The art of grilling has evolved significantly over the years, and pellet grills have emerged as a popular choice for both novice and experienced grillers. Offering a unique blend of convenience and flavor, pellet grills are a versatile addition to any outdoor kitchen. This guide will delve into the world of pellet grills, providing comprehensive insights into their features, benefits, and top models in the market.
Pellet grills, as the name suggests, utilize small wood pellets as their primary fuel source. These pellets ignite quickly, burn hot, and provide a rich, smoky flavor that's hard to replicate with gas grills. Most pellet grills come equipped with an electric igniter and a fan that creates convection, distributing the smoke evenly within the cooking chamber. This ensures rapid heating, excellent heat maintenance, and swift temperature recovery after adding food or opening the lid.
The Weber SmokeFire EX4 stands out for its consistent and even heating. It offers excellent heat control and retention, thanks to its porcelain enamel finish. The grill has a large grilling area, accommodating about 13 burgers for high-heat grilling or three briskets for smoking. The EX4 comes with an LCD display for controlling settings, and its app connectivity enhances the grilling experience.
Price: $1,099 Dimensions: 47 x 43 x 33 inches Grilling Area: 672 square inches Extra Features: Grease and ash collection system, LCD control panel, smoke boost, app-controlled
The Timberline Grill is a high-end model known for its superior heat control and retention. It offers a large capacity, accommodating up to eight racks of ribs, nine chickens, or six pork butts. The grill comes with Bluetooth probe thermometers and a touchscreen control panel, making it one of the best set-it-and-forget-it models on the market.
Price: $3,500 Dimensions: 51 x 59 x 25 inches Grilling Area: 880 square inches Extra Features: Stainless steel racks, bamboo cutting board, pellet storage bin, Bluetooth probes
The Pit Boss 440 is a no-frills smoker grill that delivers good results at an unbeatable price. It has some hard-to-avoid hot spots, but it offers good heat retention and temperature recovery. The grill can hold about 19 burgers, making it a good choice for those who don't need a large cooking area.
Price: $285 Dimensions: 40 x 50 x 24 inches Grilling Area: 518 square inches Extra Features: None, but Bluetooth connectivity is available as an add-on.
The Yoder Smoker Grill is designed for volume and efficiency. It has a large grilling area and a 20-pound pellet hopper. The grill reaches temperature quickly and recovers heat faster than most models. It also produces a good amount of smoke, making it an excellent choice for long smoke sessions.
Price: $2,399 Dimensions: 55 x 61 x 36 inches Grilling Area: 1,070 square inches Extra Features: Excellent app connectivityand pneumatic tires
The Traeger Pro 780 offers a large cooking capacity without breaking the bank. It can hold six chickens, 34 burgers, or the equivalent of each. The grill imparts a significant amount of smoke flavor onto foods while maintaining a relatively low amount of smoke leaving the grill. It also features WiFIRE technology for easy control and monitoring.
Price: $999 Dimensions: 55 x 49 x 27 inches Grilling Area: 780 square inches Extra Features: WiFIRE technology, a comprehensive yet easy-to-use control panel, wheels, and meat probe connectors
The Louisiana Grills model offers a large cooking capacity of 1028 square inches with two rows of racks for two-zone cooking. It has a few hot spots, but none that would preclude the grill from our list. It sears well, and its Bluetooth app connectivity and feature-rich control panel make this a straightforward unit to operate.
Price: $1,000 Dimensions: 46 x 42 x 32 inches Grilling Area: 1,028 square inches Extra Features: Foldable shelf, hopper cleanout door for changing pellets, temperature probes, flat shelf, hopper viewing window
The Traeger Tailgater Grill brings most of the functionality of larger models to a mobile form. Despite its travel-friendly size, the Tailgater holds 12 burgers, two chickens, or three racks of ribs. It's a great option for grilling and smoking for portability and price.
Price: $530 Dimensions: 36 x 37 x 18 inches Grilling Area: 300 square inches Extra Features: Folding legs, temperature probes, digital control panel, app connectivity
The size of the grill is an important factor to consider. For large parties, large families, or events, you will want a grill that has a large cooking capacity. Generally, most people can get a mid-size model, around 24 inches, that will do everything they need it to do. To consistently serve a crowd, we recommend upsizing to a 36-inch model.
Stainless steel holds up better over time than carbon steel and powdered steel as it resists corrosion. If you're considering longevity, stainless steel is also the ideal material for grill parts, from grates to grease trays to fire burn pots.
Pellet grills can come with all sorts of features, from electric starters to WiFi connectivity to a seamless switch from direct flame grilling to offset smoking. More basic are features like a grease management system, an ash collector, and a hopper that opens to release pellets.
Finally, consider your budget and plan accordingly. In general, for an investment like this, it's sometimes easier to consider your eventual cost per use. If this is something you will use weekly, it may be worth a larger upfront investment. If you envision using the grill less frequently, you may not need to spend as much.
Pellet grills offer a unique blend of convenience, versatility, and flavor that makes them a popular choice for both novice and experienced grillers. Whether you're looking for a high-end model with all the bells and whistles or a more basic, budget-friendly option, there's a pellet grill out there that's perfect for your needs. Happy grilling!