If you’ve ever hosted or attended a barbecue, you’re familiar with the following scene: ‘Q masters frantically running from one station to the other, making sure each part of the meal is going to plan.
Wood pellet grills are slowly but surely making this scene a thing of the past, offering an oven, smoker, grill, and other kitchen staples in one convenient machine.
To help you understand everything that’s possible with these grills, and how they can help take your grilling game to the next level, we put together the guide below.
What is a wood pellet grill?
Powered by electricity, wood pellet grills cook food with heat generated by burning pellets of compacted hardwood, which come in a variety of different flavours.
Many models offer multiple cooking functionalities, allowing you to smoke, roast, sear, bake, and grill with one machine.
How do wood pellet grills work?
Wood pellet grills work differently than more traditional grills.
For example, gas grills cook food using directed flame, which you often need to manually light; charcoal grills cook food using heat from heated-up coals, which often require lighter fluid to get going.
Wood pellet grills, on the other hand, work off electricity and operate in the following way:
- You set the temperature you want to maintain throughout your cook, as well as cooking time (similar to how you set your settings on a regular oven)
- Pellets are dumped into an area of the grill called the pellet hopper
- From the hopper, these pellets are pushed into a fire pot by an auger
- In the fire pot, the pellets are ignited by the HotRod (picture a concentrated open flame)A fan circulates heat and smoke, which evenly and consistently cooks your food to the exact settings you set in step 1
During the cook, a protective drip tray keeps flames off your food, prevents flare-ups, and collects the fat and drippings from your food for easy cleanup.
What is a wood pellet grill good for?
What does a wood pellet grill bring to the table that other types of grills don’t?
Easy and convenient to use
For one, they’re much easier to use than traditional smokers, often not much harder than the oven in your kitchen. This makes them perfect for people new to smoking, or those simply looking for a low-maintenance way to grill (many can even be controlled by wifi from your phone).
Consistent and even cooking
Cooking consistency is another benefit. With traditional smokers, different sizes, consistencies, and types of wood can all affect the taste and temperature of your cook, requiring more experimentation and overwatch to produce a reliable cook you’re happy with
With wood pellet grills, you just set your temperature and time, pour in the right amount of wood pellets, and you can expect a consistent cook and flavour every time.
Multiple cooking styles
Plus, their versatility means you’re not limited to just smoking like with traditional grills; you can easily switch between smoking, roasting, baking, grilling, and searing, depending on your needs.
Finally, they're unmatched when it comes to environmentally-friendly grilling. Wood pellets produce nearly no ash, and electricity as a fuel source means you don’t have to worry about any damaging environmental effects like with charcoal or gas grills.
What can you cook on a pellet grill?
When you think of grilling, things like steak, burgers, roasted potatoes, and hot dogs likely come to mind. Wood pellet grills have these delicious staples covered, but they also allow you to go so much farther.
Offering features from both conventional ovens and traditional grills, you can use your pellet grill to smoke, roast, bake, grill, and sear just about anything.
Can you grill on a Traeger?
Like a gas grill, Traeger grills can reach a high temperature that's demanded when you grill your food. In fact, a Traeger grill can achieve grate surface temperatures around 600 degrees! Hot enough to sear any meat your feast desires.
With that out of the way, here are a few fun and versatile ways to use your wood pellet grill.
10 pellet grill recipes to try
Mix your ingredients together in a cake dish, throw it in your grill, close the cover, and go about your business as the heat and smoke combine to create delicious, unique flavours. Try these cupcakes from the ladies at Girls Can Grill.
Experiment with different types of wood pellets and seasoning rubs and see what kind of tender brisket concoctions you can come up with.
You’ve heard of wood-fired pizza, right? You can get the same kind of smoky and crispy pizza with your pellet grill.
5. Whole chicken
Coat a whole chicken in olive oil and your preferred rub, stuff it with your favourite flavour enhancers (some ideas are whole lemons, garlic cloves, onions, and Italian herbs), and roast your chicken over a shorter period of time (roast) for a crispy finish, or smoke over a long period of time for more tender meat.
6. Ice cream
We’re not joking; smoke cream and sugar in a disposable aluminium pan on your wood-pellet grill for some smokey hints to your favourite ice-cream recipes.
7. Mac & cheese
Don’t want to constantly alternate between inside and outside cooking when preparing multiple meals? Throw mac and cheese into an oven-ready pan and crank the heat in your grill for a perfect seared finish.
The variety of wood pellet flavours available, and the ability to maintain constant temperatures for long periods of time, make for the perfect entryway into cooking your own jerky.
9. Pulled pork
Cheap, crowd-pleasing, and easy to make. Season a pork shoulder at least a night before meal time, throw it in your grill the morning of, and let it cook to fall-off-the-bone perfection for when company arrives.
Looking for an easy side to stapes like steak or hot dogs? Mix ingredients together in a tin, or place your shaped raw ingredients on a cast-iron pan, and bake a delicious, tender meatloaf right inside your grill.
Think a pellet grill is right for you?
So, what can you do with a pellet grill? A lot, it turns out!
Hopefully, the information above is enough to help you understand what cooking styles, perks, and pellet grill recipes are possible.
If your mouth is watering right now as much as ours, we’d love to help get you started with the perfect pellet grill for your needs. For help choosing the right one, check out our Traeger buyers guide.