Pellet grills are one of the best ways to cook food for your family and friends! In this blog post, you’ll learn how to use a pellet grill. You will also find helpful tips on maintaining your pellet grill and how to clean it after each use. Check out our step-by-step guide below, or continue reading for more in-depth information about how a pellet grill works.
Table of Contents
What is a pellet grill? How can it help me?
The wood pellet grills are outdoor appliances that use wood pellets instead of charcoal or propane to fuel the flame. The unique thing about this type of grilling machine is how it works with your food. Pellets are broken down into smaller pieces and then loaded inside a chamber where they become hot enough for cooking after being lit by an electric igniter.
How does the wood pellet grill work?
Wood pellet grills work by burning wood pellets. Depending on what you want from it, you can set up your grill either to smoke or roast the food. Every smoker has an auger that feeds pellets into a firebox, where they are lit and burned for cooking purposes. Most of these cookers have digital controls that let you control the temperature and set a cooking time.
What is the best way to use a pellet grill?
You can adjust your wood pellet grill’s settings depending on what kind of food you’re planning to cook, either by changing its temperature or smoke time. For example, if you’re cooking meat, aim for a temperature of 325-375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you plan on roasting vegetables or seafood, go with 400 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit instead.
If I want to use the smoker setting, what should I do?
You can smoke your food by making sure that the pellet grill you’ve chosen has a smoke box. Set the temperature to about 220 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it for around ten minutes so that the food absorbs enough smoke flavor.
What are the benefits of using this cooking method?
There are several benefits to grilling with wood pellets. Wood pellet cooking is cleaner and helps you save more energy than other types of grills. This method also allows you to cook your food without worrying about flare-ups or hot spots, so it’s safer than traditional charcoal barbecuing as well! Easy to use, set it and forget it.
The steps to starting and using your Pellet Grill or Smoker are as follows:
Step One: Fill the pellet hopper with wood pellets, or check you have enough wood pellets. You can purchase a small bag of pellets from your local hardware store, or you can pick up a larger package online. Pouring in large amounts can be difficult, so it’s recommended that you use a funnel or pour it into your pellet grill from another container. For simple cleanup, cover the drip plate in aluminum foil.
Step Two: Plug in your pellet grill machine! Once your pellet grill has been filled up with wood pellets, plug it into a power outlet. Some models may require you to use an extension cord for the machine to receive consistent energy. Keep the lid open! Otherwise, you may blow up your lid cover check this video below, yep that can happen!
Step Three: Turn on your machine. There is usually a control panel or digital display located somewhere near the front of the unit, and it will have buttons to turn on. Remember, the lid is still open!
To start using your pellet grill, press one of these buttons, choose the lowest smoke settings, and wait until you see thick white smoke coming from your pellet grill. That’s part of the starting process, and normally, this smoke will disappear within a few minutes (it’s not the smoke that we are looking for), after that, you can close the lid.
Step Four: Set the desired temperature and let the pellet smoker machine preheat for 15 minutes.
Step Five: Start grilling or smoking! Once your machine is fully heated up and ready to go, it’s time to start! Place your food to the grill grates, place the meat probe inside your food’s thickest part and start grilling or smoking.
Step Six: Check your food temperature periodically, or if you use a smart probe, then check your phone! Don’t forget that we cook to achieve the desired temperature and don’t pay attention to the time.
Keep an eye on the LED display to check the inside temperature in the cooking chamber and the wood pellets into the pellet grill machine’s hopper. You can also check if your meat is done by using a cooking thermometer inserted into the thickest part of your food.
An inside thermometer is a must-have feature for any good pellet smoker.
Step Seven: Enjoy your delicious BBQ!
Step Eight: Shut down a pellet grill. Turn off your pellet grill then wait until you hear the ventilator, it’s important because it will allow the machine to burn all unused pellets in the fire pot, then you can unplug.
Step Nine: Remember to remove the grill grate first before washing down your unit with a wet rag or sponge dipped in warm water!
Step Ten: Restock your machine with wood pellets. Use the same steps you did when filling up this first time to restock it, making sure that it is full before using it again!
Top 8 Tips for Pellet Grills
- Not following your startup procedure is a big no-no! Check out our guide on the subject.
- To avoid pellet bridging, stir your pellets on a regular basis.
- For simple cleanup, cover the drip plate in aluminum foil.
- Regularly clean the ash pot.
- Clean your inside thermostat probe.
- Clean your drip track; this may cause a fire!
- Monitor your food to avoid overcooking it!
- Choose the size of the pellet grills you’ll need.
Is temp swings are normal?
Some machines may experience temporary temperature swings, and it’s normal. It happens when the wood pellets burn too quickly or not enough of them are burned up in one cycle; this can cause your machine to need more time than usual to reach its desired cooking temp again.
What are some of my pellet woods options? How can I choose one that will work for me?
Pellets are made from compressed sawdust, so they’re very consistent and predictable in their performance! The pellets come in different wood flavors that allow you to infuse your food with specific flavor profiles without using any flavored liquid or marinades that can sometimes affect the taste of your meat.
ALDER: light and delicate flavor, sometimes called a “sweet” wood.
APPLE: sweet with a hint of fruity sourness.
APRICOT: milder and sweeter than maple.
CHERRY: milder than hickory but full-flavored enough to stand up to beef or pork. It pairs well with poultry as well!
HICKORY: strong flavor that works best with pork and beef.
MAPLE: robust and bold flavor that’s great for red meat like deer or elk!
MESQUITE: similar to hickory but milder; pairs well with poultry and beef & other meats.
ORANGE/NECTARINE: very sweet, fruity flavor with a hint of citrus.
PEAR: Similar to apple wood but milder and sweeter, so it pairs well with poultry as well!
PECAN: strong in flavor yet delicate & sweet in the aroma; works great for beef or pork.
PLUM: mild with a hint of sweetness; works well for beef or pork.
OAK: strong in flavor with a sweet aroma, pairs well with beef & pork.
Is there anything else I should know? What are some of the benefits of using a pellet grill?
Pellet smokers offer many advantages to traditional gas grills or charcoal grills. The most notable is that it uses wood pellets instead of propane or natural gas, which means you don’t have to worry about your machine becoming a safety risk if the gas runs out. Many pellet smokers also offer a wide range of cooking settings which means you can cook more than just your favorite foods! Some people even use their grill as an outdoor oven or smoker for those that want to do multiple tasks with one appliance.
How often should I clean my pellet grill?
Pellet grills should be cleaned after each use, especially the inside of the machine. Pellets may leave a sticky residue that can lead to corrosion if left on for an extended time. To clean your grill out thoroughly and remove any debris from previous cooking sessions, you should brush out the inside and wipe it down with a damp cloth. You should also make sure to check your machine’s hopper for any leftover debris that may have gotten stuck there- especially if you use flavored pellets because these will burn at an even higher temperature than regular wood, meaning they can leave more residue behind! Please see our guide on how to clean a pellet smoker grill.
By following these simple guidelines when using a pellet grill, anyone can have delicious smoky flavors right at home without being left with bitter disappointment over poorly cooked meat or fish.