Pellet Grills and Smokers
Pellet grills are great. They give an outdoor wood cooked flavour to whatever you decide to prepare, and you can cook anything it's possible to cook in a conventional convection oven and you have the additional option of smoking your food.
If you haven't yet tasted pellet smoker grill cooking, you're missing a wonderful flavour experience.
Wood pellet grills and smokers operate in much the same way as a pellet stove. An auger takes the pellets to the burn pot at a rate designed to produce the required heat output.
These pellet smokers are fuelled by food grade wood pellets and each different species of tree the pellets are processed from has a different flavour. Imagine baking an apple pie while using apple wood pellets to fire your grill. For baking, it's not recommended that the smoker setting is used, but whatever's being baked picks up a subtle flavour from the fuel being used.
The smoker setting is usually used for meat and fish, but doesn't have to be. When the uncooked meat is put into a pre-heated grill, the smoke setting can be turned on to infuse the cut with the required flavour. The heat is then turned up to sear the meat and seal in the juices and flavour. Here's some more information about using a pellet smoker grill
Pellet smoker grills are designed to avoid flare ups associated with barbecuing. The heat is indirect and grease is funnelled off. They are temperature controlled, and once the initial set up for the food is set, they can be left alone until the meal is ready.
Weight is a good indication of build quality when comparing grills of similar size. Heavier grills are likely to be more durable, and have better heat retention.
In terms of durability, weight should not be used to compare stainless steel grills with those built of ordinary steel, and the quality of the coating should also be considered.
As for heat retention, an insulated cooking area is better than heavy steel.
Pellets for Pellet Grills
Only hardwood pellets should be used in pellet smoker grills, and they should be food grade. Pellets for pellet stoves
can be either hardwood or softwood, and can contain impurities from recycled lumber that makes them unsuitable for cooking.
Many wood types are available, each giving a different flavour to the food and some grillers like to experiment with the flavour by adding small quantities of different flavour pellets.
Only mild flavoured pellets should be used for cooking fish, chicken and baking to avoid overpowering the flavour of the food some examples of suitable mild flavoured wood pellets are apple, mesquite and alder.
Pellets that will give a strong flavour suitable for beef, pork and robust poultry such as turkey are hickory, oak and black walnut.
Pellet Grill Manufacturers
Probably the best known manufacturer of pellet BBQ's and smokers is Traeger
, who were also the first. Traeger make a large range of grills in varying sizes to suit most situations from the "Junior" with a grill area of 19.5 inches by 15 inches to large mobile grills built onto a road trailer.
Louisiana grills are made by the Danson group who manufacture "Pelpro" pellet stoves. The Danson group started by producing wood pellets before they got into stove and grill manufacturing. They produce two ranges: - The Country Smokers
series, and Colonial BBQ Grills
. The starter grill is "Little Louie" with a cooking area of 17.5 by 11.5 inches.
The Black Olive Grill
is a ceramic bodied Kamado grill automatically fired by wood pellets and produced by Sherwood Industries. The major advantages of the ceramic body are good heat retention, eliminating hot and cool spots in the cooking area often found in cookers with a metal carcase.
Englander Pellet Grill
. By the makers of Englander Pellet Stoves, this collaborative design with Ed Maurin (see Fast Eddy below) has twin front opening doors, digital temperature control and direct over-flame searing.
Green Mountain Grills
produce two grill/smokers which are highly thought of and good value for money.
Fast Eddy by Cookshack.
Ed "Fast Eddy" Maurin is famous on the BBQ circuit and winner of many, many cooking competitions. He designs his own winning grills and smokers, and collaborates with Cookshack to produce them commercially.
MAK Pellet Smoker Grills
produce two advanced smoker grills. They use a unique digital temperature control system called 'Pellet Boss' which takes information from a thermocouple inside the oven and controls both induction air and fan speed.
Up to three meat probes can be connected and set individually, as well as using elapsed time or countdown timers. Remote control is available
are built in stainless steel, and use Intelligent Temperature Control which is a digital system that checks temperature every two seconds.
A food probe can be used, (standard on the Memphis Pro, optional on the Advantage and Select). When the required temperature is reached, the grill will automatically drop back to the warming temperature.
Royall Pellet Smoker Grills
, built in Wisconsin, are aimed at the budget 'no-frills' end of the market. They do have automatic ignition, and come as standard with a three position temperature controller.
A ten position digital (Low voltage) control is optional on all models.
Sawtooth Pellet Smoker Grills
are made in Idaho, USA and are aimed at the budget, 'no frills' end of the market. Temperature control is achieved by a dial which adjusts the pellet feed, and the thermometer on the hood has to be watched. When you've got the temperature you want constant, you can leave it to its own devices.
Sweet Home Pellet Smoker Grills
are neat looking pellet grills with a couple of unique features. There's a 'low-pellet' sensor which allows the control board to beep when you're likely to run out of fuel during cooking.
There's also a vent at the top of the cooker hood on each side that lets you vent smoke if you need a more delicate flavour.
Woodmaster Pellet Grills
are a neat looking design. Many American pellet grills look as if they'd be quite at home chuffing along a railway track - not this one.
These pellet grills have two heat ranges. Smoking on minimum fuel feed is at around 170 degrees, the cooking temperature starts at 250 degrees.
Yoder Pellet Smoker Grills
have an excellent build quality. The hopper and cart use 14 gauge steel, while the cooking chamber is made of ten gauge.
As well as the digital control which uses a thermocouple in the cook-box, there is an easily read thermometer in the lid. The whole of the grill is finished in high temperature urethane.
Yoder grills have an exceptional warranty, with the grill body being guaranteed for ten years, and the control systems guaranteed for three years.
All pellet smoker grills are deigned to be used out of doors and require a mains power supply to operate.
Pellet Grills and Smokers for Sale