Why Grillers in the Know are Ditching Charcoal and Propane
What's your favorite way to grill?
Whether you are new to the scene or a long-time grillmaster, everyone has unique preferences when it comes to their cooking method of choice. From propane to charcoal to wood, people take their method of grilling quite seriously, and some argue quite passionately about the pros and cons of each method.
As a chef and lover of flavorful foods, I too am quite passionate when it comes to my grilling technique. After years of trying different grills and experimenting with different techniques, I think the winner is clear: Wood-pellet grills.
Wood-pellet grills were first introduced onto the market over 20 years ago by Traeger Pellet Grills LLC. They're all-electric: No fluids, no lighters, and no gas. Instead, a pellet grill is powered by pellets of wood shaped much like a large pill capsule. Unlike charcoal grills, which take up to 30 minutes or more to heat up, wood pellet grills can give off an even heat quite quickly. And, unlike propane grills which heat up quickly but lack flavor, foods cooked on pellet grills are rich in smokiness and succulence.
Some pellet grills even come with a thermostat so that you can actually set the instrument on the exact temperature you desire. It's an obvious plus when compared to charcoal and propane cooking which can sometimes uneven and unpredictable heat. Nothing is worse than serving one of your guests an overdone steak and the other a barely cooked steak, especially when all you want to do is enjoy your company and have a relaxing night.
Best of all, with a pellet grill, you can "smoke" your food at a very low temperature to create fall-of-the bone tender items like ribs or ham. This gives you a huge range of options when it comes to the types of meals you can prepare with your grill. You certainly will not be limited to just burgers and dogs! Think Cornish game hens, smoked turkey legs, lamp chops, smoked salmon, fish tacos, pot pie, and even pizza or cornbread. Some people even use their pellet grill to make desserts such as cookies or bread pudding.
Pellet grills are also special because they give you the option of playing with different types of wood, all of which give off a unique smoke and flavor. There is a great deal of variety woods available -- think oak, hickory, apple, maple, cherry, mesquite, and peach. Each wood will give your food a different smoke and bite, and it's really fun to be creative and play with different combinations. (One suggestion: Most people advise against using conifer wood such as pine and the like).
Along with the ease and variety that a pellet grill affords you, the great news is that pellet grills might actually be healthier for you! The National Cancer Institute has stated that certain methods of cooking meat (such as charcoal grilling) can increase one's risk of cancer. Wood pellet grilling could potentially have a lower risk of cancer when compared to other forms of grilling as some people say that it leads to the creation of fewer carcinogens. (However, research is still underway and over-consumption of any grilled meats could increase one's cancer risk).
It is easy to see why I am so passionate about pellet grilling. In fact, I'm working on building a commercial-grade pellet grill to use at moto and iNG. Not only are pellet grills efficient, easy to use, and flavorful, they are also cost-effective and don't involve potentially dangerous chemicals like propane. It's just Mother Earth's all-natural goodness... and you can taste it in every delicious and succulent bite!