How a Pellet Grill Works
- A digital controller manages the internal temperature by controlling the fuel and oxygen supply to the firebox.
- A motor turns the auger, which feeds pellets, into the firebox.
- A heat rod in the firebox ignites the pellets and a combustion fan keeps them burning.
- A micro-adjusted variable-speed fan and auger motor allow you to keep your grill and food at the temperature you set.
- The Venturi-style firebox creates the ultimate wood-burning fire, circulating pure hardwood smoke and flavor throughout the grill.
How Pellet Smokers Work
In short, pellets compressed from sawdust and wood shavings fill a hopper and are then fed into a burn pot using an electric auger system. The auger, which is basically a long screw, delivers pellets to the burn pot based on the speed dictated by the unit’s thermostat. As the burn pot ignites, the pellets burn. Heat then carries through the home via convection (air driven) means, thus allowing air flow and a blend of warm and cool air to maintain steady, even burn temperatures. A heat exchanger separates the smoke fumes from the warm air, thereby warming the room without smoking everyone out.
Pellet smokers work in much the same way, albeit with the heat exchanger removed so that the smoke produced by the burning wood pellets bathes your food in its goodness and helps render the barbecue product you’re after.
As you can see from the image of a Pellet Grill above, pellets move from a hopper (left) via an auger to a burn pot (far right). The rate at which the pellets arefed into the hopper is dictated by your Pellet grill’s thermostat. Extra fuel in the form of oxygen is blown over the burn pot to increase the burn rate and help regulate a nice, steady, and efficient burn. The lower your temp, the more smoke is created.
All of this is run on electricity, which more than one professional Pellet Head BBQ pitmaster will tell you is of premium importance during competitions — and isnot always easy to come by!
Pellet Smokers and Indirect Heat Delivery
With almost all Pellet smokers, the heat is indirect, allowing you to cook larger cuts of meat or larger quantities of meat for long cook times at lower temperatures.