What Is a Pellet Grill?
These days, there’s way more options for BBQ goodness than just propane or charcoal. Pellet grills are one popular alternative for the 21st century pitmaster. But it’s OK if you’re still wondering: What is a pellet grill, and is it the right choice for my backyard, patio or tailgate?
Let’s see: Do you love the taste of wood-fired cooking? How about a grill that serves up smoky, savory BBQ flavors without the need for constant fire-tending and food-flipping? What about the ability to do multiple types of cooking on one device, including grilling, smoking, roasting and even baking pizza?
If any of the above got your stomach rumbling like an 800-pound ape, a wood pellet grill will feed the need. In this guide to pellet grills, we’ll give you the must-know info that will get you up to speed on this amazing species of grill. Plus, you’ll get our recommendations for finding the Grilla Grills model that will most definitely light your fire.
So, What Is a Pellet Grill?
A pellet grill is a type of barbecue grill that uses compressed wood pellets as its fuel. An automated auger system feeds the pellets from a hopper into a firepot at the bottom of the grill. As the pellets burn, a fan channels the heat upward toward the racks, where your food is waiting for the sizzle.
This system creates an extremely even convection heat that’s easy to cook with and highly versatile. In fact, many types of pellet grills are often called pellet smokers, too. That’s because they work amazingly well for “low and slow” smoking in addition to the normal high temperature grilling.
Pellet grills have a lot to offer any backyard chef, and we’ll go into detail on exactly why they’re so awesome in just a minute. First, we should look at an example of how a pellet grill operates in real life.
How a Pellet Grill Works
Let’s go over the basics of using a pellet grill. We’ll use our Silverbac pellet grill as an example:
- To start, all pellet grills require electricity to operate. It will power the igniter, auger and control board.
- When started, the Silverbac’s auger system will automatically feed pellets from the hopper into the firepot at the bottom of the grill.
- In the burn pot, the igniter rod will light the pellets,starting your fire. This will turn off automatically after a few minutes.
- The electric fan, controlled by the grills cpu, will activate to help maintain clean airflow and your set temperature.
- At this point, the three main components of your grill are working together to maintain a fire at the temperature you set. Whether that’s low-and-and-slow for smoking, or hot-n-fast for grilling, your pellet grill will take care of all the work.
- If you need to adjust the temperature during cooking, just use the built-in control panel or Grilla Grills Alpha Connect app! For example, to sear a steak it’s as easy as cranking your temperature up to 450º for the last few minutes of cooking.
- Your Silverbac will alert you through your Alpha Connect app if there is anything you need to address with your grill.
The Power of the Pellet
What’s so great about wood pellet grills? Glad you asked! These are some of the reasons that many modern pitmasters love pellet grilling:
- Set It and Forget It: One of the main advantages of pellet grills is that they don’t require close monitoring while your food is cooking. Forget standing around and turning a chicken breast, wondering if it’s done inside! Go enjoy life while your pellet grill cooks your food to perfection.
- Wood-Fired Flavor: Grilling over wood gives you an unmatched flavor, but many people don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking over an open wood fire. Enter: the pellet grill! Your culinary creations will have that incredibly satisfying wood flavor, but without the laborious setup and cleanup that wood-fired grills typically require.
- Versatility: Pellet grills can perform many different kinds of cooking, depending on how the pitmaster sets the temperature and the vents. You can grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear and so much more — especially with cool add-ons like a pellet grill pizza stone. We’re not saying you should cook every meal of the day on a pellet grill, but you probably could if you wanted to!
- Consistent Heat: A pellet grill makes it incredibly easy to get a consistent heat level on your food. In the Silverbac, for example, the automatic fuel feeding system produces a steady heat and temperature that eliminates the need to constantly tend the grill. It gets your favorite BBQ recipe done just right all the way through, and it’s also ideal for the low and slow heat required for smoking meats.
- Easy Cleanup: Another great characteristic of pellet grills is that they make only a tiny fraction of the amount of ash that charcoal or wood grills do. That means cleanup is far easier with a pellet grill, and you can spend less time scooping out ash and more time enjoying great company and mouth-watering flavors.
What to Look for in a Pellet Grill
When you’re shopping for a pellet grill, keep an eye out for certain features that will make your grilling experience awesome. Things to look for in a good pellet grill include:
- Durable Construction: Don’t mess with lower quality grills that aren’t able to stand up to outdoor life. (These things do have fire inside them, after all.) Look for a pellet grill that’s made with heavy-duty materials like stainless steel with welded seams. Double-walled insulation is also a must for maintaining consistent heat inside the grill during any weather conditions.
- Hopper Design: Your hopper stores and helps dispense your wood pellets, which makes it crucial to have one that’s built to perform. Look for a hopper that accommodates at least 15 pounds of pellets at once so you don’t need to constantly refill it. In addition, many pellet grill hoppers should have a cleanout chute that allows you to easily remove the pellets when you’re done. These aren’t as common on tailgater pellet grills.
- Safety Features: Pellet grills bring some serious heat, so choose one with safety features that protects you, your guests and your property. Automatic shut-offs that turn the grill off when it reaches an unsafe temperature are important, and so are built-in cool-down features for when you turn your grill off at high-temperatures.
- Accessories: Many people like to customize their grills to fit their lifestyle and their culinary interests. Consider whether you might want to add accessories like extra racks, additional prep surfaces, offroad carts or even a pizza stone.
- Connectivity: Today’s most popular pellet grills make it easy to control your grill remotely through an app on your mobile device. Check the temperature on the smoker before you go to bed, or even start it instantly before you leave work! To find these features, look for a grill with Wi-Fi connectivity and app controls.
Grilla Grills was born because our founders saw that nobody was making a pellet smoker and grill that offered all of these must-haves in one package. Now, we’ve got a whole family of pellet grills designed to offer exactly that.
Getting to Know the Grilla Pellet Grills
Our Grilla Grills are made to give pitmasters of all experience levels the best tasting BBQ and the best times with your family and friends. Forget monkeying around with cheap, low quality grills. It’s time to get familiar with the most beastly name in the pellet grill game.
We’ve designed these four pellet grill and smoker models to give you the ultimate combination of performance, value and quality. Check out what each evolution of our pellet technology has to offer.
- Grilla Silverbac: Our classic Silverbac model is a perennial favorite, both for experienced pellet pitmasters and those just joining the world of pellet grills. The built-in Alpha Connect system takes the Silverbac into a new dimension of smart grilling and smoking. Just connect it to your WiFi for fine-grain control of your Silverbac from anywhere.
- Grilla Silverbac AT: Do you need a grill that’s designed to come with you to BBQ competitions, block parties, and trips to the cabin?? The Grilla Grills Silverbac AT (All Terrain) is the rugged and easy to move pellet grill that you’ve been dreaming of. Plus, it includes all of the benefits of the other Silverbac Models.
- Grilla Chimp: Simple, portable and tons of fun — that’s the Grilla Grills Chimp. Our lightest pellet grill still packs a mighty punch when it comes to cooking amazing food. Hit the Silverbac with a shrink ray, and give it super sturdy foldable legs, and you’ve got the Chimp. It comes with all of the same features as our larger models, in one compact package. The Chimp is your best friend at a tailgate, camping trip, beach party or anywhere that you want delectable BBQ on the go.
- Grilla Pellet Smoker (The OG): Finally, we couldn’t end without throwing a bone to the true smoke lovers out there. The Grilla Pellet Smoker is the easiest and fastest way to get started with smoking, and it’s built like a tank to boot. With a body shape unlike anything else on the market, this smoke throwing beast is going to be the talk of the neighborhood. A double-walled design and two-tiered cooking surface make this an unstoppable king of smokers that retains heat incredibly well. And, of course, the Alpha Connect system keeps you in touch with your meat anytime and anywhere.
Awesome Things to Cook with a Pellet Grill
What kind of mouth-watering possibilities can you unlock with a pellet grill? Let’s check out a few of our favorite pellet grill recipes that you can cook with your favorite Grilla Grill:
- Perfect Burgers: Our perfect burger patty recipe will give you thick, juicy, handmade burgers that cook beautifully on a pellet grill.
- BBQ Spare Ribs: Your Grilla pellet grill is the ideal tool for creating fall-off-the-bone ribs that are bursting with flavor and juice.
- Grilled Ribeye: Fall in love with ribeye all over again with this recipe that will remind you just how rich and succulent steak can be.
- Pellet Grill Pizza: You’ll never go out for pizza again after you make a mouth-watering pizza with a crisp, flaky crust using one of our pellet grill pizza stones!
- Beer Can Chicken: Use our Cluck Rub to get just the right zesty and savory flavor on this incredibly tender whole chicken recipe.
- Beef Fat Fried Potatoes: Sizzling sides are another thing that a pellet grill will bring to your table. Check out these shamelessly delicious beef fat fried potatoes.
- Avocado French Toast: Yep, it does breakfast, too. Blast away that hangover with this awesome avocado recipe.
Caring for Your Pellet Grill
We’ll leave you with a few tips on caring for your Grilla pellet grill. Don’t worry — it’s not hard! You just need to know some key pointers:
- Give the grates of your pellet grill a quick cleaning with a wire grill brush every time you finish grilling. Do it after you’ve turned the grill off and it’s cooled down a bit. You’ll want to do this while the grates are still warm, but not hot.
- Every five to eight times you use your Grilla grill, give it a more thorough cleaning. For most models, this will include:
- Emptying the grill’s grease can
- Clearing ash from the grill’s firepot and barrel
- Wiping off grease from where it may collect
- Scraping waste from the drip tray or diffuser
- Make sure you’re using food-grade wood pellets made from quality hardwoods. Don’t use pellets designed for pellet stove heaters, as these might be treated with chemicals you don’t want in your food. Our Grilla Grills competition blend pellets are an ideal all-around choice that bring a quintessential rich, smoky flavor to any kind of BBQ.
Now you know the basics of what a pellet grill is — but we’ve still got a ton of awesome BBQ secrets to show you if you’re interested! See our full collection of pellet grill recipes to jump into pellet grilling with your favorite BBQ flavors. Or, check out the virtual toolbox we offer for each of our pellet grill models to see useful instructional videos on how to get the most from your pellet grill.