I will try to explain what a pellet grill is in an easy way.
A pellet grill does the same as a regular grill or smoker. The difference is the used fuel and the electronic controller. These two you will most of the time not find on a regular grill.
How Does A Pellet Grill Work?
A pellet grill works by adding pellets to a burn pot and heating the cooking chamber with forced air.
A pellet grill is built from several components and to explain how a pellet grill works I have to explain them first.
Not much difference here with a normal grill. It contains grill grates, a chimney, and an inlet for the hot air.
The hopper is where you place the pellets that are used to heat the grill
The auger is used to transport the pellets from the hopper to the burn pot
The burn pot is where the pellets are burned and form the desired temperature and the smoke.
The fan is used to move the hot air and smoke from the burn pot to the cooking chamber.
The controller is the electronic heart of the pellet grill. It regulates the speed of the auger by checking the temperature in the cooking chamber and adjusting the auger speed depending on the desired temperature and the actual temperature.
You can read more here about the pellet grill controller and how it works.
How To Use A Pellet Grill
The Pellet Grill Process is very easy and does require much work.
To describe it in short the pellet grill works like this.
- Fill the hopper with pellets
- Set the desired temperature
- Start the pellet grill
- Cook your meat or anything else
As you can see this is basically an automated process and that is the strength of a pellet grill. Many people call this a set-and-forget system.
Video on how to use a pellet grill
Many times a video can explain it a lot better than I can. So, I found a video that tells it better and shows all the components I mentioned above.
How To Clean a Pellet Grill
Depending on the brand of pellet grill you have that might change. But in general, a pellet grill is easy to clean since there are hardly any ashes compared to a charcoal grill.
For every brand, there are in most cases many videos to find with tips on how to clean a pellet grill and how-to tips on how to make it easier to prevent it from getting dirty.
Many tips I see are recommending aluminum foil at the bottom and lining your grease bucket for easy cleaning. I might write a whole article about it later.
Pros of a pellet grill
I wrote a whole article on the benefits of a pellet grill but here are some of the main points.
- The pros of a pellet grill are that you don’t have to babysit the temperature. The controller does that for you.
- You can use it for long cooks with the hopper that can contain many pounds of pellets
- Easy to change pellet flavors
Cons of a pellet grill
- Electronics can fail
- You need an electric outlet
- Not too much smoke flavor
Pellet Grills – My Opinion
In general, if I try to answer the question of what is a pellet grill and how it works I have to answer that it is great to use. After you set it and add your food there is not much more to do than wait till the food is ready. That is the main reason I like mine. I am not a big fan of watching a grill or smoker for many hours.
I know from experience that the smoker flavor sometimes is a little weak. There are ways to improve this but more on that later.
Many brands and models come with a short cord and you might need an extension cord to keep the grill away from buildings and other constructions to stay safe.
Newer models come with wifi controllers in that way you can adjust the settings even while you are away from your pellet grill. This also gives you the option to keep an eye on your grill without having to walk outside all the time.
Taking into consideration the short history of pellet grills and the speed at which they take over the market I believe that there will be more brands and models available in the future.
Depending on the brand and model there are probes that can measure the temperature in your meat so you can pull it off as soon as it is done.
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