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Cooking with Wood Pellets – What’s All the Fuss?

If you’re an outdoor cooking enthusiast, chances are you’ve already heard of using wood pellets. If you’re undecided or curious about whether this style of cooking works for you, read below for more information.

Wood Pellets – the Basics

To begin, cooking with wood pellets is best called convection smoking, since the food cooks using indirect heat.

If you are interested in smoked brisket, ribs, pork shoulder, turkey, or whole chickens, wood pellet grills may be just the thing for you.

Wood pellet cooking has been around since the early 1980’s, but it has really taken off in the last several years.  Early versions included only 3 heat settings and no internal thermometer, but these smokers have come a long way over the years.

Many of today’s wood pellet grills include LED displays, internal thermometers, and “set it and forget it” convenience.  You’ll get all of the great smoked flavor simply from firing them up and letting them do their job.  Some even have apps for your tablet or smartphone, so you can check on the progress of your food from inside the house!

The ribs pictured below are from one of our company Grill Masters, who smoked these on a pellet smoker recently.  Just look at those ribs!

Prepped Ribs Ribs on the Grill Ribs Finishing Ribs Resting Ribs Before Slicing Sliced Ribs

The Advantages

Because these grills smoke at a low temperature, it is very difficult to overcook your food.

Cooking will always be even, since everything cooks on indirect heat.

You can cook a wide variety of foods, from pulled pork to desserts.

The wood pellets will burn cleanly away, with virtually no ash.  They provide the flavor and the heat, so additional wood chips will not be necessary.

Pork Loin

Nothing beats that smoked flavor!

The Disadvantages

Because these cook indirectly, if you’re planning to grill steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs, stick with charcoal and gas.  The grill marks and sears you expect to see when grilling these meats will not be as easy to accomplish with wood pellets.

Pellet grills are usually more expensive than charcoal or gas grills, due to all of the added conveniences and technology.

Pellets will be destroyed if they are exposed to moisture.

 

For a complete list of the advantages and disadvantages, please click here.

Grilled Sausages

For other updates about the world of grilling, smoking, and BBQ, check out the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association.

Don’t forget to send us your tips, recipes, and any other input as you join us on our grilling adventures!

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