First came fire, then came a grill next to a pool with Bob Marley on full blast. A lot of things arrived in between, but it would appear fire had a clear destiny, and that was to give us the grill.

Grilling knows no cultural nor physical boundaries. Everyone has a different take on it, but the result is always the same. Pellet smokers (also known as pellet grills) are yet another fantastic grilling option for all backyard chefs.

This article is going to provide everything you need to know: how they work, why they’re preferred, some great pellet grills to consider, accessories, and more. So buckle up and prepare yourself because by the time we’re done, your mouth will be drooling in anticipation of that next great pellet smoked meal.   

How They Work

How do pellet smokers work?

These days the plethora of BBQ grilling options are endless, and it can easily be overwhelming. If you’re a first-time buyer eager to put on that backyard chef apron and be the life of the party, then keep reading.

As opposed to charcoal or gas, pellet smokers use wood shavings or sawdust for fuel. This is an easy conversation starter at any get-together. Your guests might wonder, “what’s the deal with this grill, and what does Fred know that I don’t?” You can then confidently describe how a pellet smoker works.

First, a hopper receives the wood pellets. They’re then fed into a pot that utilizes an auger system (electric) to move them. You can think of this as a giant screw, pushing the pellets into a burn pot. The speed at which this occurs is regulated depending on the intensity of the fire you desire.

The burn pot ignites, the pellets start to burn, and oxygen is dispersed over the pot to augment the burn rate. What results is a controlled and efficient burn. BBQ fans like pellet smokers specifically because the heat is indirect as opposed to direct.

Direct heat cooks meats and vegetables faster. Indirect heat, instead, brings about a longer cook time at regulated temperatures. The drip plate (under the grill) collects fat drippings that naturally result over time.

This whole process runs on electricity, as opposed to gas or simply charcoal with competing grills. The power source is critical because, without electricity, a pellet grill is simply a useless ornament in your backyard. So make sure you have a power source for it, or else it may end up like your mother-in-law’s obnoxious sculpted bust that she made for you as a wedding gift. And we wouldn’t want that.

Pros and Cons of Pellet Grills

Pros and cons of pellet smokers

So now you’re in a pickle. What’s better: a pellet grill or a regular gas or charcoal grill? Let’s start with the cons to a pellet grill.

First, you will not be able to sear meats as easily. Remember, there is no direct heat with a pellet grill. It’s designed for slow, indirect cooking. The pellet grill cooking space is also not nearly as large as gas grill spaces. There are large pellet grills, but their gas and charcoal counterparts come in much larger sizes.

Another con is high-end pellet grill models are more expensive than regular grills. Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, you will also require access to a power source to use a pellet grill.

These are the principal arguments against them. The last point – the power source – gets mentioned quite a bit. If you want to rough it in the woods, for example, you won’t be lugging along your pellet grill and a generator. But with that said, most pellet grills never leave their owner’s backyards. It’s a different kind of grill, and now we’ll touch on the pros of a pellet grill.

First up is its flexibility. Like someone who bakes, the kitchen oven is used for a variety of dishes – casseroles to pound cakes. The pellet grill is the same as it can “bake” corn and other vegetables for side dishes alongside meat. A regular grill will whip up a handful of burgers quickly. But it cannot adequately handle the grilling of vegetables, for example, with the same dexterity that a pellet grill can.

While high-end pellet grills do cost more than regular grills, the average pellet grill costs less than its gas counterpart. But more than the cost of the grill, the fuel also needs to factor in. In terms of gas grills, you’re comparing the cost of wood pellets versus the cost of propane.

A propane tank can cost anywhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $30. Meanwhile, the price of a 40-pound bag of wood pellets is, on average, $5. Using this same comparison with charcoal, you’ll also find that over time, wood pellets are much cheaper.

The Best Pellet Smokers & Accessories in 2020 

Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker

Traeger pellet grill and smoker

A leader in the pellet smoker arena, Traeger brings a beauty to your outdoor BBQ experience. This smoker measures in at a respectable 884 square inches of cooking capacity, which is likely more than you’ll need. But that’s never a bad thing.

Many new pellet smoker enthusiasts also have gas and charcoal grills. Over time, however, with products like this from Traeger, those grills will eventually become obsolete. 

There’s a saying in the pellet smoker community – “wood just tastes better.” Cooking with wood indeed tastes exceptional, and the Traeger offers a cool 6-in-1 versatility pack. This grill can do the following six things really well – smoke, bake, roast, grill, braise and BBQ all of your favorite foods. That’s six functions in one! 

Finally, it also has precision temperature control and a handy +/- 15-degree Fahrenheit control. Multiple reviews mention this as one of the reasons pellet grilling with this model is so superior to gas or charcoal grilling.

Being able to control the temperature in real-time, adjusting it to the meats or vegetables you are cooking, is a tremendous plus. Temperature control gives the outdoor chef a leg up in producing some real precision grilling. You’re the outdoor chef for a reason. People expect precision grilling, and Traeger is built for just that. 

Like it? You can easily buy it here.

Ozark Grills The Bison Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Ozark wood pellet grill and smoker

A strong name goes a long way. Ozark Grills scream ruggedness, and this grill is a multifaceted system, as many pellet grills are. With 892 square inches of cooking area, you can easily fit two large slabs of beef with six racks of ribs or four whole chickens. That’s a lot of flavor for your next backyard shindig!

Reviews rave about how easy the Ozark is to assemble. This point is a good one, because there’s nothing worse than whetting your palate with all the great flavors to come from your new grill and then spending the next 5 hours figuring out the installation.

Another frequently mentioned plus is the digital control panel. Ozark brings some advanced math into the mix here, using a patented algorithm and sensors to add just the right amount of fuel to the fire per temperature setting. This is key with pellet grills because that slow cook is fundamental to the end result.

Weighing in at 154 pounds, this grill is far from light. Most pellet grills, to be honest, do weigh much more than charcoal grills. Gas grills are more similar in weight, but pellet grills are generally heavier.

However, you likely won’t be moving the Ozark all that much. An electricity source is always required, and the porcelain-coated steel grates aren’t meant for frequent moving trips around your backyard.   

Ready to buy? Click here.

Bear Mountain All-Natural Hardwood Hickory BBQ Smoker Pellets

Bear mountain all natural hickory flavor bbq wood pellets

First, you need a grill. But you can’t get that smokey flavor without a bag of premium smoker pellets. Quality is paramount when choosing how to smoke and grill your meats. Heck, with a pellet grill, you can also throw a range of vegetables on as well, so having an excellent wood source to achieve the best flavor should not be left up to the purchase of just any old wood pellets. 

These are 100% all-natural hardwood pellets, so you can rest easy knowing they don’t contain any additives, flavorings, or fillers. This 40-pound bag is more than enough to host a big grilling fiesta with your favorite friends and family.

In comparison to other pellet chips, Bear Mountain prides itself on the low moisture content of their chips. Moisture at the chip level is no good. A “perfect smoke” is what BBQ fanatics look for in a good grilling session, and this comes from the combination of a quality pellet grill and quality pellets. 

Buyers raved about the efficient burn that comes with these pellets. The chief complaint however, is they don’t light up all that fast, so it takes a couple tries to get them going. 

Grab these today by clicking here.

Pellet Smoker Tube, Stainless Steel for Cold/Hot Smoking

Pellet smoker tube, great for cold and hot smoking and helps to increase smoke

As one online reviewer said, “…after purchasing this smoke tube, I am absolutely overwhelmed as to what I had been missing over the years.” Anything that elicits such a reaction must be taken seriously.

For the true “smokey heads” out there, this tube is a must-have for BBQ season. The strategically placed diffusion holes allow air to enter and then diffuses the smoke in an even fashion over the grill. The tube is 12 inches large and capable of holding an impressive amount of pellets. 

Wood pellets of all flavors are great with this smoker tube – pecan, cherry, mesquite, apple, and more. An excellent choice for cold and hot smoking, it also works with literally any size grill. But perhaps the most unique characteristic of the tube is its design and material.

The Pellet Smoker Tube is a hexagon shape as opposed to traditional circular tubes. This shape is key as it does not easily roll so that it can remain on the grill plate with little supervision.

The Smoker Tube is also made of 304-grade stainless steel. This is a very high standard that is both heat-resistant and anti-rust. Odds of breaks or cracks are minimal, and per online reviews, there are none reported (so far).    

To learn more about it, click here.

FIREOR Barbecue Grill Light with LED

Fireor led bbq grill light for night grilling

You can fire up a grill at any moment; daytime grilling for a lunchtime soiree is epic, while nighttime grilling that leads to a late night get-together is also a whole lot of fun. If you’re partial to the latter, then you definitely need some illumination to accompany that Bud-Light while you’re cooking.

This grill light is quite possibly the top choice on the market. Featuring high-density LEDs and a super-powerful magnetic base, chefs get a wide beam and glare-free experience with FIREOR. The base allows you to secure the light to the grill at any position you desire.

It also features an 11-centimeter flexible gooseneck. The gooseneck can adjust a full 360 degrees, shining light where and when you want. Every inch of your grill is illuminated, and your guests will thank you. 

The most common BBQ failure during night hours is overcooking; this happens because you literally can’t see what you’re doing. So do yourself a favor and get this handy light to avoid any unnecessary grilling disasters.

Buy it today by clicking here.

To Sum it Up

We’ve covered a lot. It should be clear by now that pellet smokers are designed for a more discerning griller. The versatility of a pellet smoker compared to a gas and charcoal grill is what sets it apart. The ability to slow cook a nice piece of pork next to an array of zucchini is something you simply cannot do with any other grill.

The second big takeaway is the flavor. That smokey, woodsy flavor you get from wood chips is unparalleled. There is nothing worse than eating a burger and tasting that charcoal burnt sensation that frequently occurs when meat is seared.

It’s happened to the best of us, but this will never occur with a pellet smoker. Meats and vegetables are slowed cooked via indirect heat with an end result that is delicious in every sense of the word.

A great investment for any backyard, pellet smokers will take your next grilling party to another level. Now on to making that list of invites and prepping the date!