A Pellet Grill uses hardwood pellets for the fuel source instead of wood, charcoal, gas or electric. Is a pellet grill the same as a pellet smoker? Not necessarily, a pellet smoker can smoke but not always grill while a pellet grill can both smoke and grill. However some will say that not all pellet grills can get hot enough to grill. That is true with the lesser models but many of the new crop of pellet grills being introduced in the market today get plenty hot for grilling.
Pellet grills and pellet smokers operate on the same principle: a digital controller regulates pellet delivery through an auger feed and forced air via fan to the fire pot which produces both heat and smoke at the temperature you have selected. Electricity is required to run these units but it is very minimal; about 50 amps or so for the igniter to start the pellets on fire which only takes a few minutes and then 3-5 amps to run the fan and auger motor for the remainder of the cook. It couldn’t get any
easier than that.
The higher end pellet grills seem to be the ones made in the USA by MAK Grills, Haerthland’s Memphis Grills, and even Cookshack has a grill in their Fast Eddy’s product line. At the lower end you’ll find grills being made elsewhere in the world; Traeger and Green Mountain Grills (made in China), Danson’s Louisina Grills and Country Smokers (Canada), and some other manufacturers have parts fabricated overseas and do the final assembly in the US. This is not to say you can’t get a great functioning grill from outside the US but there is definitely a higher quality aspect in materials and workmanship and more frills that come with the pellet grills that are made in America; of course higher quality brings higher prices as well!
Note: Only BBQ grade pellets should be used when cooking food. NO heating pellets should be used at any time for smoking or grilling food. Why? Although there is no official “BBQ Grade” or “Food Grade” certification wood pellet manufacturers will mark their packaging as such – please research your pellet source before cooking with it. BBQ pellets are made from raw hardwood materials that have never been used in any product previously, have no fillers or binders in them and if a lubricant is used in the manufacturing process it is a food grade oil such as vegetable oil. Heating pellets are manufactured from any mix of raw and waste material and can have any number of harmful ingredients included such as chemical binders and petroleum lubricants. You wouldn’t throw an old piece of your pressure treated deck or particle board furniture in your smoker would you? So don’t cook with heating pellets!