One of the things you’ll face when on the market for the best grill is a debate over pellet grills vs. pellet grills.
There’s nothing more satisfying than feasting on a perfectly cooked steak that you grilled yourself during your weekend barbecue with family and friends. But to achieve this, you need the right type of grill.
Before, it’s fairly easy to buy a grill since only have a handful of brands to choose from. And the biggest factor you need to consider is which brand offers the best quality that fits your budget.
However, today, there’s a wide range of grills available on the market. From types and brands to features and price points, the choices are endless. But if you’re after versatility and ease of use, it’ll boil down between a pellet and gas grill.
Both of these grills come with their own sets of pros and cons that will affect your decision. On top of that, you also have to think of their differences in terms of the cooking style you want.
Do you want a grill that works well at smoking low and slow or do you want something that will leave your meats with beautiful sear marks? This article will break down the differences between pellet grills and gas grills to help you make an informed decision. So let’s get started.
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Pellet Grills vs. Gas Grills Overview
Before we dig deeper, let’s take a look first at some key differences between these grills. Although both pellet and gas grills offer convenience and speed, their cooking method varies.
A pellet grill, also known as a pellet smoker, is ideal for the “set and forget” type of cooking, similar to your oven. It does an amazing job at cooking low and slow. Likewise, it’ll give your foods a delicious yet subtle smokey flavor. However, this type of grill cost more than its gas counterpart. Also, unlike gas, pellets are not as easily accessible.
Now, if you want a more cost-effective grill that cooks much faster and can give your steak great sear marks, then the gas model is for you. A gas grill allows you to cook at mid to high range temperatures. You can find easily find a model suitable for your budget. Additionally, gas is a more efficient fuel source to burn and will heat up pretty quickly than pellets.
About Pellet Grills
The design of pellet grills allows you to cook your food slowly over low temperatures, similar to an oven. It can double as a smoker as well while letting you grill in a traditional way. However, it is made for immersing your meats with that rich smoky flavor slowly through wood pellets.
These pellets, which are compressed and repurposed sawdust from lumber mills, are what the grill use as its fuel source. Although it’s like wood chips, you don’t have to soak them before using them since they’ll simply turn mushy.
Smoking using wood pellets is not the same as heating pellets for household stoves. Wood pellets are safe for foods and do not have toxic chemicals. These are typically made from hickory, applewood, and other hardwoods that can also help you in controlling the flavor of your food.
Wood pellets are available in various wood types to give your meat flavors. You can even combine different pellets if you want to customize the taste of your meats.
How A Pellet Grill Work
You need electricity to run your pellet grill. This will power up its convection fan. Then, after you have your wood pellets ready, the process is as follows:
- Place the pellets into the hopper that looks like a funnel. You can find it on the side of the grill or behind its main part.
- From the hopper, the pellets will move down into the auger and direct them into the firebox or main heating element
- The firebox has a heated rod, causing the pellets to catch fire upon contact. Then, that smoke and heat they create are what will cook your meats.
- The heat is controlled by the convection fan to cook and heat your food indirectly rather than grilling it directly. Hence, a pellet grill is more like an oven or smoker than a grill.
About Gas Grills
Gas grills are probably the most common type of grills available out there. They’re easy to find and simple to operate. As its name suggests, a gas grill utilizes either liquid propane or natural gas as its fuel source. Hence, they’re a great piece of outdoor cooking tool.
You can find a wide array of gas grill styles because they are quite universal. Moreover, they are available in single or multiple burners. Meanwhile, some even come with special features to make your cooking experience even more fun.
Even more, there are portable gas grills you can use on your deck. There are also massive ones that will make an impressive addition to your outdoor kitchen.
How A Gas Grill Work
Unlike a pellet grill, you don’t need electricity to use your gas grill. You only need to connect it to a gas fuel source. After that, you’re ready to cook. Here’s how the grilling process works:
- Once you open your fuel source, gas will flow freely into your grill.
- The gas will then travel into the valves of the unit that you use for controlling the gas flow and eventually, the temperature.
- If you want to distribute the heat more evenly, you may consider using briquettes over your flame. This is possible since you’re not cooking your meat directly by the fire unlike with a pellet grill.
- Once ignite the grill starter, a spark will ignite the gas. This, in turn, creates the flames on the burners. You can utilize the valves to manage these flames.
- To trap the air inside and bring the temperature of your grill up, you must lower the hood of your equipment. Nonetheless, you can also cook with the hood up.
Pellet Grills vs. Gas Grills: Features Comparison
When cooking on your pellet grill, you’re burning wood pellets made entirely of compressed sawdust. This means that you’re cooking your meats entirely with wood. In short, you can expect your meats to have that distinct smoky flavor.
On the other hand, cooking food on your gas grill will not give it any additional flavor. Instead, your meats will taste simply like cooked meat. Nevertheless, you can still add flavors to it by seasoning or marinating your meats prior to grilling.
You can find a gas grill that will fit whatever your budget is. There are cheap basic models to premium ones with advanced features that can go over a thousand dollars. If you have a tight budget, you can stumble on some pretty good deals at times.
Pellet grills are a whole different story. These grill smokers are much pricier. In fact, the cheapest model can set you back as much as $500. And we’re talking about a less reliable, smaller unit.
Ease Of Use
The fire management and startup techniques of both grills are pretty similar. You can start your pellet smoker grill with a switch of a button, while the gas type starts by lighting its fuel source. To adjust the temperature, you need to change the settings of a pellet grill. With a gas grill, you only need to turn its burner knobs up or down.
In terms of cleanup, there’s a big difference here. Pellet grills usually have some sort of a barrier between the cooking grates and its firebox. Most users wrap them with aluminum foil to avoid any messes. You can replace it after a couple of cooking sessions.
Meanwhile, gas grills come with a drip tray that catches excess fat and grease, which you can dump in the bin afterward. Still, both grills need some cleaning after you’re done cooking and a deep clean once a year.
You can easily program your pellet grill to low and slow temperatures of 225F for long periods. However, you can easily crank it up to 500F if necessary or if you want to directly grill your meat.
A lot of gas grills can easily manage temperatures as low as 225F. Likewise, they can also go as high as 500F and more, depending on their BTU and number of burners.
Pellet grills can provide you with incredible control over its temperature. Since they are electronically controlled, they offer a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
Meanwhile, you control gas grills by lighting their gas burners and turning their knobs. They’re also less insulated and less able to retain heat. Therefore, their cooking ability at low temps can be a little challenging, to say the least.
The one that comes out on top in the pellet grills vs. gas grills battle will still depend on your preference. Both grills provide a great deal of efficiency and convenience.
If you’re after that smokey goodness flavor, then a pellet grill is the best choice for you. But if you’re on a budget who love steaks with gorgeous sear marks, and simply want to barbecue over the weekend, then opt for a gas grill.