Pellet Grills: The New Kid on the Block
The Next Step in Backyard Cooking
Continuing our talk on the different kind of backyard cookers, today we’ll talk about the new kid on the block: the pellet grill/smoker.
This concept arose out of necessity after the 1970s oil embargo crisis. Where first a home pellet stove was invented to offset the rising costs of home heating oil. At the same time, it tackled a biowaste problem of excess sawdust created by the timber industry by re-purposing it. These stoves became widely popular. And within a few years spawned the pellet grill cooker. The main difference between them is that the pellet grill required a more refined wood source than the at home stove.
We love this grill so much that we have a limited time deal on our favorite pellet grills from Green Mountain Grills. From now until Dec 1st! This pricing won’t last long! If you’ve been looking for the perfect gift for the grill master in your family, you’ve found it!
Now, back to why you should love Pellet Grills as much as we do.
How a Pellet Grill Works
With a pellet grill, you’re cooking with all-natural hardwood, which is a must for any kind of barbecue. What separates these grills from the more familiar backyard cookers is that they require electricity. It’s needed to run a digital controller (similar to a computer motherboard) and to motorize and control the auger and a combustion fan. The auger delivers the “fuel” while the combustion fan delivers the “oxygen” to the fire.
The heat in a pellet grill is generated in an amazingly small fire pot (about 4” diameter x 4” tall) where a heating element or “hot rod” ignites a starter batch of pellets. The starting sequence varies by manufacturer, but it usually takes no more than 4-5 minutes. Once done, a horizontal auger delivers pellets from an attached hopper into the fire pot. The digital controller will then dictate the speed at which the pellets are delivered, which is based on the heat and cook settings that you set for it. The higher the target temperature, the faster the auger drives the pellets.
An electronically controlled combustion fan (located directly underneath) is angled upward so that it can deliver fresh oxygen through a set of angled vents to the fire pot. Basically, the digital controller is modulating the speed of both the auger and the fan to create the right heat environment based on programmed settings. Since the pellets are sawdust, they alight almost instantly, so even at low temperatures the auger and fan are constantly working.
Positioned over the fire pot is a heat shield that directs the heated, smoky air evenly throughout the grill cavity. Thus giving you a top-notch smoking environment.
Pros and Cons to Keep in Mind
The big advantage with a pellet grill is its ease of use and its consistency of temperature management. You’ll come to see that it’s incredibly easy to cook even the most complex cooking jobs, such as brisket, on this grill. That constant creation of smoke will produce a rich, rustic flavor. Best of all, it produces some of the best smoke rings in long, slow cooks that you’ll ever see.
The obvious downside is that you need ready access to electricity and you need to keep it protected from rainfall. Humidity is OK for the grill, but we suggest that you store the pellets in a container or bucket with a lock-tight lid for safe keeping. Also, because of the continuous nature of feeding pellets/running the fan, these grills can be noisy, but don’t be alarmed. “Whooshing noises” and various “grinds” mean that the unit is working within operational parameters. One final caveat: the rapid burning nature of pellets limits the maximum temperature of pellet grills, especially when compared to gas grills and charcoal cookers. However, they are still capable of achieving 400˚, and the better units (like our Green Mountain Grill) can achieve 500˚ and more.
A Little About the Green Mountain Grill
Jeff’s Backyard (JBY) is proud to be a recognized dealer for Green Mountain Grills (GMG), one of the leading innovators in the pellet grill market. After the original pellet grill patent expired in 2008, no less than 27 different companies entered the market because they saw the potential in it. JBY scoured the market before deciding on Green Mountain Grills. Its innovative nature is what originally attracted us to the company. However, it was the excellent 5-start ratings in customer service they constantly received that sold us on GMG. Their telephone helpline is simply the best in the business, and GMG just extended its warranty from 2 years to 3 years because of their belief in their product.
One of our favorite features in the Green Mountain Grills pellet cooker is its Wi-Fi capability. Truly, you’ll have complete control at your fingertips via an app on your iPhone. You can control and monitor your grill, either remotely with the GMG server mode or from your home Wi-Fi network. With this built-in accessory, you can control your temperature settings within 1˚. (Try that with the competition, many of which provide you with only 20˚- 25˚ temp settings.)
So, do yourself a favor and follow GMG’s tagline: Grill smarter. Eat better! We’ve already started our Green Mountain Grill Black Friday promotion, but hurry! This sale ends December 1.