today, pellets grills have gone through what appears to be a complete change, especially with the way the function is designed – if you have a more careful look, you will notice the shape hasn’t changed a lot. You can see this latest change in those 2017-2018 versions of pellet grills.
They come with what are called “electronic auto starters,” whose job is to allow users to light the grill in seconds. Also, unlike the pellet stoves or Traeger grills, this recent change comes with a larger capacity grill space, which means it can contain more food items than the pallet grill you have in the late 1990s.
Finally, you have to understand that as technology keeps changing, both the PID controller and pellet grills, in general, will always change with it. And newer ideas will be brought in to make it easier for people with an even lesser understanding of how the controller works.
Robert Chill loves to cook on pellet grills and uses all types of recipes and techniques to cook some awesome food. With his experience, he is able to share many reviews, tips, and ideas on how to buy a pellet grill. You can read more about him here