Tips for New Pellet Smoker and Grill Owners
With a new pellet grill purchase, there always comes a learning period where you may not be very familiar with the equipment. At the beginning you may feel a little uncertain about how it’s working, so we thought we’d come up with a little tip-sheet that will help with some of those early concerns or questions. Welcome to the Grilla Grills community!
Don’t get us wrong, your Grilla Grill is a hardcore smoke-throwing, pellet-burning machine, but to say the weather doesn’t have any effect on how it performs would be untrue. That’s not just for our grills, that applies to literally any outdoor cooking appliance from propane to charcoal and electric.
One of the best parts about your Grilla Grill is that it comes with our double-wall insulation! Our thermal jacket ensures the heat your grill creates stays where it’s supposed to! From the grates of the grill down to the bottom of the barrel, there is a layer of aluminized steel that keeps the cool air out and the hot air inside your grill. This prevents you from needing a thermal blanket for your grill when cooking in cold weather.
The insulation is so effective that your grill can even work in subzero temperatures. We’ve had owners from Canada send us pictures of their grills smoking along in -30-degree weather! So leave the blanket in the garage, or better yet, save your money and leave it at the store, because you won’t need it with a Grilla Grill. For more on winter grilling, read this guide on the benefits of using a Grilla in the cold.
Everyone always asks how cold weather is going to affect their grill performance, but it’s extremely rare that someone asks us how the heat could possibly make a change! Surprisingly enough, while it’s not as prominent as with cold weather, there will be effects from trying to smoke on hotter days.
With pellet grills, there’s quite a bit of science that goes into maintaining the diffused fire that heats your grill. No matter what, there’s a minimum temperature that your grill will run at, and that bottom-line cool temperature is definitely impacted by the temperature that day. Most days, that minimum temperature isn’t impacted too much, but on either end of the spectrum, you’ll start to see it affect your grill temperature.
On extremely cold days, let’s go with 0-degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll see your grill has to work a little bit harder to get to those upper-end temperatures, but can maintain the low-side temp extremely well. In a perfect environment, your grill could technically hold temperatures lower than the lowest setting on our grill.
On the flipside on days that are exceedingly hot, let’s say 100-degrees or higher, your grill will easily get up to those high-end temperatures, but has a harder time holding those low temps. While it’s definitely possible to run the grill at temperatures lower than 250-degrees, the grill will have to work hard to maintain stability.
Plugging all this info into a simplified equation, on days that are 100-degrees you’ll see that your grill will maintain a minimum low point of 235-240 when burning hardwood pellets like Oak or Mesquite. That minimum temperature would be even higher if you were burning fruitwood or Alder! Luckily there are some tricks we can use to adjust the way the controller works to make it perform a little more accurately on those extra hot summer days, just check out this video for more information.
Shiny New Grills
So you just got a brand new Grilla Grill. The stainless steel is still all shiny and reflective, you can smell the manufacturer’s oils and you’re getting excited for your first smoke session. Here’s a quick tip to help you when you’re firing that grill up for the first few times.
Your grill’s shiny new reflective surfaces in the cooking area will actually make a difference in the way it performs. For the first handful of cooks, the reflective surfaces will magnify the heat in your grill, making it seem like it’s running a little bit hotter than it should be. After the first 5-10 cooks, your grill will begin to cover up those surfaces with soot. Once that happens, your grill will begin to hold your low temperatures even more steadily.
For obvious reasons, most people who pick up a Grilla Grill for the first time are doing so during the hot summer months of the year. That means when they’re turning that grill on for the first time, it’s most likely going to be pretty warm no matter which portion of the country you’re in. Therefore, in those early cooks, with the reflective surfaces and the increased heat, it’s possible to see some inconsistency in those starting cooks until you break it in a bit.
For starters, don’t dive straight into your big dollar cooks like brisket. Take the first few smoke sessions to do something simple like burgers, bacon, chicken thighs or anything else you already know how to do well. Once you’ve broken in your pellet grill and gotten familiar with how it works, that’s when you’re better off diving into those longer, more expensive smokes!