Most people are familiar with pellet stoves. Pellet stoves provide the heating advantages of traditional log burning stoves with great energy efficiency and less smoke and ash. These same advantages translate to the new pellet grills recently on the market. Tri County Hearth and Patio Center in Waldorf, Maryland now includes pellet grills in their product line for home owners seeking a quality grilling experience.
Pellet grills use all natural hardwood sawdust which is formed into little ¼ inch pieces as fuel. In the 1980s the popularity of using pellets in place of wood for household stoves was expanded to include grills. The burning pellets give your food a nice smoky flavor with consistent temperature.
Pellet grills work on the same principles as pellet stoves. Pellets are put into the hopper and the auger pushes the pellets from the hopper into the firepot to burn. On basic pellet grills the temperature cannot be adjusted, however on more sophisticated models, the temperature can be altered to suit the needs of the grill master. Pellet grills combine the best of both the grilling and smoking to produce the taste, texture, and appearance that you want when grilling meat, fish, vegetables or fruit. The infamous grill sear can also be achieved when using a cast iron grill grate or skillet preheated on the grill.
Pellet grills are much quicker to heat than traditional charcoal grills. While quick and easy, gas grills lack the taste and genuine flavor that pellet and charcoal grills provide and BBQ lovers insist upon.
Pellet grills are versatile. You can barbecue, smoke, roast, grill, and even bake or braise in a pellet grill. They can be used to cook everything from crisp chicken wings to braised short ribs to smoked pork chile verde and crème brulee.
- Like gas grills, pellet grills preheat fast (10 to 15 minutes). The design discourages flare-ups.
- Some pellet grills allow you to regulate temperatures in 5-degree increments, giving you pinpoint heat control. A thermostat in the cooking chamber sends precise signals to the controller and regulates pellet delivery.
- Because a pellet grill works like a convection oven, you can load up the cook chamber without fear of uneven cooking.
- You don’t normally over-smoke food on a pellet grill. The smoke flavor is more subtle than the sometimes acrid smoke generated by a straight wood or charcoal fire. The grills are available in a number of sizes from small to large, as well as commercial-size units that can accommodate a whole hog or pulled pork for a crowd. For additional wood smoke flavor, you can position hardwood chunks or pouches of soaked wood chips directly on the heat diffuser plate.
- Pellets come in a variety of flavors—hickory, pecan, alder, mesquite, cherry, apple, maple, bourbon, etc., and can be mixed or changed in minutes. One 20-pound bag is sufficient for several cooks, though usage will depend on the temperature setting and weather conditions (wind and cold will increase pellet consumption). Under normal circumstances, a pellet grill will use about 1/2 pound of pellets per hour on the smoke setting and 2-1/2 pounds on high.
In full disclosure, pellet grills are not perfect. Because they have moving parts, sometime repairs may be necessary. Also because they run on electricity you must have a power source to operate.
Prices of pellet grills range from a couple hundred dollars to many thousands.
Our advice? Do your research, identify your grilling style and needs and come talk to us at Tri-County Hearth and Patio Center. We will make sure you have the grill that best matches your budget and your cooking needs to ensure you have great grilling experiences.