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How to use a Pellet Grill

The pellet grill is a great device that combines the best characteristics  of a grill such as smoke flavor of the food and the Set & Forget cooking style which means that all you have to do is set the temperature and the grill will do the rest for you.

Temperature control or adding the right amount of pellets is no longer your concern once you turn on the pellet grill.

It’s a great versatile grill that is made for long, slow meat searing and makes it possible to grill at high temperatures.

Hardwood pellets give food a very good smoke flavor, and long, all-day smoking meat with a pellet smoker is something incredibly simple thanks to the electronic system responsible for temperature control and adding fuel ( pellets ) to the fire.

What are pellets?

Some might associate pellets with stove fuel, but grills utilize food grade pellets that differ from regular industrial pellets. Food grade pellets differ by not having any chemical additives, these are 100% natural and healthy pellets that make a great grill fuel. 

They generate a lot of smoke, are available in plenty of varieties and give food a great smoke flavor. Industrial pellets, on the other hand, are not good for cooking because they contain plenty of chemical additives that have a very negative impact on food.

How to Cook on a Pellet Grill

cooking hamburgers and bacon on pellet grill

You’re just beginning your journey with a pellet grill ? Find out how to use a pellet smoker to cook delicious food. As always, plenty of things might seem unclear to you at first, but I assure you that you will learn how to use that grill fast. It’s a good idea to know several rules regarding cooking on a pellet smoker in order to make cooking as convenient as possible.

You need to know that a pellet grill relies on electricity due to the technology it is equipped with. In order to start the grill you have to plug it into a source of power, and then you can move on to configuring the settings.

Before starting it, you should also check out the amount of pellets in the container, if there isn’t enough then fill up the container with more pellets. An important note here, you can’t use wet pellets because it might clog the augerl that transports pellets from the container to the furnace. If your grill is kept outside without a cover or anyplace humid then you should definitely make sure if the pellets are dry before you start it.

Let’s begin by starting the grill – Is the grill plugged in already? Is the pellet container full? Great, now is the time to configure the digital controller. All you have to do is set the desired temperature and click the grill starting button. You have different temperature ranges to choose from depending on what pellet grill model you have, most of the time it’s 200 to 500+ degrees F. The latest controllers make it possible to set the temperature at 5 degree F intervals. Pick your desired temperature and start the grill, leave the lid closed and wait 10-15 minutes for the grill to reach your chosen temperature.

Temperature Control in a Pellet Grill

rec tec controller

Once the grill reaches your chosen temperature, you can move on to cooking. The pellet smoker is known for not having you worry about anything during cooking. In simplest words, the grill will calculate on its own how many pellets and when to add to the furnace in order to maintain your desired temperature. Your only duty when cooking is to control the state of the food and the amount of fuel in the container and that’s it.

After you’re done cooking, you have to clean the grill grates, throw out the ash, clean the dripping tray once in a while, but more on how to clean a pellet grill, when and how often can be found here.

As you can see, cooking on a pellet grill is something very nice and easy. Temperature control is an issue that doesn’t concern you as you have an intelligent system do everything for you. Your only task is cleaning the grill, refilling the container with pellets and checking the food. The last issue which is checking the food might also be much easier and nicer as long as you have the right tools, but more on the tips below.


You have problems checking the food? You’re not sure if your food is good, especially when cooking big chunks of meat. There’s a great solution to this problem, it’s called a meat probe or meat thermometer. It’s a small and inexpensive device that makes it possible to control temperature inside meat even without lifting the lid.

Most of modern pellet smokers offer an option of plugging a meat probe to the digital controller. All you have to do is plug in such probe, put the end into meat and close the lid of the grill. From now on, you’ll be able to monitor the temperature inside the meat in real time on the display of the digital controller.

It’s a very convenient and useful feature, especially when you cook thick chunks of meat over many hours. That way you’ll be sure that the meat has reached the right temperature on the inside and is ready to eat.

Keeping the Pellet Smoker Clean

You have a problem with the grill getting dirty on the outside? Buy a grill cover, it’s a great way to extend the lifetime of the grill and protect it not only from getting dirty but also from harmful influence of weather ( rain, sun, snow… ) and from humidity, which pellet grills hate due to plenty of electronics inside the grill.

The cover will allow you to keep your grill clean much longer and you’ll be able to keep it outside. A good pellet grill usually costs around one thousand dollars which means that if your device matters to you then you should buy a cover for few dozen dollars, it really is worth it.

Are you thinking about buying a new pellet grill, but don’t know which model to choose? Check out my comprehensive post on the best pellet grills of the year, you will find reviews there for what I believe to be the best pellet grills in different price ranges.

I really cook a lot and come across plenty different grills so based on my own and my friends’ experience I made a post about noteworthy pellet smokers.