How to Choose the Best Pellet Smoker Grill: The Ultimate Griller's Guide - Food & Beverage Magazine

How to Choose the Best Pellet Smoker Grill: The Ultimate Griller’s Guide

A poll by the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, finds that 75% of adults in the United States own a grill or smoker. And 63% of these backyard pitmasters fire up their grill or smoker year-round.

That same survey found that the top three reasons for grilling or smoking outdoors were entertaining, personal fun, and improving food’s flavor.

Which brings us to pellet smokers. The best pellet smoker grill is the one that fits your budget, satisfies your tastebuds, and that you can enjoy in the cold of winter or the heat of summer.

In the following article, we’ll discuss if pellet smokers are right for you, how they work, and some innovative features.

How Do You Choose the Best Pellet Smoker Grill? 

Before you can answer that question, you need to know why you would want a pellet smoker grill to begin with since charcoal and gas grills are considerably cheaper.

The best vertical pellet smokers will cost you anywhere from $400 to $1000 or more. The convenience of these items is undeniable. Pellet smokers are a set-it-and-forget-it situation that is versatile and able to produce incredibly varied cuisine.

True barbecue masters may turn up their noses at a pellet smoker grill, but these items run off electricity, so you can run them even in a condominium where charcoal or hardwood is not allowed.

How Do They Work

These grill types burn cylinder-shaped wood pellets. Controls on the grill allow you to set the temperature of your pellet smoker. A hopper on the side of the grill holds the pellets. An auger slowly feeds the pellets into a “burn pot,” where an electric element torches the pellets, producing smoke and heat.

A computer acts as a regulator for the heat and amount of pellets fed.

The size of the hopper is an import selling point. The larger the hopper, the longer the pellet stove can barbeque. Too small a hopper and you’re brisket is underdone and as hard as a rubber mallet. Too big a hooper means you are paying for more grill than you need.

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll get roughly an hour of cook time per pound of pellets. So, a 20-pound hopper is roughly 20 hours of cook time. Also, factor in that cold weather cook. It will take longer to cook in colder climates, so you’ll need to add that time to your hopper size.

A Word on Controllers

The computer that guarantees the auger feed, temperature, and, in some models, cook time is called the controller. There are several types of these and, along with the durability of the cooker’s construction, is what you’re spending the most money on.

Types of controller types include 3-position, multi-position, one-touch, and PID.

Three-position tends to give your just three adjustments: low, medium, and high. Multi-position will give you more temperature increments depending on the brand.

One-touch allows you to move the temperature up in small increments. PID controllers are the most expensive, allowing you to dial in almost any temperature for your pellet smoker.

Whistles and Bells

There are many accessories to consider when deciding upon the best pellet smoker grill for you. Some have Wi-Fi so that you can monitor the cook from your phone. Others allow you to smoke and grill.

Others have a meat probe that will display its readings right along with the temperature. The versatility, variety, and price of these backyard barbecues are many, and you’ll want to consider all of them one as you step-up your grill game.

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