Although pellet grills are a relatively recent and new addition to the outdoor cooking scene, their history can be traced back to the early 1980s.
The concept of using wood pellets as a fuel source for grilling and smoking meat was invented by Joe Traeger, an entrepreneur from Oregon.
Joe Traeger’s idea in 1985 was to create a more convenient and user-friendly alternative to traditional charcoal and gas grills.
In 1985 Joe formed the Traeger pellet grill company and in 1988 it sold its first commercial grill.
If you like to read more about the technical aspect of a pellet grill you can first read my article on what is a pellet grill.
Traeger’s first pellet grill prototype was made from an old heating oil drum, and it worked by feeding compressed sawdust pellets into a firebox using an auger system.
The pellets would ignite and burn, creating heat and smoke that would cook the food placed on the grill grates above. These basics have not changed and are still applied to most brands.
Traeger’s design was a hit among his friends and family, and he soon realized the potential for a new type of grill that could revolutionize outdoor cooking and would have a possible large market for it.
The early models he made were basic and rustic, but they quickly gained a following among outdoor cooking enthusiasts who appreciated the ease of use and consistent results that pellet grills offered.
Traeger’s patent for the pellet grill expired in 2006, and other companies began to enter the growing pellet grill market almost immediately with their own versions of the technology.
Joe Traeger sold the company in 2007.
The technology behind pellet grills has continued to evolve since the first type over the years, with improvements in temperature control, pellet delivery systems, and other features that make them even more convenient and user-friendly.
Many modern pellet grills are equipped with digital controls that allow the user to set and monitor the temperature of the grill, as well as features like Wi-Fi connectivity and smartphone apps that let users control the grill from a distance.
Despite their relatively new concept compared to other types of grills, pellet grills have already made a significant impact on the outdoor cooking scene.
The pros of pellet grills are that they offer a unique combination of convenience, versatility, and flavor that sets them apart from other types of grills.
One of the main advantages of pellet grills is their ability to produce smoke-infused flavor without requiring the user to manually add wood chips or chunks to the fire.
The pellets themselves are made from compressed sawdust and other wood materials, and they come in a variety of flavors that can impart different tastes to the food being cooked.
Another advantage of pellet grills is their ease of use. They require little or no preheating time and can be started with the push of a button. Once the desired temperature is set, the grill will automatically maintain it throughout the cooking process, making it easy for even inexperienced cooks to produce great results.
You can read my whole list of what I believe are the benefits of a pellet smoker in this article.
Pellet grills are also highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of cooking techniques, including grilling, smoking, roasting, and baking. Many models come with additional features like sear grates and rotisserie attachments that allow for even more cooking options.
There are, however, also users that turned their back on pellet grills after using them for a while. Their claim was that a pellet grill does not offer the same “smokey” flavor as regular wood smokers and even charcoal grills do,
In conclusion, the history of pellet grills is a relatively short but fascinating one. What started as a simple idea to make outdoor cooking more convenient by Joe Traeger has evolved into a thriving industry, with more models coming out, that offers a unique and flavorful way to cook meat and other foods.
With continued advances in technology and design, it’s clear that pellet grills will continue to be a popular choice among outdoor cooking enthusiasts for years to come.
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