How Do Pellet Grills Work?

How Do Pellet Grills Work (2)

The vast majority of the grilling community are new to pellet grills. Whilst generations of meat grillers will be familiar with charcoal grills, few have an insight into how a pellet grill works.

What Is A Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill is otherwise known as a pellet smoker. These are outdoor grills that use wood that has been transmuted into a pellet form.

These pellets provide the primary fuel source for the grill. A pellet smoker will combine aspects of charcoal grills and other convection ovens.

These grills can be utilized to roast, smoke, bake and sear all meat. They are notably versatile and able to meet the highest grilling standards.

How Do They Work?

These grills work by burning grade wood pellets in order to provide sufficient heat and smoke to cook your food.

Pellet grills also provide your food with a wonderful smoky taste, similar to a charcoal smoker. In order for a pellet grill to work, it engages in the following process:

  1. Pellets will move along the augur whilst it is rotating towards the burn pot.
  2. As they fall into the pot, the heated rod will burn them in order to start the combustion process.
  3. The internal fan will blow air in order to ignite the pellets effectively.
  4. As the heat rises, it is deflected by the heat plate in order to establish an even temperature for cooking.
  5. All the heat and smoke is channeled by the drip plates in order to baste your meat effectively.
  6. Any dripping is channeled into a grease tray.

The key fuel in a pellet grill is burning wood. The electronic parts of the cooker are there to regulate the temperature of the grill.

It is still a uniquely natural process of cooking that provides your food with an abundance of flavor.

Are Wood Pellets Used For Flavor?

How Do Pellet Grills Work (4)

Yes, wood pellets are used for flavor as well as a source of heat. It is a common misunderstanding that pellet grills are all-electric.

Although they are plugged into a direct source of electricity, they utilize a hot rod in order to ignite the wood in the burn pot and once a fire has been established, this starter source will cease.

As the food continues to cook, pellet fuel will continue to feed the fire which generates more smoke.

A pellet grill is more similar to a powerful wood burner as opposed to a gas grill as it uses smoke to enhance the flavor of your food.

What’s The Difference Between Pellet Grills & Gas Grills?

In order to master the art of using a pellet grill, you’ll need to avoid treating it like a gas grill.

This is because gas grills include multiple heat sources and can be preheated exceptionally fast.

Whereas, a pellet grill will typically pre-heat like a traditional oven. In this sense, a pellet grill will take a longer period of time to read the appropriate temperature.

You should also ensure that you are cleaning your pellet grill more regularly than you would clean a gas grill.

You should remember to remove any grease from the grease tray prior to cooking differing types of meat. A clean grill always ensures that your food tastes better.

The temperature on a pellet grill is far more simple than on a charcoal or gas grill. You merely set the temperature and allow the food to cook.

How Often Do I Clean Out Ash?

This depends on how frequently you are using your pellet grill. If you are using it for a 24-hour smoke, then you will need to clean out the ash afterward.

You should bear in mind that the more ash accumulates, the harder it is to smoke your food effectively. A pellet grill that is overloaded with ash may not start at all.

This is because, when gas is burnt, the burners will generate an abundance of carbon dioxide by proxy of combustion.

Therefore, you should efficiently clean out any ash that has accumulated at the bottom of your pellet grill after each cookout.

This will ensure that your food is cooked to perfection each and every time. Once you have run through a whole bag of pellets, you should assess the inside of the grill around the burn pot area.

Ash will inevitably collect around the burn pot over a period of time which can prevent the circulation of air.

The entire cleaning process will only take a matter of minutes but will ensure that your grill continues to cook effectively.

Cooking isn’t only necessary for the burn pot, the entire grill should be cooked effectively. Wood pellets should be stored correctly as they can absorb moisture causing them to not burn properly.


To conclude, pellet grills work by using wood pellets as a primary source of heat.

Pellet grills provide your food with a wonderfully smoky taste similar to the flavor provided by a traditional, charcoal grill.

However, a pellet grill doesn’t require as much preparation as a charcoal grill as it uses electricity to ignite the wood itself.

These grills are usually a lot easier to maintain, and you can also control the temperature of the grill as easily as you would do on a standard oven.

The best thing about using a pellet grill is that you reap all the benefits of outdoors, slow-cooking without half of the effort.

Purchasing a pellet grill will ensure that you have many wonderful cookouts without beautifully tenderized meat.

You should always ensure that you are cleaning your grill on a regular basis in order to prevent any ash or grease accumulating and prevent you from smoking your meat to perfection.

Annie Plummer
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