This post collects 10 tips for cooking on the pellet grill so you can get a tasty, hassle-free meal or snack every time.
A pellet grill, for those not in the know, uses wood pellets rather than charcoal or gas to heat your food. They’re a little like ovens in that they’re super versatile: you can roast, braise, and even bake all things delicious on a pellet grill.
Most people I know, however, use them for a barbecue or to smoke meat…which is something this grill excels at.
If you’re like a lot of people online, you’ve recently gotten a pellet grill for a holiday or other special occasion. They seem to be all the rage at the moment, and for good reason.
After all, a pellet grill provides a certain smoky flavor you can’t get with a gas grill, and it’s easy to use, too. It’s also simpler to control the temperatures of a wood pellet grill vs. a charcoal grill, for instance.
In this post, I’ve listed the best 10 tips for cooking on a pellet grill.
Don’t worry if you’re a total newbie at using one, because I’ve got you covered to start!
How to use a Pellet Grill:
#1: Always “season” a new pellet grill.
It’s crucial to “season” a new grill by coating its insides with cooking oil and running it without any food.
This rids the grill of any oils from the manufacturing process and protects the surface of the grill, as well.
Be sure to let it sit for 24 hours before using it for real.
#2: Choose the right wood pellets every time.
There are loads of wood pellet varieties out there, and you’ll want to make sure you get the right ones for what you’re looking for.
A good “neutral” wood pellet is 100% hardwood with no extra flavoring or chemicals. For a stronger flavor in your meat, you may want pellets made of hickory or mesquite.
#3: Clean your grill as much as possible.
This may be a no-brainer, but it’s crucial that you don’t allow oil, ash, and grease to build up in the inside of your grill.
Maintenance is important, too: ensure there are always enough pellets in your pellet hopper, for example.
#4: Use a good meat thermometer for the best results.
A pellet grill’s built-in thermometer often tells you the average temperature of what’s cooking inside.
This may be fine for your purposes, but if you’re a stickler for proper temperature readings, an external meat thermometer is better to figure out if your meat is cooked to perfection.
#5: Find your pellet grill’s “hot spot.”
Most pellet grills (and in fact, most grills in general) have a spot where they burn the hottest.
You’ll want to do a few tests runs to discover where on the grate this “hot spot” lies, so you can cook food to perfection every time without worrying about burning meat and veggies to ash.
#6: Cook your meat “low and slow.”
If you’re looking for excellent barbecue, you’ll want to cook your steaks and chicken “low and slow.” More or less, this means smoking the meats at the lowest setting for about a half-hour, then cranking the temperature up for an hour.
(Check in with the guide that comes with your pellet grill for more information on how to prepare your meat this way.)
Pellet Grill Recipes
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#7: Take care of your wood pellets.
Know that you’ll use about a pound of pellets per hour on the grill, so always have that many at hand.
Additionally, store your pellets in a dry place, or else they’ll turn into a sawdust-like mess.
#8: Always preheat your pellet grill.
Pellet grills are similar to an indoor oven in that they generally require 10-20 minutes to “preheat.”
Just turn it on and adjust your grill to your chosen temperature. It won’t be long until you’ve got the barbecue ready to go!
#9: Blue smoke is good smoke.
When smoking food, you want to see blue smoke coming from the pellet grill, as this will give you the most flavor.
Gray or light-colored smoke will leave your food tasting bitter, ashy, and, honestly, like chemicals.
#10: Love that smoky flavor? Get a smoke tube.
And if you’re in love with that smoky flavor (who isn’t?) that a pellet grill provides, consider getting a smoke tube to enhance it.
This tube will provide extra flavor to anything you cook on the grill.
Let me know your pellet grill tips and tricks in the comments.
Do you have any tips and tricks to add about using a pellet grill? I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, you might want to read all about the best pellet grill recipes the internet has to offer. Turkey legs? Baked potatoes? Pizza? Time to get cooking!