Pellet Grills vs. Gas Grills

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Many grills are on the market today, ranging from the traditional charcoal grill to the more modern electric grill. The question is: which one should you choose? 

This article will compare pellet and gas grills to help you decide which type is best for your needs.

Pellet Grills vs. Gas Grills: Quick Summary

The main difference between pellet grills and gas grills is their fuel: pellets or gas. However, this slight difference results in some significant distinctions.

A pellet grill is usually more expensive, takes more time, and can’t get as hot as a gas grill. 

So, if you’re searching for a regular grill for a backyard cookout, you’re looking for a gas grill. But if you want to get that unique smoky grill taste, you need a pellet grill. 

Pellet grills can add a tasty flavor to your food. For starters, the term “pellet smoker” could be more appropriate because they are better at smoking than grills. 

Cooking using a pellet grill is a terrific “set and forget” method of food preparation. You can think of them as outdoor ovens.

Gas grills are at their best when cooking at medium-high temperatures. At lower temperatures, gas grills are not as effective as pellet grills. Since the insulation isn’t excellent, it’s challenging to smoke on a gas grill.

Let’s take a closer look at pellet grills and gas grills.

Pellet Grills Overview

Pellet grills and gas grills provide significantly distinct cooking experiences because of the different fuel types. Before buying one of these, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into to purchase the best grill for your needs. 

What Is a Pellet Grill?

You can use a pellet grill for cooking your food at a low temperature. Aside from being a grill, it may also function as a smoker. 

You can also use it for standard grilling, but the wood pellets are designed to infuse your meal with a delicious smoky flavor slowly.

Wood waste from lumber companies is compressed and reused as pellet fuel for barbecues. While comparable to wood chips, you must not soak wood pellets before use, or they may degrade into a mushy, sawdust-like substance.

You can use many different types of wood pellets for smoking. The pellets can infuse different flavors into your meats, and you can mix up different flavors to create a truly unique flavor.

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How Does a Pellet Grill Work?

Pellet grills cook food using indirect heat and a convection fan, similar to an oven. Pellet grills require electricity to power the fan and other components of the grill.

You’ll need to put the pellets in a hopper attached to or hidden below the grill’s main body. After passing through the hopper, a screw-shaped auger feeds the pellets into the firepot, the central heating source. 

A hot rod is put into the firepot to ignite the pellets. The smoke and heat produced by this fire are what you use to prepare your meal. 

Rather than using a grill for cooking the meat directly, a convection fan uses this heat to cook it slowly and thoroughly. It differentiates it from a grill and makes it more like a smoker or an oven.

What Do You Cook on a Pellet Grill?

You’ll need a pellet grill if you want to smoke your meat. 

Unlike gas or electric barbecues, wood pellet grills produce a distinct flavor because of their smoke. 

Temperatures are typically set between 200 and 300 degrees, so this will take some time. “Set and forget” is the best way to prepare pork ribs or smoked briskets on pellet grills.

Pellet grills are best suited to those who care about taste, versatility, and convenience instead of searing marks on the steaks. 

Brands of Pellet Grills

Pellet grills are becoming increasingly popular, and as a result, there is an increasing number of companies producing them. Traeger, Camp Chef, Pit Boss, and Z Grills are among the most well-known names in the pellet grill industry.

The Advantages of Pellet Grills

Versatility

There are several advantages to using a pellet grill instead of a charcoal or gas one, such as being able to smoke, roast, and bake on one grill.

Convenience

On a pellet grill, you don’t have to go back and forth to check the food or flip it. Once you’ve loaded the hopper with pellets and set the temperature, you can let it cook for a few hours.

Flavor

Since there are many different flavors of wood pellets, you can change the taste of your food however you like.

Efficiency

As a result of their convection fan, pellet grills are more energy-efficient than gas grills. Moreover, wood pellets are less expensive than charcoal.

Easy to maintain

Grilling with wood pellets is less messy than cooking with gas or charcoal. You’ll still need to clean the cooking surface and the firepot from time to time, but that’s it.

The Disadvantages of Pellet Grills

Electricity

Pellet grills require electricity to operate. If you don’t have a generator or a way to plug them in, you can’t use them while camping.

Fuel Availability

It’s much harder to find pellets for smoking than propane. 

When you locate a brand you like, you’ll need to start stockpiling so you don’t run out unexpectedly. You won’t be able to drive down the street to get more fuel in an emergency.

Cost

Compared to gas grills, pellet grills have a higher starting cost. While this is an increase, it is not a significant one. Pellet grills are still reasonably priced, even if you want a high-end one. Pellets, as opposed to propane, are more cost-effective in the long run.

Temperature

Pellet grills are better for low and slow cooking than gas grills. In other words, they cook your food at low temperatures for a more extended period. It is a terrific way to develop taste, but you’ll have difficulty getting a good seared steak.

Gas Grills Overview

What Is a Gas Grill?

When shopping for a grill, gas grills are the most common. They’re easy to use and perfect for beginners.

As a result of their widespread availability, they are available in a variety of designs and sizes.

They can be as little as a grill on wheels for portability or as large as a built-in unit to create a stunning outdoor cooking area.

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Gas Types

Most gas grills use liquid propane(LP) rather than natural gas, which is more common. 

You’ll find this in the large white tank displays in hardware stores. It’s easy to take with you, and it’s commonly available.

On the other hand, natural gas is piped straight to your house, so you need to connect a line to your grill.

Gas grills can be powered by either propane or natural gas, which have advantages and limitations. 

While most barbecues use liquid propane, a natural gas conversion kit is available for those who want it. With a gas line already running to your home, this is the best of both worlds.

Compared to LP, natural gas is far less expensive, never needs to be refilled, and burns cleaner than LP. Natural gas might save you a lot of money and effort if you already have a gas line and don’t intend to move your barbecue soon.

But getting one is probably not worth the effort if you don’t have a gas connection. 

You should also use LP if you plan on moving or taking your grill with you on a trip. Remember to keep your tank filled, so you don’t run out in the middle of a grilling session.

How Does a Gas Grill Work?

The first thing to do when using a gas grill is to choose the type of gas you want to use. You can connect your barbecue to either natural or LP gas once you’ve decided. 

Food isn’t cooked over an open flame on a gas grill. 

When you light your grill, a spark ignites the gas, which feeds flames via the burner holes. You can use the valve to regulate the gas.

What Do You Cook on a Gas Grill?

Gas grills are superior to pellet grills to cook food quickly and efficiently at medium-to-high temperatures. 

However, various add-ons and attachments enable a wide range of cooking methods.

There are gas grills for every budget, so focus on how many burners you’ll need and whether or not you’ll need any other equipment while making your selection (such as a smoker box or grilling basket). 

You can have a compact 2-burner grill, a budget gas grill for a low price, or a 6-burner barbecue for much more.

Brands of Gas Grills

It’s not difficult to find an excellent gas grill; you’ve probably heard of the most popular brands. 

In our opinion, Weber is the most popular brand of gas grills. You should be able to find a Weber grill at any barbecue store. 

Napoleon, Char-Broil, and Kenmore are a few other well-known brands in the outdoor cooking industry.

The Advantages of Gas Grills

Excellent for Grilling

You can cook at higher temperatures on a gas grill than on a pellet grill. Creating a good sear requires cooking at high temperatures.

Quick

It should take no more than 10 minutes for a gas grill to reach the desired cooking temperature.

Cost

As a result of the vast availability of gas grills, they have been designed to fit every budget. 

Some quality gas grills are still available at a lower price, even though higher-end grills have more features and are better at maintaining temperatures. 

Gas is also widely available, efficient, and not too expensive. A standard propane tank will provide approximately 20 hours of cooking time. 

Simple to Clean

Cleaning a gas barbecue is also a breeze. Because there is no charcoal or burned wood to deal with, all you have to worry about is keeping the cooking surface clean.

The Disadvantages of Gas Grills

Poor Heat Retention

Good ventilation is essential when using a gas barbecue. Because of this, gas grills’ heat retention isn’t outstanding.

Lacks Flavor

Because gas lacks flavor, using it as a fuel will not add flavor to your food unless you use a pellet smoking tube or something similar.

Safety Concerns

As long as you follow the recommended safety precautions, using a gas grill is entirely risk-free. 

To use a gas barbecue, you’ll need a large open area to avoid a buildup of carbon monoxide. It is possible to start a fire while cooking in an area that is not adequately ventilated.

Double-check your city’s ordinances before using a gas barbecue, as some towns forbid its usage.

Pellet Grills vs. Gas Grills: What’s the Difference?

Let’s look at how these two types of grills stack up against each other in a few crucial areas.

Flavor

Pellet grills use compressed sawdust wood pellets as their primary fuel source. To put it another way, you’re cooking only with wood. Due to this method, you should anticipate your meal’s unique smoky flavor.

On the other hand, even the best propane barbecues don’t add flavor to the food they cook. 

When it comes to flavor, the meat won’t be anything more than what it is. If you want to enhance the flavor of food cooked on a gas grill, you’ll need to use seasonings first.

Ease of Use

The popularity of both gas and pellet grills is mainly due to their convenience. Because lighting the fire on the grill is the most challenging part, the most appealing feature of both types of grills is their ease of use. 

Both grills are easy to clean, but pellet grills require you to remove the grill grates and vacuum out the burned pellet dust every few cooks to keep them working at their best.

Pellet grills make it easier to use your device as an oven or smoker. Turning a gas grill into a smoker is possible, but you’ll need more know-how.

Temperature Control and Range

A pellet grill is best when cooking between 200 and 350°F. Some newer grills, like the Weber SmokeFire, can reach temperatures up to 600°F, whereas older models typically struggle to get more than 450°F.

You can quickly raise the temperature of most gas grills to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Gas grills of higher grade can reach temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

The lower temperatures on a gas grill, on the other hand, can be challenging to regulate because of the grill’s poor heat retention. Gas grills with poor heat retention may struggle to maintain a steady 250°F temperature.

With some models, pellet grills can maintain temperatures of up to +/-5°F, which is outstanding.

Run Time (Before Refueling)

Several factors influence how long each grill takes to heat up. As the temperature of your food rises, the time it takes to cook it will also increase. 

You can smoke meat at a rate of half a pound per hour or sear it at a rate of two pounds per hour using high heat. 

A typical pellet grill can hold enough pellets to cook for about eight hours. However, if you want to cook for an extended period or multiple times in a row, it may be necessary to refill the pellet hopper.

How much propane you use per hour on a gas grill is determined by the total BTUs, number of burners, and temperature setting of the grill. Most barbecues can cook for up to 20 hours on a 20-pound tank of propane.

Initial Cost

A low-cost gas grill may be found in any big-box retailer, while a high-end model can cost several thousand dollars. The classified ads in your town may have a reasonable price on an older, used machine if you’re looking for a bargain. 

However, a pellet grill will set you back significantly more upfront. Cheaper models at your local big-box retailer will still set you back more than $500—and that’s for a smaller, less durable model.

Fuel Costs

For a pellet grill to operate, it should just require wood pellets and electricity. The amount of pellets consumed is determined by the size of your model and the desired temperature. With a larger grill, you will burn more pellets every hour.

Similarly, unless you’re using a natural gas barbecue, most gas grills only require propane to run. With only one tank of gas, how much grilling can you do? The size of your model and the temperature you cook will affect this.

Additional Features

The more expensive the grill, the more bells and whistles it has to provide. Pellet grills, however, are more likely to be technologically advanced at this stage.

Pellet grills are high-tech devices by design. As a result, they feature technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, integrated meat probes, and LCD panels.

Gas grills don’t have temperature-control mechanisms built-in. On gas grills, which are more traditional in design, side burners and rotisseries are more common. Small extras, like inside lighting and illuminated knobs, are also available on some models.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve learned something new about pellet grills vs. gas grills in this article.

You’ll want a grill that meets your budget and cooking preferences to get the most bang for your buck.

A pellet grill is an excellent option if you want to smoke meat low and slow and infuse it with a delicious smoky flavor.

A gas grill is better if you want an affordable, easy-to-use device that favors a high temperature for searing over a smokey flavor.