For those new to grilling and barbecuing, a pellet grill is the right piece of equipment to get started with. These grills are famous for their ease of use and set & forget style. What makes them a go-to choice for beginners is their simplicity compared to charcoal and electric grills. Moreover, they give the taste of a charcoal grill along with the ease of a gas grill.
Whether it is a start-up, maintenance, or a temperature adjustment, pellet grills have no match, as they have revolutionized grilling since the 1980s. If you are there, then I infer that you have bought a new pellet grill but are confused about how to use a pellet grill, right? I will provide a clear roadmap of pellet smoking for beginners in this post.
Step By Step Guide: How To Use A Pellet Grill?
Using a pellet grill can be intimidating initially, but once you get the hang of it, you will wonder why you were considering it a difficult task. A pellet grill utilizes wood pellets that burn slowly and evenly to cook. For smoking meats, pellet grills are outstanding but also work great for searing steaks and burgers on the grill.
These grills use an auger that feeds the pellets into the fire pot and then automatically adjusts itself to maintain the temperature you set by regulating the number of pellets being fed into the fire pot. The following steps will help you how to smoke on a pellet grill:
Step 1: Season Your New Pellet Grill
Now that you have your new pellet smoker or grill, it is time to break it in. Seasoning a new pellet grill is crucial because it comes with factory residuals and grease, which can contaminate the cooked food. Food is not going to stick to the grates, and cleaning will be much easier after you season your grill. To season your smoker, follow these steps:
- Remove any packaging materials from the inside of your smoker. It includes any cardboard or plastic wrap that may cover your unit’s inside.
- Fill the spray bottle with high heat point oil and spray down all surfaces of your smoker, including the inside walls, grates, and drip pan. Now, please turn on the grill and let it go at full temperature. For better results, I suggest taking this seasoning session for 2 to 3 hours.
- Use a paper towel or rag to wipe down all surfaces until they are free of excess oil. You want there to be just enough oil on all surfaces so that they look wet but not dripping wet with oil when finished seasoning.
Step 2: Preheat The Grill
Before cooking, please turn on your pellet grill and let it preheat to the desired temperature. Modern pellet grills feature a built-in thermometer that displays what temperature the grill is running at. You can check the temperature of your grill with an oven thermometer if it does not have this feature.
You can utilize a remote meat thermometer to place the probe inside the meat without opening up the grill lid. It is helpful if you are cooking multiple lumps of meat at once and want to keep an eye on them without opening up the grill too often. Many newbies wonder why preheat a pellet grill before grilling because it lets you evenly cook meals.
Step 3: Add Wood Pellets
After preparing your smoker, you can now add wood pellets to it. The amount of pellets depends on how much food you are cooking. You should use about 1 pound of pellets per hour of cooking time as a rule of thumb. For example, if you want to cook a 6-pound chicken, add an equal amount of wood pellets.
Wood pellets come in a variety of flavors, so keep that in mind. For cooking poultry, apple and cherry wood pellets are wonderful as they give sweet and light flavor. Similarly, if you want to smoke tough meat like beef brisket, then hickory wood pellets are ideal. I suggest you pick the wood pellet for the aroma that fits your taste.
Step 4: Place The Food Or Meat Inside
When using a pellet grill, it is necessary to place the food inside. You can use the cooking grate or place the food inside a smoker box. When using the cooking grate, you need to place your meat on top of it and close the lid. If you use a smoker box, place your food inside it because it will add more flavor to your meat by trapping in more smoke.
Step 5: Start The Fire
Start by lighting the wood pellets according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the temperature drops too much, you may need to add more fuel after an hour or so of cooking. When adding more wooden pellets, always let them burn down completely before adding more food, so there is no chance of flare-ups occurring during grilling time.
Step 6: Set Your Temperature And Cook Time
The next step is to set your temperature and cook time. The higher the temperature setting, the faster your meat will cook but keep in mind that this can also burn it if you do not monitor it with care. You can adjust your vents or turn on the fan inside your grill.
As a general thumb rule, set your temperature at around 225°F – 250°F (107°C – 121°C) depending on what type of meat you are cooking and how well you want it to be. For example, you should ground beef at around 225°F – 250°F (107°C – 121°C). At the same time, the steak needs to be cooked at around 300°F (149°C).
Step 7: Shut Down Grill After Cooking
After cooking, you need to shut down your pellet grill. Most models have an automatic shutdown timer that will turn off the pellets after a set time. It is imperative if you have a cold smoker because letting it cool down too quickly can cause problems such as cracking and warping. If not, you can shut down the grill manually by turning off the valve at the bottom of the grill.
Step 8: Clean and Store the Pellet Grill
After every use, clean out your pellet grill before storing it for later use. Remove all of the ashes from the main chamber and firebox before storing your grill. If there is any ash left over in either chamber, it could create a fire hazard when using your grill again. To clean out all of these ashes, use compressed air or vacuum cleaner to remove all excess ash from both chambers before storing it for future use.
Tips To Use A Pellet Grill Properly
The modern pellet grill is a technological wonder, with a color touch screen display and an onboard computer to monitor internal temperature and control cooking time and fuel consumption. What’s more, many pellet grills are WiFi enabled, allowing you to monitor your grill from the comfort of any room in your house. But do not let all those bells and whistles fool you.
Here are some tips for getting started on your new pellet grill:
- Always season your brand-new pellet grill before you cook with it for the first time, as it helps you eliminate those impurities and residuals that can alter the taste of your food.
- Grilling food in bulk is not a good idea for a beginner because it is likely that the food will burn. Here I recommend you take a small start to try a minimal amount of food.
- Ensure that you have a backup of wood pellets when you are grilling because if you run short of them, it can pause your cooking session, which can be frustrating.
- After using the wood pellet grill, clean it to ensure it remains in good shape and stores it adequately to avoid breaking it down.
At this point, you know how to use a wood pellet grill. These simple-to-follow steps are always easy to implement if you are eager. Start your initial cooking session with a newly purchased pellet grill. A pellet grill is your mate if you are ready for a perfect blend of flexibility, ease, and top-notch flavor.