Americans love their barbecue!
Three-quarters of US households now own smokers, and especially in the South, where barbecues are more than a casual weekend activity but a subculture with a long and proud history.
You’ll want to serve your guests the best-tasting BBQ possible and impress them with your pit-master skills. It’s essential to get the best grill for your skill level and food quantities, be it charcoal, gas, ceramic, electric, or pellet.
But, do pellet grills offer the best option compared to other types of smokers?
Here, we delve into what pellet grills are, what unique features and benefits they offer, and how they compare with other types of smokers to help you decide if they are worth purchasing.
What Are Pellet Grills?
Pellet grills use small cylindrical wood pellets as fuel, just as electric smokers use electricity and charcoal smokers use wood or charcoal. Their temperature digitally adjusts through a controller that automatically feeds in pellets into the smoker according to the set temperature.
A pellet smoker enables you to grill easily and with less smoke. Pellet grills also excel over traditional charcoal grills as they give off less acrid smoke, making for a tasty bark.
Because most pellet grills require electricity to function, they need to be used next to a power source. This function limits where they can be used.
Why Choose Pellet Grills Over Electric Or Charcoal Grills?
Pellet grills offer significant advantages and also fall short compared to electric or charcoal grills.
- Pellet grills offer an authentic flavor for barbecues. The smoky taste of wood pellets is unique, and these grills give off less acrid smoke than, say, charcoal grills.
- Pellet grills offer convenience. They lend themselves to the set-and-forget style of grilling, as pellets are dispersed into the smoke chamber automatically.
- While electric grills are considered a healthy cooking option, they sometimes lack that authentic BBQ flavor unique to charcoal grills. Pellet grills offer something in between – all of the taste with none of the smoke! You can further reduce the formation of HCAs by setting your grills to heat at low temperatures.
- They take less time to heat up. Of all the grills, they take the least time to heat up – just 10 minutes.
Pellet grills are versatile and come in all shapes and sizes. The pellets for these grills also come in different flavors such as maple, hickory, apple, or pecan, imparting unique flavors to your BBQ
- As convenient as pellet grills are, they are costly to buy and run. A high-end electric grill may cost less than half the price of its pellet counterpart and still do the job. Also, fueling a pellet grill is more expensive compared to other types of smokers.
- Because a pellet grill requires a power source to operate, it would be challenging to use your grill in a location without power, even if you carry along a portable generator. This quality gives charcoal grills a distinct advantage over pellet smokers as they can be used anywhere.
- Pellet grills will rarely hit temperatures higher than 450F. For high-temperature smoking at 500F, you’re going to need a charcoal grill that can reach those temperatures.
Though they don’t come cheap, ranging from $350-$1300, pellet grills offer real value for money if you’re grilling massive amounts of BBQ or if you don’t need searing 500F heat to BBQ your food.
They are also easier to use than charcoal grills, requiring less fiddling, and if you’re an amateur, you could opt for these grills or for electric smokers. Some famous manufacturers of pellet grills include Traeger, Smoke Hollow, and Masterbuilt.
Should you opt for the more straightforward to use like the electric smoker, or need a guide on the different types of smokers and grills available on the market, read up on our other guides to enable you to make the best decision before you buy.