The pellet smokers is a staple of backyard barbecue culture. The grills are simple and inexpensive, so they can be used to cook food for large groups with relative ease. They’re also easy to clean and maintain.
There’s one problem with charcoal smokers though: the smoke from the burning wood can produce some pretty foul odors that linger in your home long after you’ve finished cooking on it.
So if you want to get rid of those lingering smells and enjoy the delicious aroma of BBQ without spending an arm and a leg, try out a pellet smoker instead. These devices use pellets made from compressed saw dust or bark as fuel, which means they don’t produce any smoke at all. Instead, they emit steam, and their smoky flavor comes from the natural smoke created by the heat of the fire.
Below we offer advice on how to set up a pellet grill, plus tips on using them to make tasty meals. We also provide links to buy more information about pellet smokers and other types of grills.
When you’re trying to make a low-cost alternative to a gas grill, there aren’t many options available. You could spend $200 on a pellet grill like the Traeger Pro Series 3400D, but that would mean sacrificing lots of features that are usually found on better models. If you want a pellet grill with lots of bells and whistles, you might have to pay a lot more (upwards of $1,000).
Instead, you can opt for a smaller model like the Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grill. It costs around $400 and has only six burners, which helps keep its price down. It also doesn’t come with a controller, so you’ll need to purchase one separately for about $60 depending on the brand. This will allow you to dial in precise temperature control settings, which you can’t do when using a normal grill.
If you’d rather go for something even cheaper, check out this list of affordable pellet stoves. There are several models available for less than $100, which should help you build a nice little pellet grill setup without breaking the bank.
How to Use a Pellet Grill
As mentioned above, pellet smokers run off of pellets made from sawdust or bark. So, before you can start using one you’ll first need to purchase some. Most of them are sold in bulk packages, meaning you can buy multiple bags if you want to fill up your grill.
You’ll find these pellets in a range of sizes, including 1/4 pound, 1/3 pound, and 3/8 pound. They’re also sold per bag, but the larger ones are more expensive. In addition to buying pellets, you’ll need to buy a small box of briquettes to burn inside the grill.
To figure out what size briquettes to buy, measure the diameter of the grate closest to the top of the grill. If you get the number 0.5 inches (or 12 mm), then you’re good to go with the 3/8-pound pellets. If not, you may want to consider getting pellets of a slightly different size.
Once you’ve got a decent supply of pellets and briquettes, you can move onto setting up the grill itself. Start by removing the lid and placing the grill rack over a drip pan full of water. Then, place some aluminum foil underneath the drip pan to catch grease drippings during cooking time. Next, put the grill rack back into the grill, and add a few lit briquettes to each burner. Finally, close the lid and light a match to ignite the briquettes.
Tips for Using a Pellet Grill
Use clean briquettes every time you want to cook
Keep the grill clean and well maintained
Don’t forget to turn the meat over halfway through cooking
Cook meat until done, not just hot
Make sure to use proper ventilation while smoking
Don’t cook with the lid open while smoking
Remember to rotate your food regularly
With these basic rules in mind, you can use a pellet grill to prepare delicious meats without breaking the bank. Plus, since they’re environmentally friendly, you won’t have to worry about putting out fires every few months.