Decision Made

I’ve decided to go ahead and buy the pellet grill I was talking about last week. It is a little over the top for my needs, but I think it will be good fun. All being well, I should have the grill by the end of September.

One of the things that isn’t immediately obvious is that this larger grill is actually more practical than my kettle charcoal grill for just cooking for myself. With my kettle, even if I just want to do a couple of hamburgers for myself, there is a minumum amount of charcoal that is practical to use, which is actually more than is needed for a couple of hamburgers. After cooking, there is the same amount of cleanup, whether I have cooked for one, or a dozen, and I have to let it cool before picking out the unburned charcoal, to use again

With the Traeger, the fuel is fed from the hopper as it is needed, so it is very easy to turn it on, get it to heat, cook whatever I want, and then turn it off. No fuel is wasted, and the cleanup is fairly easy.

The other thing is – as I mentioned before – although I have successfully done a reasonably long smoke on my kettle, it required more or less constant monitoring to maintain the temperature, so it is unlikely I would attempt this when I had people to visit. This is not the case with the pellet grill, which can be more or less left to itself (in fact, it is frequently said “if you are looking, the food isn’t cooking”).

Is this all just rationalisation to justify buying the thing? Perhaps, but I do think I am going to get good use out of it, and as it appears to disassemble into three portable parts fairly easy, it isn’t out of the question that it might get lent out occassionally.

If you are still reading to this point, you are obviously interested, so here is a video showing how the fuel system of a pellet grill works.

10 Comments

  1. August 23, 2010

    So once the new toy arrives does that mean your Kettle BBQ will be surplus to requirements?

    • chris
      August 23, 2010

      Possibly, but not for a while. At minimum, I will be keeping it while I get to grips with the pellet grill, and it may be useful to have for when I have bigger BBQs, so people can still grill their burgers, while I cook more complicated stuff.

      However, if this new grill does do everything it is supposed to, then the Kettle will become redundent, in which case I think I can probably think of a good home for it! 😉

    • chris
      August 23, 2010

      How can it not be? Food, fire and engineering – what more could a man want?

  2. August 23, 2010

    It’s a hot dog!

    The first shot of the machine in the titles boggled me. I thought it was a mechanical dog… *g* Looks fun, though. Do you have to buy the pellets from them, or are there other stockists?

    • chris
      August 23, 2010

      Re: It’s a hot dog!

      At the moment, these people are the only bulk supplier of the pellets I know of in the UK. Quantifying this, they sell a 20lb bag for 17 quid plus postage (if you buy 3 bags postage is a fiver a bag). This works out at 1.15 a pound. In comparison, the only other UK sources I have seen sell small 1lb bags of pellets for anything from 5-8 pounds a bag.

      The reason why these other sources (garden centres etc) sell them in small bags is that they are intended as something to scatter on charcoal for a wood flavour, not as a fuel in itself.

      Although the wood is made from farmed sources, there is an ecological fly in the ointment, as all of these pellets are currently freighted over from the USA.

      However, my source is also working with a new UK-based pellet manufacturer, and should have local product to sell, including oak and apple. Not only will this be environmentally sounder, but the pellets will be about half the price, due to them not having to be shipped in. This will reduce the cooking cost from about a quid an hour to 50p an hour (double that, if you are grilling, instead of cooking slow), which I don’t think is bad.

      One other thing to know is that there is also a big market in wood pellets for biomass heating systems, but these should not be used for cooking as they contain a mixture of woods, including some that are not good to cook with (such as pine), and possibly some chemicals. Cooking pellets are generally manufactured from single types of wood, with no artificial binder.

  3. August 23, 2010

    I just got some venison out of the freezer to make a bolognaise sauce and realised that something has gone “ping” in my brain, and I’m finding the smell of venison difficult to cope with. I suspect it’s allied with the fact that this deer was butchered in the kitchen and I was present throughout… Oh well…

    I’m just wondering if perhaps *smoked* venison might not ping my brain… Up for trying it?

  4. chris
    August 24, 2010

    Just returning to this again – I love venison, and frequently cook (shop-bought) venison burgers, due to the low fat content. But it has never occurred to me to use it in a bolognaise sauce. I bet it is extremely tasty, and I must try it sometime.

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