A Wood Pellet Grill Has Several Advantages
Life is full of special moments that come in sizes big and small. Falling in love for the first time, holding your first child, or landing that first big promotion often serves as major turning points. Of course, there are also a lot of minor miracles sprinkled along the way.
Among these special moments is the chance to sink your teeth into tender and succulent smoked meat. Depending on where you live it’s usually not hard to find a restaurant that can scratch your itch for brisket, pork shoulder, ribs or some slow smoked chicken.
For some people, the occasional night out simply will not suffice, and they reach out to the internet to demystify the process of barbecuing and grilling. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re probably interested in taking command of your own backyard cooking.
You shouldn’t let a lack of experience with grilling or barbecuing intimidate you. With a basic understanding of a few simple principles, you can start producing the kind of meat and vegetable dishes that are sure to scratch your itch while impressing your friends and family.
What Is The Difference Between Grilling and Smoking?
This is a very common question for aspiring backyard chefs. On a basic level, the heating defines as a first step in separating the two.
Grilling relies on direct heat to sear the food in a relatively short amount of time. It’s often the preferred choice for making things like hamburgers, steaks, and brats. Many backyard grillers will also use special pans or foil packs to sauté vegetables or warm sauces.
Smoking, which is sometimes referred to as barbecuing, employs indirect heat to slowly cook the food while often permeating it with an appealing smoky flavor. Cooking meat with indirect heat also helps break down tough intramuscular collagen into succulent and tender gelatin. This process is what makes ribs fall off the bone and makes slices of brisket mouthwateringly tender. While smoking might be best known for classic barbecue dishes, it can also be versatile enough to smoke fish and vegetables as well as other foods.
Cooking with indirect heat can sometimes be as much art as it is science. Choosing the right type of smoker for you can provide consistent heat and smoke which allows you to focus on things like creating your own spice rubs and marinades, or developing a delicious sauce to complement the meal.
What Is A Wood Pellet Grill?
Grills and smokers come in a variety of designs with many manufacturers offering a few different options. A wood pellet grill is designed to conveniently provide consistent heat and smoke throughout the cooking process by carefully delivering condensed wood pellets to a controlled and efficient heat source.
The food then gradually warms in a separate cooking chamber while taking on a pleasant smoky flavor. The process is largely automated by a thermostat control that runs an internal auger. that delivers the wood pellets, to the fire at a consistent rate.
Is A Pellet Grill Also Called A Smoker?
The word grill might be a little bit of a misnomer in this situation. This type of device typically doesn’t deliver the direct high heat that is typically used to sear something like a steak or hamburger patty. While it can certainly cook food to a high temperature the indirect heat source of a pellet grill is often insufficient for searing meat like a traditional gas or charcoal grill.
Considering Different Types Of Smokers
There are different ways to cook or smoke food using indirect heat. The type of device that is right for you can vary depending on your personal preference as well as the dishes you want to make.
An offset smoker is designed with two distinct chambers that are separated by some form of duct or adjustable vent. The first chamber holds the heat source along with wood chips burning that burn directly in the fire or in a special metal box. The second chamber hold the meat or food being cooked. Hot air and smoke pass through the vent to do the cooking without direct exposure to the fire.
Depending on the duration of time you need to smoke a specific food, the wood chips may need to be periodically replenished. A large piece of meat like a brisket or a pork shoulder might need to be smoked for several hours requiring multiple reloads, while a fish fillet or vegetable medley might take on all the smoked characteristic you want in a single installment of wood chips.
Some manufacturers will design an offset smoker so that the fire chamber can also be used as a direct heat grill. Just keep in mind that grilling or searing something during a smoking session will likely lead to insufficient heat or smoke being applied to the second chamber. If you do need to sear a side dish or appetizer during the smoking process, it’s best to take it to a hibachi or toss it in a frying pan on the stove.
Soaking the wood chips for an hour or more before adding them to the fire helps prevent flare-ups while maintaining consistent heat. Wet wood chips can also introduce a small amount of steam to the smoke which can help keep the food moist throughout the cooking process.
Many offset smokers are designed so that you can control the amount of smoke and heat that passes from the fire chamber to the primary chamber. How far you open the vent can vary depending on what you are cooking as well as the type of wood chips you’re using.
In the case of something like a brisket or pork shoulder, you might want a thick billow of rich hickory or mesquite smoke that engulfs the meat to create a deep smoke ring in the final product. Yet for something like a salmon fillet or asparagus spears a gentle waft of applewood smoke might be just enough to simply accent the naturally delicate flavor of the food.
Adding a water pan to the fire chamber or the primary cooking chamber can further help maintain adequate moisture levels in the food. With meats like beef, pork, and chicken you might want to also place a drip pan directly under the food. This can help make cleanup easier. Some backyard cooks will even experiment with the smoke-infused drippings to create a side sauce.
Tips For Selecting An Offset Smoker
Quality is an important factor to keep in mind when you are shopping for an offset smoker. Long heating sessions and cooling down can gradually lead to metal fatigue with offset smokers that aren’t made from thick gauge metals.
It’s also worth noting that when water and wood ash combine they can leave behind mildly corrosive deposits. A fire chamber that is made from thin steel can gradually start to develop rust issues and weakened welds, which can potentially shorten the lifespan of the unit.
Take the time to inspect all the welds and seal. You want to make sure that you can tightly close the lid of both chambers as well as the vent connecting them.
Seemingly simple features that might not be apparent in the showroom can potentially show up when you’re cooking on your back deck. Make sure that both chambers have insulated handles to prevent you from burning your hands when you need to reload wood chips or check the food.
Balance is also a key factor to consider. The fire chamber is going to take on weight from wood chips, wood chunks, possible charcoal, and the gradual buildup of ash. If the unit feels like it could tip easily, or the legs feel wobbly it could be a safety concern.
Take a moment to stand there an imagine yourself cooking a few different things. Think about the features you might appreciate such as a tray for platters and equipment, or hooks to hang your tools. A removable warming rack in the cooking chamber might also be a nice feature for those times when you might be smoking multiple items.
An included warranty from the manufacturer or retailer can also be a major factor to consider. A warranty not only provides you with some peace of mind that your investment is protected, it also makes a statement about the manufacturer’s willingness to stand by the quality of their product.
Wood Burning Smoker
Wood burning smokers sold in stores or designed as a permanent structure in the backyard are essentially a modern incarnation of the barbecue pits that have been used for centuries. Some can be very simple in design while others might incorporate additional features. Some manufacturers have worked to modernize the wood-burning smoker to look and act very similar to an offset smoker.
It works on the same principle of indirect heat and smoke being applied to the food to gradually cook it an impart flavor. If the food is directly over the burning coals maintaining a consistent temperature without burning the food might be a challenge.
Regardless of design, the biggest challenge with a wood burning smoker is heat control. Certain types of softwood like pine are a poor choice for this cooking method as the resin in the wood can cause flare-ups, toxic smoke, and lead to off-putting flavors in the food.
Hardwoods such as dried oak, hickory, and mesquite are more traditional for wood burning smokers. They can sometimes be augmented with an equal amount of charcoal to develop a consistent coalbed capable of delivering the desired amount of heat and smoke.
Specialty woods like cherry, apple, and pecan can be added to slightly alter the characteristics of the smoke and enhance flavor. Nutshells such as pistachio, almond, or walnut might also impart pleasant earthy flavors to the smoke.
Depending on where you live sourcing a significant amount of wood might be a challenge. Woods like hickory and mesquite typically grow in the South and might cost more in northern climes. Applewood can sometimes be scarce in arid regions. It might take a little research to find the right wood for your area and what you want to smoke.
Wood burning smokers can take a while to get used to. Developing a feel for consistent heat control is always going to be a challenge. These units also tend to create a significant amount of ash, which can lead to long and laborious cleanups. Changes in humidity can sometimes cause smoke residue on the lid to come loose and land on the food.
Tips For Selecting a Wood Burning Smoker
Wood burning smokers are often simple in design, which might lull you into thinking that quality doesn’t matter.
Since heat control is going to be a challenge you want to make sure that the unit has at least one thermostat. Having one on the domed lid as well as near the grate can give you insights on the characteristics of the food and the fire as well as the smoke, without having to frequently open the lid.
Depending on what you’re cooking, you might want to also invest in a probe thermometer to help monitor the internal temperature of the food. Not only can this help ensure that a piece of meat is thoroughly cooked, it also helps you understand how quickly the meat is heating. A piece of meat that heats too quickly in a wood burning smoker might dry out or burn on the bottom.
The outside temperature can also be a major factor in the performance of a wood-burning smoker. If you live in a place where the temperature might dip below freezing, the cold air on the outside of the lid can easily start to compete with the hot smoke rising toward the food. This could result in an incredibly prolonged smoking session or require a very hot fire that could burn the food or lead to overly thick bark on a piece of meat.
If you do intend to smoke during cold weather, you should keep an eye out for a smoker that has an insulated lid or some means of providing augmented heat. Sometimes placing an infrared, gas, or electric burner off to the side of the fire chamber can help maintain consistent heat throughout a cold weather smoking session.
Take a close look at the grates provided with the unit. Ideally, you want thick gauge metal or grates made from cast iron that has been specially coated with a semi-nonstick porcelain. Not only will this help support heavy pieces of food but the metal can also help retain heat if the fire burns low, or needs to be reloaded.
You should also keep in mind ease of use. Being able to feed more wood into the firebox without having to open the lid will certainly help with maintaining consistent heat. A unit that is designed with some type of pull out ash box at the bottom will also help with cleanup.
A charcoal smoker is very similar to a wood burning smoker. Charcoal briquettes are typically produced in industrial processes to provide consistent burning characteristics. This helps with heat control when compared to a wood smoker.
Many manufacturers also design charcoal smokers to be able to multitask as a grill. However, just like an offset smoker, attempting to grill and smoke at the same time can cause inconsistent heat in the cooking chamber.
Some charcoal smokers are designed with an external firebox to minimize the relationship between the heat source and the food. Other charcoal smokers rely on you placing the food to be smoked on the far side of the firebox.
One advantage of this type of design is the ability to smoke a tough piece of meat like a chicken thigh to the point where it is tender and smoky. You can then gently move the chicken thigh over the direct heat to sear and crisp the skin.
One disadvantage of a charcoal smoker where the fire and food are in close proximity is the risk of burning the food or constantly needing to rotate it. This can change the heat and smoke characteristics of the chamber as well as cause flare-ups.
Some people who use charcoal smokers will also use briquettes that has been enhanced with another smoking wood like hickory and mesquite or they will add additional wood chips to impart strong smoky flavors. Soaking the woodchips, placing them in a foil pack or a special metal box will also help reduce flare-ups.
Tips For Selecting A Charcoal Smoker
Just like other smoker designs quality is a major factor. Charcoal smokers that also multitask as a grill can get a lot of use in a relatively short amount of time. Thick metal in the firebox is very important for this type of smoker as it will reduce the chances of the unit suffering metal fatigue or long-term firebox burnout.
Just like with a wood burning smoker ash and water can cause corrosion issues. This is even more likely to be an issue with certain types of charcoal briquettes as the special adhesives used to bind them can be even more corrosive than natural wood ash.
Make sure the unit has multiple dampers. Being able to adjust the airflow in the firebox will help with heat control and reduce your chances of suffering flare-ups. Once you have an established coal bed reducing the amount of available airflow will further help maintain the consistent presence of smoke. Dampers in the cooking area also help with temperature control. If a flare-up does occur in the firebox, being able to open an upper damper in the cooking chamber can help release some of the excess heat.
A thermometer is also very important. Digital thermometers tend to respond quickly. Many come with timers or temperature alarms to help you keep tabs on the smoker even when you aren’t standing immediately in front of it.
Gas smokers work on the same indirect heating principles as other designs. However, they benefit from the consistency of the fuel source being delivered to the fire. With these units, you simply turn on one or more burner elements. Once the internal air temperature comes up to the desired range you add the food to be cooked as well as any additional wood chips.
At that point, you can essentially set it and forget it, until the food is fully cooked, or you need to reload fresh wood chips. Inserting a digital probe or remote thermometer helps maximize the consistency of a gas smoker, allowing you to monitor the temperature of the food without opening the lid and releasing heat. Keeping wood chips in heavy-duty tinfoil pouches or a specific metal box makes cleanup a breeze.
Most gas smokers can also be used as a grill. In some smoking applications, the primary element can be quickly brought up to a high temperature to sear or mark food after it’s been smoked and thoroughly cooked.
Tips For Selecting A Gas Smoker
Like other units quality matters in the thickness of the metal and the grates. A quality seal on the lid helps trap heat and smoke. A thermometer also helps you monitor the internal temperature.
Fuel source and portability can be important factors for gas smokers. Propane has more than twice the energy density of natural gas. This means that a propane smoker can be fitted with a portable tank if you want to be able to take your smoker with you on a camping trip or vacation. Natural gas is currently only available in certain locations where it is provided through municipal lines.
If your home or outdoor entertaining space doesn’t have an available natural gas line you won’t be able to fuel a unit that has been fitted with natural gas valves. Some gas smokers can be retrofitted with alternate valves, but it’s always best to check with the manufacturer first!
Electric smokers also provide consistent heat control compared to charcoal and wood. The unit essentially has one or more heating elements that work like giant resistors. As electricity passes through the element it heats up which warms the air and cooks the food. A thermometer on the lid or an adjustable thermometer lets you monitor and control the internal temperature.
Wood chips can then be added to provide a smoky component. Heavy duty tin foil or a metal box with wood chips will help prevent ash from building up near the component. Just make sure that any metals you introduce to the elements are non-conductive or do not directly touch the element to prevent electrical issues.
Most of these units employ a largely vertical design where the food rests high above the heating elements. The lid then seals tightly to trap both the heat and smoke for maximum efficiency.
Tips For Selecting an Electric Smoker
Efficiency is key when shopping for an electric smoker. On a technical level, the amount of energy put into an electric element is directly proportional to the amount of heat it produces. Where efficiency truly comes into play is with the seals on the lid as well as how you use the unit.
Every time you open the lid to check the food or reload the wood chips heat escapes. When this happens the internal thermostat triggers more electrical draw for the element. Placing a remote probe thermometer in the food will allow you to monitor the internal temperature of the food without having to open the lid.
Using a mixture of soaked wood chips as well as wood chunks will help extend the duration of the smoke leading to fewer reloads, improved efficiency, and fewer reloads.
Wood Pellet Grill
A wood pellet grill is essentially an innovative take on traditional smoker designs. It addresses some of the flaws and improves on many of the benefits inherent in offset wood smokers and electric grills to provide maximum convenience and efficiency.
It also solves the problem of sourcing smoking woods by replacing them with prepared wood pellets that are created from hardwood fibers as a byproduct of the timber industry. The general consistency of small pellets also helps reduce problems with flare-ups and rollercoaster changes in temperature.
The pellets are placed in a hopper on the side of the unit. A small electric powered auger moves a modest amount into a burning pot located in the lower part of the unit. A small electric element then ignites the fire and a small internal fan feeds oxygen to help maintain the burning process. A metal heat deflector prevents the fire from directly affecting the cooking chamber while also helping to evenly distribute the heat.
Convection currents then move the hot air and mild smoke through the cooking chamber to affect the food before exiting through the chimney on the far end of the unit.
Most pellet grills incorporate a digital thermostat for maximum heat control. Dialing up the temperature causes the unit to introduce more pellets to the burning pot, increasing the fire.
Is It Really A Grill?
While a wood pellet grill can do many of the same things that a conventional charcoal or gas grill can do, it does not employ the kind of direct heat needed to sear food. Most grills operate at a temperature between 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Some direct heat grills can sear at temperatures over 700 degrees!
A pellet grill, like other smokers and barbecue units, uses indirect heat to cook the food while introducing pleasant smoky flavors. The indirect heat allows a pellet grill to not only barbecue meat, but it can also roast and bake. When a small pot is added to the cooking chamber a pellet grill can even be used to braise and simmer.
Why Buy A Pellet Grill?
If you’re looking for a versatile way to produce high-quality meat, vegetable, and other specialty dishes as part of your backyard cooking experience a pellet grill checks off a lot of boxes. The semi-automated process cooks the food with superior convenience over traditional grills and smokers.
Is a Pellet Grill Better Than Other Grills?
A wood pellet grill offers a more efficient method for cooking food with indirect heat compared to traditional gas, charcoal, and electric grills. With some improvisation, you might be able to smoke meat like traditional barbecue with a charcoal grill. With fast hands and a lot of advanced preparation, you might be able to even make a fresh pizza on a traditional grill.
However, with many of these efforts you’re often left with a significant mess to clean up and a high risk of burning something. Attempting to mimic indirect heat with these outdoor cooking devices also takes a lot of attention and adjustments.
The wood pellet grill answers all these concerns while allowing you to put your feet up, or turn your full attention to something else. Since the unit has been designed to burn efficiently, you’ll also be left with a minimal amount of ash to clean up.
What Are the Pros Of A Pellet Grill?
Fast and Efficient Heating
Wood pellet grills tend to heat up very quickly to produce consistent indirect heat and smoke. They often exceed the preheating speed of traditional smokers and grills that use propane, charcoal or an electric element.
Most wood pellet grills have a thermostat that is linked to the internal auger that delivers the wood pellets to the flame. Some may use variable heat settings or a digital thermostat to increase the auger rate or the fan that feeds oxygen to the fire.
Indirect heat not only works to smoke meat and vegetable dishes it also allows you to employ other cooking methods.
The indirect heating used by a wood pellet grill envelops the meat with smoke and hot air Not only does this allow for even doneness it helps prevent issues with certain foods drying out, which can happen with other grills and smokers.
Pleasant Smoke From The Wood Pellets
The pellets are created to be generally consistent which reduces your chances of experiencing flare-ups, while delivering a mild and pleasant amount of smoke to the food. In some areas sourcing smoking woods like mesquite, hickory or applewood might be a challenge. Yet the pellets are often easy to find and often more affordable than an exotic hardwood.
What Are The Cons Of A Wood Pellet Grill?
This type of cooking appliance is usually too big to tuck under your arm and take to the beach. The automated auger, fan, and the internal igniter also require constant electricity, which means you’ll need to have a grounded electric plug-in nearby. This might also be an issue if you want to use the wood pellet grill to cook during a power outage.
Indirect heat is generally ineffective for searing and sautéing. The indirect heat will indeed cook something like a steak or a hamburger, it will simply take a little bit longer than cooking over direct heat and the meat will not have sear marks or crust. If you do need direct heat for some component of a meal, you might want to keep an inexpensive hibachi nearby or look for a wood pellet grill that includes a sear box on the side.
Potentially Mild Smoke
Some barbecue purists insist on strong smoky flavors in a traditional dish, such as mesquite wood used to imbue a brisket with a tangy and pungent smoked flavor. A wood pellet grill generates a mild smoke that most people find very appealing, but it might not satisfy the tastes of a strong-smoked barbecue purist.
Wood Pellets And Moisture
Wood pellets are created from timber byproducts and are bound together with all-natural and water-soluble lignin. Moisture and excess humidity can gradually start to affect the bond causing the pellets to crumble. In certain areas where humid conditions and rain are common, you may need to make extra room indoors to store wood pellets.
What kind of food can a pellet grill cook?
A wood pellet grill allows for a great deal of versatility. It is capable of low and slow smoking applications like you would use for smoking a brisket, pork shoulder, or ribs so tender they pull cleanly off the bone. It can also be set to cook and lightly smoke fish like salmon and trout or to apply smoke to vegetable medleys.
Fresh sausages and certain charcuterie meats can also be placed inside a wood pellet grill to cook them through, while also applying a pleasing amount of smoke. Whole and spatchcocked chickens also shine in a wood pellet grill. Indeed, most forms of poultry take kindly to indirect smoking to
On its lower settings, a wood pellet grill can even be used to smoke cheese. When turned up to higher temperatures it can even be used to bake something like a pizza or Stromboli.
Things To Consider When Shopping For A Wood Pellet Grill
Your pellet grill is an investment in years of tasty backyard cooking. These devices inherently come with some moving parts and components that will need periodic cleaning. Check to make sure that the unit is made from heavy gauge steel and doesn’t feel flimsy.
Make sure to take a close look at the relationship between the lid and the base. You want a tight seal to maximize the smoke and trap the indirect heat that is so critical to the cooking process.
Look at all welds and fasteners to make sure they are also strong and durable. Take a closer look at the firepot and the triangular diffuser above it. These components can become prone to corrosion and metal fatigue in the long term. While stainless steel isn’t absolutely critical, it is a sign of quality and will help extend the life of the grill.
Some pellet grills have an exterior made from steel that has been painted with a heat-resistant metal. Some individuals find stainless steel to be more visually appealing. It’s important to keep in mind that the grade of the stainless steel can have a significant impact on the price without necessarily providing a significant benefit.
Overall Size and Cooking Area
Measuring the outdoor space intended for your wood pellet grill can help influence your choices. When looking at models online or in the store you should also think about what you intend to cook. Racks of ribs, brisket, whole turkeys and other large pieces of meat will need a significant amount of space to allow the indirect heat to fully envelop them. A spot that touches the sides of the lid could cook too fast or cause that area of the meat to dry out.
In general, the average family doesn’t need much more than 450-500 square inches of grill space. If you are single and you will be making a lot of individual portion meals or the occasional dinner for a small group of friends, you might want to look for a smaller unit. A secondary rack could also be handy for warming up side dishes at the same time.
Some wood pellet grill manufacturers will provide an additional sear box on the side of the unit. They typically use a propane or an electric element to give you the ability to sear or mark certain foods. This can be helpful for preparing something like a beef roast by searing a crust on it before smoking, or for finishing pieces of chicken by marking them and crisping the skin on the sear box after they have been cooked.
When protein is initially heated it naturally starts to contract. This can cause moisture to be expelled from the meat. Wood pellet grills provide indirect heat to minimize this potential moisture loss. However, some lean meats are inherently dry, and many vegetables also benefit from increased moisture in the cooking chamber.
Including a simple water pan in the cooking chamber can address these issues by introducing additional steam. Some people will also put accent flavors like apple cider or leftover marinade in the water pan to punch up the flavor profile of the steam.
Most are made from stainless steel or aluminum. If you intend to add enhancement liquids, stainless steel is preferable, as aluminum can react with acidic fluids.
Drip Pan Or Drip Tray
Most wood pellet grills include a removable pan or a special to catch moisture, excess marinades, and other drippings created by the cooking process. If you are looking at a showroom unit, take a moment to pull it out to feel how sturdy it is. A flimsy drip pan increases your chances of spilling which could cause a significant mess. Lining the drip pan with heavy-duty tin foil can help with cleanup.
If the firepot and auger are the heart of a wood pellet grill, then its control board is its brain. There are a few different configurations to keep in mind to help maintain a consistent temperature throughout any cooking session.
A Three Position Controller, also known as an LMH, allows you to change the temperature between low, medium, and high. While the temperature range might vary from one manufacturer to the next they generally correspond to 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F.
A Multi-Position Controller allows you to increase the temperature in 25-degree increments. Some units include a digital display.
A One-Touch Controller allows you to fine-tune the desired temperature within 5 to 10-degrees. Most feature a digital display and uses a fixed cycle to deliver the wood pellets to the firepot.
A proportional–integral–derivative controller or PID uses special software to monitor the internal temperature of the cooking chamber and adjust as needed. They are especially handy for maintaining consistency during changes in weather or temperature, which can be very helpful if you intend to prepare meat that requires very long smoking times.
Some PID controller also accommodate probe thermometers that constantly monitor the internal temperature of the food. Once the target temperature has been achieved the PID controller can lower the temperature. This feature can be very handy for resting a large piece of meat such as a pork shoulder or brisket to help maximize their natural juices while maintaining the ideal temperature.
WiFi connectivity is sometimes integrated with PID controllers, allowing you to keep tabs on the wood pellet grill and the food being cooked from your smartphone or another wireless device.
The Benefits Of Wood Pellets
As the name implies wood pellets serve as the primary heat source for wood pellet grills. They offer several benefits over other types of smoking wood.
They are created from sawdust and wood fibers left over after raw timber is processed into lumber. A natural substance in the wood called as lignin is then used as an adhesive to bind the aggregate material together.
Since they are created from existing byproducts their impact on the environment is minimal. In many parts of the country, wood pellets are often more readily available than traditional smoking woods like hickory or mesquite.
Some manufacturers specially formulate wood pellets with popular accent woods like hickory and mesquite to cater to barbecue purist.
When they are introduced to a wood pellet grill a small auger delivers a careful amount to the internal firepot where a small electric element activates to start the combustion process. A small internal fan ensures that the wood pellets receive enough oxygen to maintain a consistent fire.
As the wood pellets burn, heat and smoke are released into the main cooking chamber while a minimal amount of ash is left behind. The consistency and size of the wood pellets as well as the careful engineering of the process produces a thorough burn with minimal ash.
The small, concentrated fire produced also releases a relatively clean smoke with pleasant characteristics. This smoke interacts with proteins and fats in the food being cooked to permeate it with pleasing flavor, while the indirect heat continues to cook it.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Wood pellet grills are designed for maximum efficiency and convenience both in cooking as well as cleaning and maintenance. When you get done with a cooking session it’s best to let the unit cool down completely, before removing any residual ash from the firepot.
If you don’t plan on using the pellet grill in the immediate future, you should consider taking the excess wood pellets out of the hopper. Lingering moisture, rain, or high humidity could cause the lignin holding the pellets together to weaken leaving debris in the hopper.
Pull out the drip tray and gently wash away any lingering material or dispose of the tinfoil liner. If you used a water pan it will also benefit from a quick rinse and wash, especially if you used some marinade or another enhancement liquid.
It’s important to clean the grates to remove any grease, spices, and other stuck-on materials. A gentle scrape down a wire brush can usually clean away any lingering debris. If your unit uses porcelain coated cast iron grates and you need to remove excess grease, you could remove them and wash with hot, soapy water.
Any grill or smoker you choose is a considerable investment in taking command of your backyard cooking experience. Taking the time to shop for the right unit that meets your needs and vision will help demystify the process while also inspiring you to expand your personal menu.
If you prize convenience and efficiency a wood pellet grill might just be the right choice for you. Taking your time to look for quality materials and construction, and seeking out the preferred features will give you the opportunity to enjoy a superior outdoor cooking experience for many years to come.