What Is a Wood Pellet Grill—and Is It Worth the Hype?

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You can use a wood pellet grill as a charcoal smoker, kitchen oven and traditional gas grill.

Pellet grills are becoming exceedingly popular due to their all-in-one function, among other benefits. They’re simple to use, too. All you have to do is set the temperature and walk away. And the temperature remains steady, so you don’t have to keep checking to see whether your food is burning or undercooking.

We did our homework to learn more about these stars of the backyard barbecue!

FYI: We’ve also created a guide of the different types of grills to help you pick one that’s perfect.

What Is a Wood Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill is a type of outdoor cooker that’s essentially a hybrid of a charcoal smoker, kitchen oven and traditional gas grill. With the combination of all these elements, they can smoke, bake and cook pretty much anything. We discovered that pellet grills are popular because not only because they are super easy to operate, but they deliver authentic, smoky flavor and tender texture to food.

When you’re working with a pellet grill, all you have to do is set the temperature and close the lid until time’s up. The lid creates a chamber to prevent heat from escaping, infusing the food with flavor-enhancing smoke.

This is why we recommend a wood pellet grill along with these other tools for grilling best-ever ribs.

How Does a Wood Pellet Grill Work?

The inner workings of a wood pellet grill are pretty fascinating. And since pellet grills require less fuel than traditional gas grills, you’ll ultimately end up saving money on energy and supplies. We found that 40 lbs. of pellets typically costs less than a single 15-lb. propane tank!

Ignition is simple with a pellet grill. To get things started, you turn it on with the push of a button, set it to the temperature you want and between the electrical ignition and fan-forced air, your grill is ready to go in a couple of minutes.

When you step back and take a look at a wood pellet grill, you’ll notice a firepot underneath or to the side. This firepot is what creates the heat used to cook food. The hotter the temperature, the more pellets move into the pot and are set aflame. When the pellets are in the pot, a hot rod ignites them, creating a fire. The inner fan stokes a fire, creating convection heat to cook or bake the food.

Whether you’ve already been dubbed BBQ Master or are still a griller in training, check out our tips on how to grill anything.

What Is a Wood Pellet Grill Good For?

We like that pellet grills have the power to grill, smoke and bake—all within a single unit.

Grill

Grilling works similarly to a traditional gas grill. Just be sure to keep an eye on those burgers and brats to make sure they’re cooked to perfection! If you want to perfect your grill skills, here are a couple simple grilling tips.

Smoke

Pellet grills are a good choice for those who like their foods to have an intense smoky flavor. There are tons of different varieties of wood pellets to let you experiment with flavor combinations.

Bake

You can even bake with your pellet grill! Make bread, casseroles, tortillas, desserts and more in your pellet grill. Here’s our expert guide to baking a cake on the grill.

The Pellet Grills We Recommend

Here are the pellet grills we’re excited to test this summer:

Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24

Camp Chef Woodwind SG + Sidekickvia outdoorcooking.com

The Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 ($900) comes with a sidekick that give you more room to cook dinner. The extra surface gives you the ability to bake, sear, boil and even saute. This masterpiece “[infuses] your food with a savory wood fire taste that’ll make your taste buds sing.”

Traeger Pro Series 34

Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill in Bronzevia homedepot.com

Traeger pellet grills are the most well-known product on the market, thanks to their sleek appearance and affordability. The Traeger Pro Series 34 ($700) includes easy-to-use features and a Digital Pro Controller to let you “set it and forget it.”

Monument Pellet Grill with Wi-Fi Control

Pellet Grill, 435 Square inch with WiFi Controlvia monumentgrills.com

Now, this is one smart smoker! The Monument pellet grill ($500) comes with a mobile app that allows you to set, adjust and monitor the cooking temperature from your smartphone. That will definitely come in hand when you’re smoking a brisket the course of 14 hours.

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.